What's My Wine? Shrimp and Grits From The Ravenous Pig

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Shrimp and grits is something of a dish du jour, appearing on menus throughout Central Florida as a way of taking homey hominy and elevating it to something wonderful. It doesn’t get much loftier than the version served at The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park.

Dedicated as they are to using Florida products as much as possible, chef/owners James and Julie Petrakis purchase the grits from
Shrimp and Grits from The Ravenous Pig. (Photo: The Ravenous Pig)
C&D Mills in the Panhandle. The corn is stone ground to produce a coarse texture, which keeps the grits from becoming soupy. For the shrimp, they use sustainable Laughing Bird Pink Shrimp from Cape Canaveral. The dish also has kernels of corn, cherry tomatoes and sauteed chorizo oil. It’s topped with a quenelle of green tomato chutney.  It’s a dish I often enjoy at the Pig.

So if shrimp and grits is my dish, What’s My Wine?

What's My Wine? Creamy Cracked Conch Chowder from Norman's

Written by Scott Joseph on .

CONCH_CHOWDERAmong the many wonderful things to be sampled from the menu at Norman’s, the exceptional restaurant owned by celebrity chef Norman Van Aken at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Resort, the creamy cracked conch chowder is a standout of a starter. It’s a cream-based soup with coconut mild and saffron, which both add levels of richness, plus crunchy bits of diced peppers, onions, potatoes, corn, carrots, celery and poblano chilies. There is also a bit of orange flavor, and the chowder is garnished with shaved coconut and a cilantro leaf.

So if the creamy cracked conch chowder is my soup, I turn to Norman’s sommelier, Yusuf Yildiz, to ask, “What’s My Wine?”

What's My Wine? Garlic Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp From Emeril's Tchoup Chop

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Today we initiate a new column -- What's My Wine?

Jeff Kundinger; photo by Kevin Kroczynski

Part of the enjoyment of a fine restaurant meal is pairing the food with the perfect wine, one that will complement the flavors and spices of the dish. Food can taste good on its own, and a wine can be enjoyable if you sip it alone. But when you put the two together in the right combination you take them to new sensorial levels. Finding that right combination without expert guidance can be daunting when faced with a thick wine list.

I’m at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop eating chef Greg Richie’s Garlic Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp, a new addition to the menu that features big, fat juicy shrimp served on a Chinese-style crispy noodle cake with a lemongrass infused wild mushroom crema.

There’s a lot going on there, so to find the right wine among all the cuvees on the restaurant’s wine list, I turn to general manager and resident wine expert Jeff Kundinger to ask, “What’s My Wine?”