Pubbelly's Jose Mendin Launches E-Cookbook Aboard Norwegian Escape

Pubbelly's Jose Mendin might be one of Miami's most prolific chefs. Helming restaurants that range from Asian-inspired to classic American, Mendin has excelled at working with a wide range of flavors. For his efforts, he's been nominated for “Best Chef South” by the James Beard Foundation five consecutive years.

Now the chef is sharing his favorite recipes in e-book form. Food Republic, named after the Pubbelly Boys' restaurant aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Escape, features 30 recipes with dishes photographed by Juan Fernando Ayora. The best part?

Instead of the usual $30 or so price tag that comes with a typical cookbook, Food Republic costs only $1.99.
Mendin and his Pubbelly partners launched the e-book with a celebration onboard the ship. The chef demonstrated a tuna, burrata, and tomato dish at his restaurant-at-sea, Food Republic. 

The chef was clearly pleased — and somewhat shocked — that he was the author of a book. "I'm so excited. This is my first book, and I am so happy with the recipes and the pictures and the effort from the team."
Andres Schreiner thanked his fellow Pubbelly Boys, Mendin and Sergio Navarro, while talking about the food aboard the Escape. "They crafted a menu that's unlike any other. Here, you can have tastes of all our restaurants in one kitchen. On land, you'd have to go to four different places to get the same experience. This book is a culmination of these experiences. The idea is that you can eat the food, then make the recipes at home."
If you think you couldn't possibly re-create Pubbelly's short-rib dumplings or kimchee fried rice, you might be pleasantly surprised. Mendin says he made the recipes easy to follow. “I want my food to act as an instrument to embrace social interaction and not compromise the cherished time we get to spend with our loved ones. As such, the recipes I’ve created foster this mantra – they are quick, easy, and encourage conversation.”

Even if you're hopeless in the kitchen, the pictures alone are worth $1.99.  Download the book at the iTunes Store. To start you off, here's a recipe for Mendin's ahi tuna tataki salad:
Ahi Tuna Tataki Salad
  • 1 large heirloom tomato 
  • 1 pearl onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp. basil ponzu  (recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp. stracciatella (recipe below)
  • 4 seared tuna tataki slices (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 pinch Maldon sea salt
Cut the heirloom tomato into bite-size pieces. Place into a mixing bowl with the pearl onion slices and 1 tablespoon of basil ponzu. Mix well.

Spoon the stracciatella into the middle of a shallow bowl and then fan the seared tuna tataki slices on top. Place the tomato mix around the stracciatella and tuna.

Using a spoon, pour the rest of the basil ponzu around the dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the sea salt on the tuna.

Seared Tuna Tataki
  • 3 oz. sushi-grade tuna loin
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Coat the tuna loin with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable oil to a hot sauté pan and place in the tuna loin, searing each side for one to two minutes.

Remove the loin from the heat, place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, and then put on a plate with paper towels to drain any excess liquid. Chill the tuna loin in the refrigerator for one hour. Once chilled, slice into quarter-inch slices.

Basil Ponzu
  • 5 fresh basil leaf
  • ¼ c. (60 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. white soy
  • 1 drop green food coloring
Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Strain through a chinois.

  • 8 oz. burrata
Strain the burrata and then chop until the consistency is like a paste (similar to the consistency of cottage cheese). Be sure not to liquefy.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss