Capital Grille’s Most Generous Pour

Written By Scott Joseph On August 1, 2011

Captial_Grille_logyojpgThe Capital Grille is in the midst of its “Generous Pour” promotion, a summer event (through September 4) that offers diners a chance to pair some of the steakhouse’s popular dishes with some well-thought-out wine selections.

Generous is the appropriate word here. For just $25 with your dinner purchase — and there is no minimum food purchase required — you may sample as many of the promotional wines as you wish. The wines, which were chosen by Darden’s resident master sommelier, George Miliotes, include: La Cana albarino (2010), a light Spanish wine; a fuller bodied 2008 Chateau St. Jean chardonnay; an Italian merlot from Conte Brandolini (2006); a Spanish red, 2009 Tarima Hill monastrell, also known as Mouvedre; Freemark Abbey’s Cabernet Bosche (2003); a 2006 cabernet sauvignon from Chalk Hill Estate; Byron pinot noir (2009); and a French sparkling wine, Marquis de la Tour (nv) from the Loire Valley (and so technically not a Champagne). There is also a port style wine for dessert called The Portly Gentleman from RL Buller in Australia, about as far from Portugal as you can get.


Continue Reading

What’s My Wine? An Oregon King Estate Pinot Noir

Written By Scott Joseph On June 29, 2011

King_EstateShine Neighborhood Kitchen, the little cafe in the Colonialtown South district, oozes with charm. The building — which was built in 1947 and probably started out as a mom-and-pop grocery — is the only commercial enterprise among the old frame houses in the neighborhood east of downtown Orlando. Dinner here is enjoyed leisurely, preferably with a bottle of wine to share.

Consider having the pappardelle farnese bisteca, a dish of wide noodles with Portabello mushrooms and radicchio tossed with a butter-garlic sauce. Fanned over the top is Shine’s New York strip steak, cooked to order and sliced. The effect is almost like a garlic steak, says Shine’s Rick Miller, but it’s a softer, butterier flavor.

So if pappardelle farnese bisteca is my dish, What’s My Wine?

Miller recommends the 2009 Oregon King Estate Pinot Noir. It’s more of a medium bodied wine, says Miller, which allows the meatiness of the steak to come through. There are notes of cherry, raspberry, blueberry and toasted vanilla in the wine. “The vanilla,” says Miller, “isn’t quite an aftertaste but it mellows down to that.” The cherry and raspberry flavors play well against the peppery notes of the steak, he says.


Continue Reading

What’s My Wine? Sancerre with Ahi Tuna

Written By Scott Joseph On May 6, 2011

James Slattery approaches cooking a little more scientifically than most chefs. When he tastes the food he’s cooking, he pictures a gas chromatogram, a readout of chemical components shown as a spectrum of light with peaks and dips on a chart. That’s because before he decided to follow his passion to be a cook, Slattery was an analytical chemist. Slattery changed course in the late ‘90s, obtaining a spot in the kitchen of Emeril Lagasse, no less, eventually becoming executive sou chef at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop before taking on the executive chef position at A Land Remembered and Circa in Winter Park. He now leads the culinary crew at Big Fin Seafood Kitchen.

One of Slattery’s favorite dishes is his preparation of an ahi tuna steak packed with sesame seeds on the outside and pan-seared rare, which he serves with wakame seaweed. “It has sort of the air of the ocean,” says Slattery, “but depending on how you cook it it gives off a nutty aroma.” Slattery sautes the seaweed then deglazes the pan with sake, then adds pear pasta. “You can smell the ocean and there’s a citrus note,” he says.

Next he sautes pickled ginger with garlic and shallots, then adds that to a blender with edible orchids. Then it’s added to heavy cream and reduced for the sauce. “You look at it and you think it’s going to be a heavy dish,” he says, “but it’s light, it’s fresh.”

So if that’s my dish, What’s My Wine?


Continue Reading

Champagne or Riesling Pairs Well With Foie Gras

Written By Scott Joseph On March 25, 2011

Mouthfeel is one of the buzzwords that it bounced around whenever someone is talking about pairing food and wine. Usually that term, which refers to the physical sensation one feels in the mouth, is attached to a wine and used to describe tannins or acidity. But it can be used to describe a food you’re eating, as well. For my money — and we’re usually talking a pretty good bit of money for it —Hugel_Riesling there is no food with a more luxuriant mouthfeel than foie gras, the fatted liver of a duck.

It’s one of several indulgences on the menu at the Venetian Room, one of only two remaining restaurants in Central Florida that still features old school elegant fine dining (Victoria & Albert’s being the other). Maitre d’ Todd Skaggs says the restaurant, whose food is under the direction of chef Khalid Benghallem, features Hudson Valley foie gras that is quickly pan seared to lock in the moisture. It’s placed on a bed of smoked corn polenta with grilled mango and drizzled with a thick balsamic syrup. The plate is garnished with prosciutto di Parma that has been flash fried to give it a salty crispness.

So if the Venetian Room’s foie gras appetizer is my dish, What’s My Wine?


Continue Reading

Wine on the Way

Written By Scott Joseph On June 21, 2010

wineonthewayUsually we reserve this space for a column called “What’s My Wine,” but today we’re asking “Where’s My Wine?” It’s a question Adam Chilvers can answer with his startup company, Wine on the Way. Chilvers, who started the Web-based business with his wife, Gigi, had previously owned brick-and-mortar wine shops, which is not to say the wines were thick but rather he had conventional retail outlets, including Vino on Winter Park’s Park Avenue.


Continue Reading

What’s My Wine with Peri Peri Prawns?

Written By Scott Joseph On May 21, 2010

One of the signature dishes of Bram Fowler’s is the peri peri prawns, named for a spice from his native South Africa. Fowler features the dish on the menu at Journeys of Alaqua, where he is the chef and owner, along with his wife, Geraldine.

“Peri peri is a spice that comes from South Africa,” says Fowler. “It’s a very small, very hot chile pepper. I import them and crush them down to a Peri-Peri-Prawns_150pxpowder.” Fowler says he buys the biggest prawns he can find locally and seasons them in salt and the peri peri powder. They’re pan-seared in a bit of oil, and then he adds some white wine and butter. He turns the heat way down — “Almost off” — to let the butter melt slowly around the prawns. He serves them on fluffy basmati rice with lightly sauteed julienned zucchini and carrots.

So if peri peri prawns is my dish, What’s My Wine?

“I would serve it with a chenin blanc,” says Fowler. Because it’s a South African dish he prefers a wine from that country. He says the Graham Beck 2009 chenin blanc, called The Game Reserve, is perfect because it has just a bit of residual sugar but isn’t too sweet. He said the spiciness of the dish needs a touch of sweetness to offset it, but a too-sweet wine would overpower the prawns. A chardonnay or anything with forward fruit in its taste would also work. (For the record, he usually uses chardonnay or sauvignon blanc when cooking the prawns.)

Here’s a link to Fowler’s recipe for Peri Peri Prawns.

Continue Reading

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

Written By Scott Joseph On April 13, 2010

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?


Continue Reading

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

Written By Scott Joseph On March 1, 2010

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?”


Continue Reading

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

Written By Scott Joseph On February 1, 2010

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?”


Continue Reading
Scott's Newsletter