The pineapple is without a doubt the iconic image of Hawaii. But the tasty tropical fruit was introduced to the islands and originally calls South America home.
In fact, good ol’ Christopher Columbus gets credit for finding the fruit on the island of Guadalupe and giving Europeans their first taste.
Nearly 300 years later, in 1751, George Washington tasted his first pineapple in Barbados and declared it his favorite tropical fruit. Already, the pineapple was thriving in Florida but was still very much an exotic flavor for most Americans.
Today’s restaurant dish interprets a Barbados treat, Seafood in Pineapple. I found the tasty mÉlange of seafood, tangy pineapple and creamy sauce at Rancho Alegre — one of several new special menu dishes offered daily.
I expected a cold dish, like a ceviche, but was surprised to find that this is served hot. The half pineapple is hollowed and filled with bite–sized shrimp, clams, mussels and tiny rings of calamari and topped with a piping hot and flavorfully seasoned filet of fish. Mixed in with the seafood are bits of fresh pineapple and a sauce based in pineapple juice and cream.
At $21, it’s a bargain, served with fried plantains, rice and black beans. It’s big enough to share, especially if you’ve sampled some of the other treats from the appetizer menu.
The Cuban–inspired menu at Rancho Alegre has always been a drawing card, along with the city’s best selection of South American and Spanish wines. Add in live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights, and you’ve got the recipe for a great evening out.
Not a seafood fan? The roasted pork and chicken dishes are fork tender and delicious. Don’t miss out on dessert — the cheesecake with passion fruit drizzle is a winner.
402 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 912/ 292–1656, ranchoalegrecuban.com
Smoke out, Brick in...
It’s no longer a secret that Blowin’ Smoke BBQ is relocating to the former location of Sol at 1611 Habersham Street. There will be a brief period of remodeling and retooling before it opens — but count on just a few weeks.
Going into the 514 MLK Jr. Blvd. location is Brick House, with a menu of BBQ, burgers, craft beer and premium bourbons. Chef Donnie Simmons of Taco Abajo has written and created the menu that will feature a number of new, handmade items, like deep-fried pimento cheese. Last week I sampled the Carolina mustard–based sauce he has developed for Brick House: It’s bright, tangy and crying out for some tender smoked pork. Anticipate an early March opening.
Indian market in Pooler
I love browsing the aisles of the growing number of ethnic markets in Savannah. Now, there’s a new Indian grocery in Pooler. Gurukrupa Indian Grocery Store is located in a small center near Home Depot, 125 Foxfield Way, 912/450–9777. This is the former location of Smokin’ Pig BBQ, which has moved to 1215 Hwy. 80 E., also in Pooler. One more reason to check it out is that it’s next door to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants, Miwa.