Sunday, February 28, 2010

Slow Food at Primo by Annette

Last month Slow Food Orlando partnered with a bunch of restaurants for 'Eat Local Week'. The event kicked off with a $70, 5 course dinner at Primo.

Kate and I took advantage of this great deal. We convinced my sister to join us (which took all of saying 'Wine is included') and off we went to indulge. What made this dinner really unique was that before each course, a representative from the local farms would discuss their business and then head Chef Melissa Kelly would discuss how they used the ingredients to create the dish for each course. This made for something more of a culinary event than merely a dinner. It was grand!

On to the food...
First course was a dish made of locally caught octopus served with a small green salad dressed with a citrus vinaigrette. Remember, all major components of this dish were locally grown or caught, as it were. So the greens were grown in the garden at the restaurant, and the citrus dressing was made from juice of local lemons and tangerines.

The octopus was very mild, much like eating calamari but meatier. Not fishy at all. I think the plating was beautiful, and definitely had the squeamish in mind. So if you didn't want to think about eating octopus, it did not 'look' like you were eating one.

Second course, sambuca braised pork belly with pickled fennel.
Ok, here I started to panic. I don't eat pork for a variety of reasons, the first being it doesn't play nice with me. This however I had to try, and it was delicious. I was able to eat around the fat, which definitely helped and that sauce was amazing!

Third course, artichoke and white bean filled agnolotti with a duo of Florida shrimp, house cured pancetta, spinach, tomato and basil. This was my favorite dish of the night. Maybe it was the locally harvested shrimp... maybe it was the pasta cloud of yumminess it was sitting on... I don't know, but everything about this dish worked for me.

Fourth course, local grass fed beef two ways, roast rib eye and oxtail marmellata with creamed primo leeks and potato with horseradish. I have heard some people complain that grass fed beef is tougher than grain-fed beef. I have not found that to be true and prefer grass-fed beef when I eat red meat. I don't do that very often, I'm not a big fan of beef. However, when it is prepared like this, I dig it. The horseradish was fresh and hot, the leeks were mild and went perfectly with the potato.

Finally, dessert! We had warm baba cake soaked in 'uncle matt's' tangerine"cello", tangerine and vanilla bean panna cotta with coconut bubbles. I was leery of the panna cotta at first. I'm not a big fan of boba tea\tapioca pearls in general, but this was a really good paring. The creamy panna cotta was a nice background to the chewy coconut bubbles. It was a little like eating just the inside of a coconut cream pie. So decadent... and delicious!

We had a variety of wine parings with each course, and unfortunately I don't recall what they were. Mental Note: Don't wait a month to post about a great meal, particularly when there is wine involved!

I can't wait to try Primo again, it is a crown jewel in Orlando dining!

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