Last week, Justin and I were lucky enough to be invited to an amazing dining experience at The Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg. Marchand’s Bar & Grill has debuted their new Farm to Fork menu concept, and we had the pleasure of sampling the offerings!
The weekly Farm to Fork menu showcases seasonal dishes with fresh and naturally raised meats, fish, and produce sourced from local farms. You have to appreciate the local touch and seasonal ingredients. On that evening, we were treated to the Chef’s Surprise Tasting – a six course meal paired with wines.
Before we got started though, we had to enjoy a cocktail in the gorgeous front lobby at The Vinoy. The Florida Mojito was served in a mason jar, with slices of fresh fruit and mint. It was created with 4 Orange Vodka: made in Florida!
When we walked into the dining room at Marchand’s, my breath was taken away. The interior of the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for a romantic evening. I knew that this dining experience was going to be memorable from the start. We were seated at spacious tables, and before the first course was presented, we had to partake in the bread basket! It was fresh and warm, and featured two different flavors of bread: one was topped with cheese, and the other contained fruit. I had to have one of each…you know…for scientific purposes…
When the first official course arrived, I wanted to clap and cheer. A butcher block topped with a Croque Madame and a shooter of Silk Onion Soup was placed in front of us, and I could NOT wait to dig in. The croque madame was made with Mangalista ham, Georgia Red cheese, and was topped with a fried quail egg and sprouts. It was pretty as a picture, and tasted even more amazing. The first course was paired with Acrobat Pinot Noir – a personal favorite in our house – how lucky!
Croque madames are one of my favorite sandwiches, and this one was very memorable: there was a lovely contrast between the crunch of the bread, the softness of the cheese, the texture of the sprouts…I honestly could have eaten multiple servings of this course alone.
Course two featured Golden Tile Fish. It was presented with romanesco cauliflower, a sunchoke hush puppy, and a rock shrimp nage. If you aren’t familiar with tile fish, it is a mild white fish that is firm but tender, and low in fat! I absolutely loved this dish: the sunchoke hush puppy was a highlight aside from the fish…I could have eaten an entire plate filled with them! The tile fish was paired with Hahn SLH Estate Chardonnay – a medium bodied chardonnay with just a touch of oak and caramel flavors.
The third course had a nice little surprise! It was Pork Cheek with Murcott Tangerine BBQ sauce, smoked bacon collard greens…and…what is that golden piece of goodness below?
That would be fried macaroni and cheese, my friends.
What a wonderful combo of decadent flavors in a beautifully presented bite! It was my first time trying fried macaroni and cheese…and I have to say that I was a fan. But, how could you not be? Paired with the sweet and salty flavor of the pork and barbeque sauce, it was wonderful. This course was paired with Trivento Amado Sur Malbec blend: Malbecs are a relatively new favorite of mine, and this one was memorably smooth to drink.
Course four was back to fish. On our plates was a Key West Yellowtail Snapper on top of a chorizo black bean cake and yellow tomato vinaigrette. What an amazing flavor combo this was! The snapper is another lean white fish, this one is sweeter in flavor to the tile fish, with a firmer texture.
It paired beautifully with the black bean cake (yum), and the presentation itself was almost too pretty to destroy. Our wine for this course was the Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes, which was a delicious pour. The Torrontes was a blend of chardonnay and viogner, and had a combination of floral and citrus flavors. The acidity really paired well with the course: I could definitely see myself ordering a glass or two of this wine again in the future.
One really awesome thing about tasting menus (and just being a foodie in general) is getting to try new things, and this night was no exception. When the fifth course arrived, it was my first time tasting rabbit. We were served Braised Rabbit with crispy speck, savoy cabbage, gold creamer potato puree, and a Pinot Noir reduction. It was paired with Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee Zinfandel: definitely more full bodied, with hints of berries and spice.
Let’s not forget about dessert though. Our sixth and last course was a trio of mini, bite sized desserts, paired with Santa Margherita Brut Rose (hello perfection!). On the plate was Tiramisu
The Caramel Oatmeal Pie
And the S’mores Hazelnut Ganache Torte.
Oh goodness. What an amazing dining experience.
If you are in the St. Petersburg area, please consider taking an evening at The Vinoy in Marchand’s Bar & Grill. It would be a perfect location for a celebration, or just a foodie’s night out. From the locally sourced ingredients to the creative and beautiful presentation to the amazing flavors, the folks at Marchand’s really hit it out of the park with this new Farm to Fork dinner concept!
Do you enjoy dining at restaurants featuring local ingredients?