Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cobaya Carlos Garcia at Obra Kitchen Table

Cobaya  Experiment #77 was a seven course feast from the talented Chef Carlos Garcia at his Miami spot Obra Kitchen Table.  I've enjoyed several great meals at Obra and his Cobaya dinner did not disappoint.  True to form, it featured fantastic Venezuelan-esque flavors that popped with each bite along with flawless execution.  

Chef Garcia is from Venezuela but trained at the prestigious Spanish spots El Bulli, El Celler de Can Roca and Mugaritz before returning home.  In 2007 he opened Alto in Caracas, which was ranked as one of the best in Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants.  

At Alto, he was cooking high end modern dishes that showcased his creativity and finesse.  Fast forward to Obra and he has reversed course.  At Obra, he is cooking traditional Venezuelan dishes with familiar flavors but with an elevated and creative twist.  It's his take on comfort food and it's delicious.

The horseshoe shaped kitchen table invites diners into his kitchen and it's fun to watch him and his team hard at work plus you get to interact with them as well. The setting combined with the flavorful food is an enjoyable way to dine.  

If you haven't been to Obra yet I highly recommend paying Chef Garcia a visit.  You can read about some of the dishes I enjoyed on his regular menu here or check out my Instagram feed.  

First up for Cobaya was a trio of tasty snacks. I've been craving Chef Garcia's arepa with sea urchin ever since.


Fried Pork Puff Skin + Caviar + Cauliflower

Arepa + Sea Urchin + Guasacaca

Cava Hola Barcelona 2017

Eggplant + Goat cheese + Red wine

The first course was a beautiful bite.  Another winner and a great start.

Tuna Toast/ton + Spicy Guava Sauce

Pinot Gris Spatlese 2017

That was followed up with a wonderful combination of oysters, coconut rice and a phenomenal piri piri sauce.  

Coconut Sticky Rice + Grilled Oysters

As good as that piri piri sauce was, Chef Garcia managed to top it with a green sauce paired with a perfectly cooked red snapper. 

Roasted Red Snapper + Grilled Shishito Butter + Green Sauce

Ribeiro Finca San Cibrao Carlos Moro 2017

The last savory course was a crowd pleaser.  Chef Garcia introduced the guinea pigs to his ossobuco before plating it,  

Ossobuco + Arracacha Puree + Winter Truffles

Alpasion Vintage Blend Owners Selection, Argentina

The night ended on a sugar high thanks to pastry chef Maria Laura Aguirre's riff on a club sandwich.  Chocolate ganache was surrounded by caramelized tuiles and paired with a passion fruit mousse.  

Sweet Club Sandwich

Oppenheimer Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 2015

Thank you to Chef Garcia for participating in one of our experiments.  And to his Kitchen team, 
Estefania Andrade and Mauricio Morales, pastry chef Maria Laura Aguirre, GM Maria Alejandra Felizola and the sommelier who did a great job with the pairing.  

And of course, thanks to the guinea pigs for your continued support and interest over the past ten years.  

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cobaya Kamayan Dinner with Paul Qui at Pao Faena

Cobaya Miami underground experiment #76 was a fun Kamayan Feast prepared by Chef Paul Qui and his team at Pao located at the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach.

I'm a big fan of Paul's creative and flavorful food. Thus, this was our second Cobaya dinner with Paul and one of many dinners I've enjoyed from him.  His first Cobaya dinner was a real home run.  For that dinner, as encouraged, Paul deviated from the restaurants regular menu and decided to cook a Filipino inspired feast (see link below for recap).

For his second voyage into the Cobaya Kitchen, he once again opted to tap into his Filipino background.  This time he went full Filipino on us and treated the guinea pigs to a traditional Kamayan Feast.  What is a Kamayan feast? In a nutshell, it's an intimate no holds barred communal dining experience a/k/a a "boodle fight." Long table, banana leaves, mounds of white rice and loads and loads of delicious treats.

Traditionally, there are no plates or utensils and diners dig in with their hopefully clean hands. Perfectly acceptable for the Cobaya crowd.  But this was at the swanky Faena Hotel so plates and utensils were placed around the table for those inclined to be "proper."

The guinea pigs stuffed their faces with  

Chicken Inasal
Grilled Shrimp
Loup de Mer

Grilled Green Onions
Bell Peppers
Bok Choy


Nam Jim
Garlic and Black Pepper Vinegar

If you missed my recaps of Paul's killer Cobaya dinner followed by his omakase dinner two days later or his fantastic kaiseki dinner with Yoshi Okai  they are linked below.

Cobaya Qui

Omakase Chowdown

Kaiseki Dinner with Yochi Okai

Pao by Paul Qui
Faena Hotel
3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

Hours of Operation
Dinner Only
6:00pm – 11:00pm (Sunday – Thursday)
6:00pm – 12:00am (Friday & Saturday)

For Information
Phone +1 786 655 5600 / + 1 844 798 9712