Fire Works Pizza – South Street Under Butterscotch Bread Pudding

SSU Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Surprise bread pudding? Don’t mind if I do!

I’m technically on a “diet” right now due to upcoming vacationing, but I don’t really put much effort into dieting, so I allow myself small treats more often than I probably should. All told, it isn’t much of a diet. OK… I haven’t lost any weight. Whatever. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyways, I was out with a few friends this past weekend and ended up taking a lovely early fall drive out to Leesburg, Virginia. We walked around the downtown area for a while, perusing a few antiques shops and an art show that closed down the main few roads. We totally lost track of time and eventually it came to be almost 6:00, at which point, I was pretty hungry. And in pain.*

*I’d just purchased a pair of super-sale Sperry top siders and realized that they were killing my heel. So I mostly hobbled around at that point. Stupid shoes.

We spotted a very cute wood fired pizza place called Fire Works Pizza and decided to chow down. This place is quite good and I HIGHLY recommend their pizza. It had a lovely crust and very flavorful sauce – definitely a place I would return to if I’m ever out in Leesburg again.FWP

As we’re ordering, I happened to notice their seasonal specials menu. Lo and behold, bread pudding! I swear I didn’t plan this. Screw the diet – I have the ability to eat both pizza and bread pudding because, I mean, I have a blog?

I want to apologize for the quality of the bread pudding photo. As this was a complete surprise, I only had my cell phone on hand and it was already dark outside, so I did what I could.

I’m going to go ahead and say that butterscotch has a pretty bad name with my generation. Despite being widely associated with the often-stale candy stored in the pockets of grandparents, I happen to LOVE butterscotch. So of course I was excited when I saw that this bread pudding is butterscotch flavored.

That’s kind of where my excitement ended. When it arrived, I could tell right away that something critical was missing – a sweet sauce. You can tell just by looking at it that this is a high density dish, and something like that ALWAYS needs a lightness added by a caramel or whisky sauce.


There are a few things I really liked about this bread pudding, so I’ll try to focus on those. The outside had a truly wonderful crunch, while the inside was soft and chewy. It had the consistency more similar to a muffin than a bread pudding because the inside was quite dense, so again it needed an added lightness in addition to the ice cream. The flavor was quite good, mostly due to a strip of butterscotch running through the center of the pudding, which added some zing to the overall flavor. That was really the only clear flavor, as the ice cream was vanilla and the rest of the pudding was fairly bland. Overall, I thought it had an understated appeal, but really needed a secondary flavor to take it up a notch.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that it was served completely room temperature, not even heated up a little? Nothing says, “I’ve had this sitting in the fridge for days” like a room temperature muffin bread pudding.

Plus, what was with the serving size? Come on. If I’m breaking my diet, I want to BREAK MY DIET.

So yeah. I don’t really recommend this one. Should have ordered the chocolate chip cannoli.

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Heavy Seas Alehouse Bourbon Bread Pudding & Peg Leg Stout

I can summarize this post in 5 words: they forgot the ice cream. But let me start at the beginning. I was really excited to eat and drink at Heavy Seas Alehouse in Arlington this past weekend, prior to seeing Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center. (It was fantastic, by the way.)

I’ve never been to Heavy Seas, but I’ve selectively enjoyed their beer in the past and the Alehouse menu looked solid. Add in the fact that there was bread pudding on the menu, and this was a done deal.

Our food was adequate, not great, and I could say the same for the beer – I first tried the Gold Ale with my food and we shared the Small Craft Warning Über Pils with the bread pudding. I enjoyed the Gold Ale, which was a typical blonde ale, but found it a bit lacking in depth of flavor. Sean reviewed the Peg Leg Stout below, and I think it is safe to say that he had a similar experience. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Here’s the exact description provided in the menu of the bread pudding:

Bourbon Bread Pudding – butterscotch créme anglaise with salted caramel ice cream

DELICIOUS, right?  Right. However, yours truly did not clearly read the full description prior to ordering, so I totally missed that I didn’t actually get any salted caramel ice cream, and didn’t realize the error until after I was done. I’ll review without it, but I really think that the ice cream would have made a huge difference.

Let me start by pointing out that the presentation was beautiful, which is no easy feat for a dessert that pretty much always looks like mushy bread. I enjoyed the plating of the three sections, as well as the fact that they gave a decent portion of bread pudding for the price. I found the texture to be quite pleasing – the outside was perfectly crisp (evenly done both on the larger and smaller portions) and the interior was moist and spongy, but not soggy. Crisp crust is a must for me to enjoy bread pudding, because I feel it adds the necessary texture variance to something as soft as bread pudding, and this was done right.

I found the flavor of the pudding to be enjoyable, although a bit mild, with notes of cinnamon and raisins spread throughout for a small bursts of flavor. The flavor definitely could have been developed a bit more. The butterscotch créme anglaise was quite good – sweet, light, and a bit tangy. I could have used a bit more of it, because the bread pudding wasn’t inherently very sweet. But sadly, there was one major flaw – the lack of something to cool down and lighten the heaviness of the dish. Something like…

ICE CREAM! Salted caramel ice cream, to be precise. You know, the item that’s listed on the menu?

I honestly think the addition of that bit of extra flavor with those salt and caramel notes would have really turned this dish around. As it was served, the dish was mildly dull and felt incomplete, and I wrote down that I would have enjoyed it much more with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream on top. Little did I know when I was writing, the kitchen had made a mistake and neglected to add the ice cream. Agh. I really regret not noticing earlier, but what can you do?

Final Scores – taken with a grain of salt because I didn’t get the complete dish.


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Beer Review by Sean

Sean diligently reviews his beer

Peg Leg Stout by Heavy Seas

When I think of imperial Russian stouts, what comes to mind are bold chocolate and coffee flavors, viscous mouth feel, and noticeable alcohol burn. Peg Leg Stout, while a decent beer, does not stand up to the likes of Old Rasputin or Stone Russian Imperial Stout.

What I first noticed about this beer was the sweet aroma of cherries and other dark fruits. It had a very light and smooth mouth feel, with light carbonation and underwhelming head. When I first tasted it, I found it to be rather sour (which I don’t particularly enjoy in an imperial stout). This sour aftertaste lingered for quite a while after tasting. As I noted in my beer tasting journal, this was “not what I was expecting from an imperial stout.”  I give this beer 3 out of 5 stars. I’d probably order it again, but I would not seek it out.

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Cinnamon Apple Crumble Bread Pudding with Irish Whipped Cream

BPASo it has been over 3 months since my last blog post, and a lot has happened. I moved! There is also significantly more beer in my fridge. As you probably guessed, these are indeed related events. Hopefully many additional beer reviews will be coming soon.

The move took forever and was really expensive, so I haven’t had any chances to go out and enjoy bread pudding recently. However, now that all of the moving is complete, I should be able to update the blog more regularly.  Why am I telling you this? You don’t care! 

On to the good stuff!  Cinnamon Apple Crumble Bread Pudding with Irish Whipped Cream.


I’m not the best judge of my own desserts, but I’d say this one was pretty delicious. First off – major props go to this Flavor Mosaic post and this CinnaBerrySpice blog post for inspiration.  While my recipe is a bit different than each of those, I definitely want to recognize the whole apple pie bread pudding concept and the recipe tips I got from those two bloggers. Full disclosure – I straight up stole the crumble topping recipe from the CinnaBerrySpice post.

As usual, I use challah bread for my base in bread pudding. I’ve used other breads, but I love the subtle crunch that the challah crust provides when baked, as well as the slightly sweet and buttery taste. The resulting bread pudding is creamy but not soggy, and has a solid structure. Although I almost saturated the thing with apples, it held together nicely.

Cinnamon Apple Crumble Bread Pudding


Bread Pudding Ingredients
~4-6 cups cubed challah or other bread
4 cups peeled, chopped apples
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
pinch of salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup butter

Crumble Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 square inch baking pan.

Combine bread cubes and apples in baking pan, making sure apples are evenly distributed throughout.

Whisk together cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla, and 2 eggs. Pour over bread mixture in pan and toss bread and apples until thoroughly coated.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter. Stir and heat until thoroughly combined, but do not bring to a full boil. Once combined, pour cream mixture over contents in pan, again tossing everything together to ensure the bread is thoroughly coated.

Mix together all crumble ingredients excluding nuts in small bowl and use hands to pinch together until crumble consistency is reached. Add nuts and stir together. Sprinkle crumble evenly over the top of the bread pudding mixture.

Bake in preheated oven 40 to 50 minutes, or until center is set and apples are tender.

Irish Whipped Cream

Irish Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
2 tbsp Irish Cream

In a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat heavy whipping cream on medium high setting.

When whipping cream starts to set, slowly add in sugar and Irish Cream. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes on medium-high setting.

Use immediately or until refrigerate until needed!

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Apple House Bread Pudding


Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with warmth and cheer. Nothing makes me feel warm and fuzzy more than enjoying some bread pudding, seasonal beer, and good company on a winter evening.

I’m going to try and keep this one short and sweet.  Many of you have never heard of the Apple House because you don’t live anywhere near Front Royal, VA. The Apple House is a small restaurant that features delicious apple baked goods, and they are famous for their fresh baked Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts, which have been made the same way since 1963. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping through at the Apple House to pick up some of these delicious beauties.

Apple House

Apple House Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts

It will come as no surprise to you, based on the fact that you’re reading this blog, that every now and then the Apple House creates a bread pudding from left over donuts. As it turns out, if your girlfriend happens to write a blog about bread pudding, and you bring her surprise bread pudding from the Apple House, you will earn a lot of points.*

*Points issued by girlfriend have no monetary value but can sometimes be redeemed for a beer or two at Dogfish Head, depending on girlfriend’s mood.

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Apple House bread pudding

The bread pudding from Apple House is very compact and heavy due to the hearty texture of the donuts, so a small slice is all one can really handle. However, the flavor is quite enjoyable, with strong notes of apple and cinnamon and just a hint of maple. The texture is cake-y, and it does not pull apart as lightly as one would expect. The entire mass comes smothered in sugary glaze, which seeps into the pudding when warmed up. Due to the sugar of the donuts and the added glaze, the overall taste is quite sweet, almost overwhelmingly so.  If you’re sugar-averse, this probably isn’t the dish for you. I can pretty much live off of sugar and butter, so I thought it was thoroughly enjoyable.


That’s all I’ll write about this particular bread pudding, except to say that I would happily eat this any day of the week.

Beer Review

enjoy-bottle-12-26Sean reviewed the Stone Brewing Enjoy By 12.26.2014, which was bottled on November 21, 2014. This beer is unique in that it is not supposed to be aged. I love the text on the bottle:

“You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.”


Although I have some notes here, I will post with Sean’s full review soon. Or never. There’s about a 50/50 shot that I will remember to do this. Here’s a beer wheel!


Douchy beer wheel




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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding and Pumpkin Beer Tasting


Oh, hello there! It is early fall, which means it is time to….


And we did. Oh, we pumpkin’d ALL the things. The things we pumpkin’d were, specifically – bread pudding, rice crispy treats, pumpkin seeds, and beer.

Quick note on the rice crispy treats before getting to the good stuff. This came about because I found pumpkin spice marshmallows at the grocery store and thought to myself, “this could either be really delicious or really horrible.” I decided to take my chances, and was pleasantly surprised with the subtle pumpkin flavor of the marshmallows. Microwaved and mixed up with butter and cocoa krisps, and you have a fun little treat that takes only a minute to prepare and tastes great!


What do you think? Gross or delicious?

My real focus of the night was making pumpkin chocolate chip bread pudding. There are a number of good recipes out there, and I typically jump to for inspiration. Much of the credit goes to this recipe from AllRecipes user JJCUNEO, which I used as the base and added some tweaks to make it my own.

Here is what I used, and if you don’t care about the recipe, skip to the bottom to read about BEER!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding
3 eggs
9 egg yolks
4-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
2-1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
~11 cups challah (or white bread) cubes
1 bag (12 oz) miniature chocolate chips
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Caramel Sauce (optional)
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Bread Pudding
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 9×13 pan.
2. Whisk together the egg and egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the milk, sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whisk into a smooth batter. Add the challah cubes and toss gently to dampen. Set aside for 15 minutes.
3. Pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and brown sugar over evenly.
4. Bake in preheated oven until pudding is golden brown and puffy, about 50 minutes; transfer to cooling rack for 10 minutes.

Optional Caramel Sauce
Place the sugar in the bottom of a deep saucepan and heat over medium heat. As the sugar melts, start whisking. Once it comes to a boil, stop stirring. As soon as all of the sugar is a light amber color, carefully add the butter and whisk until melted.
Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully and slowly add the cream then once it settles down, whisk to incorporate. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a heat-proof container. Cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve warm on top of bread pudding.

Add some whipped cream on top and enjoy!

Beer Review


All the beer, ready to drink!

One of the many reasons I love Sean is that he introduced me to Total Wine and More, which is pretty much the greatest place on this planet aside from, obviously, Wegmans. Total Wine has a huge selection of beer, but the best part is that you can create custom 6-packs from almost anything you want in their vast beer aisles.

We knew we wanted to have a ton of pumpkin beer to drink for this event, but really didn’t plan any further than that. While looking around Total Wine for pumpkin beer, Sean and I both turned to each other and said at the same time, “Let’s do a pumpkin beer tasting!” Off we went to collect a nice selection of beer. In the end, there were many more options available, the selection we picked included the following (sort of in order in the picture from left to right):

  1. Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider (just added for the ew factor) – 6.90% ABV
  2. Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale – 5.70% ABV
  3. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – 5.84% ABV
  4. Magic Hat Wilhelm Scream Pumpkin Ale – 5.40% ABV
  5. Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin – 9.00% ABV
  6. Southern Tier Brewing Company Pumking – 8.60% ABV
  7. Weyerbacher Brewing Company Imperial Pumpkin Ale – 8.00% ABV
  8. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – 7.00% ABV
  9. AleWerks Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale – 8.00% ABV

I won’t go into too much detail about each beer, but I think we found a good range of tastes. The cider was absolutely disgusting, and there were mixed opinions on the Sam Adams, Shipyard, and the Weyerbacher. I think people largely enjoy the Dogfish Head and Magic Hat, since those are pretty familiar to the group.

I would say that there were definitely two clear favorites. Sean’s pick, the AleWerks Pumpkin Ale, has a high ABV but goes down smooth, with a strong pumpkin aroma and had one of the most pleasant pumpkin tastes out of the selection of beer. There is a light hops flavor and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, and overall got a positive response from the group.

However, I think we all agreed that the clear winner was our friend Brett’s submission to the bunch, the Southern Tier Imperial Pumking. The beer smells strongly of pumpkin and has an orange-ish amber hue. The taste has a solid pumpkin & spice flavor, significant but at the same time completely pleasant and almost sweet, with a hint of caramel. At almost 9% ABV, this was amazingly still one of the smoothest beers out of the group we tasted. Pumking is truly a treat in a bottle, perfect for a chilly fall evening.

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Bread Pudding from Great Harvest Bread Company!


I know these posts have gotten a little bit gif-heavy. What can I say, I have a problem. Right now my process of writing is 30% bread pudding-based and 70% finding a gif I want to incorporate.

I was exploring a local Farmers’ Market the other day, enjoying live music and looking at the various fruits and vegetables. And when I say vegetables, I definitely mean the baked goods and homemade ice cream.

I hadn’t eaten lunch and wandered over to the Great Harvest Bread Company booth to see what kind of treats they were selling, hoping to pick up a quick bread or maybe a whole wheat loaf.


They were selling bread pudding, and it looked really good.

For those that aren’t aware of Great Harvest, it’s a bakery café chain located around the country, similar to Panera, but a bit more directly focused on bread and baked goods. I’ve had their bread from the store only a couple times, but they have a very heavy presence at Virginia farmers’ markets. I’m never sure whether to buy goods from them, because I know they’re in a franchise model where each store is independent, but it still seems kind of like going to a cultural fair and purchasing food from the Taco Bell booth.

But bread pudding?  Yeah, I’ll buy that from just about anyone.*

The bread pudding was firmer than usual, almost like I was eating a bread-pudding-flavored brownie. My understanding is that it is made from leftover sweet breads, with a strong presence from their cinnamon chip bread. The flavor was mildly sweet, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in with vanilla and a bit of apple. Because several different breads were mixed in, each bit was slightly different from the last, which I really enjoyed.

The bread was extremely concentrated and not overly moist, providing a slightly spongy but pleasant texture – something you can really bite into, probably due to the “on-the-go” nature of farmers’ markets. It had a lovely vanilla frosting laced over the top, which provided an added bit of sweetness.

Frosting. Oh my god frosting.

Overall, this was a great little treat. Although not something I would necessarily call bread pudding in its strictest sense, it certainly seems like a great way for GHBC to use up their leftover bread.



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Here’s a new thing!

GIF of the Week**

Arguably the greatest Nick Miller GIF of all time

** Not provided every week

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Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding (Homemade!)


Name: Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding
Beer Pairing: Anything you darn well want! I recommend a pumpkin beer 🙂

I recently joined Costco, which was a terrible idea. REALLY terrible. And REALLY great. I immediately bought almost $80 worth of pointless bulk products, only narrowly escaping the $500 glorified blender. While eyeing the largest bag of popcorn I’ve ever seen for less than $4.00, I caught a glimpse of what I considered in the moment to be the best thing in the world – a bulk package of glazed, delicious Apple Cider Donut Holes made by Maple Donuts. At which point, I (naturally) squealed and ran over, throwing the donut box into my cart without a care in the world. Because, come on, they’re seasonal, they’re donuts, and they were in front of me. I’m kind of obsessed with donuts. The Dunkin’ variety in particular, but I wouldn’t turn down a Krispy Kreme if it was offered.

me with donuts circa… 1997?

Note – I’m going to use the spelling “donut” and not “doughnut” exclusively in this post, because that is how Maple Donuts spells the name of their product.

After Sean and I devoured about half the donut holes in a span of 2 days, I started the hoard all the remaining donut holes for my plan to make donut bread pudding, which I’ve been wanting to try FOREVER. (I would like to add that it is no easy task to hoard junk food when Sean is around. Or, for that matter, when I’m around.)

Using the internet as a guide, I primarily followed other donut/doughnut bread pudding recipes with a few tweaks – the recipe is shown below. (If you don’t have access to these specific donuts, any kind of cake-y donuts will do, or you may use this great apple cider donuts recipe to make your own!)

Mmmmm…. fresh apple cider donuts

I started by assigning the task of quartering the donut holes to Sean, which he took way too literally. While he carefully quartered each donut one by one, I threw together a mixture of rum (just a few tablespoons, optional), heavy cream, skim milk, eggs, a bit of applesauce, sugar, and cinnamon for a custard. I poured the custard over the donuts until saturation in a standard bread pan:


  • ~6 cups day-old doughnuts, cut into pieces (best if they are the cake-y variety)
  • 4 large eggs (I used 3 eggs and 1/2 cups applesauce)
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup skim or 2% milk
  • cup heavy whipping cream

Cut donuts into pieces and put into greased loaf pan (~9 in x 5in x 5in). Whisk the eggs, rum, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla until combined, and then add in the milk and whipping cream until combined. Pour over the donuts until saturated, using your judgment to determine how “wet” the bread pudding should be based on preference. (After my experience, I would recommend stopping as soon as everything is covered and no longer.)  Bake for between 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Great served warm!


Various baking stages

I nervously baked it for about an hour at 350 degrees, trying to get a crispy top. There was too much liquid in the middle and bottom, so those parts baked much slower than expected. I would definitely use less of the liquid components if making this again, and have noted that in the recipe listed above.

Anyways, once out of the oven and cooling, I whipped together a simple glaze from warm water, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and threw it over top, and that’s about it! We ate it warm with just some whipped cream, as I thought it would be a bit too sweet for ice cream.

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Finished product

Thoughts – using too much liquid was definitely a primary concern. I don’t like a “soggy” bread pudding, and had to bake for much longer than expected in order to get the inner parts cooked. Even then, I got a good crisp on the outside but the inside remained fairly saturated. I wouldn’t call it soggy, but I wouldn’t likely use 3/4 the liquid components if I make it again. Noted this in the recipe directions.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Friends, enjoy this gif and your donut bread pudding!

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Seasonal Bread Pudding (Le Mediterranean Bistro)


Location: Le Mediterranean Bistro, Fairfax, VA
Name: Seasonal Bread Pudding
Beer Pairing: Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale (Stone Brewing Co.)

What could be better than a lovely date night at an amazing restaurant on a Friday night? Not much, if you ask me. Especially if the restaurant in question is Le Mediterranean Bistro in Oldtown Fairfax, and that restaurant happens to have bread pudding on the menu! I swear, I did not plan this. Sean almost had to drag me there kicking and screaming because, in my view, spending over $20 on a meal is crazy town.*

It turned out to be well worth the cost, as our dinner was amazingly well prepared with a variety of Moroccan spices, and the ambiance of the small restaurant was warm and personal. After impressive quality of the salmon I had for dinner, I definitely had to try the bread pudding. And folks, I really cannot say enough about this bread pudding. Easily my favorite of any restaurant bread puddings, it surpassed even Matchbox in terms of rank. It was honestly one of the most well executed desserts, not just including bread pudding, that I’ve had.

Although the bread pudding at Le Mediterranean Bistro appears to change based on the season, the version we had was incredibly traditional (i.e. no fruit custard or strange flavors). Served warm with fresh whipped cream, the bread pudding was smooth as butter and had the undeniably best texture I’ve experienced so far. Perhaps due to the brioche base, the pudding was airy and light, with just a bit of give to the fork before gently bouncing back. It wasn’t overly soggy or under baked, but rather the perfect balance of moisture and crustiness.

The flavor was equally exquisite, quite buttery and rich despite the light texture. It had notes of cinnamon and nutmeg among several other flavors, although nothing overwhelming, and the pudding was not overly sweet.  The added touch of whipped cream and a light caramel sauce was all that was needed to compliment the flavors perfectly. It just made me so happy that I could barely function. A truly wonderful dish!

I would highly recommend trying out this restaurant if you are in the Northern Virginia/DC area, as the whole experience was positive. I would love to try a few of their other seasonal bread puddings out of pure curiosity, as I’ve seen reviews of a strawberry bread pudding that sounds interesting. Hoping for a pumpkin bread pudding in fall, which would be great!

* For maximum enjoyment of this post, read while listening to “Butterfly” by Crazy Town


Taste 5 stars
Texture 5 stars
Presentation 4.5 stars
Overall Score 5 stars




Beer Review by Sean

Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale (Stone Brewing Co.)

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Douchey flavor wheel from Sean’s beer journal

Emily and I visited my sister in New York City a few weeks ago, and she took us to a few of her favorite places on the Upper East Side, one of which was Bondurants, which is a bourbon bar. When I got there, I noticed that in addition to bourbon they appeared to have a good tap list, which was very heavy on offerings from Stone Brewery. Beers from Stone Brewery (like many of the other breweries from California), are extremely hop-forward, and can be very off-putting for those who don’t like hops (Emily says, “like me!”) Stone Brewery is most famous for their Arrogant Bastard Ale, which from past experiences is very arrogant. By that I mean extremely bitter, not much malt, and relatively high alcohol. One level above Arrogant Bastard is Oak Arrogant Bastard, which was aged in oak barrels. Finally, we can discuss what I drank, which was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale.


I am generally a fan of bourbon barrel aged beers. However, most of my experiences are with stouts. Additionally, as noted in my tasting journal, I had a very stuffy nose and had a difficult time enjoying this beer. The lighting in the bar was lacking, so it was difficult to discern the true color of the ale. From what I could tell, it appeared to be a rich mahogany. There is a light head that dissipated quickly, but lacing covered the glass as I drank. My first note after tasting was, “This is [expletive] bitter!!” In my opinion it was thin and one-dimentional, with a weak mouthfeel. I feel like this beer would be better with a stronger malt backbone, or some sweetness to balance out the hops. I didn’t pick up on any bourbon notes, which was disappointing given my appreciation of bourbon-aged beers in general. I gave this beer 3 stars out of 5, but I might have to revisit it in the future without a stuffy nose.

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White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce (Homemade!)


Location: Homemade!
Name: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce
Beer Pairing: Raftman by Unibroue

Sooo… I’m running super far behind on this blarg.  Which really doesn’t make sense, because it’s not like I’m overwhelmed with stuff to do otherwise. Unless you count hours of browsing Reddit and attending random events like a Lego Convention. Or hours of drinking (nursing a single) beer and performing surprisingly poorly at Thursday night trivia. Anyways, someday I will post in a more timely manner*.**

This post is another awesome example of people hearing about my interest in bread pudding and deciding to bake bread pudding for me out of the goodness of their heart. As with my previous post, I’m guessing on the exact recipe used, but I believe this recipe for White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce from Epicurious (also listed all the way at the bottom) is very close to what the baker (Sean’s sister Megan) made. I’m also using her wonderful photo, because mine was.. um… terrible.

While I’m a fan of a traditional bread pudding, I also really love a modern take on the dish.  The combination of white and dark chocolate in this version provides a wonderful, creamy base for the bread and custard, and melts right into the mixture while baking.  The result is a moist pudding oozing with chocolate and just the right amount of crisp on the edges. The addition of the Irish cream sauce when serving right out of the oven provides the perfect lightness and contrasting flavor to the chocolate.

So, yeah, I’m obsessed with chocolate and could eat this stuff all day long. In conclusion, I had a huge chunk of leftover bread pudding the next day for dinner and do NOT regret it at all.

This will never happen


Beer Review by Sean


Oooo beer

Unibroue is one of my favorite breweries that specializes in Belgium-styled ales, such as Raftman, which is a Belgium pale ale that I had never had before. This beer was poured out of a 750ml corked bottle, into the proper tulip glass for this style. There is some debate on whether you should pour the bottom of the yeast into the beer that you drink – I decided to pour the yeast into this one. I am not sure if that was a good decision.


Douchey flavor wheel from Sean’s beer journal

When viewing the beer, it was very cloudy, with lots of visible carbonation. The color reminded me of light tanned leather and it had a strong, creamy head. It had an aroma of fruity esters, alcohol, and yeast. The alcohol smell caught me by surprise, because it is only listed at 5.5% ABV.  When I took my first sip, the high carbonation was the first thing that stuck me. Other than that, the beer seemed very bland. There was very little bitterness, not much malt, and it tasted very grassy. There was a faint banana flavor and, as Emily can attest to, I hate the taste of “gross fake banana.” Luckily, the banana flavors were not too strong (I even made a note that said ‘unoffensive’).

Overall, I was very disappointed by this beer. I hold Unibroue to a very high standard, and this just didn’t seem to reach it. It’s passable, and I would never say no to someone serving it, but I don’t think I would buy it again when there are so many other better offerings from this brewery.

Sean just really wanted this gif here

Recipe: White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce



  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water

Bread pudding

  • 14 cups 3/4-inch cubes French bread with crust (about 12 ounces)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces imported white chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray


For sauce:
Bring cream, liqueur, sugar, and vanilla to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in small bowl to blend; whisk into cream mixture. Boil until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For bread pudding:
Combine bread, chocolate, and white chocolate in large bowl; toss to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl to blend. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups cream and milk. Add cream mixture to bread mixture; stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish, spreading evenly. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup cream. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake pudding until edges are golden and custard is set in center, about 1 hour. Cool pudding slightly.

Drizzle bread pudding with sauce and serve warm.

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Homemade Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce



Location: Homemade!
Name: Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Yum yum yummmmm!  I love when other people make food that I get to eat, requiring little to no work on my part.  Especially when the person who is making the food is my friend’s mother, who happens to be a very good baker.  In this case, she surprised a few friends with desserts made for those of us whose birthdays had recently passed, and mine was this tasty treat.*  I haven’t enjoyed a bread pudding with fruit since one of my first posts (one of my favorites from Gordon Biersch), and have been looking around for a dish like this for a while.

Although I am not sure of the exact recipe she used, I’d imagine it is very similar to this recipe from Epicurious, also listed below. One interesting detail about the dish is that the bread used as the base is croissant, which was a first for me. This allowed the texture to be very creamy and light, soaking up the custard but still retaining the airiness of the croissant. The crust was perfectly cooked, with just the slightest crunchiness and resistance.

In terms of taste, the flavor was light and tasted slightly of vanilla, but really brought out the eggs and original croissant flavor. The apricots added a slight tartness to the dish, and created a pleasant variety in the texture. This is definitely more of a summer bread pudding (if there exists such a thing), the perfect addition to a cookout or, say, a gathering of good friends on a nice June evening.

But the very best part?


Mmmm caramel

The caramel sauce pulled it all together.  Definitely a 5-star dish in my opinion!

*The carrot cake and German chocolate cake were also extremely delicious


Apricot Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Bon Appétit | January 2000
The Winchester Country Inn, Ashland, OR

1 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/4 cup water
5 cups whipping cream
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
8 croissants, cubed (about 1 pound)
1 cup dried apricots, diced

Caramel Sauce


Simmer Grand Marnier and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan 5 minutes. Cool mixture completely. Whisk Grand Marnier-water mixture, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Place croissant pieces in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; add apricots and toss to combine. Pour custard over croissant-apricot mixture, pressing down gently with rubber spatula so that croissant and apricot pieces are evenly covered. Let stand 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Place dish in larger roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come 1 inch up sides of baking dish. Bake 1 hour.

Remove aluminum foil and continue baking until bread pudding is golden brown on top and firm to touch, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread pudding from oven and from water bath; cool slightly. Drizzle bread pudding with Caramel Sauce, if desired, and serve warm.

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