Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Santucci's Square Pizza

We ordered a mushroom and onion pizza for delivery from Santucci's Square Pizza the other week, and, yep, it really is as good as people say.

A small, local pizza chain with six location in Philly, Santucci's is known for it's square pizza with cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top. Not spending time north of the city where five of their original venues are located, I had never heard of Santucci's until they decided to open up shop near the Italian Market, and every person squealed with joy from print and social media.

A Santucci's square pizza starts with seasoned cast iron pan, which cooks up a sturdy and chewy crust. The crust is topped with mozzarella cheese, then the pizza is crowned with a deep red, thick, perfectly seasoned, herb-flecked sauce.

Santucci's makes a damn fine pizza. No, really. Every one at the table actually took a moment after eating the first slice to comment on how good it was. From crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings, there was not a thing to complain about.

As far as classic pizzas go, it's one of the best eat-in-front-of-the-tv pizzas I've had. They even managed to thoroughly cook, but not dry out the mushrooms!

Not sure I'll ever make it into their casual restaurant for a sit-down dinner, but I'm hoping for more rushed days to come around as an excuse to order another pizza from Santucci's.

They also do soups, salads, sandwiches, strombolis, pastas, flatbreads, and wings. If there are standouts on the menu other than the pizza, please let me know, and we might add it to a future delivery.

Santucci's Square Pizza
901 S. 10th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nobel Gummy Yogurt Sours

Remember that physical contact, hand-eye coordination issue I mentioned a post or two back? Yeah, it's still here. I'm still pop, locking, and dropping like a champ. And it's laughing in the face of the kids on my college campus who insist on playing Humans vs. Zombies in the last balmy days of November. Yet another maddeningly insipid activity that further alienates me from people my own age, I'm still struggling not to scream at the kids in Steampunk bandanas with tricked out Nerf guns that they're all people- humans and zombies are people! a la Charlton Heston.
Well, little do they know, my street cred comes not from a $300 children's toy or an arsenal of foam darts, but from special Japanese gummies from the lovely Miss Love, Nobel Gummy Yogurt Sours, that bring me closer to being an actual, fairly witty zombie than they'll ever be. You see, these candies have a texture that I imagine is fairly precise to eating actual human flesh, which everyone knows is the choice nutritive supplement of the living dead. These are different from regular gummy bears in their chew, where the regular ones typically have a soft bite with a slight resistance, these are freaking fleshy, and biting into each one is like pinching the cartilage on your nose or elbow, with a decisive thud in each chomp.
The gummies are about the size of a small USB drive, with the same thickness as well. They resemble soft pieces of crystal quartz. They're an opaque, pearly shade of white, and have a hard coating of granulated sugar on their outer surface, which prevented sticky or oily residue from sticking to the fingers and added a much-needed sweet counterbalance to the tart flavor. When all the sugar is sucked off, the nude gummies are slippery in a weird way, so it's best to just chew them up before the sugar melts. While these are advertised as yogurt-flavored, they have a more saccharine, sticky taste with citrusy notes that render it more toward a generic soft drink palate, with a Sprite-like lemon flavor as the dominant taste and not a whole lot of dairy influence. Each piece ends with a persistent soapiness that isn't entirely unappealing. The entire combination, though a little esoteric piecemeal, grows on you with each piece eaten. By the end of the evening, we ate the entire bag!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Angry Birds Fruit Gummies

Manual dexterity is not my strongest suit. My face catches flying objects better than my hands, or "trout" as I like to call them, do, and most of the time I try to fashion small bulbous garments for my arms so I can simply convince people that I don't have fingers. It would make social interaction much easier.
I was surprised when I fell in love with Angry Birds last year because I didn't expect to be good at it or enjoy it. Granted, it has the graphics and soundtrack of a more sophisticated episode of Tom and Jerry and the complexity of a four-piece puzzle, but damn it, I liked it. The marketing craze expanded a little beyond my level of caring, as I'm really not a member of the core demographic of Angry Birds feminine hygiene products or Angry Birds humidifier and filter sets, but when I saw these sweet Angry Birds gummies in a gas station, I figured my buck and a half would not be better spent elsewhere. Except on those 7-11 buffalo chicken Slurpees or whatever they're hawking nowadays.
The Angry Birds gummies come in six flavors and colors representing the six primary characters in the game- red cherry basic birds, yellow lemon fast birds, green apple pigs, purple bomb birds, blue raspberry little birds, and strawberry big birds. The scent is generic but nostalgic, and reminds me less of gummy worms and bears than of the earthy, rich fruit snacks of my youth. The flavors range from sugary to spot-on, though after a while they all start to taste the same, and each gummy is carefully molded, although I did see a few creepy deformed characters.I WIIIIIIIIIIIIN.

Basically, for players of the game, it's as entertaining and fun as eating Pokemon Kraft mac and cheese as a kid or having Power Ranger Eggo waffles for breakfast before school.
The characters are appropriately colored and recognizable, a feature my compulsive mannerisms appreciate as it always wigged me out to see puce sharks or tangerine severed Scooby Doo heads in my lunch box at school.
While the flavors aren't as subtle or complex as Bissinger's bears, they have a good, meaty chew and don't put you in an immediate sugar coma. They won't replace my beloved Haribo Gold Bears, but made for an interesting change of pace. Fans of the game and fans of general adorable foodstuffs should check these out. They made for a fun photo shoot, too, with Dr. D's iPad!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Terrestrial Crab Cakes (a.k.a, a very wd~50 Thanksgiving)

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't incredibly impressed by wd~50 to the point of wanting to use some clever tricks in my every day cooking. While I didn't bust out my supply of emergency sodium citrate and calcium chloride, I did try to take back the concept of taking a concept- holidays, udon noodles, Jackson Pollack, and translate it into food.
With all the Thanksgiving leftovers lying around, I wanted to make something a little classier than the standard sandwich 'n' hash deal (though I ate plenty of that as well) and decided to try what Keepitcoming Love later dubbed the Terrestrial Crab Cake- a croquette made of leftover Thanksgiving offerings that emulated the buttery, stringy texture of a crab cake with no seafood.
It's fucking delicious. And simple. I literally can't believe that I made this in no time at all with such perfect results. Speaking from the humiliated perspective of someone who isn't all that keen on Thanksgiving foods, this completely swayed me. Eaten with a sunny side up egg atop the whole mess, it made a decadent, but subtly complex meal.
Terrestrial Crab Cakes (Thanksgiving Hodgepodge)
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 small leek, thinly julienned
1/4 cup cranberry jelly or sauce, preferably with whole cranberries
1/2 small Poblano pepper, diced
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sopressata, sliced and cubed
1 large turkey breast, cubed
3/4 cup leftover mashed potatoes
olive oil
dried or fresh sage to garnish (optional)
1. Gather your ingredients and cut as specified. In a small pan, drizzle a little olive oil and pour in your leeks, cooking slowly on a low heat until caramelized.2. When leeks are soft and almost cooked, pour cranberry sauce, peppers, and water into the pan and turn the heat up slightly, cooking until most of the liquid is reduced.
3. Put remaining ingredients in the pan until all are mixed together and hot. Put the mash on a plate and let cool until you are able to handle it and mash it into small patties.
4. Form into patties and prepare another small pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Cook patties on medium until they are golden brown and crisp on all sides and serve with sunny side up egg or on their own.
Eat this. Just eat it. Even a baby could cook this. It surpasses the sandwich and slaps the leftovers upside the head with subtle, sweet flavors.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Better late than never, I suppose. Here's hoping every one of our readers enjoyed the day with wonderful food, friends, and no Jones Thanksgiving Soda. None at all.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wendy's "W" Burger

Pros about living in New England: we're awesome. Oceans. Ascots. A distinct lack of accents outside of Bahstahn and New Hampshah. Bleeding heart liberalism is pretty sweet most of the time.

Cons about living in New England: We have roughly four fast food restaurants, approximately none of which are ever test markets. In all honesty, that might be my biggest pet peeve. I live in an area a hair too far away from Maine, which carries the McLobster, and lack an appreciation of the irony that would entail eating a McPizza in freaking New Haven, Connecticut, home of two of the world's greatest pizza restaurants.
So what would normally take ten minutes for anyone living in a normal state took FF and I a rollicking two hour drive to go to a better Wendy's than any of the Wendy's around in the quest for the elusive "W" burger. The "W," surprisingly not provoking any jokes or lawsuits from our former president, is actually a play on words, "" Well, it partially delivers on that front, with two 2.5 ounce beef patties, two slices of American cheese, a loveable cast of vegetable rag-tags, a signature sauce, and a softer, artisan buttered bun. At its best, a burger with an affordable price point for those whose hunger isn't small enough to be satisfied by the dollar menu and those who just don't feel like breaking out the big guns. At its worst, a glorified and more expensive McDouble. Size-wise, it seemed fairly average for a burger, even a fast food one. Not too big or too small. The first immediate issue with this burger was its scent- as soon as I extracted it from its paper prison, a fake nacho cheesy scent emitted from its core. It was definitely freaky, but I ignored it and forged on, figuring the restaurant itself smelled weird or something. The burger is stacked pretty tall, but the height isn't so unreasonably high that it needs to be squished in order to get a bite of every topping in your mouth. And that's good, because the squishy bun practically falls apart with a stern glare.
As far as toppings go, nothing really distinguishes it from other fast food burgers on the market, aside from the special sauce on top. Wendy's describes this as a soybean oil-based, sweet honey mustard flavored sauce. I would normally be all over this sauce, but the flavor of the sauce was so mild that all that remained was the viscous, runny texture and a slick, oily mouthfeel in every bite. Not an appealing way to start the meal. The veggies were incredibly fresh, with the exception of the pickles, limp, translucent shells of their former selves, with an unfortunately mild, bitter flavor, lacking any acidity. The beef was thin and crispy, with a smoky, moist flavor, but had a chunky, chewy texture similar to leftover meatloaf.
Like the release of Justin Bieber into human society, one small thing led to the utter demise of a greater, more complex being, in this case, the poor quality of the pickles led to the downfall of this burger. Without the pickles providing a much needed foil to the assault of cheese, sauce, butter, and a rich bun, the only tangy bite coming from this was the red onions. It's like putting a 1996 engineless Camry in a drag race with a Ferrari. It just can't compete. The dairy elements in this were truly unctuous- heed that as a word of advice from a shameless lactophile. Alone, or scaled down, they might have been somewhat appealing, but all three milk-based ingredients combined completely overwhelmed almost any additional flavor this burger attempted to have, with the aforementioned popcorn butter residue and gooey nacho cheese flavor absolutely persistent and infused into every cranny of the sandwich.
I can understand what the motives were in creating a burger that allowed a maximum amount of toppings for the consumer with a lower price point, and I genuinely appreciate that. Having a somewhat subdued appetite myself, it seems like something I'd get behind when my dollar menu fantasies were no longer hitting the right chords. But the exuberance works against them with an imbalanced flavor and makes for a sandwich that takes away your hunger not because you're full, but because you're mildly repulsed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Desi Chaat House

Sitting here in November with freezing toes and fingers, it's hard to believe that it was 100-degrees the day I visited Desi Chaat House in University City, but it takes extreme situations to get me to cross the Schuykill River into the western regions of the city. We were looking for a reason to get out of our un-air-conditioned house, so savory Indian snacks it was!

Desi Chaat House's searingly bright orange corner store is set up for take-out, although there are are a few seats at a window counter and a small table wedged near the door. A few outdoor tables along the sidewalk are available, too.
The affordable menu has odds and ends like wraps, soups, biryani, lassis, ice cream, and shakes, but the main draw at Desi Chaat House is obviously the chaats. Chaats are savory snacks made of various crispy little bits of fried dough combined with all sorts or toppings and mix ins like onions, chickpeas, yogurt, chutneys, and spices. There are twenty or so chaats at Desi Chaat House to choose from. I'm only familiar with about five chaats on the menu, so after choosing my favorite, we just pointed and hoped for the best.

Behind the counter are canisters containing all the different crispies, bottles of sauces, and pans of vegetable add-ins. Once you place your order, they get to assembling your chaat in a to-go container, reaching here and there, going down the line until the masterpiece is assembled.
I'm ashamed to say I do not remember which one of the specialty chaats this is. Bengali, Mumbai, Punjabi? Either way, what you have is a salty, sweet, spicy, tangy potpourri of many different crispy bits, accented with potatoes, onions, radishes, lentils, nuts, cilantro, yogurt, tamarind sauce, and spicy chutney. It's a profoundly delicious textural playground of intense flavors that cover any Indian cravings you might have.
As a special, Desi Chaat House had my favorite Indian chaat, dahi puri — crispy fried semolina puffs filled with potatoes (and sometimes curds or chickpeas), then topped with yogurt, sweet chutney, spices and sev. Unlike any place I've ever eaten dahi puri, Desi Chaat House gives you the makings of dahi puri, and has you assemble your own. This involves breaking out the top of each individual puri puff (not too easy with a plastic fork), then filling and garnishing them. I'd much rather they made them for me. These dahi puri were great, but there was so much more going on ingredient-wise in the filling than I'm used to. I have a feeling that the chaat artists at Desi Chaat House lack restraint when it comes to ingredients. I also missed the finishing sprinkling of spicy chili powder that usually comes with dahi puri when they are made in a kitchen.
The vegetable samosas comes sitting on a vibrant bed of chickpeas, onions, yogurt, cilantro, and sweet and spicy chutneys. Unfortunately, the yogurt makes the already soft, pre-made and cold samosas even soggier. Perhaps one needs to request freshly made samosas. Service is definitely friendly at Desi Chaat House, and if the guys behind the counter have a moment, they will chat with you, and perhaps offer you a free dessert, like they did for us. I wish I could recommend the pistachio and almond-topped Lahori-style rice pudding from Desi Chaat House's grab-and-go fridge, but it is impossibly thick and sweet. Imagine rice mixed in sweetened condensed milk. This Pakistani take on rice pudding is not my favorite style.

While not printed on their paper menu or on their chalkboard menu, there is a 8.5x11-inch piece of paper posted listing which chaats are gluten free or nut free. Also, you can request any chaat be made vegan by simply leaving off the yogurt.

Despite a soggy samosa, having to assemble my own dahi puri (it's not really that hard), and a too sweet dessert, I'm in love with Desi Chaat House, and their vast array of chaats. I happen to love chaats more than curries, but If you love Indian food and Indian flavors, you are also going to love Desi Chaat House.

Desi Chaat House
501 S. 42nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19143

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stride Whitemint

Stride Whitemint

The Olympics Games are a big deal in my house. Professional sports just don't interest me, and my lack of knowledge of team sports is almost embarrassing. The Olympics are different. I will watch any (or every, if possible) Olympic event, and the way I track medal standings is borderline obsessive. I know the Winter Olympics have a lackluster reputation in comparison to the Summer Olympics, but I like the Winter Games better.

So, when Shaun White puts his name and face on a product, it totally works for me. The man is a snowboarding god. These samples were kindly sent to me for review by a PR representative, but just so you know, I would have bought this gum anyway. May I also add that the PR sample packaging was the cutest I've ever seen?

Stride Whitemint

The bold colors on the outer package were very eye catching and tied into the promotion nicely. The gum wrappers themselves were pretty, too! I loved the metallic white and blue motif. The gum itself was a cool and sweet mint. There were no hints of wintergreen or spearmint, just a nice, easy peppermint. I liked the sweetness, but some of my coworkers found it to be too sweet.

The texture was great: soft but not mooshy, and it didn't seem to harden as I chewed. The cooling effect was pretty strong, and I found it to be a good after-meal breath freshener. Stride delivered on the long-lasting flavor, too. I was sick of chewing gum before the mint had completely worn off (probably about 10 to 15 minutes - gotta start timing these chews better). Whitemint is a safe flavor, but with the fun celebrity tie-in, it certainly left a good impression on me.


Stride website

Sunday, November 20, 2011

wd~50, New York, NY

My absence for the last few days hasn't so much been a byproduct of business as it's been a complete suspension of my personal gustatory reality. This week, I ate vegetarian sandwiches that tasted like meat, drank wines with the aromas of flowers, barnyards, and musk, and willingly downed not one, but nearly two large portions of tender, chewy woodear mushrooms, my own personal Kryptonite, in ecstasy and without any pretense of betting. This last fact alone proves that Chef Wylie Dufresne of wd~50 isn't so much mad scientist, as diners have noted, so much as he is a benevolent wizard of cuisine. But I'll get back to that.
This has been on my bucket list for a while. When Miss Love offered to treat me to dinner, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. As we drove to the restaurant, situated on Clinton street across a check cashing kiosk and Mexican grocery store, I was kind of wondering if I'd be hitting the end of that bucket list sooner than I thought. wd~50 looks completely different on the inside, and from the throngs of well-dressed people and scarily attractive clientele milling around the restaurant, it's clear that the restaurant has many admirers despite its location. On a balmy evening, we started off our night with a few cocktails.
We ordered two specialty cocktails from their list- a wd~50 classic, the Green Hornet, with celery gin and tonic, and a seasonal selection, the aptly named ¿Qué Pasa, Calabaza? with tequila, squash, yuzu, and black salt. The Green Hornet was an excellent interpretation on an old standard. Drinking it becomes apparent that this is not the place where sticking a stalk of celery in a G 'n' T passes for a quality libation. It infuses all the sweet brininess of a celery stick into a drink with none of the pesky starchy xylem, working impeccably with the spices in the gin.
The ¿Qué Pasa, Calabaza? was a perfect play off the weather outside, with a very Halloweeny black and orange color scheme and a light, fruity flavor and fragrant nose. The yuzu crept in at the end of each sip, its subtle influence rendering a citrusy zest without the tartness that a lemon would typically impart. The richness of the squash was beautiful with the naturally yogurty flavor of the tequila. If there was any one element I was somewhat on the fence about, it would have been the salt. While a little was welcomed, there was quite a bit on the rim of the drink. Consuming too much salt in one sip overpowered the more delicate flavors.

While drinking, we enjoyed a box of crisp sesame flatbread in lieu of a bread basket. These had a buttery flavor and delicate texture of the crunch of popcorn husks without the annoying tooth-sticking quality. They provided a good neutrality in between dishes.
Here at Foodette, we go big and go home sloshed, so we went for the full tasting menu with the wine pairings. We started off with an amuse bouche of fluke, black garlic paste, grapefruit, toasted squash seeds, and pomegranate zest. This was an excellent way to start the meal, with a light texture yet bold flavors with the tobacco-like sweetness of fall. The crunch from the squash seeds and silky garlic sauce offset the acidity of the grapefruit and gave depth to the mild fish.
This was paired with a sparkling sake from Yamagata, Japan, which our server explained was basically regular sake made with unpolished rice, made using the méthode champenoise with a light petillance and familiar sake neutrality. It allowed the flavors of the amuse bouche and second course to shine without clashing and was a great way to ease into the meal.
Our second course was the driving force behind my desire to come here, Dufresne's famous everything bagel ice cream with crispy cream cheese, fuzzy smoked salmon threads, and pickled onions. The presentation was stunning, from the matte sheen on the brittle shard of cream cheese to the airbrushed baking marks on the bagel and precisely placed sesame and poppy seeds. It was beautiful, if ephemeral, and had a sweet, bready quality and silky texture.
Next, we waited for our third course while enjoying our second wine, a 2008 Austrian "Trie" Triebaumer from Burgenland. It is worth noting that if you're friendly to your server, you'll leave with a slew of new facts about the fascinating library of wines wd~50 pairs, as well as a fairly generous pour with each new glass. This particular wine was a combination of unoaked Chardonnay, Yellow Muscat, and Muskat Ottonel, three wines that made me cringe inwardly in anticipation of the sugar shock that never came. For a trio of typically unctuous wines, this was a fairly restrained example, with a cloudy color and floral heavy, bone dry flavor that played nicely with the next course.
This was another curiosity, Wylie Dufresne's play on a falafel, taking the "fa" and replacing it with "foie" in a melty, buttery ball of joy nestled inside a thick, chewy pita bread. The foie-lafel consisted of foie gras balls rolled in chickpeas and sesame seeds, fried inside a pita with kimchi tahini and a tabouleh salad underneath. While absolutely delightful to hold and eat, the two unusual elements, kimchi and foie gras, were buried under the pungency of the Middle Eastern spices and showed only their most basic forms in a slight piquancy for the former and fatty, rich quality for the latter. A clever interpretation, and a delicious one, but one that unfortunately missed the mark as far as idiosyncrasy went.
Our next wine followed a similar suit with the 2009 Palmina "Subida" from the Saint Ynez Valley of California. This wine was created in a similar style to red wines from the same producer, and had a beautiful basil and nut flavor with a dusty nose and a yellow hue rivaled only by the luxurious center of our next course, Dufresne's interpretation of a Caesar Salad with a perfectly soft-boiled egg orbited by dried pumpernickel crisps, lily bulb, caesar dressing, and its own shell, recreated out of edible kaolin clay and brown butter. Flavor-wise, not the most outgoing, but the texture was seamlessly similar to an actual solid egg shell.
The udon dish completely turned my world upside down. Completely. Granted, I had my chance to pussy out at the start when the server asked about food allergies, but I decided that if I took my chances and ate mushrooms, it would be at the hands of one of America's most talented magicians of morsels, and I would go down like a champ. Turns out I didn't have to go anywhere. In a rare feat of bravery, this was so delicious that I ate all of mine and most of Keepitcoming's. At its simplest, this dish mimics the textures and flavors of crispy General Tso's chicken on a bed of chow mein. At its most daring, this was a melange of beautiful moist textures and sweet flavors. Surprisingly, mushrooms make pretty damned good noodles, sopping up the gingery sauce yet remaining firm. This was topped with soft morsels of crispy fried sweetbread. The only element that I felt could have been richer and more pervasive was the banana molasses, reduced to a mere glaze atop the sweetbread and lacking the smokiness I typically associate with the sauce.
We were absolutely smitten with the 2010 Gamay "Mon Cher" Noella Moratin. It had the gamey, rustic qualities of its varietal, with a persistent and strong lily nose, with floral top notes and a deep, bretty, almost human-like base scent, of barnyards and wet leather. It reminded us of vintage French perfumes with an old-fashioned set of scents and flavors. It added a svelte layer of grassy sweetness to the udon that the molasses lacked.
A tender, perfect piece of salmon was paired with a root beer oatmeal, sour cherry mash, and carrot. The oatmeal absorbed the snappier, minty essences of sassafras with a firm bite from the kernels and tasted fine against the mild flavor of the salmon, but both had very separate flavors and never really met in the middle. The cherry mash electrified the salmon and really boosted its natural sweetness better than the oatmeal. The carrot's flavor was nowhere to be found.
We drank a 2010 Pinot Noir from Wilson Daniels with this as well as our next course, though I must confess that at this stage, the generous pours were getting to me and if the wine wasn't off the charts exceptional and memorable, it didn't really stick in my head. This was one of the more generic selections of the pairing, with a mild licorice and cherry flavor and scent.
Our next savory course consisted of a tender filleted duck breast dotted with blobs of nasturtium yogurt, roasted turnips, and nutmeg. The nasturtium yogurt was the most unique part of the dish, with a thick, pasty texture and tang similar to hot Chinese mustard but no heat. On top of the duck and countered by the rooty turnips, it was delicious, if a little rich for us at that point.
The final savory course of the evening, (which, at that point, had passed the two and a half hour mark) was a riff off rice and beans with lamb and chayote squash. A very Southwestern vibe emitted from the spices on the "rice and beans," which were really soft, soaked pine nuts and a rice crisp. The lamb was cooked to perfection, but had a little too much fat left on. I liked the sweet, apple-like flavor the chayote lent to each bite. Cut in translucent strips, it curled around the fork, wrapping the fillings up like a nouveau American sushi roll.
We transitioned to the dessert portion of the menu with a strange little palate cleanser of candied egg yolk, brown buttermilk ice cream, jackfruit, and crushed hazelnut pieces. The dish toed the line delicately between savory and neutral, with a hint of sweetness and rush of acidity from the jackfruit. The egg yolk and jackfruit were both bright yellow in hue and the yolk had a milky, creamy flavor but was difficult to discern in each bite. The crunch of the toasted hazelnuts gave a good structural depth to the otherwise dairy-heavy dessert.
And then, we were in full-throttle sugar mode. It was awesome. The apricot, buckwheat, quince, and green tea dessert lent a range of flavors to the plate, at first resembling a set of components not unlike certain Rieslings, but with more colorful flair and less balance on the whole. The apricot pudding had an excellent texture, but its tartness mirrored that of the quince and pushed the subtle salinity of buckwheat to the back burner. The green tea powder was piled and squiggled in a way that made each bite somewhat inconsistent. Some had a mere whiff of bitterness, some, overly chalky as a result of too much powder.
Our wine with that was a beautiful Vermont ice cider, a "Honeycrisp" from Champlain Orchards. It was beautiful and smooth, with a honeyed, brown sugar flavor and ripeness of a baked apple.
We followed that wine with our final dessert and dessert wine, a Californian NV Port, the "Lot Number Three" Marietta. This was a beautiful and lush selection with a chocolatey, sundried flavor that reminded me of liquified Raisinettes. I drank both our ports with our final dessert.
This last dessert was another Dufresne favorite, the beet, ricotta, chocolate, and long pepper Pollack-inspired edible painting. I could have eaten the ricotta ice cream by the gallon, it was so tangy and delicious, with a flavor similar to, but wholly different than yogurt and cheese. It definitely had the silky, salty bite of ricotta. The beets imparted less of a flavoral difference than I expected, but accentuated the saltiness of the ice cream and provided a gorgeous color palate. For me, the chocolate was the highlight of the dish, with a fluid, semisolid texture and elastic smoothness in the mouth. A perfect way to finish the meal.
With our check came balls of ice cream coated in Rice Krispies and fried balls of a lemony rice pudding. Poppable and sweet, they helped soak up a good deal of booze for the ride back.

I got the sense that wd~50 didn't rest all its deconstructed eggs in one basket. Their food was delicious, and their service was impeccable. Each element of the meal felt like it was executed and timed well. Considering that the meal lasted for a little around three and a half hours, it never felt like it was dragging or like we were forgotten. While I can't say that the meal was perfect- a few of the dishes did feel like they were presented for shock value with less regard for flavor than expected, it was certainly memorable and beautiful. I'll definitely be coming back to check out the dessert tasting and to try a few more of those cocktails.