5@5 - Chef Michael Schwartz
October 28th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Yoo-hoo! We're down here! HEY! Look at us! … Stop gawking at those short ribs already, won't you?!

Ahem, while we have your attention, allow us to introduce the man next to the meat - Michael Schwartz. He’s the chef and owner behind Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, Florida. Since opening in 2007, the restaurant has been lauded by former New York Times’ dining critic Frank Bruni, as well as Gourmet (R.I.P.), Bon Appétit and Esquire magazines - just to name a few. Schwartz most recently earned the title of “Best Chef: South” by the James Beard Foundation earlier this year.

Such acclaim stems from Schwartz's use of the freshest produce, some not so familiar, straight from the southern Sunshine State. Time for an unfamiliar taste of Miami's vice.

Five Unlikely Things Grown in Miami and the Best Ways to Eat Them: Michael Schwartz

1. Snake gourd
"We've got gators in pools, so this kinda makes sense, right? Halfway between a cucumber and a squash, snake gourd can be sliced raw and added to salads like watermelon and feta to give them a subtle bitter bite."

2. Calabaza squash
"With flesh a shade of bright orange-yellow, we fancy our local pumpkins shaved on thin-crust pizza. The wood-burning oven loves slivers of this stuff."

3. Collards
"Living in South Florida can sometimes feel like you're living in South America, but this is as deep south as it gets. Stew these up with your favorite pig parts and hot sauce."

4. Peanuts
"What could be better than eating them standing in the field with grower Frank McGee at the Roots in the City urban farm? Snack on them raw, and they rally with the freshest English peas. A quick sauté with butter, salt and pepper works too. Simple is best here, like most things."

5. White yams
"Our growers are the best - always thinking of us when they have new products coming out of the ground. One called us the other day with white yams. She brought us three to sample. Delicate in flavor and sweet, they rocked just roasted in our wood burning oven. More. Please!"

Got a favorite taste of Florida? Share in the comments.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • America • Think • Travel

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Lee and Joyce

    We love the food and atmosphere– Fresh is always better- -Michaels is always fresh

    October 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  2. bob wallace

    what about breadfruit? cut up in chunks, baked or boiled, it's a better tasting potato substitute. and for dessert, soursop ice cream, or eaten fresh! mmmmm good! (guanabana in spanish)

    October 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  3. SA

    Ok. How about papaya, mango and persimmon?

    October 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • bob wallace

      do persimmons grow in south florida? I thought they needed a cold snap in order to ripen.

      October 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
      • Tennessean

        yeah, those will be real tasty prior to the frost......lol

        October 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  4. SA

    When I was a kid we used to eat podacarpus berries and the nectar from the hibiscus flowers but Mom wasn't too happy about that. I miss FLA!!

    October 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  5. Phil McCracken

    Collard greens?!?!?!?! In the SOUTH?!?!?!?!?! No way!

    October 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  6. Nick

    I got five for you: Black Sapote, Canistel, Lychee, Sugar Apple, Mamey

    October 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants @ work on Saturday

      I got FIVE ON it!

      October 30, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  7. Dan Donovan

    The title of this article is "Five Unlikely Foods Grown in Miami" Squashes and Sweet potatoes will grow anywhere. I thought this was going to be about some kind of crazy exotic fruit and it's end up being about the most common types of vegetables that will grow in any climate...

    October 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  8. rashid

    Plantains, Cuban style.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants @ work on Saturday

      What's the difference between bananas and 'plantains'?

      October 30, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  9. SA

    kumquats, loquats, scouppernong grapes,and even coquinas!!

    October 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • claire voyente

      We have loquats, kumkwats and grapes here in NW FL too, but not the conquinas. I also have key limes, meyer lemons, pink lemons and several kinds of oranges – all in my tiny yard and practically all year round :) I love FL!

      October 28, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
      • claire voyente

        We also drink fruit filled bourbon drinks and then try to spell, lol.

        October 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • SA

      Sorry, I got carried away! Coquinas are not fruits or veggies. They are like tiny clams that you find in masses on the beach.

      October 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  10. Paul

    There are many tropical fruits in Miamia which you don't see anywhere else in the US. They are wonderful!

    October 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants @ work on Saturday

      Where's Miamia?

      October 30, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  11. Al

    Would like to see Chef Douglas Rodriguez in the hot seat!!!

    October 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  12. deathbydonuts

    I love yams.

    October 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
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