From the farmers market to your table at Poste

If you’re looking for a unique and interesting dinner in DC on a Thursday night, look no further. You have to make reservations in advance (Which requires a form. A form to fax in to get a dinner reservation. I feel so important.), and it books up (Although not last night), but the “To Market/To Market” dinner at Poste at Gallery Place is a fantastic way to spend a Thursday evening. We were supposed to go last week for our anniversary (My surprise for the wife, thanks to my coworker for the recommendation), but they were already booked. So we went tonight, and were the only ones doing the special dinner. The evening begins with greetings from the chef and your server. Then you’re whisked off to the farmers market across the street. We got a tour from the guy who runs it, and got to hear about all the different farmers who sell things there, and a little about what they sell. It’s a very warm and inviting atmosphere. And there’s a good chance you’ve eaten food from there even if you didn’t go yourself – many DC chefs show up there at opening with huge carts to take back to their respective restaurants. After the tour, we got a tour of the garden at Poste, which is inside their charming little courtyard, just past people drinking fruity martinis and glasses of wine. They grow all sorts of stuff to supplement what they buy. We got to taste their spinach leaves, which the chef picked while we were standing there. And then dinner. It’s a little pricey, and the organic wine pairing is also not cheap, but it’s a ton of food, and it’s delicious. We started with amuse-bouche. There was a salmon tartar with dijon mustard in a funny sweetish cone that was really good. My favorite was the yellowtail with fruit. They had fried squash blossom with cheese, and a very salty oyster. The second course was a gazpacho that I didn’t like very much. But the wife thought it was great, so I conclude that I just don’t like gazpacho. Next was a tomato salad, which was great. Different kinds of tomatoes, prepared different ways, with some fresh cheese from the market. And then fish with a mushroom sauce for me, and a pistou (Apparently French pesto – who knew?). Which brings me to another point – I mentioned when making the reservation that the wife eats seafood but no other meat, and that she can’t stand mushrooms, and they made sure not to serve her either one. That was followed by the “main course”. All the courses were small, but it ended up being plenty of food. I suppose that’s what happens when you have so many courses. Anyway, my main course was rabbit, which was delicious. I would never have ordered rabbit if I were choosing from a menu, but it was good. A little more meaty than chicken, I thought. The wife had ravioli with cheese and nettles from the garden, which was also delicious. That’s the hidden benefit of a partner who doesn’t eat meat – if your dinner has meat in it, you can taste hers and not share yours. Marry a vegetarian who can cook, kids – you won’t regret it. And finally the dessert course. There was a cheesecake with blackberries and sweet corn ice cream (Yes, I know that’s weird. Yes, it was good). There was a chocolate mousse, and olive oil cake with rosemary, dates, and creme fraiche ice cream. Just when we thought we were done, they brought out peaches, poached in paper, with a honey cheese sauce. They were fantastic, as well. And on the way out, they gave us little mason jars, one with pickled heirloom tomatoes, and one with apricot jam. If I did it again, I might skip the wine pairing. They were all good – I was especially surprised by the muscat that they served first, because I don’t generally like sweet wine, but it was very light and pleasant. But the wines were all white or rose. I would have liked a nice dry red. I suppose it doesn’t pair with summer vegetables, but they could make up an excuse and no one would call them on it. Except maybe super food snobs, and no one cares what they think, anyway. I wish I’d written down the wines we had (Well, I had, and the wife tried. It’s funny – the tables are high enough that you can’t really see that she’s pregnant), but I didn’t think to bring a notepad. The service was great. We got a lot of attention from a number of different people, and never had to wait long when we needed a server. The atmosphere in the restaurant was good, although the bathroom is quite a hike (Through the hotel lobby, around the corner, up the stairs, down the hall). The bar had a very Happy Hour crowd, although it wasn’t unpleasant. At the end of the night, we were quite happy with our evening. It was a lot of money, but it was also a lot of food, all of it delicious (Unless you don’t like gazpacho). If you love white wines and some sweetish light reds, go for the wine pairing, but if you’re more of a dry red person, you’re probably better off ordering your own wine. But we would definitely go back. And I think we’ll be visiting the farmers market sometimes, too – it’s nice to know about a market during the week, since so many are open only on a weekend day.

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