I was talking to a friend who was bashing Orlando on his way out of town for a business meeting. I had to jump to the city’s defense. Sure, when you think of Orlando one may conjure up thoughts of mad tourists, long lines, screaming kids and often annoying foreigners, but there is also a side to Orlando that the general traveling public fail to see. I recently visited friends who live there and have a beautiful lake home. It was great to sit in their den in “winter” with the doors open and the curtains welcoming a cool, clean breeze.
During that stay they took us to eat at the Ravenous Pig, an American Gastropub. The restaurant is located in lovely Winter Park. Over the course of our dinner the question came up about what a gastropub is. I explained it as taking traditional fare (in this case pub fare) and putting a more creative, modern culinary spin on it. The Pig’s website says, “The gastropub is an idea fresh from across the pond. Start with a traditional pub experience, add a passionate culinary team and pair with an elevated dining experience—and you’ll get fare that is as delicious as it is unique.”
There were so many items on the menu that I wanted to try and after having a late lunch my appetite was lacking. In order to get the most of my dining experience my man-love and I decided to split everything from appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert.
Right off the bat I saw they had house-made Charcuterie and Artisan cheese. It is one of my favorite things so this was a no brainer. Our tasting included picante pimento, orange cardamom, capicola, brescola, oxtail rillettes, garlic pork sausage, pig ear terrine, Cabot, cheddar, VA (ironic), and Vermont creamery, bijou, VT. I’m proud to say I sampled it all, even the pig ear. It was a delicious (the pig not so much), beautiful display.
For the salad we enjoyed the Gatherer, which had baby lettuces, avocado, pickled beets, radish, French feta, pistachios with herb vinaigrette. A pretty amazing salad that is making my mouth water thinking back on it.
For the entrée we had the Stuffed Mississippi Quall with Anson mills polenta, soffrito, spicy fennel sausage and green strawberry relish. Holy cow – good. The only problem here was the two of us trying to split quail. An already small meat portion being served so deliciously that the two of us were vying for more than the other.
Rounding out our meal and continuing the theme from the entrée we enjoyed strawberry shortcake for dessert. It was good but I recall getting out ordered in the dessert department but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was our friends got. That is what I get for waiting so long to blog (life has been busy – what can I say).
If you find yourself in Orlando and want to break free from the chain food monotony PLEASE go check this place out. It was awesome. Be sure to make a reservation because the place was PACKED. Bar seating is first come, first serve but they have a nice size restaurant ready to accommodate.