The Dish: Pop Rocks butter and bread
Where: Sona Creamery, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; (202) 758-3556; sonacreamery.com
Price: A bread basket with half an ounce of Pop Rocks butter will run you $3.50. Extra butter is available by request for an additional $2. The butter is also on Sona’s cheese platters: Choose from three cheeses for $18, five for $27, or 10 for $50.
What It Is: Creamy butter mixed with salt and unflavored Pop Rocks, which are just called carbonated crystals. These aren’t the watermelon or strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks from your childhood days: Sona uses the crystals only to give the butter an explosive punch. Meanwhile, the butter’s salt packs the flavor and adds a bit of color. I tried one flavored with pink salt, which gave the butter an almost rosy hue. More recently, the restaurant has been using a darker, black lava salt from Hawaii.
What It Tastes Like: It’s a snap, crackle, and pop sensation that’s similar to eating Rice Krispies. The butter gives life to Sona’s freshly baked breads, and it’s a great way to accompany their cheeses. The popping sensation cuts through the butter in the same way a Champagne and triple cream cheese pairing might work, cheesemonger Lisa Hviding says.
The Story: “It’s interesting because Pop Rocks are actually a French invention, and we have to import the unflavored Pop Rocks from France,” says Conan O’Sullivan, co-owner of Sona. Really, he says, the butter is on the menu because it helps to awaken the palate before a meal—plus it adds a childlike element. “It’s just fun with a high textural contrast,” he says.
Photo by Kiley Fisher, Sona Creamery