Monday, October 20, 2008

Ladies Night!

Oh yes it's ladies night, and the feeling's right. Oh yes it's ladies night, oh what a night (oh what a night)! A couple of weekends ago we had a JAM reunion with a goal to go out dancing and perhaps find a few cute guys to buy us drinks. In order to make ladies' night (I started calling it girls' night out, and Jenny quickly corrected me that we are no longer girls, but grown and sexy women) a bit more special. Ariel and I decided to take Jenny and my roommate Natalie out to a new hot spot in DC for dinner. We had heard great things about Co Co Sala, and what better place to start off our ladies' night than eating at a restaurant that focuses on chocolate themed food and desserts!

When we arrived at the restaurant we were all immediately struck by the beautiful, hip, sexy vibe of the interior. The restaurant feels very warm with dark red and brown tones. We loved the tiled wall behind the bar where we were seated. Once we got settled at our table we decided to start with drinks while we perused the menu. Natalie ordered a lychee cocktail that was sweet but not cloying, which matched the light pink hue of the drink. I ordered a pear cocktail with amaretto, vodka, pineapple juice and pear puree. It was fruity and refreshing. Ariel and Jenny ordered Co Co Sala's signature cocktail, the "cocojito" which is their chocolate version of the mojito. This drink was divine! The cocktail had all the qualities of a regular mojito with mint, lime, simple sugar syrup and club soda, but the twist was the chocolate infused vodka they add, as well as chocolate shavings. This drink was so chocolaty and minty, it was the perfect combo. We all agreed we could have just drunk the cocojitos all night and been perfectly content.

The heavenly cocojitos

Later on in the evening, in between dinner and what was really the main course, dessert, we ordered a couple more cocojitos. We really couldn't get enough!

Sippin' on cocktails

Ariel and Natalie are REALLY enjoying their drinks!

When deciding on what food to order, we were directed by our extremely helpful waitress to each order two or three of the small bites, which are very similar to tapas. Natalie and I both immediately eyed the crabcakes on the menu and knew we had to order them. Ariel will tell you how much I love crabcakes ever since I was a little girl. If you love crabcakes like I do, you won't be dissapointed by these. Natalie chose the spicy Louisiana, while I went with the coconut version. The ratio of crab meat to filling was good and the exterior was crunchy while the interior was sweet and creamy. Mine was deliciously coconutty with a hint of basil and came with a chocolate mayo and a side of baby greens. The Louisiana had a kick to it from the chipotle chocolate tomato glaze, and came with a mango salsa and avacado cilantro emulsion. If you love crabcakes like I do you won't be dissapointed.

Louisiana Crabcake and Bleu Cheese Beef Burger

The sliders on the menu are equally good. Natalie and Jenny both chose the Bleu Cheese Burger, altho Jenny got hers sans mushrooms since she's not a fan of them. The beef was tender and well spiced. They are slightly more well done than a regular burger because of their small size, but they don't lack in big flavor. The bleu cheese paired nicely with the beef, and the mushrooms and spinach lent a nice earthiness. The co co mole sauce added a richness to the burger. The brioche bun was soft but hearty enough to hold up to the burger. Ariel and I chose the more exotic sliders. I love fish, so I had to go for the Spicy Moroccan Swordfish, while Ariel satisfied her love of Indian food with the Tandoori Chicken Patty. The swordfish was really nicely seasoned and had just enough heat to it. The pecorino cheese mellowed the spiciness of the fish and the fennel shavings added a nice texture and crunch. This slider was topped with a cheesey brioche bun for another layer of flavor. The chicken patty was moist and tasted very strongly of cardamom, which I loved, but if you aren't a fan of it I wouldn't reccomend it. It was served on a brioche bun with carrots and greens.

Spicy Shrimp Mac N' Cheese and Tandoori Chicken Patty

Ariel's second dish was the spicy shrimp mac n' cheese which really rich and creamy with nice chunks of shrimp. The creamy monteray jack and cheddar cheeses play nicely with heat from the jalapenos and garlic. Ariel especially enjoyed the big, whole shrimp that was served skewered atop the mac. Jenny's second dish was on the lighter side, a maine lobster salad. This dish had crushed avacado, greens, chunks of lobster, a lemon aioli and a passion chocolate vinagrette served with a side of corn bread. It was very fresh and the avacado and lobster gave it a heartier feel without being too heavy.

The first courses: praline soup...

After eating our small bites, we moved onto the real main course...dessert! We were all so excited to try everything on the menu. The desserts are set up so that you can order things individually, such as gelato, hot chocolate, truffles, sorbets, etc or you can enjoy a number of desserts at once in a "flight" of your choice with a global theme. We decided to share three flights, which we soon realized was more than enough for the four of us. We chose the Italian Voyage, Aztec Experience and Childhood Favorites. Each flight comes with what they call an "amuse", "main course" and "petit fours". The main course is substantially larger than the first and last courses. The first course was the chocolate praline soup with vanilla panna cotta, churros with dulce de leche and a mini boston cream doughnut and cappucino panna cotta.


The churros were probably my favorite because the of the dulce de leche. This sauce is rich and creamy with milky caramel flavors. The churros were thin, but still crisp on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside and they were perfect for dipping in the dulce de leche. We didn't finish all the sauce, but we kept it around for eating with a spoon. Yum! The boston cream doughnut was a little hard to share, so we split it in half and then Jenny and I just bit into it a la Lady and the Tramp. Natalie and Ariel did too. Sorry there aren't any pics! Haha. The doughnut was soft and pillowy and the cream filling was smooth and sweet. The praline soup had a nice creamy caramel flavor, but was a little sweet for my liking. I guess I'm more of a savory soup kind of girl.

Main courses: Tiramisu trio, spicy molten chocolate cake...

We were barely finished with the first course, before the main courses arrived--all glorious three of them. We had a trio of Tiramisus, a hot chocolate souffle, and a peanut butter mousse with bananas fosters and a mini cupcake. Each of the main courses was very decadent. We all agreed the tiramisu was the favorite. There was a "frais de bois", chocolate and classic versions. The frais de bois had fresh strawberries and a moist spongy cake with a delicate cream. It was sweet and fruity, but not too rich. The classic stays true to form and the chocolate was very, very chocolaty. The dark chocolate was great for an extreme chocolate lover. The hot chocolate souffle is very similar to many of the "molten" chocolate cakes being served at restaurants in abundance these days, except that the interior melted chocolate center had a spicy kick to it. The cake center actually was much more cakey than we would have liked, probably because it is such a small cake and baking may be trickier. The peanut butter mouse had an intense peanutty flavor. It was very dense and creamy, it almost had the feel of ice cream. It came with a chocolate sauce and a side of bananas fosters for a delightful play on peanut butter and banana combinations many experience as kids. I personally love banana and peanut butter sandwiches, but I thought it was a little too sweet and the mousse was so dense it was hard to eat a lot of it. We all thought of our other friend Jenny while we ate because she makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for lunch. If you are a PB fanatic this is the treat for you.

Peanut butter mousse

The final course of petit fours was ricotta bite and dipped amaretti, a mexican cookie and a chocolate infused "horchata" drink, and a chocolate chip cone with a cheesecake "lollipop". None of us were that impressed by the last bites, although the mint chip cone and the lollipop were very cute. We loved the chocolate covered strawberry cheesecake pop because it was sweet and creamy and it was covered in pop rocks! Yes those little firecracker candies we grew up with. I just love the way they snap, crackle and pop in your mouth. We all had a lot of fun eating that dessert. After we were stuffed full of chocolatey goodness we lingered a while sipping on those cocojitos before heading out into the night for our DC quest for dancing and fun. All in all a very sweet ending.


Jenn said...

Ooooh cocojitos! Best drink ever!

Malia said...

Most definitely! We need to learn how to recreate this cocktail!

Malia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Put the chocolate in the mojito and call me in the morning!