Thursday, June 27, 2013

Victoria & Albert's

It occurred to me that I couldn't very well start a wine blog, with food pairings, without reprinting this entry from my regular blog that some of you might not have read. In March, Tracey and I were in Orlando, and we experienced a once-in-a-lifetime meal at Victoria & Albert's, the only 5 star restaurant in Orlando, which is in the Grand Floridian hotel. The food was exquisite, and the wine pairings only enhanced this special evening.

Below is the exact blog entry from my normal blog, posted on March 17th. If you didn't see it in the regular blog, I think it's a very interesting read for food and wine fans. Enjoy!!

Dinner actually started 4 days before we left on the trip, as they called me to ask for menu details to personalize our menus. They removed any reference to anything remotely close to be considered seafood for Tracey.

Menus were literally "personalized", as they had our names printed on them and we took them home.

The prix fixe menu was $135 each, with extra charges for anything listed on the menu with a price beside it. I declined the $210/oz. caviar.

We also added on the wine pairings for an extra $65 each.

It started with the best champagne I have ever had, Piper Heidsieck Cuvee 1785 NV Brut

We didn't get pictures of all the food but I'll include what we have below. Keep in mind that neither Tracey nor I EVER take pictures of food in restaurants, but this was special.

For our first course, I selected Mango Crusted Gulf Shrimp with Ponzu Vinaigrette. This was paired with a fabulous off-dry Reisling from Poet's Leap, in the Columbia Valley of Germany. Fabulous.

This was Tracey's first course:

Preserved Artichokes, Roasted Eggplant with an Olive and Black Garlic Aioli. Paired very nicely with Paco & Lola Albarino Rias Baixas, 2010. Yeah I don't know what that is either but it was excellent.

For our second course:

The nearest dish is Tracey's Poulet Rouge with Hedgehog Mushrooms and Gnocchi. Mine is a Diver Scallop with Fennel, Leek and Minus 8 Verjus Vinaigrette. I am not a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc but that was what was paired with this course and it was terrific (Jules Taylor, Marlborough, 2012). Tracey's pairing was a fantastic Italian Ceretto Rossana Dolcetto D'Alba.

My next course was a Braised Oxtail and Cherry Ravioli (because when you think Oxtail, you think cherries, right????). It was absolutely incredible. It came paired with a 2008 Highflyer Centerline, a red blend from California. Outstanding.

This was Tracey's next course:

Mangalitsa Pork with Roasted Beets and toasted Caraway Vinaigrette. This one was the only wine pairing "fail" of the night, as it came with a Malbec that she didn't like. However, the fail turned into a big "win" as they offered her a choice of any other wine to replace the Malbec (and left the Malbec for me!). She got a glass of the Cabernet Sauvignon that I had with my next dish, which was this one:

I had the choice of the steak on the left, which was Austrailian Kobe Beef (a $35 surcharge) or the beef on the right, the KING of steaks, Iwate Japanese beef ($90 extra). Since I couldn't decide, they offered to split the difference and bring me half of each!

I've had Kobe beef before, and it was just as amazing as I remembered. The other one, however, was something that I cannot describe. It was so good, it probably ruined me for Kobe beef!!!! Unreal.

As if that wasn't enough, the wine that came with it was absolutely the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever had. It was from Silver Oak, in California, from the Alexander Valley (2008). I've looked this one up and we can get it here, for $100 a bottle. The winery also makes a "better" one, if you can believe that, from the Napa Valley, which is $135 a bottle. Our server told me this is a very collected wine. I will be finding a bottle for a special occasion.

The fifth course was a palate cleanser, and Tracey selected the following:

Sottocenere Al Tartufo, Parmigiano Reggiano, Colston Basset Stilton, Gouda Reypenaer XO. I honestly don't even remember what this was, but I know she liked it. It came paired with a Portugese Port from a winery we are quite familiar with, Quinta do Crasto. We have a Douro from that winery quite often.

I had a White Chocolate Gelato, paired with an incredible Moscato from Italy. Simpy sublime.

Now it's time for dessert.


Hawaiian Chocolate Souffle


Carmelized Banana Gateau

Both desserts were compelling and finished off this incredible meal in the most perfect fashion possible.

Oh, and one other little added bonus:

Every lady in the restaurant was given a rose as she finished her meal.

If that wasn't enough, we were serenaded by a harpist, about 6 feet beside our table.

This was the food experience of my life, and it is an absolute "must do" when in Orlando.

Hope you enjoyed the read!


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