Tag Archives: Chocolate

Volt Review

16 Jan

Are you all enjoying this lovely three-day weekend?  I know I am!  It’s been so nice to have an extra day to relax after several days of events and errands.  It also gave me time to catch up on my blogging for Imperfectly Delicious and Pamela’s PunchAnd boys and girls, I have a rave review for you! 

First let me preface this review by saying I grew up in a family of foodies.  My parents always used fresh ingredients in the kitchen and on the grill.  Which makes me appreciate restaurants like Volt, who really focus on using seasonal produce and local farmers.  That might make me sound snobby (my nose is in the air as I type), but I think you’ll all agree that at least 90% of the time fresh food just tastes better.  All of this is to say that my family was pre-disposed to like Volt for this reason, oh and because of the unbelievably positive press surrounding the restaurant. 

My family arrived about 30 minutes early to the restaurant, shocking given DC traffic on a holiday weekend.  The friendly hostess team took our coats and seated us immediately in a simple and chic dining room.  The dining room had cream-colored artistic lights, bright white table cloths, and vivid orange menus.  The multiple servers brought us drink and wine menus and enthusiastically described the artisanal cocktails.    I was freezing, so ordered a Hot Buttered Rum and my parents both settled on the EnclaveBoth drinks packed a punch and warmed us up quickly!

We stalled and snacked on house-made bread sticks dusted with fennel pollen, as we waited for my sister to arrive.  The servers were pleasantly patient and didn’t rush us in the slightest.  Once she arrived one of our servers (we had many) described the menu ordering options in detail.  At Volt you can either order a seven course protein-based tasting menu, a seven course produce-based tasting menu, or a four course menu that combines the two.  Our table opted for the four course tasting menu.

My first dish was the Oyster, Smoked Potato, Truffle and Bacon chowder.  This deconstructed soup was creatively displayed, and once combined, all of the ingredients formed the best chowder you ever ate.  Light and creamy with pleasant bite from the potatoes.

My second course was a recommendation from a friend.  I ordered the tangy Goat Cheese Ravioli with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Parsley Root Ash, and Sage Foam The pasta was spectacular!  I would have probably left the restaurant happy just by ordering this one dish.  The goat cheese was tart and creamy, and the mushrooms and sage gave the dish a deliciously woodsy flavor.  If you go to Volt this dish is a must-order item.

At this point the restaurant sent over their Wine Director to assist us with the expansive list.  Jill enthusiastically guided us through the menu, and helped us to select the perfect bottle for our tastes.  I loved talking to her and listening to all of the stories behind the different wines. 

For my third course I went against the table and ordered the Pork Shoulder, Sunchoke, Onion, and Cabbage.  As you can see from the image above, this dish way exceeded my expectations in terms of types of pork on the plate.  I not only had a nice portion of the pork shoulder, but also some pork belly and a sparerib.  The onions were the perfect complement and added a bit of sweetness to the dish.  The rest of the table ordered the Lobster, which was also outstanding.  I sampled a bite because it looked so pretty!  The lobster was perfectly cooked with just a touch of sweetness

My fourth course was dessert (yay), and I selected the Chocolate Marshmallow with Caramel and Peanut Ice Cream.  Oh heavens, my mouth is watering just thinking of it now.  I loved the rustic look of the dish and the playful touch with the gourmet marshmallow fluff.  I wanted to lick the plate. 

I would have too if I wasn’t so busy staring at the gorgeous plates around me.  Check out my dad’s striking dessert of the Peppermint White Chocolate and Eggnog Gingerbread.  How clever to take traditional flavors from the Holidays and reinterpret the presentation to invoke thoughts of Spring.

Oh but we weren’t finished yet!  Our four-course meal also included Volt’s complimentary tray of sweet bites to round out the meal.  These included chocolate and coffee macarons, house-made gelee, a fennel marshmallow, and hazelnut espresso truffles.  Two trays were delivered for our table of four!

This meal was absolutely divine.  In fact, it doesn’t even seem fair to call it a meal, it was more of a dining experience.  This dinner ranked up with the top five meals of my life.  The food was superb, and Chef Bryan Voltaggio elevated classic flavors with his witty, artistic presentation.  I would also like to say the entire staff at Volt were knowledgeable and welcoming.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been rushed through a dinner, but they let us truly enjoy our meal at a relaxed pace.  Hands down the best service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.  Finally, I know that $80 can seem like a lot to spend on a four-course dinner.  Our dinner was actually more like a seven-course dinner, and included the four courses described above with the bread course (bacon brioche!), complimentary dessert bites, and house-made granola togo delivered with our check. 

My overall rating is an A+ for Volt. Truly inventive and delightful food and worth every bit of traffic.   Thanks to my fabulous family for the reservation, meal and company!

Flourless Chocolate PB & Choc Chip Cookies

21 Nov

Are you a planner or someone who does things on the fly?  I ask because there may be some of you who are still trying to figure out something easy and portable to bring to the fam’s house for Thanksgiving.  Sure you could bring something classic like this, or this and then afterwards turn it into this.  

Somehow I think you all are more like the most interesting man in the world, and therefore, anything but traditional!  Why not try something different and a little outside of the box?  How about some Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies?  These cookies are quick, include just a few ingredients, and are oh so portable for those of you on the go.

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from a Claire Robinson recipe)

  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter from Peanut Butter & Co
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg beaten
  • sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the dark chocolate peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, until well combined. 

Spoon 1 tbs of dough mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets (I know, you don’t even have to grease them). Flatten the mounds with a fork, making a criss cross pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.

Bake until the edges firm up, about 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway thorough baking. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks. Couldn’t be easier right?  If this is too chocolately, then feel free to use regular peanut butter.

Stay hungry my friends.

Chocolate and Orange Frosting

20 Nov

I know I was supposed to pepper you this past week with a gazillion posts on all things turkey, instead I write you about birthday cake.  No it’s not MY birthday!  I accept my gifts in mid January.  It was my co-worker’s birthday this weekend, so I brought her a celebratory cake on Friday. 

To be honest, the cake itself wasn’t that memorable.  She requested vanilla, so I complied.  What WAS memorable was my new recipe for the most lusciously whipped Chocolate and Orange Frosting.

Wow, I mean, wow.  I’m so pleased with the way this turned out, I’m thinking of making another cake just to serve as an excuse to make more of this.  As with most of my recipes, it’s really easy and doesn’t take too many ingredients.

Chocolate and Orange Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs orange juice with pulp
  • 1 tbs orange zest
  • 1 tbs shaved orange chocolate flakes

First melt your chocolate and butter in a medium-sized pot over low heat.  Stir until melted and shiny.  While you are waiting for the chocolate to melt, whip your cream and powdered sugar in a bowl with a mixer.  It should only take a few minutes to whip up, and form a smooth, creamy texture.  Pour your chocolate and orange juice into the bowl with whipped cream, and slowly fold the chocolate mixture into the cream.  Folding the two mixtures will keep the frosting light and fluffy.  Once combined, spread over a cooled cake, cupcakes or pour into a cereal bowl and pick up a spoon.  Spread orange zest and orange-flavored chocolate shavings over top.

Wishing it was your birthday? 😉  I’ll be back tomorrow with more holiday-themed and Thanksgivingy items.

Millionaires Shortbread

28 Aug

What a crazy month!  I spent most of the time packing, working, and at delicious goodbye events for my roommate.  Hi R!  Last Saturday I moved into my new one bedroom apartment, and a few short days later Mother Nature sent the DC Area an earthquake and then a hurricane.  Hopefully my move and the two natural disasters are unrelated…

The good news is that I’m back in my kitchen (phew), and I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to make while trapped inside on a rainy day.  In fact, I’d even make this on a sunny day.  It’s that good!  In true Imperfectly Delicious fashion, there were a few missteps in the kitchen but the result was still wonderful!

Millionaires Shortbread (adapted from a Claire Robinson recipe)

Shortbread Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Caramel Ingredients:

  • 2 14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter

Chocolate Topping Ingredients:

  • 12 oz (3 bars) of Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate, Maya Gold with spice and orange accents
  • Sprinkle of flaky sea salt

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees on the bake setting.  I tend to be slow in the kitchen, so usually preheat after the receipt is underway, but most of you will want to do this step now.  Then start on the shortbread layer by buttering your choice of either two 8 inch nonstick pans OR one 9 x 13 baking dish.  I used my 9 x 13 dish because it was clean and easy to find in my new kitchen.  Next combine your flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once to get them combined. 
This was when my first error occurred.  As you can see I have a small food processor (4 cups size) and ended up having to make the shortbread in two batches because my food processor runneth over.    
Next add the butter (or half of the butter to half of the mixture if you are like me) and pulse until the ingredients resemble little pea-like balls.  Transfer the “peas” from the food processor and press down into the previously buttered baking dish.  Bake until the edges of the shortbread turn a light golden brown, approximately 20 mins.  The rest of the shortbread will still be pale in color.  Cool for 15 mins and start on the caramel layer.
Now melt 2 tbs of butter over medium low heat and add the 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk.  Slowly bring these ingredients to a low boil while stirring the mixture.  Stir continuously for about 20 mins or until the color turns a shade of pale caramel.  I know it’s a long time to stir, but how often do you get to bake AND workout at the same time?  Now that’s my kind of exercise!  Pour caramel sauce over the shortbread and let cool to room temperature.

Now we move onto the chocolate layer.  The original recipe calls for good quality milk chocolate.  I’m not a big fan, so opted for dark chocolate.  Or should I say I accidentally opted for dark chocolate with hints of spice and orange while in the pre-hurricane Whole Foods mayhem.  Chop up the chocolate into small chunks and transfer into a glass bowl.  Melt chocolate in the bowl over a pot of boiling water.  Pour over your caramel layer and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  Let cool for 10 mins before transferring to the fridge.


The end result is decadent and buttery goodness.  Perfect served right from the fridge with a cold glass of milk, and during your movie or tv marathon of choice!

Do They Serve Beer with This?! Pt. 2

25 Jun

I decided it would be fun (for me AND you) to write about my two favorite meals from our Ireland trip for Pt. 2 and Pt. 3 of my Ireland posts.  These meals are proof of the new gourmet food in Ireland; it’s not just soda bread and fish & chips anymore!

I loved the entire trip but my favorite city was definitely Galway with it’s colorful shops and proximity to the water. 

The best meal during our trip was at a restaurant called 8.

This restaurant uses local ingredients and it was downright difficult to make up my mind on the dinner entree.  Thank goodness we’re a sharing family and all of us picked different options to taste.

I selected the Honey & Rosemary Roast Lamb Chops with Sweet Potato Mash, Balsamic Roasted Onions, and Coriander & Mint Dressing.  Honestly, I’m drooling thinking about it now, and you should be too!  The lamb was juicy and the mash and onions were the perfect compliment.  I adore it when I can have a little sweet with my savory meals.  In fact, this was all that was left after I got through with the dish…

We also ordered a side of these hand cut chips and house sauce.  They were perfectly golden, a little crisp on the outside, and slightly soft on the inside.  The sauce tasted a bit like tzatziki, a yogurt-based dip with dill and cucumber.

After dinner we noticed the creative and whimsical dessert menu.  My Dad and I are not ones to pass up dessert.  In fact, we both eat less of our main meal (sometimes) just to save room!  We are nothing if not dedicated to our craft.  In any case, we decided to order 3 desserts for the 4 of us. 

My Dad wisely picked the Chocolate and Almond Brownie with Cappuccino Parfait.  This dessert won the blue ribbon out of all of the desserts and we licked the plate clean.
My Mom and Sis split the potted Citrus Explosion with Almond Brittle.  There were 3 different citrus flavors layered throughout the jar and even the brittle included the zest.  I like lemon, I love lime, but citrus desserts are usually at the bottom of my list.  WOW, talk about a flavorful and bright dessert.  It was light and lovely.  I can’t wait to try and make my own take on lemon and orange zest brittle.

Last and kinda least was my dessert, a White Chocolate Pannacotta & Raspberry Mousse with Shortbread Cookies.  I selected this dessert solely because of the raspberry component.  It was very pretty to look at and the texture was nice.  I found the whole thing to be a bit underwhelming and frankly a little bland.  Thank goodness I had already consumed 2 other winning desserts!

Overall I would rate 8 as a 10!  5 out of 5 stars.  Seriously, I give it an A+ and would probably be a regular if it weren’t for the whole commute and customs bit.  If you are ever in Galway make it a point to stop here.

Stay tuned for my 3rd and final post about Fishy Fishy in Kinsale.  It was seafood paradise!