We were recently invited to experience the Global Venture dinner at Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The dinner is part of the Food and Wine Weekends that is taking place now through November 9, 2014. The Global Venture wine pairing dinner at Bull and Bear is just one of many options.
The dinner took place in a small, private dining room inside Bull & Bear. We started the night off with a Champagne Toast of Moët & Chandon, Brut Impérial and a brief presentation. One of the most exciting pieces of information had to do with the menus. Bull & Bear will be the first restaurant to feature iPad menus with full-color photos, descriptions and suggested wine pairings. We’ll have more on that for you soon.
There were two amuse-bouche (bite-sized hor d’oeuvres) served – Cured Wagyu Sirloin with Romesco and Micro Shiso, and Mushroom Sausage, Fennel Confit on a Parmesan Cheese Cracker. Both were excellent. The Cured Wagyu Sirloin melted in your mouth! We were also presented with a wide variety of house-made breads.
The first course was Wisconsin Pride, a 4-year & 2-year Wisconsin cheddar cheese soufflé topped with roasted fava beans and pumpernickel croutons. The dish was paired with Domaine Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé, France 2012, an old world Chardonnay. The wine was light with a bit of oat and were nicely with the cheddar cheese soufflé.
For the second course, we were served Pasta Explosion. It’s one of Bull & Bears signature dishes. The pasta is served with a special spoon to be eaten in one bite so all of the flavors will be experienced at once. The house-made pasta is very delicate and filled with blended bellota pata negra ham, and topped with beurre monté and aged reggiano parmesan. It was AMAZING! The flavors just explode in your mouth. I highly recommend letting the pasta sit there for a minute before biting into it.
The Pasta Explosion was paired with Domaine de Triennes Rosé, France 2013. The dish is rich and this rosé cuts right through the richness. This rosé isn’t sweet like you might think and very popular in Europe. The main grape is Cinsault and has lingering flavors of strawberry with an olive finish. The pairing for this dish was designed to contrast the flavor of the pasta.
Two dishes were served as the main course. The first, Bull & Bear Fried Chicken. It’s a chicken breast removed from 3-1/2 pound chicken with wing bone attached and skin intact. It is alkaline brine for 12 hours before being cooked sous-vide for 1-1/2 hours. Then the breast is placed in a buttermilk batter, corn flake and corn meal before being fried for 6 to 8 minutes. The dish was served with mashed potatoes and gravy made from foie gras (duck fat) and demi-glace. The process used to cook the chicken makes it incredible juicy. It was paired with L’Ecole Nº 41 Syrah, Walla Walla, Washington 2010. This wine is 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. It’s a Washington wine with French influence. It’s a much lighter Syrah than most are used to.
The second main course was the Tomahawk, a 38 oz. bone-in rib-eye of 32-day dry aged Allen Brothers beef. The Tomahawk arrives at the table with the entire rib bone attached and is carved table-side. The steak was flavorful and very tender. The course was paired with Hugh Hamilton, Jekyll & Hyde Shiraz 2009, Australia. The Jekyll & Hyde Shiraz is a blend of 95%Shiraz and 5% Viognier. The South Australian wine inspired by wines of Côte-Rôtie and its flavors cut through the richness of the Tomahawk steak.
The sides that were served with the Tomahawk include Bull & Bear Frittes – Hand-cut Idaho potatoes soaked in malt vinegar and water then cooked in beef tallow, tossed in homemade garlic powder and served with garlic aioli and all natural ketchup; Wilted Spinach – Lightly sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fleur de sel sea salt, and fresh lemon juice; and Aged Gruyere Cheese Potato Gratin – Roasted fingerling potatoes with aged Gruyere cheese, toasted brioche topped with aged Gruyere and 4-year aged Wisconsin cheddar.
The Bull & Bear Frittes might not be the healthiest fries, but they are definitely some of the most delicious fries. The garlic aioli and house-made ketchup were wonderful condiments for them… even if you don’t like ketchup, you’ll like this one. The Wilted Spinach was a perfect accompaniment. The lightness and acidity cut through the richness of the steak. The Aged Gruyere Cheese Potato Gratin was wonderful. It was very cheesy and had a nice flavor. The Gruyere made the dish.
The desserts were just as good as the rest of the meal. We were treated to four desserts. The Lemon is their signature dessert. It’s a whole Meyer lemon that has been cleaned out, then the rind cooked for 4 hours in a simple syrup reduction. It is then filled with homemade lemon sorbet, lemon curd, and Chantilly cream. It is presented whole and then cut into perfect bites and topped with shortbread cookie table-side. The lemon is not at all sour. The flavor and texture is almost candy-like. If you are dining here, you must try this dessert!
The Crème Brûlée Flambée – Vanilla bean crème brûlée flambée with a hidden layer of dark chocolate crème on the bottom was also served. This is by far the best crème brûlée you will every try. It’s texture and flavor are incredible, and the dark chocolate crème hidden on the bottom just adds to the sophistication of this dessert.
One of the most interesting desserts was The Cigar. It’s made with an organic Mexican chocolate ganache center, chocolate wafer outside, and ash made from merengue and colored with squid ink. What’s so interesting, is the presentation of the dessert. It looks just like a cigar! The chocolate is rich and tastes similar to dark chocolate but is more complex.
The final dessert was The Napoleon, a puff pastry with black walnut pastry cream, black walnuts soaked in 12-year-old aged Zaya Rum from Trinidad, dried merengue and dried raspberries. We were served a sample of the Zaya Rum to try. I must say, it tastes nothing like a rum you’ve ever had. It’s flavor is full and could easily be mistaken for a cognac.
Along with the desserts, there was a glass of Weingut Angerhof-Tschida Samling Trockenbeerenauslese, 2002, Austria. The dessert wine is thick and sweet, and coats your mouth. It went nicely with all of the desserts and could even replace dessert.
Enough wonderful things can’t be said about this experience. The food was absolutely phenomenal. Everything was cooked to perfection! There wasn’t one item that I would have again. The experience is well worth the money and I recommend for anyone looking to getaway for the weekend or guests visiting the hectic Disney parks who want to step away and enjoy something relaxing.
The Global Venture – A Wine Pairing Dinner, three-course tasting menu takes place Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm at Bull & Bear. It’s $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required! They can be made by call (407) 597-5413 or online. Preview menus for each night are available HERE.
There are many other events that are being offered during the Food and Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria, including Il Cibo Della Vita, The Art of Sushi Pairing, Bar du Chocolat and Champagne Tasting, Royal Tea and Astoria After Dark. Please visit our Food and Wine Weekends page for more information!
We would like to thank Waldorf Astoria Orlando for having us attend this fantastic event!