When asked where to eat in the Orlando area, nearly everyone recommended The Ravenous Pig in nearby Winter Park. At the chef's counter of this popular gastropub, I watched as wonderful charcuterie plates, homemade pretzels (served, for example, with Taleggio-porter fondue), and grilled lamb loins left the kitchen before settling on a lardo-wrapped grilled sardine with grilled shishito peppers, followed by vanilla-glazed pork belly with espresso-date jam, heirloom apples, and 18th century stone cut oat granola. There was a wide variety of craft beer available by the glass and bottle, with my server happy to make pairing suggestions.
In this pub spirit I ordered the Bread Pudding ($8) for dessert. Changing frequently, the version I had was a milk chocolate-cherry bread pudding served with pecan brittle, cherry beer caramel, and Winter Park Reserve Whisky ice cream.
Instead of in a bowl, this bread pudding came freestanding in muffin-like form. The milk chocolate and cherries mingled well with each other, without either dominating. Alone, the bread pudding was a little on the dry side, but this is where the wet components came into play. The cherry beer caramel furthered the cherry theme while bringing continuity to my beer-paired meal. Meanwhile, the whiskey ice cream had earthy and grassy notes as well as some nuttiness, making it a good match with the pecan brittle (which gave the dish some crunchy textural contrast). It was just the dessert to finish my cozy pub meal.
The Ravenous Pig
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.