Thursday, June 6, 2013

CUPCAKES – Desserts anyone?

Ok, so I came back from DC 10 pounds heavier.  In know some of you are say where are the 10 pounds well check out the hips they got wider I can barely fit through the door.  But all kidding aside I was in sugar heaven.  I was on such a cupcake high that I had to try all that DC had to offer in delicious tasty treats.  So I guess first things first lets talk cupcakes because that was my downfall.

CRUMBS BAKE SHOP located at Union Station.  I admit I was addicted I came here more than once.  The cake was moist like it should be and was extremely large.  There was no “little” cake it was as big as a man’s fist.  The frosting was good perhaps not the best.  I would say the best frosting was a Red Velvet Cupcakery, which I will talk about later.  This place should be on Cup Cake Wars.  The cake was not dry like Casey’s Cupcakes is becoming since its win on Cup Cake Wars.  No take that back it should not be on Cup Cake Wars because then it just might lose what makes this place so special.  The staff were honest in their recommendations as to which flavors were there favorites. Mine was the red velvet.  The cake had that underlying taste of chocolate that makes it what it is.  The Blackout Cupcake was filled with fudge mixed with vanilla custard, perhaps that is why it was so moist.

Lucky me there are 6 locations in California in which to gain back all the weight I lost from dieting.  Hollywood - 6801 Hollywood Boulevard; Beverly Hills - 9465 Little Santa Monica Blvd: Calabasas - 4799 Commons Way; Glendale - 779 Americana Way; Larchmont - 216 N Larchmont Blvd; Malibu - 3939 Cross Creek Road.

CAKE LOVE located at 1506 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009-391.  All around just a really good bake shop. No place to eat inside but well worth the 2 undergrounds to get to.  You can tell these cakes are made with love.  Founded by Warren Brown a lawyer turned master baker.  He found his passion before the law burned him out.  Two Thumbs Up alone for following his dream.  His cupcakes were perfect not too big and not too small moist.  The frosting…well let me tell you his frosting matched his cake.  The coconut was to die for and I am happy to say he just did not sprinkle it on the cupcake but actually put enough of the goodness on so I could really enjoy it.  I am only sad to say that his shops are located in DC and Virginia I can only hope that he expands soon to Southern California as I will be the first one in line waiting for his delicious morsels to arrive.  Mr. Brown can I please have your autograph you are an inspiration.

RED VELVET CUPCAKERY located at 505 7th St. NW in the Penn Quarter.  A little friendly storefront shop serving up noticeable cupcakes.  The staff is warm and friendly. Once you walk into this bakery shop you feel the shear of joy of being there thanks to the atmosphere and staff.  This is certainly one of the best cupcake frostings I ever had.  The red velvet frosting I could eat right out of the bowl.  It was that good.  The texture was heavy but the taste was so light and perfect I cannot say anything negative. Frosting mixed with a moist cake and bingo you have a cupcake I would pay top dollar for only you don’t have too.  This place is nestled between a restaurant district so do NOT have dessert with your lunch or dinner just walk down the street and enjoy the fresh baked cupcakes.  Mine was hot out of the oven just cooled enough to put the frosting on – priceless.  Sorry only located in DC at this time but I hope they move out west!

So DC by far has the best cupcakes.  It beats the ones I have had in California and London.  All these CupCakes rate a Four Forks Up because I could not fit in jeans on the plane back from DC.  Each bakery has their own little back story and encourage you to try them out.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PALENA – Food of the White House

Chef Frank A. Ruta was hired to work in the White House kitchen back in 1979.  I do mean “the” White House kitchen not just a white kitchen.  He worked under the Regan and Bush terms of presidency.  No matter what you think of their politics you have to give them credit for their taste buds.  Chef Ruta is a culinary god in my world.  Never have I eaten a meal where I felt sick because I just kept stuffing my face.

Palena has a style to appeal to everyone.  There is the market selling fresh imported and artisanal products used in the restaurant, as well as coffee, and ready-to-eat sweets and savories.  The Café serves up wood fire grilled specialties such as Wood Oven Roasted Rabbit Leg to Palena’s Wood Oven Roasted Chicken.  Do not fret they also have an array of pastas to chose from such as Mezze Rigatone Bolognese made with hand diced beef, pork and lamb ragout, shaved reggiano cheese.  The lamb meatballs are flavorful and moist.  Nothing here is what you find anywhere else in North America. Chef Ruta always puts a special spin on the ingredients.  

Now let me introduce you to the Dinning Room where the atmosphere is always romantic.  Reservations are required no matter what day of the week.  I was told that you need to make them 2 weeks in advance but since I was flexible on date and time they were able to squeeze me in on a Thursday night.  The tasting menu may be considered quite pricey in some circles but it was well worth the dent in my wallet and the calorie intake.  Three course plus dessert is $80.00 while five courses plus dessert is $100.00.  Those prices do include two wonderful pre-appetizers.  One of which was a delicious and rich Asparagus Soup followed by Asparagus Risotto Ball made with mint a real treat for your taste buds.  The Tuna Cruduto was fabulous a light taste that left you wanting more.  Although I will say that the Asparagus White Brouche with Hens Egg was a little too salty for my taste.  The Salmon Pamela with beets pasta was sweet and rich more a dessert than an entrée.  The menu changes monthly with the seasons and fresh fish so nothing stays the same on the second visit.  
You may want to pace yourself with this menu.  Although it is a tasting menu the portions are not small so do not think you will be exiting the establishment and heading for taco bell.  I left with a tummy ache because I did not pace myself and kept eating without stopping.  Well the more got to me and all I could do was grab a cab and go to bed instead of enjoying the wonderful nightlife DC has to offer from its clubs featuring the best of local musicians to the sites. 

The staff is wonderful and the chef amicable to change up choices from either menu due to dietary restrictions without a fuss.  My glass was never half empty it was always full.   As soon as you walk through the door you are greeting with warm smiles and inviting gestures. 

This place if Four Forks Up no and if or buts about it.  It is a delight to the taste buds.  The food is not cheap but remember where else can you say one of the White House Chef’s feed you a dinner you will not forget.  You will leave in a happy coma with the delusion that you are the President of the United States.  A most stop on your tour of DC and great for locals for special occasions. 

3529 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC