Sunday, May 23, 2010

Volt!

Two months ago, my homegirl Sue visited the esteemed Volt restaurant of Top Chef Brian Voltaggio's fame, and made a reservation for a second visit for the soonest date available: May 23rd. That's right people. She was exactly right, good luck getting a reservation!


So Sunday, my sister Soiyete and I made the hour long trip out to Market Street, in Frederick, Md. It looks just like Old Town, Alexandria!




We were seated in the "Chef's Kitchen", a small room with only four tables, but intentionally designed to watch the chefs at work.



And who do we see? Why, it's Brian himself, hard at work, slicing halibut. The waiter's uniforms consisted of black slacks, chocolate button-ups and chocolate Chuck Taylors. But not Brian, he was all clogs.


Soiyete and I opted for the lunch prix fixe menu, which includes 3 courses for $25. Or you can get one or two more courses for $55. Plus you can add the wine pairings for $18. Those are your three choices at Volt.
While we waited for the first lunch course, we received breadsticks with "fennel pollen" and these yummy glazed cinnamon buns.



Soiyete and I both ordered the Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Ravioli with butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms and sage brown butter. Plus suds on top.



When you touch suds, they disappear, so I wasn't sure what the sudsy topping tasted like, or if they tasted like anything at all. The ravioli was filled with a fresh creamy super white goat cheese, which I didn't enjoy. I trust that the chef there knows what he's doing so I'm going to chalk it up to all of the processed foods that I'm used to screwing with my palette. I wouldn't order it again.

Next, for our main course, Soiyete ordered the french toast with pineapple confrit, organic maple syrup and sweetened creme fraiche (fresh cream). With the powdered sugar, the french toast was delightful.



My main course was halibut with white asparagus tips (yummy) on risotto (yummier) and a raspberry glaze (yummiest). I never would have put raspberry and fish together in a million years but it was the whitest, flakiest yet meatiest piece of fish I've ever eaten. Perfection on a plate.






Then dessert. I got the cheesecake with almond crust and candied kumquat. I'd never had kumquat, but when I bit into it, it tasted like a sweet orange peel had exploded in my mouth. Too strong alone, but it went well with the cheesecake. YUM-O again. (If you don't know, YUM-O is my highest food praise)




Soiyete ordered textures of chocolate, consisting of milk chocolate ice cream, raw organic cocoa, white chocolate mousse and chocolate caramel. Even though her raw chocolate was bitter, paired with the chocolate ice cream = YUM-O.




And as Sue's post promised, we received a freshly baked lemon poppyseed muffin upon our departure. (peep what I'm holding in my hand in the first photo outside of Volt). I'm going to save it for breakfast! Just a tip: if you want to go to Volt, make your reservation NOW. And don't forget to invite me!
Insana

Monday, May 17, 2010

Restaurant 219: Take Two

On Wednesday, my awesome co-workers at VSE took me out to dinner for my last week in the IT Services Department. I chose Restaurant 219 in Old Town again.



There's Kelvin, and Tom in the back.



We headed straight downstairs to some hidden happy hour room, where there were business cards stapled everywhere, on the walls, ceilings and columns.





me and April




Me and Amaretto Sour



Nikki and Andre, making love to the camera

Kelvin and what's left of his expensive Hennessy



Nikki (in mid-blink, I believe), April and Tom. Why was Tom laughing so hard?







Time to order (my bad, Andre!). Oh the dinner conversation that ensued. You had to be there.





I think this was steak



Nikki's Quail (she was NOT thrilled)



April's Mahi Mahi with lobster




My roasted chicken and apples and shrimp (at least the shrimp were good)






I'm so lucky to work with people like these. It was like my birthday all week, and luckily, it turns out it's not quite the end of my time at VSE just yet. I found a new contract on the first floor, as a proposal writer. So it turned into a celebration dinner!



Thank you guys, we should do this more often!
Insana

Ashte's Been Inducted

On Wednesday, May 12th, my brother Ashte', a doctor and chief resident at George Washington University Hospital, was invited to a ceremony at the Kennedy Center where he would be inducted into the National Honor Society.



Alpha Omega Alpha is this country's only national medical honor society, and recipients are chosen from the top 25th percent of their class. Then, out of this top quartile, a recipient is not only picked for their high academic standing, but as well as leadership among their peers, professionalism and a strong sense of ethics, promise of future success in medicine, and a commitment to service in the school and the community. Known as the Phi Beta Kappa for medical schools, it is "a lifelong honor, and membership in the society confers recognition for a physician's dedication to the profession and art of healing."

All of those reasons are why we are soooooo proud of Ashte'. So my mother and I headed off to the Kennedy Center with him and Jenna to see him receive his award.





I'd never been there. What a cool place.



Mom and Ashte



We ate in the Kennedy Center's rooftop restaurant. It was really good too!




Ashte and Jenna













The chief of medicine commented to Ashte' as he accepted his honor, "Look at that, you've been awarded a new placemat." The real award had already been ordered online, to be framed forever, later.



Check out that kid, walking a little bit taller.




How you like me now!?




Love you Ashte',
Insana

Bonnaroo Prep: Head Gear

In our preparation for Bonnaroo, there's been a lot of talk about how to keep cool in the hot Tennessee sun. Here are Alison and Karl in their Bonnaroo keep-cool head gear in previous years.




So, I decided on a super lightweight straw hat with a large brim to shield my poor forehead and neck from the sun. But as you can see, it looks like it's just sitting on top of my head, and I'm not wearing it. (in my opinion)


Luckily, a short time later, I found this super, duper lightweight straw hat, a true floppy. I could ball that hat up in my fist and it would be just perfect when I put it back on my head.




See how happy I am just to try it on?





What's a hat post without my denim floppy? I haven't found a place to wear this one YET! But I'm ready for 'Roo though!



-Insana

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm a Gleek

Oh yes, I admit it, I'm a gleek. As much as I hate all things sappy and girly, I love Glee, on Fox. It's smart, sassy, funny as all get out and above all, is full of awesome singing.



Every single character cracks me up.


And I have to admit, I thought these kids were lip synching, until my friends told me they saw them singing live at the White House Easter Egg Roll. No kidding?


It takes GUTS, not just acting chops, to sing with feeling and power and might in the faces of your fellow actors, singing songs that you'd NEVER thought you'd sing in a million years. But there you are, singing it, for all the world to see.



I love these kids!




If you don't watch Glee, you don't know what you're missing, kinda like me when I hadn't eaten chicken all my life, and people always told me that. Now, I know, people. Now I know.



-Insana