Amuse Bouche, the Beat of a Drum

On my way to a fabulous M.F.K. Fisher-inspired dinner, I found myself being led in the opposite direction.

In the heart of an affluent enclave...was that drumming I heard?

I followed the beats to a funky artist-run gallery. I've passed this spot a million times, later in the evening...long after they closed for business. More than once I've peered through the large windows, eyeing colorful Afro-Caribbean inspired art that filled the space in dreamy tropical colors.

On this evening, the door was cracked open and rows of folding chairs featured an audience...of exactly one. Opposite him was a character I can't even begin to describe:

A peek through the door resulted in an invitation to come listen.

I settled into a bench along the windows and noticed the musician played three djembe drums with intricately carved bases. Animal hides were stretched across each drum, and reverberated under a rhythmic blur of hands.

At times, the music seemed to flow through him, eliciting a meditative trance. As the beats grew louder, his head shook in a dance, urging nappy dreadlocks into motion. Only then did I realize his dreadlocks stretched to the floor.

After listening for several minutes, I thanked my host...and made my way to dinner.

Just down the street--yet worlds away--was a secluded private dining space, tucked behind a popular French bistro. I was led down a private walkway that spilled into a peaceful courtyard. This was the setting for an elegant dinner salon, dedicated to the readings of M.F.K. Fisher.

Inspired by her work, the dinner featured exquisite wines by Andrew Will and an unforgettable menu by Cremant chef Brendan Mcgill. Readings between courses served as a prelude to the chef's next creation. Candlelight flickered among the faces, and conversation flowed well into the night.

My favorite dish? I'm torn between:

Onglet "Rossini"
Grilled Hanging Tender with Cured Foie Gras and Truffled Pommes Puree


Ris de Veau, a la Union Station
Sweetbreads of Veal with Anise-Scented Veal Glace & Watercress Salad

For me, the enlightened evening of truffles & foie gras was was delightfully juxtaposed by the beat of an unforgettable amuse bouche.

Play on drummer man, play on.

M.F.K. would approve.