Pass the Peas, Yo!
What is “Pass the Peas” at Saint-Ex, exactly? I am still, even after attending, not entirely sure. Taken from a song written by the eponymous founder of funk himself (or at least we’d like to think so, James Brown, obvi), it is by all accounts, a fun fare of soul food, funk, and booze. Sounds great!
What I imagined would happen: The fête commences at 6 pm! (We should arrive promptly!) We shall sit at a long table with other guests and feast on collard greens, black-eyed peas (pass them, damn it!), smothered pork chops and biscuits! B I S C U I T S! And bourbon or something.
Oh! And music! Post-prandial dancing! If there is a DJ spinning soul, there surely must be dancing!
What actually happened: We arrived around 6 and were seated individually near a handful of others enjoying happy hour at the bar.
A DJ was blasting funk, with the lyrics, “pass the biscuits” playing (wait for it…). We were presented with a menu of entrées like country fried steak, pork chops wand cornmeal-crusted catfish, plus drinks and dessert.
I ordered a sweet tea drink with a putative reference to Dolly Parton’s nipples (don’t quote me on that), which was sweet and boozey and not much else. The pork belly mac ‘n cheese–seriously decadent and bacony, appropriately creamy and small enough to actually finish without peril.
The shrimp and grits were incredibly salty, slightly spicy, rich and bell-peppery, with cheesy stone-ground grits under 3 sautéed head-on prawns, alongside a spot of dressed watercress. My biggest concern was that there was neither a single biscuit nor a bowl of peas to be passed anywhere at all to anyone (and no dancing)! Sadness.
Pass the Peas! occurs the second Wednesday of every month through February 2013.
Photo: Clementina Russo
1847 14th Street NW