Monday, November 15, 2010

The Ravenous Pig

Winter Park, FL; on the outskirts of downtown Orlando is another small city/town that's a world of its own. It is a nicer part of Orlando that I had never been too until recently. There many really nice restaurants and a pretty relaxing town that you could just walk in the autumn weather and enjoy. So I guess everybody I know has been to the Ravenous Pig except me, which naturally made me want to get there even more. I went last Saturday for lunch at around 12, and the place was already pretty full; and they had only been open for a half hour.

The Ravenous Pig is an American Gastropub which is the only one of its kind in Orlando, FL. You take Pub Food + C.I.A Grads + Nice Town = A great dining experience. All of their menu is about locally grown, sustainable, organic and fresh ingredients, which I am accustomed to already. The beers on tap and in bottle form are all from microbreweries around the country, NO BUD LIGHT HERE! I ordered the Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, from New York. Light, Crisp and really Dry.

Just like any other chef, a new place means trying new things and the things you hear so much about. So we decided to get the Charcuterie plate with our beers as an app.
Chorizo, Soprasatta, Toscano, Pork Terrine, Ossau-iraty (sheep's milk cheese), pickled green tomatoes, grain mustard and grilled bread. Every bit of it was delicious, pork terrine had pistachios and apricots wrapped in bacon...Amazing!

For our entrees, my girl got the Irish Trout B.L.T which had sauce gribbich, roasted peppers, bacon, house made pickles and shoestring fries. The trout was extremly soft and juicy, they must have learned how to cook fish from Bluezoo!

I on the other hand got the award winning and heavily popular; Pub Burger... caramelized onions, buttermilk blue cheese, house made pickles, roasted peppers, shoestring fries as well. Simply put......BEST BURGER IN ORLANDO, FL!

Lunch for the two was $45, not bad for two micro brews, a charcuterie plate and two sandwiches which by the end we were stuffed. Ravenous Pig is a must go if your ever in the Orlando area, and if you know me personally call me when your going I am always up to go again.. and again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Todd English Food and Wine Demo/Dinner

The yearly Todd English Epcot Food and Wine Demo/Dinner has come and gone again, and this time I went to the demo. This being my second time doing the event at Epcot I knew what to expect. Prep for the event and the dinner later that night have been extremely long and tiring. Working 10-12 hours shifts consecutively throughout the week have drained most of us at the job. Getting to Epcot early to make sure everything is ready to plate up while Chef Todd and Baxter are on stage in front of 100 people. When they say fire food, its crunch time and there is no turning back with 100 plates go out in a matter of minutes. The plates looked great, everything seasoned and cooked perfectly, no pressure just Todd's yearly 100 person demo at Epcot resting entirely on my shoulders.
Hawaiian Mero, spicy carrot air, parsnip puree, red and yellow beets, beet fluid gel, beet powder and crispy farro.

Baxter and Todd on stage after the food went out. Back to bluezoo for the Todd English dinner for 95 people, small reception before the dinner with little passed apps and drinks.

Peruvian Ceviche, tortilla strips, micro cilantro.

Foie Gras, huckleberry powder, huckleberry fluid gel, foccia breadcrumbs

This was the amuse for the dinner, Fried Oyster with Rockefeller flavors, mornay gel, bacon spinach puree, sous vide egg yolk and bacon powder.

The first course Hawaiian tuna, dashi noodles, avocado pudding, yuzu fluid gel, yuzu air, caviar.

Picking 1000 Nantucket Bay scallops in a 47 degree cooler is not the most fun thing in the world. The end result of my hard work was delicious though. Pumpkin agnolotti, candied pumpkin seeds, brown butter scallops, butternut squash puree.

Third Course which was Wild Stripe Bass, parsley root puree, parsley top puree, organic carrot, crispy farro and myer lemon vinagrette.

Waygu Tenderloin, porcini cream, agro dolce, artichoke-porcini ragout, shortrib mccaire potato.

The cheese course, Brillant Savarin, acacia honey brulee, concord grape gel, brioche. The dinner was awesome, great event, always a great opportunity to step out of the normal everyday 300 cover nights Bluezoo is used to. A chance for us to showcase what all of us at the restaurant are capable of and what type of food we can bring to the table in Orlando, Fl. This may be my last post from bluezoo since, I will be transfering to be a sous chef at Il Mulino NY Tratorria and will post about the restaurant in a couple of days.

ICA Dinner

The executive chef of the resort asked me to help him with a special VIP Chefs Table dinner for the International Catering Association. Of course I was generally excited because usually his VIP events are extremely nice plate ups and tons of tedious preparation beforehand, this event was no different. From bruniose truffles to tourne celery and hundreds of picked micro greens this event had it all.

This was the amuse for the dinner, Huckleberry Gel, braised Belgian endive quenelle, stone crab knuckle. I didn't get a picture of the 1st course which was a hamachi tartare with togarashi spice.

The second course was Foie Gras torchon, nitro foie, candied walnut, quince puree, candied beet, and beet/vanilla fluid gel. Toasted Brioche not shown.

The 3rd course was miso glazed grouper cheek, roasted salsify puree, beluga lentils, grilled pineapple, pineapple noodles, Korean chili/corn puree, and turnip rings.
I didn't get a opportunity to snap a picture of the fourth course which was Bacon wrapped Veal Tenderloin and sweetbreads. Overall an amazing event and great opportunity to be able to prep and cook with chefs that have worked all over the world. Being able to hear "This is perfect, this needs to be smaller, food is seasoned well, WE NEED TO MOVE FASTER", all those critiques is what develops cooks into chefs. As long as you always understand that it is ALWAYS about the food...