I found myself in Orlando last week/end travelling for work, and I just couldn’t resist doing a little bit of research about the culinary world in Orange County. I’ll admit, Orlando is most famously known for Disney World, Universal Studios and it’s plethora of ‘family style’ food chain restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Cheesecake Factory, but I had a feeling there might be something out there for me (and you) if I just looked hard enough. Enter The Ravenous Pig – my little diamond in the ruff.
Now I know this is a baking blog and you’re expecting nothing but sweet goodness to project through your screen, BUT I feel I’d be doing you a disservice by not sharing some of the amazingly yummy places I come across in my random travels. So here it is – from me to you – my first recommendation of a salty (and sweet) rendezvous; this one in the modest city of Orlando.
After being seated at our cozy little table, we started our meal with a delicious Lambic-Braised Pork Belly with caramelized pineapple, vanilla, pistachio butter, basil and black pepper tuille.
Can you say YUM? Pork Belly is actually one of my all-time favorite foods – sweet or salty. It’s a beautiful thing when done right – and this was done very right. It wasn’t too fatty, but fatty enough to make it perfectly flavorful – and the sweetness and tangyness of the pineapple and vanilla gave it the perfect sweet and salty balance. This pork belly literally melted in your mouth.
Next came The Tacos made with Fernandina Beach rock shrimp, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeño, and cabbage slaw.
These were good, though admittedly not my favorite dish in the roster. The rock shrimp were very tasty and the pickled jalapeños were a great addition (I do love anything pickled), but the tortilla was a bit on the tough side, which made the tacos feel a bit dry. Overall though, they were solid.
For my entree I went with the Steak Frites, which consisted of porcini marinated prime niman flat-iron steak, truffle fries, and house-made steak sauce.
This was a great dish – with the highlight being the truffle fries! You could smell that truffle emanating all the way from the kitchen. I could’ve had two glasses of those. Sigh. The steak was great too – though if I had my choice I would’ve gotten it medium rare, but with my pregnant belly and all, I had to go with medium/medium well. Even so, the piece of meat was tasty, and the home-made steak sauce had an interesting cumin flavor and a sweet aftertaste that went well with both the meat and the fries.
For the grand finale – easily the best part of the meal (after the pork belly) – we went with The Crisp. A plant city strawberry-rhubarb crsip with almond streusel and toffee crunch ice cream.
I can’t say enough about this dessert. Hands down one of the best crisps I’ve had. It was spectacular. The buttery crumbles on top of the warm, almost hot, strawberry rhubarb compote, topped with the toffee crunch ice cream??? It doesn’t get better than that.
All in all, The Ravenous Pig (don’t you just love the name?) was a wonderful dining experience. It’s a perfectly kept little secret in the land of Mickey mania. If you ever find yourself in Orlando for work or pleasure, do yourself a favor and make a reservation. You’ll be happy you did!