Monday, January 21, 2013

The Pig: Cast-Iron Fruitcake


This holiday dessert takes a risk with chunks of bacon in a fruitcake.  For comparison purposes, this fruit cake is just a little less dense than the Entenmann's version or English Christmas pudding, but closer to those than a panettone. 

The cake's texture and ginger flavor mix with the brandied fruit and bacon chunks with pleasant results.  It pairs well with a cold winter night.  This dish deserves our great rating.
1320 14th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 290-2821

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dean & Deluca: Extreme Chocolate Truffle Cake


I attacked this cake with the traditional horizontal fork approach.  It repelled my  plastic fork in a glorious statement that it was a cake of more serious substance.

The cake was wonderfully dense, packed tightly with chocolatey truffley goodness.  It would only allow itself to be eaten by shaving off slices.  The cake's texture was so uniform and its flavor so deep and rich that it was like an artist captured the Victorian era in a dessert.  This cake deserves our divine rating.

3276 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3624
(202) 342-2500

Google map & reviews (3.84/5.00)

Yelp (3.5/5)

TripAdvisor (5/5; #2 shopping place in DC)

Dean & Deluca Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bill's Red Velvet Cake: A Special Holiday Post From Our Guest Writer Laura

We normally don't review desserts that aren't offered commercially.  We're breaking the format for a special holiday post from Laura, as part of our effort to convince her to write for us.  If readers are interested, we'll see what we can do to share this cake.


Having entered chocolate cake-baking contests as a teen in 4-H, I thought I had seen it all when it comes to the marvels of a faultless cake.  Not so…and not until Thanksgiving 2011 when Bill made his deluxe red velvet cake.

Umm Georgetown Cupcake?  Crumbs what?!  Oh Founding Farmers, you’re so close, but no thank you.  Bill’s velvet underground is where it’s at.  This perfect combination of homemade cake batter made with select ingredients that result in a soft and gooey deep red cake layered and layered with soft cream-cheese, almost-frozen frosting is the most decadent holiday masterpiece.  It's so good that you'll make Santa's nice list, no matter how naughty your calorie count gets. 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Bobby's Burger Palace: Vanilla Caramel Bourbon Milkshake


Burgers are the new tapas in DC, and at least this trend tends to bring milkshakes with it.  Unfortunately, Bobby's Burger Palace's Vanilla Caramel Bourbon milkshake comes nowhere near living up to the excitement about the restaurant overall. 

Instead of incorporating the caramel flavor evenly into the shake, some caramel ribbons swirl through the glass.  This caramel sauce can add intriguing texture and flavor to an ice-cream dish eaten with a spoon, but it's largely lost in a dish enjoyed through a thick straw.  This shake lacked the deep, indulgent vanilla flavor that should be expected in a vanilla shake.  The only traceable flavor was the bourbon.  The problem wasn't that the bourbon was so strong or voluminous that it overpowered the other flavors; it was that the other flavors were weak and didn't blend well.  This left the shake tasting like chilled bourbon and sugar rather than a milkshake.  Skip this dessert.

2121 K Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20037
(202) 974-6260

Google Map

Washington Post (Readers: 2/4)

Yelp (3/5)

Tripadvisor (4/5)

Bobby's Burger Palace on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Acadiana: Decadent Chocolate Doberge Cake


Acadiana's Decadent Chocolate Doberge Cake alternates layers of chocolate cake and pudding.  It's all covered by a fabulous bittersweet chocolate sauce.  These elements give it a nice collection of texture and flavor, creating a springy box of chocolatey delight. 

The gummy pinapple confit in a thick sauce on the side is unique.  It's definitely a contrast, but not necessarily complimentary to the rest of the dish.  The Tahitian vanilla ice cream met but did not exceed our expectations.  For the impressive combination of sauce, cake, and pudding, this dish deserves our great rating.

901 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 408-8848

Google map & reviews (4/5)

Yelp (4/5)

Open Table (4.3/5.0)

TripAdvisor (4/5; #24 restaurant in DC)

Washingonian (2/4)

Acadiana on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Founding Farmers: Red Velvet Cake, a lament


We're sad to report that it appears Founding Farmers has changed its baker or recipe for its Red Velvet Cake. 

Allow us to wax poetic in fitting euology to this beloved friend.  The picture below truly brings a tear to our eye.  The old Founding Farmers Red Velvet Cake was on its way to becoming an iconic DC dessert.  The Southern classic red velvet cake was of the cream-cheese frosting variety, which is a Northeastern element.  It used to earn our divine rating with its fluffy frosting that perfectly mixed sugar and cream cheese flavors.  Its natural vegetable dye seemd to multiply the elegance of the cake's subtle chocolate flavor.  Founding Farmers served it in a portion that allowed diners, or rather worshippers, to choose their own adventure:  a few beautiful bites for each in a group; a decent dessert for two; or a transportative indulgence for one.  It dominated the plate, and the diner's week.  This cake could bring a moment of unchained joy to an otherwise imperfect life.  Goodbye, old friend.  We are better for having known you, and grateful that we were wise enough to love you before you were gone.

Where Giants Once Trod:  The Old Founding Farmers Red Velvet Cake

The new version is a disappointment.  Its vanilla-bean ice cream remains perfection, but the changes to the cake have ended the magic.  The cake portion is now the nearly solid, rubbery density one often finds in pedestrian red velvet cakes.  A cake of that consistency  has a longer shelf life because there's no delightful bouncy moistness to keep fresh.  The icing remains excellent although the texture is more solid than before. 

The Replacement:  The New Founding Farmers Red Velvet Cake

The unappologeticly sub-par cake portion can only allow us to award it a good rating.  This cake will still sell well to the less discerning because of its size (which always makes a dessert's quality suspect) and its good elements.

1924 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-8783

Google map & reviews (4.05/5.00)

Founding Farmers on Urbanspoon

Dean & Deluca: Triple Chocolate Cookie


Dean & Deluca is one of our favorite dessert places, so this is the first of several reviews.  While the store/cafe has several great and divine desserts, not everything is up to that standard.
Dean & Deluca has been missing its divine triple chocolate brownie for months.  It has recently been reincarnated as a cookie.

The basic concept mixes two darker chocolates with large chunks of white chocolate.  The brownie's intensely deep dark and white chocolate flavors and fantastic texture contrasts are largely lost in the cookie version.  The relatively flavorless crunchy edge, which the brownie completely avoids, extends way too far into the center.  This leaves precious little of the cookie to enjoy the great flavor and texture mix.  That center is also much thinner than the brownie version.  This cookie deserves our good rating.

3276 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3624
(202) 342-2500

Google map & reviews (3.89/5.00)

Yelp (3.5/5)

TripAdvisor (5/5; #3 shopping place in DC)

Dean & Deluca Cafe on Urbanspoon