Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Maritana Grille at Don Cesar, Part 2

Last week, I posted about a girls trip getaway with my friend Amanda at Loews Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach. Not only did we spend two days relaxing on beautiful beaches, we also ate at two amazing restaurants.

We had an stunning dinner at Maritana Grille, the award winning restaurant located inside of The Don Cesar. Maritana is known for their fresh seafood, organic vegetables, decadent desserts and a wine list with over 400 varieties from around the world. Lead by Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger, we found a variety of international cuisines, using local seafood, organic vegetables, herbs and fruits.
Upon seeing Stone Crab on the menu, I knew there was no choice but to order this as my appetizer. Stone Crab season ends this week which is the saddest day of the year for me. This appetizer consisted of fresh stone crab, an english pea puree, radish, fennel, meyer lemon, and a garden herb vinaigrette. It was refreshing and light and I ate every bite.
While my appetizer was light and delicious, Amanda's was savory and decadent. She ordered my favorite thing on earth - Pork Belly. While I enjoyed thoroughly enjoyed my Stone Crab appetizer, I have to admit my major food jealousy over her Pork Belly with truffle grits, kale, market jam, and malbec jus. Seriously incredible.
I had a very hard time deciding on what to order since everything on the menu sounded incredible. This made me wish I ordered the Maritana Grille tasting menu which would have made my life a lot less complicated on this particular evening. The tasting consists of 5 small plates, accompanied by a wine pairing. Yet there sat Foie Gras on the regular menu and at that moment, I knew the tasting wasn't for me. Foie Gras Duo - a seared piece of foie gras and a portion made sous vide. The sous vide was by far the best foie gras I have ever had. Torchon, French Toast, Vanilla Gelée, Frambiose, Strawberry Gastrique.
Since I was completely indulging this night, why not go for the Maine Lobster pasta dish! With housemade pappardelle pasta, heirloom tomato, asparagus, spinach and truffle. Just writing about this a week later makes me want to rush back to Maritana Grille for more.
Amanda ordered Short Ribs with collards, bacon, sunchoke, crispy shallots, and a port sauce. It was every bit of delicious as it sounds.

Just to think, when this delicious dinner couldn't get any better. Dessert comes out. When a dessert comes with along with comments such as "get your video camera ready", I couldn't say no. The Reveal, a white chocolate egg, melted with hot maple syrup, to reveal a spiced apple cake.....seriously! It was amazing! Make sure you check out the video above.
Amanda ordered the chocolate fleur de sel, a chocolate ganache cake with cocoa nib tuille and salted caramel ice cream. I could have shamelessly ate an entire gallon of that ice cream.

I have had my fair share of amazing dining experiences and I can honestly state that the Don Cesar did not disappoint. I think I know where Gabe will be taking me for my birthday dinner this year....the 5 course meal at Maritana followed by an amazing sunset. Life doesn't get better than that!

Maritana Grille on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

  1. I should NOT have read this so early. I want all the food, especially those short ribs. So yummy!

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  2. Oh....my....goodness. Seriously!?!? Truffle, truffle everywhere! Your friend's app...the truffled grits with pork belly...good lord, Megan...I can't believe you didn't order that! BUT...your stone crab app...well, that sounds just incredible too. I freaking love stone crab too.
    That pasta...don't even get me started. And then the dessert reveal, well that's just too cool for school. What a great experience you had!!!

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  3. Ooooh - this dinner sounds absolutely spectacular! And I can't get over the reveal from the dessert.

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