On Tuesday, Vice hosted the second edition of Morgans x Munchies -- a special collaboration between Morgans Hotel Group and the media network -- as part of Art Basel festivities. "The idea is to bring chefs to foreign cities and have them cook a meal there," said Vice publisher John Martin. The chef in question was past Vice employee Carlo Mirarchi, the toque behind the hip and acclaimed pizza joint in Brooklyn, Roberta's.
In 2011, Mirarchi received a nod from Food & Wine when he was named best new chef. This year, his intimate 12-seater Blanca (just next door to Roberta's) upgraded to two Michelin stars. An unstoppable force in the culinary world, it was a treat having the self-taught chef whip up a four-course meal in our backyard. We also picked his brain on his go-to Miami spots.
Held at the Mondrian, it was a perfect setting for the Teepee Project. Two larger-than-life teepees gave guests a chance to build human pyramids atop fur, Kumbaya on sand, and exchange ideas.
Vice team members and other interesting characters took a seat at a 75-person communal table. "Carlo is a longtime friend of Vice," said Martin. "In 2004, he disappeared and we were all like where's Carlo and then four years later he came back with Roberta's."
No stranger to Miami, Mirarchi has a couple of spots he vouches for. "Garcia's is great, and Palacios de Los Jugos. That place is amazing." He's also a fan of Club Deuce, which is actually where he headed last night after all was cooked and eaten.
Red snapper ceviche with red onion, Serrano peppers, and sawgrass.
Polenta with uni was bizarre. The equivalence of textures (slime on slime) and contrast of temperatures (hot polenta vs. cold uni) kept my palate on its toes and demanded several bites to understand and grasp the complexity of flavors. Cremolata breadcrumbs added an unexpected but welcome textural element. While I still don't quite know how I feel towards the dish, it's one I'll likely think about any time I encounter sea urchin.
Naturally, Mirarchi roasted a pig in a caja china (when in Miami, do as Miamiams do). His name was Johnny -- the pig, that is. "You always name the pig, usually after someone you don't like," said Mirarchi. It was coupled with buttered and grilled savoy cabbage and seasoned with chimichurri and fennel salt.
Cotton candy on a stick.
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You know you're at a Vice party when someone takes their shirt off.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha