Washington, DC 20004* Entrance at 678 Indiana Ave.
Washington, DC 20004* Entrance at 678 Indiana Ave.
Phone: 202 822 TRUE (8783)
Phone: 202 337 0616
465 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone: +1 202 682 3123 or +1 202 682 3124
*Open daily for lunch from 11:30 and dinner from 5:30. Brunch on Sundays.
We went on our family summer holiday to Orlando (to take the kids to Disneyworld) and relax at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. After a few days of amusement parks, we were ready for a grown-up meal and luckily found a promising restaurant in nearby Winter Park.
The Ravenous Pig is a gastropub owned by ex-CIA chefs and husband and wife James and Julie Petrakis. We booked a table for dinner on a Thursday and arrived to a packed restaurant. There’s a bar near the entrance and a main dining area adjacent. The interiors are simple – brick lined walls, a few booths and a bustling and casual atmosphere. We were led to a table towards the back where we settled in with the menus along with a long list of draught beers and their creative cocktail list. C had their version of a classic Old-Fashioned done with a twist - bacon infused buffalo trace bourbon, vanilla maple syrup, angostura orange topped with a slice of extra crispy bacon. We also had a look at their very reasonably-priced wine list and settled on a couple of glasses of wine to start. As we were all hungry, we decided to ask for some Gruyere biscuits from the Pub Fare section of the menu which were served piping hot with smoked salted butter which me munched as we perused their dinner menu which changes monthly.
We ordered four appetizers to share among the five of us: the Gatherer salad - baby lettuces, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachios, herb vinaigrette, the oyster trio, a crudo of tuna with salmon eggs and the octopus and house-made sausage. All the starters were a mix if interesting flavors and textures with the crudo and the unusual combination of octopus and sausage which were the best.
For the main courses, we opted to again do family-style and ordered four dishes which we all shared: a marinated seared flatiron steak with truffle fries and aioli, the basil encrusted Cobia with a corn relish and hush puppies, fresh tagliatelle with spring vegetables and the large pork porterhouse with spicy baked beans. The steak and pasta were straightforward and although they were both good, they didn’t impress whereas the green-tinged (from the basil) fish was cooked perfectly and the crispy yet soft hush puppies and sweet sour corn relish complemented the dish perfectly and the pork porterhouse epitomized a southern gastropub dish with the thick pork chop seared to perfection smothered in a house-made spicy sweet barbecue sauce and the accompanying spicy baked beans were a treat which I would go back for any day.
We were stuffed by then but since this was the best food we had eaten in Orlando by far, we were reluctant to finish such a lovely meal without at least trying a few desserts: the signature Pig Tails – warm cinnamon fritters shaped like pig tails with a chocolate espresso dipping sauce, the creamy tangy citrus cheesecake which came served in a jar and the warm blackberry crumble.
The Ravenous Pig is the type of casual neighborhood restaurant that I wish we had here in Dorado – a place where reservations are not required and where one can walk in on a weekday night, have a fun cocktail or a glass of wine and a simple yet delicious meal. This restaurant should go on all foodie parent’s lists for their one night away from the amusement park chaos and fried food for an evening of fun and fantastic food.
The Ravenous Pig
1234 N. Orange Avenue
(between Orlando and Denning)
Winter Park FL 32789
Telephone: +1 407 628 2333
*Open Tuesdays to Saturdays for Lunch from 11:30 to 2:00 and for Dinner from 5:30 till late, Bar opens at 5:00
Sometime in May, my 11-year old and I spent a long weekend in New York, just the two of us on a rare mother and son trip. The last time he was there was when he was four years old so I promised him some touristy things like a visit to the the Top of the Rock where we enjoyed the amazing new york city view and a walk through Wall street and Battery Park plus a bonus ferry ride to Staten island so he could see the Statue of Liberty. Of course part of the plan was to walk around the city and eat at interesting new places. One of these was Pig and Khao which my good friend Claudine along with her son David took us to – it was a mother and son weekend after all.
Owned by a half Filipina-half American former Top Chef, Leah Cohen, the place is a bustling narrow room on the lower east side with a charming terrace out back. The kitchen is not much larger than the one on a food truck with about three chefs slicing, dicing and frying what is a combination of Thai and Philippine dishes culled from the chef’s time traveling around southeast Asia. The menu is not extensive (three snacks, nine small plates, three large plates) and is mostly pork-centric (hence the pig logo) but there are also a few daily specials and there are so many interesting dishes that we wanted to order most of them, and then some.
In the end, we stuck mostly to the Philippine side and ordered the delicious quail adobo, her take on the classic Philippine dish of chicken and pork cooked in garlic and pepper infused soy sauce and vinegar. We also had the incredible sizzling sisig – typical bar food in the Philippines and quite difficult to master as it’s a rich, hot, spicy, crispy mix of chopped up pork jowls and head mixed in with a fried egg – definitely not low-cholesterol but oh so good! To keep to the pork theme, we also had another Philippine classic – crispy pata, deep fried pig trotters served with pickled green mango and two dipping sauces. From the specials, we also had the Thai fried soft-shell crab in green curry sauce and a side dish of the stir-fried kailan (Chinese greens). Of course I couldn’t resist to have my dinner with young coconut juice. We managed to polish it all off and still had space to share a large halo-halo - another classic Philippine dessert of shave ice, leche flan (milk custard), pinipig (toasted crispy rice) and purple ube (yam) ice cream – a fantastic end to a fantastic meal. Who would have thought that Filipino food could look and taste this good and be so reasonably priced (around $30 per person) in New York? (Check out their 2-star review from the NY Times) I didn’t and I’m already counting the days to my next meal there.
Pig and Khao
68 Clinton St.
Lower East Side
New York, NY 10002
Telephone: +1 212 920 4485
*Open for dinner daily, Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations recommended.
A few month’s back, we finally made it to dinner at Jose Enrique after having heard rave reviews from everyone about this tiny restaurant. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, chef Jose Enrique had worked at in the U.S. before opening his restaurant in Santurce, right by the market, 2007.
Voted as one of the Best New Chefs of 2013 in Food and Wine, we knew that we had to make the effort to eat there. Why the effort? Well, because the restaurant doesn’t take any reservations and although they are open for lunch during the week and it’s probably easier to get a table then, we wanted to go for dinner so we showed up at early on a Saturday evening before the restaurant opened its’ doors at 6:00 and joined the already lengthy queue on the street. Doors did not open exactly at 6:30 so the line moved slowly until we got to the front where we were told that there were no more tables left. As we had already waited more than half an hour, we asked if there was any other possibility, for example at the bar and the hostess finally agreed to seat us at one corner of the bar where we could still order from the regular menu.
The place is nondescript to say the least and not particularly charming so we hoped that despite the lack of ambiance, the food would be good. Menus are written on whiteboards and just list the main ingredient: pollo (chicken), churrasco (skirt steak), filete de cerdo (pork loin) so we really couldn’t decide what to order on our won as we needed the server to explain how these dishes were prepared and what they came with.
We finally decided on carne ahumada (smoked meat), longaniza (local pork sausage) and the minutas (fried fish) to start with a glass of Sauvignon blanc to start. We could see the action from the tiny glassed-in kitchen where chef Jose Enrique was hard at work as the restaurant was packed for the first seating. The starters were served with two bottles of homemade hot sauce – one green chili and the other red chili. The sausage was good and came with a side of deep-fried tostones (mashed plantain fritters) and the deep-fried fish was delicious with a dip of the ubiquitous Puerto Rican sauce – mayoketchup (their version spicy of thousand island made with, as the name suggests, a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup). The smoked meat was a disappointment though and not interesting as an appetizer – it was chunks of tough deep-fried (again) meat topped with pickled fried onions and also served with the deep-fried tostones. What was also disappointing was the fact that most of the dishes, in true Puerto Rican style, were deep-fried and didn’t give enough variety cooking-wise.
For our main courses, we chose the signature dish Colirrubia – a butterflied whole fish with the flesh taken off the bone then deep-fried whole, head, tail, skin and all – and served with a salsa made of chopped avocados and tomatoes. We also had the pork loin which was a classic roast pork over mashed potatoes (boring side) and a chimichurri like sauce with tomatoes. The plainest dish that evening was the churrasco (skirt steak), which although fine, came with a cup of rice and another fried plantain – more like cafeteria food than restaurant food. Dessert was a giant portion of okay flan and a lackluster chocolate trio dessert of chocolate brownie, chocolate tartufo and a chocolate mousse.
Service as expected was rushed though courteous and the food was good but not impressive. I would probably go back for luncha nd give it another try but the thought of getting there and not being able to sit down and eat is a bit of a deal breaker. The no-reservation policy doesn’t help as one could show up for dinner, line up for more than half an hour and never get a table or get on a waiting list (they don’t have one) as had happened to the couple who were right behind us in the queue who ahd to give up and leave and frankly, if we were in any other big restaurant city like New York or London, it wouldn’t be a big deal because there will always another cool little place around the corner to eat at, but in Puerto Rico where there isn’t much available, it could ruin your evening.
176 Duffaut Street
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Telephone: +1 787 725 3518
*Open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays to Fridays: 11:30 am till closing
*Open for dinner only on Saturday: 6:30 pm till closing
*Closed Sunday and Monday
After months of not signing in, I finally sat down today at my new desk in our new home, still in Dorado Beach, to explain why. First, the kids are on their summer break which means that they’re at home 24/7 so there’s not much time to sit quietly and write. Second, we went away for two weeks – first to Orlando (to the dreaded DisneyWorld) and then to Washington DC to go sightseeing and museum-hopping. Finally, when we got back, we had one week to pack up our house and move to a ground floor apartment (we still have a large terrace and a garden – yay!). This was much more difficult than when we just pack everything up and move to another country because there was lots more planning involved. We ended up placing some furniture in storage along with lots of other things that we had to box up and put away as this place is smaller than the house we were in. After a week of back-breaking work and unpacking, we are done and our new house can now be home once again. So, I’ll be back with more posts on Orlando and Washington DC and a few more from Dorado Beach. Happy Summer!