Jeff McInnis, who left Miami to open Root & Bone in New York City with partner Janine Booth, is back in Miami, albeit for just a few days.
McInnis is in town for a collaborative dinner to launch the fall menu at Earl's Kitchen + Bar, the Canadian-based restaurant located at Dadeland Mall. McInnis is a member of the restaurant's Chef's Collective, which also includes David Wong -- a former executive chef at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and a participant in the Bocuse d'Or competition in 2009 -- and Dawn Doucette, a contestant on Top Chef Canada. The team works on the restaurant's menu development at the Vancouver-based test kitchen.
McInnis was at the restaurant Monday evening, taking turns in the kitchen with Earl's executive chef Luke Verkulyen and beverage director Cameron Bogue, who presented the group with several cocktails, including an old-fashioned made with root-beer bitters and the photo-worthy Cabin Fever.
Dishes ranged from McInnis' barbecued pork buns to a juicy oven-roasted Vietnamese spatchcock-style chicken. Of course, there was also dessert. Here's what we had.
Earl's beverage director, Cameron Bogue, makes an old-fashioned with Maker's Mark and root-beer bitters. The key to a good old-fashioned: "Stir the cocktail for about 20 seconds."
The Cabin Fever is basically winter in liquid form. Made with Crown Royal, tawny port, ginger, pineapple, fresh lemon, and bitters, it's served in a mug with a pine-cone garnish and powdered-sugar snow. Now Miamians can have a white Christmas anytime.
Mixed field greens are topped with feta and candied pecans. Apple cider vinegar gives it a fall outlook.
Vietnamese spatchcock-style chicken proves that a simple roasted chicken can be a most satisfying meal. The chicken was glazed with lemongrass and served with a spicy peanut sauce and daikon cucumber salad.
A butcher's cut Manhattan cut strip loin was served with fries and asparagus.
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The trio of desserts represented all things good about the upcoming holiday season. Gingerbread cake, pumpkin pie, and a chocolate hazelnut bar played nicely on the same plate.