Hola! Or, Should I say OLLA to Miami’s BEST Mexican Chef: Scott Linquist.
I DID NOT WANT TO REMOVE THIS POST AS CHEF LINQUIST WILL BE OPENING NEW RESTAURANTS IN MIAMI, BUT OLLA HAS CLOSED. PLEASE ENJOY THE RECIPES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.
My life these past three years have been about all things Mexico. I simply cannot escape it. So let’s rewind. A few years ago, Doctor Richard Awdeh, the BFF and man behind my nearly 20-20 vision and I went to Toni’s Sushi for dinner. We sat at the bar. To my left, was a man, who was alone, and so I did my usual: talk to him. He had told us he was opening up Mexican Restaurants in Miami. Fast forward to 6 months ago. I am invited on a media trip to the Ritz Carlton in Naples. There are a few journalists, including a young, beautiful blonde and her boyfriend. I know I have seen him before. Long story short: the boyfriend of Alexandria Guerra (the blonde journalist), is the man from Toni’s. Scott Linquist is the brains behind Coyo Taco, but also Olla, my all-time favorite go-to, and the only LEGIT Mexican restaurant in Miami.
Olla opened in December, and is located in the old Alta Mar space on Lincoln Road. The food is OUT OF THIS WORLD. The best Chicken Enchilada (like the one your housekeeper makes), the Mole sauces are a blend of over 30 ingredients, including imported peppers from various states in Mexico, the Guacamole is a staple, and the Bloody Mary is, in my opinion, the best in Miami….and that is only the beginning of my ‘must have’s.’
Meet Scott. Olla is his labor of love. If you have not gone in yet, I urge you to run, not walk….and bon appetite.
(OH, and see below, because Chef Linquist shared some of his recipes with the readers du MsErinsita!)
Scott, how long have you been a chef for and how did you become an expert in Mexican Cuisine?
I have been cooking for over 20 years, starting with one of my first jobs out of culinary school in Santa Monica at Border Grill. The passion started there. I then worked opening Dos Caminos in NYC, so since then I wrote a book called Mod MEX, an interpretation of regional Mexican dishes. I have traveled all over Mexico, made moles in Oaxaca, and cooked in the Yucatan, digging holes and topping fires with stones, lining a pig with burlap sac’s cover it up and pull it out. That is called Cochinita Pibil.
My journey, it has been a constant learning experience; an evolution.
Twenty years ago this Swedish Californian kid was destined to cook Mexican food. I have always loved the chili pepper, so it just became apparent and go figure, it is one of the most significant cuisines in the world. It’s not about crunchy shells, it’s about the real deal dishes.
SO, in Miami, it started with Coyo, then you opened Olla…but where in Mexico is your mecca?
Coyo took off it is expanding nationally and internationally, then came Olla. It is much more specialized and gourmet. When I was living in New York City, I was taking chefs and culinary tours through Mexico. Oaxaca is the mecca for Mexican cuisine, it is a blend of pre-hispanic culture. The food plus the magical recipes are derived via Spaniard influence. It is untouched Mexican food and they have very rare chili’s. Oaxaca is very artisanal; there are artists who make baskets and tapestries, and that’s what the name of Olla came from. Olla is a pot. It originated as a vessel for carrying water, but is a term for a cooking vessel, it is made out of green/black pottery.
Mezcal is also produced one hour away. They have distilleries on the side of the road. Mezcal is made with agave, the mother plant.
I also asked Scott, the expert, a series of questions re: his favorites.
Favorite tequila: it is hard, but my go-to, would be Tequila Ocho. It was the first to do single estate tequila and vintage tequila. You can see where it is grown, high or low country. It was the first distillery to head in the artisanal direction.
Partida Tequila Reposada, a mix between blanco and añejo, it is perfect to sip. It aged a short time in oak.
Scott’s favorites: the Mole Coloradito. It is the style that people expect when it comes to Mole; it has chocolate, fruits and nuts. It is bastardized now a days, but here we make it with 30 different ingredients, including 4 chili’s, 2 nuts, 3 dried fruits, chocolates….the list goes on….
What makes your Bloody Mary so special?
The secret ingredient is Maggi, like a dash here and there. It is in all of my sangritas, michelada’s, etc.
Fave chile: Pasilla de Oaxaca. It is a smoked pasilla that you can only have in Oaxaca, and the Zapotecs exclusively sell, and interestingly enough, they used to be used as currency. We special order them at Olla. They are smoky but not too spicy, and they allow our mole to be unique.
FYI: This is our first location and a platform for the future. We serve brunch, every Saturday and Sunday, and will roll it out on Fridays as well. For brunch, it is 30 dollars for bottomless mix + match micheladas, Bloody Mary’s and mimosas. The bar is also now open till 2 a.m.
Address: 1233 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Components (serves 1)
2 crispy tortillas fried crispy
2 tablespoons refried black beans
1 slices Spanish serrano ham
¼ cup grated Mexican cheese (Chihuahua, queso quesadilla, queso Oaxaca blend)
2 large eggs
½ cup ranchero sauce
2 tablespoons pico de gallo
1 tablespoons queso fresco crumbled
2 to 3 slices ripe avocado
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Ranchero Sauce (makes 2 gallons)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 pounds smoked bacon chopped
2 quarts onions diced
½ cup garlic minced
½ cup tomato paste
4 quarts canned chopped tomatoes, preferably san Marzano
2 quart chicken stock
1 can chipotle en adobo pureed in a blender
1 pint roasted poblano chiles peeled, seeded and diced
1 pint roasted red bell peppers peeled, seeded and diced
1 quart diced plum tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 tablespoon kosher salt
Place a large heavy bottomed pot over high heat, add vegetable oil and bacon cook until bacon is brown, drain excess fat. Add diced onions and slowly cook until soft and translucent, add garlic and continue to sauté for 3 more minutes. Add tomato paste and chopped chipotle and continue to cook for 5 minutes until it begins to get dry and concentrated, add chopped canned tomatoes with liquid and simmer until all liquid has evaporated stirring frequently. Add roasted peppers, diced tomatoes, chicken broth and oregano and simmer slowly for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with kosher salt to taste. Reserve warm.
For Pico de Gallo makes 1 gallon
3 quarts diced plum tomatoes
2 cups minced red onions
½ cup jalapeno’s seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate
Refried Black Beans makes 1 gallon
1 cup lard or butter
1 quart onions diced
4 quarts cooked black beans
1 pint cooking liquid for beans as needed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
Place a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat add lard or butter and melt, add diced onions and cook slowly until lightly browned, add beans and half of the cooking liquid and simmer slowly. While simmering mash beans with a potato masher until smooth and creamy, season to taste with kosher salt.
Spread each crispy tortilla with 2 tablespoons of warm black beans, top with two slices of ham or enough to cover the tortilla then sprinkle liberally with grated cheese. Start cooking eggs, two per person, sunny side up. Place tortillas under a broiler until cheese is melted and ham is hot. In the center of 8 plates place the tortilla that is topped with beans, ham and melted cheese and top with two sunny side up eggs, ladle 2 ounces of ranchero sauce over each. To garnish top each with 1 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco, 1 tablespoon pico de gallo, 2 slices of avocado and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serve right away.
1 Mexican beer (Modelo Especial, Pacifico, Corona, Tecate)
½ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce Valentina hot sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
¼ ounce maggi sauce
¼ ounce Worcestershire sauce
In a high ball with salted rim (tajin if you prefer) fill the glass with crushed ice, add lime juice, valentina, maggi and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the beer over the ice and mix, sip and add the remainder of the beer as you go.