The DC 100

DC Omnivore 100: #90, Criollo Chocolate

Bars, beans and pods

Bars, beans and pods

It’s time for another item on the DC Omnivore 100 list of the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives.

Finding that the Omnivore 100 contained a chocolate I’d not met was a cause for celebration. After all, most any chocolate is good, right?

A quick search revealed that Criollo is a prized bean said by some to make the very best chocolate. It differs from its cousins Forastero, the most common bean from which the majority of the world’s chocolate is made, and Trinitario, a hybrid of the two.

Criollo is described as being aromatic, delicate, slightly astringent, slightly bitter, complex, noble, and comparable to the Arabica coffee bean. It’s also rare, making up approximately 5 percent of all cocoa beans grown, because the trees on which it’s grown have delicate constitutions themselves.

It sounded like something well worth trying — the crème de la crème of chocolate, perhaps — but tracking it down was the first order of business.
Continue reading

Adventures, Food and Drink, The DC 100

DC Omnivore 100: #50 Sea Urchin

Photo courtesy of
‘Sea Urchin’
courtesy of ‘aslives’

It’s that time of week when WeLoveDC brings you another edition to our ever growing list of DC Omnivore 100. For this entry, let’s push the envelope and go beyond personal food comfort levels by trying Sea Urchin.

If you’ve watched any Jacques Cousteau-esque nature shows, you know what a sea urchin looks like–a purplish-black, spiked, baseball sized creature attached to the ocean bottom or coral.  And you know that stepping on them is a definite no-no. It’s also one of those peculiar food items, like lobster or snails, where some human was SO hungry and that he/she had no other option than taking on the time-consuming task of figuring out how/what parts of this creature they should/could eat.

Given the spiny, hard appearance of the sea urchin, it’s of no surprise that only a small portion of the creature, its roe (aka: gonads, ovaries, milt or eggs,) is edible.  “Uni,” as the Japanese call the eatable part of the sea urchin, is considered a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world. Sea urchins are often eaten raw, with a squeeze of lemon or used to flavor omelets,  soups and sauces, or used instead of butter. Continue reading