So anyone who knows me, at least mildly well, will confirm the following things about my dining and eating habits:
1) I DESPISE chain restaurants
2) I’ve giddily jumped aboard the “local foods” train, and am looking to toss off the conductor and drive the damn thing myself
3) I have a secret, shameful passion for Taco Bell, a remnant of my childhood.
The last thing, I’ll address in a later post. As for the first…
When trapped in the wilds of suburbia in my hometown, native dining options (aside from Biscuitville and Maxie B’s) are somewhat sparse. Not entirely lacking, but just sparse. There aren’t a lot of locally owned places where one can duck in for an after work dinner with good food and a wine list that doesn’t include the words “Yellowtail” or “Sutter Home” One of the things I love about DC in general, and my little slice of it in particular, is that we have a myriad of options for just such an occasion.
Which brings me to my second point- judge how you will, but I’m all about the local foods trend, especially when it comes to meat. It just strikes me as good business to know they people that are killing your food, and to be comfortable that it’s done safely and humanely. I’ll save my soapbox for another time, and just say that I’m glad it’s taking off, and that it’s something I believe in.
Which, in turn, brings me to Saint-Ex. I understand that for simple fiscal reasons, that which is feasible on a personal level (shopping at farmers markets, using only locally sourced meat, etc) is not feasible on a business level. It’s a more expensive way to eat, at least in the strictly monetary sense, and for a restaurant, it’s just simply not do-able. Until the majority of patrons care enough to make a stink, and more importantly, to pay more for such ingredients, it’s a bit of a disastrous business model. At any rate, I admire Saint-Ex for it’s commitment to local farms. For whatever reasons, it seems to be working out for them. Eco-Friendly farms pork, grass-fed beef from Virgina..what’s not to like?
I went to Saint-Ex last night, with Sadie and Ace- Sadie had given up waiting in line at the Corcoran to see Annie Liebovitz, and Ace and I hadn’t seen each other in a while, which naturally meant it was time to have a meal and drink too much. Saint-Ex is about halfway between my abode and Ace’s, and I’ve had decent food there with Sadie in the past, so
that’s where we ended up. We sat at the bar and let Said, the bartender, talk us into pretty much everything. Ace works every now and then at Halo, and we were joined at the bar by one of the bartenders from Halo. He started with the caramelized onion and potato soup and moved on to short ribs (I had a taste- delicious!) with polenta. Between him and Said, we were talked into the soup (please note the parmesan on top…mmmm):
We opted for various iterations of their burger afterwards- Sadie had lettuce, tomato, onion, with jack cheese, Ace went for lettuce, goat cheese and mushrooms, and I opted for goat cheese and lettuce. (Sorry for the poor photo quality)
We concluded with pecan pie (for Sadie), Gingersnap ice cream sandwiches (for me) and vanilla ice cream, although it was closer to gelato (for Ace.) I don’t have any pictures of dessert, because by that point, I was finishing my second Kasteel Rouge (Belgian Ale brewed with cherries. Tastes like a Lambic, but not as sweet) and trying to finish the cider (Ace’s verdict: “It’s like apple pie, but with alcohol!) Ace and Sadie ordered.
We ate until we were stuffed, and it was hands down the best meal I’ve had in a while. I’m not sure if it was because of the always fabulous duo of Sadie and Ace, the fact that I could feel good about everything I was eating, or the brilliant service.
It’s nights and meals like this that come to mind when I find myself telling the chairman of Cox Communications that he’s a “fucking moron” and that DC is a great food city. That’s a story for another time though….