Marchand's Bar & Grill is located inside the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in downtown St. Petersburg. This Farm-to-Fork menu is inspired by the seasonal ingredients from local farms. For each dish, I'm going to point out the local farm where the ingredients are from. Here is a list of the local farms that Marchand's has formed a relationship with:
- Mitchell's Natural Produce
- Glory Road Farms
- Pure Florida Apiary
- Worden Farm
- Geraldson Farms
- Seeley's Ark
- Pasture Prime Family Farm
- Hunsader Farm
- 3 Boy Farm
- Jones Potato Farm
- Watercress Farm
- Eco Farms
Marchand's, just as I expected, provided us with a quality six course dinner with wine pairings. To begin, we were treated to a Florida Orange Mojito, shown the ballroom of the hotel with it's magnificent chandelier, heard some history of the hotel, learned how the hotel supports local artists and then we were lead to the Marchand's dining area.
How cool is that??
The first course ended up being my favorite of the night: the Mangalitsa "Croque Madame".
This toasted treat had the perfect combination of, well, everything. This dish was absolute perfection. Made with ham, Georgia Red cheese, a fried quail egg and served on toasted brioche with a Silk Onion Soup Shooter on the side, I was so pleased. I ended up spreading the yolk over the bread and getting a taste of all of the components with each bite. It was a very, very grown up grilled ham and cheese sandwich, essentially. Wonderful textures, contrasting flavors that all worked very well together- I would drive all the way to Marchand's just for this dish (and I live a good 45 minutes away).
[Mangalitsa: a curly-hair hog that has been raised at Pasture Prime in Summerfield, Florida. Georgia Red: a washed rind, semi-soft cow's milk cheese produced by Flat Creek Lodge in Southeast Georgia. Florida sweet onions: grown by Cincotta Ranch.]
The next dish was Tile Fish, something new to me. This plate featured Golden Tile fish, Romanesco cauliflower, Sun choke hush puppies and Rock Shrimp Nage. This fish, cooked with the skin, was flaky and tender, yet had some crunch from the skin. This dish is also low in fat, but it fooled me- that's how rich and flavorful it was.
[Golden Tile: From East coast of Florida. Rock Shrimp: Deep-water shrimp caught off the coast of Florida. Romanesco grown by Worden Farm.]
This next one was my second favorite of the evening. What else is better than pork and fried mac 'n cheese together? Nothing, I tell ya!
The macaroni and cheese was fried crispy with traditional mac 'n cheese inside and served over smoked bacon collard greens, but the main highlight of the dish was the pork cheek, served in a Murcott Tangerine BBQ sauce, which reminded me of upscale asian cuisine. Tender and full of flavor, I savored each bite, willing more pork cheek to just keep coming out.
[Pork Cheek: Mangalitsa again. Murcott Tangerine: grown by Mixon Fruit Farm. Collard Greens: grown by Hunsader Farm.]
Next up!: a Key West Yellowfin Snapper with a chorizo black bean cake and warm yellow tomato vinaigrette and olive oil. It may seem a little strange, but the vinaigrette was my favorite item on this plate. It was light and refreshing, making for a great pair.
[Peppers in Black Bean cake: grown by Worden Farm. Yellow Tomato: grown by Hunsader Farm.]
Our last course before dessert was Braised Rabbit with Savoy cabbage and Gold Creamer potato puree in a Pinot Noir reduction.
Well, it's true: I've never tried rabbit. The thing I love most about being a food blogger, besides all of the wonderful people I get to meet, is that I'm forced to try new food. That's a good thing. Without that experience, I never would have discovered sushi, duck, deer, etc and now, rabbit.
I loved the flavors of this dish, with the creaminess from the potatoes being the highlight in my eyes. The braised cabbage added just the right amount of crunch.
[Rabbit: raised by Seely's Ark. Gold Creamer potatoes: grown by Jones potato farm.]
With the night nearing to a close, it was time for dessert. We were presented with a trio (from left to right): Tiramisu, Caramel Oatmeal Pie, Smores Hazelnut Ganache Torte.
First, the tiramisu was very yummy. Second, the Caramel Oatmeal Pie was my favorite. Like eating an oatmeal cookie that just makes your mouth water, this pie was that but juicier. Third, I'm not a chocolate fan, but this torte had a graham cracker crust, beautiful lightly torched whipped cream, fruit and pieces of strawberry meringue.
[Strawberries: from Honeyside Farms. Orange Blossom Honey: from High Hat ranch. Oranges: from Mixon Fruit Farm.]
Finally, I just want to thank every single person who made tonight possible. To every member of the staff from servers to the chef to the restaurant and hotel managers: thank you for an unbelievable night and great conversation; I can't wait to come visit again. Cheers!