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Last time we did an informal foodie experimental test set, Volt won hands down. This iteration, we find Volt neck and neck with Annisa up to the finish line where the crack staff at Volt pulls of a win by a headlength at the finish line.

Wow. Annisa (in the Village in NYC) is fantastic. Soup dumplings with fois gras? Yep. Delicious duck and stuffed pork. The work of Anita Lo is incredibly great. Love the wine list too with lots of fun stuff from Italy. Also a plus, the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and at the same time very precise. The only thing that needs work at Annisa is the bar program which lags pretty far behind the edge. (I called for a Corpse Reviver #2 and the lemon juice was squeezed sometime way before I had arrived at the restaurant. Might even have been concentrate.)

Volt, Bryan Voltaggio’s phenom restaurant in Frederick, MD is also fantastic food-wise. Of particular note on the tasting menu this outing:
MELON heirloom tomatoes from big white barn, pickled rinds of watermelon, shaved surryano ham from surry county virginia, fennel marinated in fresh whey and dressed with oil of arbequina olives

The melon treatment is particularly incredible. Both cantaloupe and watermelon vacuum sealed and compressed.

CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS preserved ramps from this year’s crop, steel cut oats with kombu and brown butter, sea lettuces dressed with the pickle from the ramps, mushrooms roasted and glazed with an emulsion of beer and fresh yeast

foam! and buttery deliciousness.

PASTA BOLOGNESE calamari and bacon smoked with hickory, stewed with roasted tomatoes and kimchi of daikon radish, ricotta cheese and miso cavatelli with ink from the squid, grated parmigiano reggiano

This was my personal favorite. I am usually not a fan of squid ink, but Voltaggio can pull it off. The bolognese would make any nanna proud.

NUNAVUT CHAR slowly cooked in extra virgin olive oil, green cabbage shaved thin and slightly wilted, rye bread that has been toasted and smoked, mousse made from horseradish, broth from plum juice and dill

So tender.

The food is just amazing. Don’t let the off the beaten path thing fool you. But the service is what made our outing at Volt so great.

Zack started things out properly at the bar with some nicely crafted cocktails including the Cat’s Pajamas:
.25 Countreau
.5 Yellow chartreuse
.5 Brandy
.75 Suze
1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
Stir down. Serve up with a thick orange twist.

TJ the wine guy was so encyclopedic in his knowledge that we all learned something. What a joy to experience (well everything but the Gewürztraminer). The entire staff is not snobby at all, just knowledgeable and fun. Our waiter was also a blast, especially when after hearing about the latest two pigs we’re raising opined that we should call them “Mountain Dew” and “Spider Monkey” or maybe “brioche” and “biscuit.” Awesome. Real people, great food. You MUST go.

Volt Entrance (3a)

The best part of all was that the Volt thing happened spontaneously based on a gig I had in Frederick. Best excuse to blow all the gig money and then some that I have ever had! (Thanks to Michael for squeezing us in at the last minute.)

Maybe the awful United express flight up here in a creaky old expressjet CRJ200 was foreshadowing of some sort? In any case, there is nothing quite like New York City to disavow you of your ego! Even the hotels and my own best guys are in on the game.

Just when we thought Kimpton loved us here at noplasticshowers, we were unable to finagle our favorite room for one of my companion’s rare visits to the city. (We admit that we waited way too long to ask nicely, but the powers that be are keeping us way too busy these days!)

And the note, though handwritten by Santo and very much personal, was handed to me with the new loyalty program chit instead of being secreted away in my room? Dang. There’s no way that a $30 minibar credit makes me feel as welcome as cold sparkling water, a bottle of wine, and some cheese. Especially since there is no sparkling water in the minibar. (Minus 10.) Maybe the corporate apartment is better.

Too many people in the Kimpton loyalty program?! The inner circle is way way wide. Horrors. Now we’re all the same?! Noplasticshowers prefers the grade inflation found outside of NY where everyone is above average.

This is not cheese?!

This is not cheese?!

Palomars where are you?? Come rescue me.

OK OK, first world problem. It’s true. And maybe this all has something to do the the scaffolding all over the building and its deleterious impact on room service? Quite possibly there is no cheese (or sparkling water) to be found.

Room 1515 is nicely way up there and has a classic 70park layout. Excellent style with good lines and great use of mirrors. We’ll feature the mirrors in the pictures this time.

Bed in the mirror.

Bed in the mirror.

Bed in the other mirror.  And an infinite mirror too!

Bed in the other mirror. And an infinite mirror too!

Bathroom mirrors can't be left out.

Bathroom mirrors can’t be left out.

But sadly, there is a shower curtain. You know how we feel about those on this blog.

Curtain over a tub.  Uh oh.

Curtain over a tub. Uh oh.

To add insult to injury, blue smoke is out of Hirsch ’76 (no more left in NY or maybe on planet earth). We are in a three showerheads kind of mood. Meh.

Want sparkling water? Well go get it yourself from Starbucks.

And then things took a serious turn for the much better (not at 70Park but in NYC). Thursday evening included a walk downtown on the high line, a visit to NYU and Washington Square, an outrageously great meal at annisa in the village (really, best restaurant ever in NY which is high praise), and the best time ever for NY mixology at Lantern’s Keep. All in one evening.

We are so glad that Raines Law Room was once again too popular for its own good, because we met barman Bob and his merry band of friends. What’s not to like about outstanding shots of agave tequila and zacapa 23 from paper cups in between delicious beverages? Real daiquiri shooters all around got us started. There was even homemade amer picon (kinda) for a Liberal. Lantern’s Keep is now high on the NY mixology list.