[Photograph: Jay Friedman]
In the senior citizen-filled city I visit annually and affectionately call Cocoonville, it’s refreshing to have a new restaurant that’s appropriately named Rebel House. Sister of Charm City Burgers and El Jefe Luchador, this “hipster” joint has a fascinating interior full of offbeat signs, furniture, and artwork—and a menu that’s a playful contrast to the more staid offerings of other area restaurants.
After a number of dishes featuring fun ingredient combinations (like steak tartare with black garlic aioli, charred cauliflower with curried honey mustard and golden raisins, and roasted duck breast with pear and gorgonzola fiocchi, foie gras-green bean pecandine, drunken cherries, and lavender essence), I was sold on dessert. The selection of ice cream sundaes tempted me, but further down the menu I found a list of “Composed Desserts” like Sticky Icky Buns and Tuxedo Pie. My choice: Orange “Creamsicle” Frozen Souflee (sic, $9).
The name alone brought back fond memories of the joyful sounds and sights of the Good Humor truck. And the dessert would deliver on my joyful expectations. The soufflé itself is simple and satisfying. Topped with whipped cream and orange segments, it’s cool and refreshing after an intensely flavorful meal. The rest of the dish, though, rebels against the norm, elevating the dessert from a childhood retreat to adult eclecticism.
The soufflé floats in the bowl, surrounded by some citrus consommé. In the consommé are pistachios, adding crunch, and thin shreds of mint, adding herbal zest. Then back to childhood: Around the bowl’s edge is a sprinkling of Pop Rocks, as if separated from the soufflé by the moat. Spoon them in, and they add more crunch as well as that crazy, chaotic popping sensation that contrasts well with the composed soufflé. Reminiscent of Rebel House itself, this dessert is whimsical and well-worth some adventurous exploration.
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him “The Mein Man”), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.