Wellness Wednesday: Sustainable Supperclub with Chef Janine Booth Recap
Miami is a city by many names - Magic City, the 305, MIA, the list goes on. Amongst its nicknames, there are idiosyncrasies that belong to this beach town realized by just about everyone - from the common tourist to the born-and-raised rarity. After the amiable weather (discounting the past few weeks, that is), Miami’s transiency is a characteristic that contributes subliminally to this city’s overall culture.
That being said, there are certainly pros and cons to such a trait. While the energy never gets stale here, there tends to be a lack of concern for the future. A logical consequence in a place where the owner-occupation percentage is lower than the national average. This makes for some pretty unsustainable habits, especially when it comes to the food industry. Fortunately, though, with conscious-eating and "locavorism" becoming more mainstream, there are pioneers gearing present-day Miami towards New Age nourishment.
Representing MIAbites, I was able to witness first hand some of these pioneering minds at the inaugural Sustainable Supperclub this past Tuesday, June 5, at PAMM’s illustrious cafe, Verde. Founders Jennifer Weinberg and Mayala Lanza have created a concept attempting to transcend pop-up progressiveness. Working with partners who share in their focus on eliminating food waste, the duo has instigated an outing that encourages community collaboration, illuminates guests on the truth about unjust supermarket “perfection”, and appeals to the mode of modern society. An idea that easily could have been scoffed at in a place where one of our highest points of elevation is a 225-foot high landfill literally called Mt. Trashmore, these willful women persevered to create a legitimately plant-based dinner experience.
Waterfront views set the scene for an outdoor cocktail hour exalted by the lack of rain as well as, of course, the delicious hors d'oeuvres being passed between sips of Simple Vodka served at an open bar. Sea salt crusted lavash crackers topped with smoked eggplant and peanut baba ganoush allowed for a nice savory starting bite while the other two offerings were refreshing complements to the humid Miami air.
A play on Waldorf salad comprised of “imperfect” apple ribbons, grapes, and brussels sprouts in a lemon yogurt dressing alongside a bruschetta of strawberries, sugar snap peas and whipped ricotta served atop grilled sourdough had guests anticipating the dinner ahead.
Once seated and prior to feasting, the crowd was introduced to the minds behind Sustainable Supperclub as well as Tammy Martinez, the South Florida Market Manager for Hungry Harvest, which provided all the "imperfect" produce for that evening’s menu. ( See MIAbites feature here.)
Priorities in check, glasses were filled with Rosé Piscine - a unique wine actually meant to serve over ice - as this particular supper’s guest chef, Janine Booth, of Stiltsville Fishbar and Top Chef alum and James Beard semi-finalist spoke on behalf of the dishes to come. The entire menu was based off single ingredient spotlights from eggplant to apple.
The table showcasing began with a beetroot dish; an imitation tartare combined with carrot and black garlic that stood out with its Dijon caper brightness and root-vegetable-chip-crunch.
A carrot dish followed, boasting Indian spice notes and an exceptional green harissa. The roasted veg was laid over a bed of farro and almonds, all synthesized by a housemade labneh smeared as a foundation.
The savory portion of the meal was concluded by a gnudi surrounded by slowly-caramelized tomatoes with pieces of citrus and basil.
Dessert was simple and refreshing, a welcome quality in most Miami meals - especially one with six prior components. A flourless almond lemon cake that had the women surrounding me hoping to become Booth’s new best friend was elevated by macerated strawberries and a whipped cream so fresh and clean, they may as well have blasted Outkast as a closing sonata.
Guests left the venue with a swag bag full of reusable and eco-friendly items that went hand in hand with their newfound conscious consumption endeavor. Certainly, this is just the beginning. There will be a series of dinners, with various chefs expressing their individual philosophies and knowledge on sustainable eating. Perhaps this is one trend that Miami will hold onto and adapt into cultural commonalities as characteristic as coladas and guava pastelitos. Sustainable Supperclub will hopefully aid in this movement, eliminating the waste that comes with transiency and encouraging edible enlightenment.
For more information, make sure you follow Sustainable Supperclub on Facebook and Instagram for details on upcoming dinners and how you too can join this movement and help eliminate food waste.
Welcome to new MIAbites contributor, Raquel Ofir, a Miami native, who has watched the shifting sands of the Miami food scene first hand as both a cook and a server, and is passionate about supporting local farms and farmers and sourcing organic and sustainably grown produce.