Today we present Part Two of our interview with chef Chris Miracolo of Himmarshee Bar and Grille, who's been doing super-popular beer and wine pairings for the past few months. (Shameless plug: New Times is hosting a Tweet-Up at the venue this Friday -- Free drinks for all from 7-9 p.m.!) Yesterday, he talked about his early life, and tomorrow he'll share the recipe for his notorious Gouda mac 'n' cheese.
Do you have what you'd call a signature dish? Everyone always raves about the butternut squash ravioli.
lot of them come from places like Plant City or Immokalee. I've been
using the same fish purveyors for 10 years now.
business definitely decreased, and the amount of food people ordered
also changed. A lot more shared plates, shared appetizers. People have
to be a lot more budget-conscious now. If you put a good value on a
plate for them, they'll come in. But we've had to reduce 'sticker
shock.' You'll notice we don't have tablecloths. We want to give people the impression that we're approachable. And at lunch, I'm serving food that costs
maybe a couple dollars more than the giant Super-Size meal over at
Burger King. And my food is, uh, better quality (laughs). The lunch
business is what we thrive on, and we want to keep it affordable for
the people who work around here and might want to eat here five days a
week! I mean, we see a lot of the same faces, and they're not John D.
Rockefeller. But things have changed -- when I was working in Boca, I'd
have salads that went for $18. I wouldn't dream of doing that in
some very tasty Belgian ales with some of your dishes lately. What are
some nice matches for these hot, humid days we've been having?
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beers are always the way to go in the summer. I did a (Chimay) Cinq
Cents, a Trappist wheat beer, paired with a watermelon/feta salad with
watercress and an orange-honey vinaigrette. Nothing is better in a
summer salad than fresh fruit. Watermelon never tastes better than
these months right now, so you've got to jump on it when you see it.
you're doing some nice wine/food pairings, too. How rigid are you in
terms of having strict boundaries with red wine/red meat and so forth?
rigid at all. It's really the seasonings and the accompaniment that
dictate the wine, or allow the wine choice to be broader, than the meat
itself. Some people assume, bloody meat, a bloody cab, but it all comes
down to seasoning. For instance, a skirt steak marinated in citrus,
that would go perfectly with a sauvignon blanc or an un-oaked chard.
Seafood is the most versatile -- it's easy to cross over and use red or
white. People expect certain foods to be paired with certain wines
every time, but there's no law. And it's nice to give people a new
perspective on things.