Even with so many highly-recommended restaurants out there that we have yet to try, there are some spots we return to time and time again.  Sometimes there’s a specific dish (or cocktail) that keeps us coming back, but more often than not it’s a combination of the food, the service and the atmosphere that makes a favorite. 

Such is the case with Poste Brasserie, the restaurant in the courtyard of Kimpton Hotels’ Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter.  Situated in the original sorting room of the 1841 General Post Office, Poste calls to mind European settings with its spacious, enclosed courtyard sheltered from the frenetic pace of the surrounding neighborhood.  Cocktails, created by the bar staff, are inventive and tasty, with new classics like the Basil Lemontini and fresh offerings that make creative use of seasonal ingredients.  The commitment to fresh and local ingredients at the bar echoes Chef Robert Weland’s focus in the kitchen, where he creates dishes that can be comforting and high-end (his smoked duck reuben is an all-time favorite) or simple and fresh (a tomato gazpacho served over a dollop of dijon ice cream fills your mouth with the intensity of its flavor).

Weland doesn’t just put the ‘fresh and local’ mantra to use in his menu – he is an ardent advocate who grows his own lettuces, herbs and heirloom tomatoes in the courtyard outside the restaurant and who shops the local Penn Quarter farmers’ market.  Poste has found a great way to reflect this: their “Market to Market” dinner series.  What is that, you ask?  Find out after the jump.