Thursday, July 12, 2012


Summertime is here and the heat in Miami makes us crave something refreshing. What can be more refreshing than grapes? When I was invited to a luncheon hosted by the California Table Grapes Commission and featuring a grape-themed menu created by James Beard Award winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, I was excited.  It took place at  Bernstein's signature restaurant Michy's, located at 6927 Biscayne Blvd, in the MiMo District.

View of Dining Room Photo Credit: Anthony Jordon, Jr.

Grape-Themed Menu
The place is charming and decorated in a way that reflects the cheerfulness and energy of its creator. Flowery chairs and glowing lights portray an ambiance where there is more than just cooking going on; but also a sense of warmth and welcome. Michelle Bernstein is a well-known, celebrity chef in Miami that has earned the love and following of the public.  Her vibrant personality and innovative culinary talents have made her a household name. From the TV show she hosts on WPBT Channel 2, Check Please, South Florida, to her multiple restaurant ventures, Bernstein's style is unparalleled.

Chef Michelle Bernstein

Tuna Tartar
Photo Credit: Anthony Jordon, Jr.
I wasn't sure what to expect at first. I really have never cooked an entire meal using grapes as part of the ingredients; but if there was anyone that could pull it off, and pull it off well, it was Bernstein. We started off the adventure with a refreshing drink and some canapes. They were amazing! Each one I tried was as scrumptious as the last. There was a Tuna Tartar on chips that made my head spin. The tuna was fresh, refreshing and melt-in-your-mouth good. I noticed several of us kept a close eye on the tray as the waiters passed by.  And the good news? You can find it on the menu at Michy's. Another summer delight we nibbled on that can be found on their menu was the Watermelon "Greek" Salad with feta cheese. It can be found on their Wednesday menu, featuring Fried Chicken Night.

Watermelon Greek Salad

Jamon Serrano with Burrata
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
The other two canapes,  specially created for the grape-themed luncheon, demonstrated the amazing way Bernstein puts together a dish. They were finger bites of Jamon Serrano with Burrata and Tomato and Grilled Pork Tenderloin served with grape sauce and arugula on a small toast. The grape sauce on all the canapes gave them  a sweet sensation I would never have imagined.

Delicious Canape

White Gazpacho
Pancetta Wrapped Snapper
If you're still feeling the heat wave, then a bowl of White Gazpacho from Michy's will cool you down. This first course was made with a vegetable broth, grapes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, Jerez vinegar and olive oil. Outstanding! You can go have a bowl tonight because it's on the menu. The second course was a special creation by Bernstein: Pancetta Wrapped Snapper;  which was a tender yellowtail snapper filet layered with pancetta, braised with red and green grapes, pressed juice from pure green grapes reduced with shallots, and served on a Roasted Fennel Puree. Wow! It was perfect! With each bite, I savored a complicated mixture of flavors that enticed my palate: from rich and tangy, to sweet and sour.

Photo Credit: Anthony Jordon, Jr.

Peanut Butter Panna Cotta
We were all bustling with anticipation as we awaited the third course. Michy's is known for its heart-stopping desserts and the one Bernstein created for this luncheon was no exception. As she told us how she created this heavenly treat, there was a hint of excitement in her voice you hear when someone truly enjoys what they do. "I like the child in me to come out in some dishes", she said, and that's exactly what she did. It was a Peanut Butter Panna Cotta; a custard she created with her own homemade peanut butter that was creamy and delicious, paired with a dark grape gelee prepared with freshly squeezed black grapes, scattered grapes dehydrated into a raisin-like texture (much better than raisins), and a handful of candied corn flakes just for fun! Can you imagine? I know...I want to do it all over again!

Photo Credit: Anthony Jordon, Jr.

When we sat down for our luncheon, Bernstein introduced her menu with the passion she is known for; explaining how she has always loved using grapes in her kitchen. "You can do anything with them - both salty and sweet.  I really can't think of anything you can't do," were not only her words but the theme here as well. I knew there was a lot of nutritional value found in the small fruit, but hadn't realized the exquisite possibilities in cooking with them.

Chef Bernstein presenting her grape-themed menu

When you take a trip down to Michy's you'll find an amazing selection of dishes showcasing her Latin-style infusion of flavors. There is one staple you don't want to miss. I didn't have it in this luncheon but I've indulged before: Jamon Serrano and Blue Cheese Croquetas with Fig Marmalade. They're famous! Don't take my word for it...try them yourselves.

For more information on Michy's, you can call them at 305-759-2001 or visit them online at

Michy's on Urbanspoon


  1. It was a fun and delicious event! Great to meet you there!

    1. It was wonderful meeting you too! I also had a great time enjoying Chef Bernstein's incredible cuisine and chatting with so many fellow foodies! Looking forward to seeing you again soon :)