Tag Archives: Reality TV

Restaurant Review: VOLT

A place where gray meets brown in a fashionable manner.  Where everyone wears brown Chucks.  Where food is served synchronized and perfectly timed.  Where it’s okay to giggle and act like a 12 year old.  Where the bread basket is never ending (hello, bacon popover). 

Phenomenal.

Now, my friends often laugh at my superlative of “Top 5 Meal.”  I give it often enough that the Top 5 has grown to maybe 50.  But this meal?  Really was. 

This past weekend, five friends and I had the awesome privilege of dining at Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s VOLT in Frederick, Md.  You may know Bryan from such shows as, well, Top Chef.   When coming to our table the first time, the sommelier asked us how we heard about VOLT.  The six of us giggled.  And when the Chef himself actually came to the table, well, there was some more giggling.

When making our reservation months ago, we expressed interest in the tasting menu.  This meant that we got to eat in the kitchen.  The same kitchen where Chef and his talented staff cooked the food we devoured.  The same kitchen! 

The six course tasting menu ($95) had two options–the Kitchen Menu and a vegetarian option. 

We all started off with beverages.  I chose the Spicy Spark, a sparkling wine mixed with a jalapeno simple syrup.  The rim of the glass was dusted with almond and cinnamon.  The sweetness of the simple syrup helped downplay the spice of the jalapeno.  Mixed with the dry sparkling wine, it was an interesting and tasty combination.  Best left as a pre or post dinner cocktail and not a meal accompaniment, though. 

volt 007As we sat and watched Chef and his crew in the kitchen, we gawked at the menu in front of us.  Six delectable courses.  We couldn’t wait.  And, we didn’t have to.  Before we knew it, three servers swooped down on our table, placing in front of us a bonus course.  More like an amuse bouche, the tri colored macaroons were a sight to be seen.  One was filled with foie gras, one was a take on Caesar salad, and while I can’t recall what the third was, I can assure you it was delicious.  The exterior of the macaroons was similar to those meringue cookies that were ubiquitous at piano recitals.  You know the ones.  Biting into each of these, though, we were welcomed by a smooth, creamy treat. 

Our next course was another bonus:  lobster flan with caviar.  Fancy pants we definitely were.  It was an interesting dish that I can best describe as a creamy custard (think a little firmer than creme brulee, but savory not sweet) with lots and lots of chunks of lobster mixed in.  The lobster was tender and not rubbery.  And the caviar was the perfect touch of saltiness the dish needed.  (Note:  as a salt fiend, I am happy to give compliments to the Chef–I did not wince, once, because there was no salt on the table…not that I would’ve asked for it (I know better), but the fact I didn’t have to is pretty cool). 

And if that weren’t enough, we were brought  a morsel of falafel.  As a self-proclaimed expert in this genre of cuisine, I’d say that Chef Bryan has it down.  It had the right combination of spices and was a perfect texture–if done poorly, falafel can be dry and crumbly.  This was quite the opposite.

And now on to the menu items.  First on the list was the Yukon Gold potato soup.  The bowl came empty but for the bonus volt 013accoutrements, the brunt of which I don’t recall but there was definitely some crunchy pancetta in the mix.  What more could you ask for, really?  The servers meticulously poured the creamy soup into our bowls and we dove in.  The potatoes were pureed to a golden, creamy, liquid consistency.  The soup was so smooth and served at just the right temperature.  Had we not all quickly scarfed down our bread minutes before, I can assure you there would have been some serious dipping and plate mopping  going on.

Next up:  the Cherry Glen Farm goat cheese ravioli with butternut squash puree, sage brown butter, and sage foam.   If forced to choose my favorite course, I’d have to say this was mine (though my impeccably cleaned plate for each course would cause one to believe I liked them all equally).  I generally am not a fan of foam–I always order my lattes without it.  But on this?  It worked.  Much like Graham Elliot used a horseradish foam to highlight the taste of the beef in my deconstructed beef stroganoff several weeks ago, Chef Bryan Voltaggio used the sage foam–a slightly more pungent flavor–to highlight the delicate flavor of the butternut squash brown butter and the slightly stronger flavor of the goat cheese.  The ravioli itself was perfectly cooked–it was tender all around, not hard on the sides as ravioli can sometimes tend to be.  I could have eaten a full sized entree of this and called it a night.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to.

volt 015

Next up were the pint sized Nantucket Bay scallops.  I don’t like scallops, but I probably could’ve fooled anyone who saw me take that plate down.  These succulent scallops were served with black forbidden rice, cardamom spiced carrots, shiitake mushrooms, lemongrass, and coconut.  The pairing of the flavors had an obviously Asian twist that worked well.  The lemongrass and coconut helped to tame the stronger cardamom. 

volt 017Pork belly.  Pork belly.  Pork belly.  Need I really say more?  Cholesterol be damned, this made my heart happy.  Served atop cannelini beans (whose blandness helped cut down the salty from the pork belly) and with a side of crispy petite red ribbon sorrel (think thin circle of bacon) and moutarda, this was a true treat.  The sauce was a sweet complement to the salty fatness of the overall dish.  Definitely not for those who are watching their fat or caloric intake.  Which is why it was so damn good.

Our final savory course was the piece de resistance for many of my dining companions:  the Wagyu beef culotte.  Wagyu beef is volt 018suddenly the be all end all of beef, taking over the throne from Kobe (Kobe is Wagyu, but Wagyu is not always Kobe–you know the whole square and rectangle conundrum).  This beef proved why.  It was cooked to a perfect medium rare (again, not for the faint of heart) and accompanied by ratte potatoes, golden raisins, dragon carrots, and glazed Tokyo turnips.  The turnips were the only thing I was served that I did not eat.   I wish I knew what he put in those potatoes but maybe that’s a secret he should keep, as I would make them ALL THE TIME and then get sick of them.  An interesting garnish on the plate was a garlic transparency…it was just a clear square that, when you bit into it, made you glad you weren’t a vampire. 

And now, on to dessert.  It was called Textures of Chocolate and included a white chocolate ganache, milk chocolate ice cream, chocolate caramel.  There was some kind of chocolate wafer served along with it, as well–it tasted a bit burnt but that flavor went so well with the caramel (if you were innovative enough to dip it, as I obviously was).  The whole thing was dusted with a light cocoa. 

And if that weren’t enough, we ordered a cheese plate.  Make that two.  There were four types of cheese on each plate.  Served with whole wheat walnut toast, the cheese selection had something for everyone–there was bland, there was hard, there was creamy, and there was stinky. 

Just as we thought we were winding down, one last course appeared before us.  Compliments of the maitre d’ and as a thanks for joining them for dinner, we had an assortment of house made, mini ice cream sandwiches (think Chipwich–but better).  As a thanks for allowing us to join them for dinner, we ate the three different varieties–oatmeal raisin with coconut ice cream, chocolate chip with chocolate ice cream, and white chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream. 

chipwich

So, let’s recap:  six courses ($95) with an optional wine pairing (for an extra $45).  A regular or vegetarian course option (there was some molecular gastronomy going on with the vegetarian options).  Extreme willingness to sub in or out from the menus, based on preference and/or dietary restrictions.  Three bonus “tastes” from the kitchen.  Perfectly synchronized serving of all dishes, with a knowledgeable server letting us know what was in front of us.  Friendly staff who took the time to chat and socialize–not a cranky pants in the group.  Amazing view of the kitchen and all the action.  Mellow yet sophisticated atmosphere.  

Top.  Five.  Meal. 

PS we were sent home with a cranberry orange muffin so that we could prolong our fabulous dining experience.

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Filed under food, Reality TV, restaurant reviews, things i like

F-A-T spells fat, fat, fat.

Wow.  John Gosselin may need to join Kevin Federline on Celebrity Fit Club.  And, by celebrity, you know I mean “celebrity.”

a-crying-baby_333x457kevin-federline-fat-1

They’re both fat.  They both cheated.  They were both (well, legally Jon still is) married to bitchy blondes (sorry to put you in the same category as Kate, Brit) who dress poorly and have bad hair and who aren’t the greatest moms and who have been accused of having affairs with people of authority over them (Kate = bodyguard, Britney = manager) and who try to buy their children’s love (candy store shopping sprees and Crooked Houses) and who have alienated their families and who like to parade around in bikinis…

 

PS Boys:  wearing black isn’t helping make you look slimmer.  But, at least it’s not Ed Hardy.

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Competing with the Kardashians.

It’s an all out war between the Kardashians and MTv for gossip rag coverage this week (at least we’re done with the Gosselins).  For some reason, I blame MTv for the Kardashians in the first place, though I’m not sure why.  A few comments:

  1. I don’t care whether your wedding was real or fake, Khloe.  I don’t need to hear from you that it was.  Or from Lamar.  Or from Kourtney, Kim, or your mom.  Even Brody’s getting into the mix.  Maybe once I hear it from Kylie or Kendall, I’ll believe it.   Maybe.
  2. Kourtney, have this damn baby already. 
  3. Yes, Kim, we know you’re back with Reggie.  And that the love exhibited on Sunday at Khloe’s wedding made you realize just how much you loved him and how much you missed him.  Gag.  Me with a spoon. 
  4. Lauren Conrad has a movie deal for her book LA Candy. Admittedly, I read the first chapter one afternoon when I was hanging out at Barnes and Noble.  Can’t wait to see who they cast.
  5. Kristin Cavallari should not be judgey judgey about Audrina’s plastic surgery (or lack thereof).  She really is a B, as evidenced by her debut on The Hills yesterday.  Wow, who knew that show needed to be revamped?  Or retramped?
  6. And this, this has to be the worst…and on MSNBC, no less! 

Kris Jenner needs to step up her media blasting gig and get her girls in the news with some more varied stories…but, what’s left, really?  (Aside from the impending divorce of Khloe and Lamar and, perhaps, the twist that Scott is not really the father of Kourtney’s baby)

And, while I’m here, can I just put it on the record that

  1. Adrienne Bailon, Cheetah Girl or not, really irks me
  2. Justin Bobby needs to shave immediately
  3. There’s a lot to say about The City, too, but I can’t right now
  4. I don’t understand why everyone on these MTv shows has to have a title (ie “Spencer’s sister,” “Brody’s friend,” “Audrina’s ex-boyfriend”)…why can’t they just be who they are?  Pigeonhole… 

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No undershirts, Neil Lane, and too much making out.

Just a few thoughts on tonight’s final episode.

Jillian, you made a mistake.

Ed?  Really, Ed?  Ok, he is cute.  But he’s also awkwardly tall.  Why did I never notice what a giant Mr. Ed was until the final rose ceremony?  And Reid came back.  Reid.  The one who loved you but was just a little too timid to say it.  The one who stuck through, who made you laugh.  The cute one.

What was with all the dramatic music?  I had never noticed it in episodes passed.  And, the song they played as the montage of Ed and Jillian’s journey played…did anyone else notice it was Martina?  As in McBride?  As in the one who performed (the same song, in fact) on Jillian and Jake’s first date?   Funny how the montage left out the scene where Ed leaves.  Remember that?  He left because his job was more important.  Oh, yeah.  But then he came back, as so many of them did this season, because he had made a mistake.  A big one.  But apparently not one that was unforgiveable.

Props to Reid for returning, though.  And professing his love.  His “I love you this much” was too cute.  As is he.  Sorry you left heartbroken, Buddy.  And thank you for subtly correcting Jill by saying “indescribable” when defining the situation and not, as she did, “undescribable.”  We all called it when he had “prior commitments” that kept him from the Men Tell All special last week.  My scenario of what I wanted to go down was much better (and had a happier ending) than what actually happened.

Why didn’t Ed or Kiptyn wear undershirts under their dress shirts?  That seemed a bit weird.  And, nice gratuitous shot of Ed in his boxer briefs.  Guess his torso isn’t as defined as that of his competition.

Neil Lane seemed a bit…well, giddy.  I’d like to know who pays for the rings.  ABC?  Did Reid pay for his own ring, or did they fly Neil to Philly?  I’d like to think he paid for his own.  And picked it out without any help.  More reason to ❤ him. 

Was shocked they didn’t show the minivan cab and Ed’s white limo passing each other on the windy road…after Reid got dumped.  That?  Would’ve been great television.

I do not think Jake should be the next bachelor.  I liked him at first but he really is just too “perfect.”  I like the idea of Michael the break dance instructor and his twin being dual bachelors and vying for the same girls.

There seemed to be way more smooching than usual this week.  And groping.  And implications thereof.  And actual discussion of said activity.  I mean, leave something to our imaginations, please?  Thanks.

Chris Harrison pulled a fast one on Jillian with the whole Reid thing–and since when did he become a licensed therapist?   How do you feel right now?  Who do you love?  You know who you want.  You know what will make you happy. 

Ed could’ve done a better job picking the ring.  But, Kiptyn did already pick the best ring of them all. 

What’s with this “Ed is my best friend” BS?  How can he be your best friend already?  You barely spent any time with him.  And then subtract from that the three weeks he was at home.  At work.  Because that was more important than you. 

thanks, people.com

thanks, people.com

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Filed under hotties, Reality TV, tv

The Real Brats of NYC

I hate this show.  Yet, I DVR it every week and watch it, cringing the whole time.  I have a lot to say about it, but not the time, so while you wait, anxiously, and wonder just what I have to say about Kelli, PC, Jessie, Camille, Sebastian, and Taylor (the public school girl!), here is a photo montage of the kids…

bravo090713_nycprep_560b

Send me to hell, but these children are more less attractive than they are actually good looking.  Eyeliner, PC?  Jessie’s eyes are too close together.  Kelli is cute but too…I don’t know.  Taylor is SO public school looking–haha, jk; it’s not her looks but her attitude that makes her unattractive.  Sebastian needs a haircut–doesn’t he know the bangs look for boys is out of style?  And Camille.  Poor, poor Camille.  As someone who shall remain nameless said, in words a bit harsher, “Camille looks like she has a genetic disorder.”

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Filed under Annoying People, Reality TV, Uncategorized

If she wasn’t annoying enough already…

Watch this and see Dina and Tommy Manzo’s trip down the aisle (and all that preceded it).  real-housewives-nj4

I just watched.  And, at the request of my pal CAH, took some notes.  Here they are.  Just because.

  • Casanova owner of a catering company?  WTF does that even mean? 
  • The biggest, baddest wedding in the history of New Jersey?  Come.  On. 
  • “[wwwaaaahhhh] I just want to make it nice, but it’s going to be obnoxious. “  Of course it’s going to be obnoxious just by virtue of Dina being the bride and they being a loud and brash [New Jersey] family.
  • Dina, did you just admit that Tommy cheated on you twice?!  His “I was not a good boy” excuse is not cute (and neither is he, fyi).  Twice in five years?  Haven’t you read HJNTIY?  But good for you (I guess?) for saying, “AND THAT IS WHY HE’S PAYING FOR IT NOW.”
  • $1000 a pop for centerpieces.  Wow.  No flower is worth that.  Especially ugly ones. 
  • HAHAHA, of course Tommy has a yellow Ferrari and feels the need to peel out of his own driveway. 
  • He’s a workaholic.  He’s not helping.  He refuses to give you a minute of his time.  But he does give you carte blanche in terms of spending…LOOK INTO THE FUTURE, Dina.  Money can’t buy you love (no matter what Ronnie Miller may have taught you in the 80s, when Tommy was your sister’s brother in law and was ogling you, even though he was old and you were a teenager).
  • Why does Tommy work more than Al?  This doesn’t seem like a fair partnership. 
  • Dina’s decorating inspiration for the wedding is a Jay Strongwater jeweled butterfly?   Better than a red eyed owl.  These buowltterflies are $500 a pop and she wants one for every guest. 
  • Ugh, stupid Kleinfelds.
  • “It’s a lot of fun shopping for a gown without a budget.”  Ok, who really calls them wedding gowns?  I’m pretty sure most normal people still call them wedding dresses.  At least in casual conversation.  But, I’m not a bride, what do I know?  And who goes in expecting to spend $20K on a dress?! 
  • Caroline has chunked OUT since Dina got married.  Maybe it’s the guilt she feels for letting her sister marry a skeevy workaholic cheater [albeit her brother-in-law].
  • HAHAHA they have a sister named Cookie.
  • “The one” is HIDEOUS.  It’s like a sweater and a skirt.  Badgley Mischka so what?
  • She wants her cake to be big and fabulous.  Much like her hair (big, not fabulous).  And her bubbies (big, not fabulous).  I see a trend here…
  • She wants the layers of her cake fat…and loaded with butterflies and turtles and all kinds of good stuff.  Gold balls.  Bigger than any wedding cake anyone has ever seen. 
  • She takes an entourage every where she goes.  Who does she think she is?  Oh yeah, Dina Manzo, daughter in law to be of a mobster.  Oh yeah, I said it.
  • Photocopies of the invitations?  Awesome.  Faxing out invites.  Even more awesome.  625 guests.  “At this point, what difference does it make?”
  • Dina, you’re a nervous wreck because of the cost?!  You’re not paying for it, Dina.  Tommy is.  And, cut costs.  Don’t get the biggest wedding cake in the history of the world.  Or $1000 flower arrangements (625 people.  12 people per table.  Roughly 50 tables).  Plus an estimated half million for the rest of the flowers.  Or a $10,000 dress.   Orchestra, two different bands?  That’s $77,000.  Bottles of wine that run $1000 each?!   Sell one of your five Ferraris, Tommy.
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is her walking down the aisle song.  Enough said.  How bout some circus music?  Since this is such a chaotic mess. 
  • AAACCCKKK!  What is that bouquet?!  It is not beautiful, Dina.  It looks like a weeping willow (which, don’t get me wrong, is beautiful.  As. A. Tree.). 
  • “Tommy was being a little insensitive to my feelings,” she says.  Dina, here’s a wake up call.  This isn’t the first time he’s been insensitive (cheater alert).  If I’ve learned anything in this life I’ve lived so far, it’s that behavior is consistent.  Especially bad behavior. 
  • “I hope he shows.”  Um, another thing you don’t need to be saying on the day of your wedding.
  • Why is there a police motorcade with the limos? 
  • Release the doves!  Go party!
  • Ha, they’re fighting before they are even introduced to their 600 guests.  Because he wants to check out the tent.  Because, as a catering phenom and owner of The Brownstone, he’s never seen one before.   
  • “We’re starting out on the wrong foot,” she says.  You put that wrong foot down by not putting your foot down, Dina.  Burn.
  • Whoa, the cake explodes! 
  • “I will never say you can do whatever you want again,” says Tommy.  But I, on the other hand, am always allowed. 
  • Who goes around, ever, telling people how much their jewelry is worth, much less at their own wedding???
  • Don’t get me wrong, I love a chocolate fountain…but it seems a bit déclassé for the Manzos.
  • Um, the ass grab at the end was a bit unnecessary.  I don’t care that she’s your wife. 

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Filed under Annoying People, Reality TV, things i don't understand

A Gosselin Spoiler.

Or not so much.  “Breaking News” on people.com:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20286254,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines.

Surprised?  Relieved?  Glad?

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