Finding Pimento Cheese and Presidents’ Faces in a Changing Union Market

I was drawn back to Washington DC’s Union Market by St. Anselm and its meat-focused menu and friends’ good reviews.  That area has changed.  It was dark and raining, but driving down 4thSt NE I was startled to see the old row of low-slung industrial buildings all of a sudden disappear, into a gaping I’m-going-to-be-a-high-rise-apartment-building hole, with the restaurant Masseria– its left side shorn off – the humble last stop at the edge of a cliff.  

It was enough change to make J and I show up the next day to get our bearings in dry daylight.  Wholesale produce markets and meat markets proclaiming fresh goat are disappearing.  Near a halal butcher and restaurant supply store is a Politics & Prose bookstore.  

A. Litteri in the colors of the Italian flag

A. Litteri Italian market is still there.  Next to the wholesale Washington DC souvenir mart.  A. Litteri is where I know we can get trophie pasta…better to reminisce with a lot of basil pesto, potatoes, and green beans, about our trip to Liguria, on Italy’s northern Mediterranean coast.  And, to check out the selection of Piedmont and Ligurian wines.  We left with a Pigato (a Ligurian white) and will be back, hopefully, for a Rossese (a Ligurian red). 

Pimento cheese spread and Ploussard at St. Anselm

We were happy to see a Ploussard (sometimes Poulsard) (from the Jura region of France) at St. Anselm.  A light and bright red we’d first tried over Thanksgiving turkey; a nice alternative to a Pinot Noir.  Contemplating the images of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy over the kitchen doorway and the Shriners’ fez hats above the bar, we also tried a Graciano from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and a Mondeuse, from the Savoie in France along with some smoky grilled oysters.

Underneath my hanger steak, my dinner plate presented the image of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  J’s was a stag – really not as exciting as cutting meat on the etched face of Eisenhower.  Our server was so engaging we were compelled to have a piece of rainbow sprinkled ice cream cake.  I left happily with a doggie bag of the last of the four buttermilk biscuits, shimmering in delicate laminated layers, pale orange pimento cheese spread on the side.

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