So, yes, another year has come and gone and left the beginnings of a path around my eyes. I rang in my 32nd year with a fantastic celebratory weekend. My first choice for the family birthday dinner was Ravenous Pig but we ran in to a bit of a hiccup. Bob had called the restaurant and left a message inquiring about reserving a large table, and when that call was not returned he called again. And here’s where it gets interesting-the hostess reported that they never get their messages because they just delete all of them. Huh. I guess it’s one thing if that is common practice, and quite another to actually tell people that you do it. We ended up at my close second choice Luma….and you know that phrase “Everything happens for a reason”? Here’s where it comes into play because holy cow did I have a great meal!
We started off with two appetizers: the Pizza Margarita and the Fritto Misto. The pizza is a consummate standby in the family and really does well as an appetizer. In this case the crust is thin, the tomatoes fresh and the overall product not greasy. (Quick note, this was before the whole tomato Salmonella drama, and as far as I’ve heard, everyone is feeling well.) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here-I think the Fritto Misto is the best Calamari I’ve had. Served also with lightly fried white fish, shrimp, jalapenos and okra (my fav) it is really perfectly flavored and balanced.
For my entrée I had the Maine Diver Scallops served with Anson Mills Grits, a Pole Bean Salad and Tasso Ham Broth. The first time I went to Luma, I had an entrée that included the Anson Mills grits. And really, they haven’t left my mind ever since. The oversized grits are made from “organic heirloom grains” and are thick and creamy at the same time. A quick glance at the Anson Mills website describes an interesting story behind this South Carolina based company. Ten years ago the owner quit his job and set out to recreate what is described as one of America’s first cuisine styles-the Carolina Rice Kitchen. And he has been successful by replanting and harvesting the white Carolina mill corn that was used even prior to the Civil War.
The Tasso broth and buttery seared Scallops were balanced with barely a hint of sweetness from the pole bean salad. And yes, I cleaned my plate.
Other entrees from the table included the Pork Chop with Pearl Pasta and the American Wagyu Flank Steak. There was plenty of conversation regarding how this Japanese cattle can be described as American. But, turns out that 4 were imported to the US in 1976 and then another 40 in the early 90s. Fast forward to 2008 and American Wagyu is being served in Winter Park. It was my first time trying the beef and it was seasoned well and quite tender for flank.
Besides the modern décor and the grits, there is one more thing that really stands out for me at Luma: the wine list. The list is organized in different categories by price and can be purchase by the glass or bottle. I threw caution to the wind and tried the Txomin Etxamin Txakolina; a white wine from the Basque region of Spain. (And yes, that is spelled correctly.) After a good 45 minutes of research, here’s what I’ve learned: The wine is from the Txomin Etaxamin winery in the Getariako Txakolina region and is comprised of the Hondarrabi Zuri grape. (Really, I’m not kidding.) It was light, crisp and citrusy and could best be described as the love child of Tang and orange Crystal Light. It all sounds odd but was really refreshing in the Florida heat.
We ended the evening back at my place for the annual Publix birthday cake (hello buttercream icing!) and some cheap Sparkling Wine (hello Saturday morning headache!).
Check back in a few days for the continuation of my weekend with a trip to my favorite Sushi restaurant and a Orlando’s new Irish pub…..