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Well, my little pavlovas, my blog and I have returned from a complete bout of laziness, but more importantly, a fabulous weekend in the D.C. area. I won't go into the details of my experience at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear because, well, some may consider it too political, but I will say that the rally gave me a great excuse to schlep to Maryland, and stay for another memorable meal at VOLT, owned by Top Chef: Las Vegas alum, Bryan Voltaggio.
Bravotv.com Senior Editor Monica Reyhani and VOLT owner/chef Bryan Voltaggio
My friend and I decided to stay in Frederick, MD instead of D.C. after the rally and, boy, am I happy we did. I've only eaten at VOLT once before, but I remember it as one of the most memorable meals I've ever experienced. And this time was no different. We participated in the Chef's Tasting Menu, where you sit in a room by the open kitchen, so you get to watch your food being prepared. I won't go into each course -- you can see the menu here, but a couple of points: One of the courses was arctic char, which I've actually never eaten before. Though it's related to both salmon and trout, I always thought it would taste more like salmon because of its orange color. I hate salmon (besides lox), so I was kind of nervous to eat it. I wouldn't want to not be able to finish a course, which I consider bad form -- especially when you know the chef! Well, I didn't need to worry because it was delicious, and honestly maybe one of the best courses of the meal. My friend was equally nervous when we were presented with an extra course of goat cheese ravioli. He hates cheese, and frankly I don't really care for goat's milk either, but wow. I don't know if I can have goat cheese anywhere else now. It's usually kind of grainy and not as smooth as other cheeses. This one was smooth. Bryan later explained that it was a goat cheese/chevre mixture. My cheese-hating friend finished his plate before I did! There was also goat cheese in a beet salad course where the cheese was made into somewhat of a whipped cream, which was not only innovative, but equally as enjoyable. I think one of the true signs of a great chef is if he/she can make you appreciate an ingredient or dish you thought you didn't like. Sometimes it turns out that you've just never had it cooked correctly! Honestly, the whole meal was ridiculous and my friend was blown away. Bryan was beyond gracious as always, and I can't stress enough that you need to make a reservation if you'll be in the area. I was happy to see business booming, and Bryan shared that he has some exciting ventures coming, so stay tuned!
Could not agree more about VOLT. My husband and I just recently had an amazing dining experience at Table 21 (waited 6 months for the reservation). Since I tend to be the more adventurous diner, I was concerned that my husband would not eat everything presented during the 21 course meal. I was so wrong. Because Brian does such an amaziang job working with the ingredients, every morsel on both of our plates was consumed. We too enjoyed the goat cheese ravioli and artic char. In addition we had partridge, short ribs and pork belly. The desserts were amazing with the highlight being a deconstructed peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bananas! The entire meal blew us away. Brian is the best!
Gail, I'm surprised that you do not like salmon or goat cheese, when throughout the seasons there has been so much of both. Do you not judge on these meals? Honestly I don't know how a palate like yours would dislike anything, but wonder if the people knowing you don't like it would bother preparing it. Do you judge on the plates of things you don't like?