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Not quite the voltage we expected

A late start to the day: Last night at Volt I began to feel ill shortly after dessert. Rich food—I’d had lobster—and abundant drink had something to do with it, but I think that the overnight aching-all-over and the chills point to some ague.

I expect to be on my feet again by tomorrow morning to torment my undergraduate charges over English grammar. And today’s Web offerings, previously prepared, have been served up: The joke of the week, “The bad cold,” is on, as is the word of the week, exiguous.

As to Volt itself, it is a handsome restaurant with a cheerful and assiduous wait staff. The various breads were all quite good. The lobster that Alice and I had was excellent, and J.P. enjoyed the sturgeon. But Kathleen thought that the lamb was a little tough, and I found the New England chowder unremarkable.

Here’s the thing: Volt is the kind of fashionable restaurant that likes to cram as many elements as possible into a dish. (Example: sturgeon beluga lentils, cauliflower, cilantro pudding, medjool dates, ver jus 31.) They look impressive on the menu but sometimes appear as mere dots on the plate, and my palate is insufficiently sophisticated to fully appreciate that much subtlety.

The consensus that emerged afterward is that we were treated very well and that it was a very good dinner but not a great one.

Volt partisans may take advantage of the comments function to berate me for my philistinism. 


Posted by John McIntyre at 1:21 PM | | Comments (15)


Hmm. Sounds like the sort of place that tempts me to lay on the Chattanooga twang and say, "Take away this here cuisine and brang me some chicken and brea-ud!" (At Bea's Restaurant in 'Nooga, the waitresses are always calling back to the kitchen for more "chicken and brea-ud" to top up the Lazy Susans at the communal dining tables.)

And may I be among the first to offer birthday greetings to the new sexagenarian? (Further rude comments on this subject will be arriving later this week courtesy of the USPS.)

Example: sturgeon beluga lentils, cauliflower, cilantro pudding, medjool dates, ver jus 31.
I refer to this as dartboard food. I'm convinced the chef simply throws his/her turn of five darts at a dartboard labeled with random ingredients, and whatever comes up, that's what's gonna be on your plate that evening.

Point to Robin! Bingo!

As a self-appointed spox for the Susans of the world, please 86 the "Lazy Susans." They're revolving trivets.

Personally, Susan, I'd be happy to ditch the term. But that's a matter you'll have to take up with the world in general and the management of Bea's in particular.

I know nothing of Volt, but I wish you a swift recovery. Until you're feeling better, you should probably stay at ohm. No resistance, now.

Susans aren't lazy, anyway. No one who grew up at the (metaphorical) feet of Arthur Ransome could imagine Susans being lazy.

My husband and I call food like that "pretty food." It looks nice, and sounds wonderful, but you often walk away feeling unsatisfied.
To show how unsophisticated we are, we always plan a stop at an ice cream shop after any "pretty food" meal.

@Susan My grandfather Joseph, I've been told, refused to eat loose-meat-with-sauce sandwiches on the grounds that the name was unbecoming to tidy folks named Joe. Not a crusade or a plea to the world at large, just his own personal protest.

LisaMc's comment makes me wonder why there are no foods named "Bob"--and, no, I don't think shiska-bob counts.


Hmm........... there is, of course, the formal version of "Bob", namely "Robert". Like for instance the legendary Robert the Bruce, the great early Scottish patriot, and revered martyr for his nation's freedom. Poet Robert Burns will do, as well. (I know. There he goes again w/ the darn Scots stuff. If it ain't the Scots, then it's those confounded Canucks. Mercy! Give it a rest. HA!)

Therefore, I would submit that the slightly arcane savory dish generally served open-faced on toast, Welsh 'robert', might 'loosely' qualify in our maligned first names category. So all you Roberts out there should justifiably feel mildly chagrined. The nerve of these official food namers! (Don't they realize that lads named Robert, in the main, are very sensitive sorts, and don't take well to blatant mockery, particularly direct association w/ melted little cheesy bits?)

OK. I admit I did take some liberty w/ the spelling (should be "rarebit"), and that all-in-all, it's a pretty cheesy example. HA! (But a 'rare bit' of lame humor, nonetheless.)

But for this darn early on a fine Wednesday morning w/ the new day having barely broken out here on the Left Coast, that's basically the best I got for now.

Dahlink, be gentle. HA!


I think "Welsh rabbit" is back as the favoured spelling, Alex

Picky old sport,

Indeed, in checking out the word(s) origin of "Welsh rarebit", there was a strong suspicion that "rarebit" was a mildly homophonic substitute for the original "rabbit". Apparently, it was a commoners' culinary main ingredient replacement for the furry little creatures, whom back in the feudal age in the U.K. were prohibited from hunting, due to seasonal scarcity, by royal edict, no less.. Who said Britain isn't a class-based, stratified society. HA!

For some odd reason, these mediaeval 'underclassers' thought gooey melted cheese laced w/ milk and assorted savory additives would be a most perfect substitute. "Screw the rabbits. Blimey, we'll eat baked chedder cheese instead." And so the story goes.

But Picky, I beg of you. Don't go complaining the next time you sit down to a scrumptious repast of Welsh "rabbit" that there's a "hare" in it. HA!

Tha, tha, tha, .......that's all folks!

(Where's that confounded wabbit?)


Kill the wabbit!

>(Where's that confounded wabbit?)

He took a left turn at Albuquerque, of course.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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