Photo by Lili Kocsis
Hungry Pilates students looking to get both a workout and a free glass of sparkling wine are in luck. A former Poste Moderne Brasserie bartender-turned-Pilates-instructor, Chauna Bryant, is teaching Pilates classes on the Penn Quarter restaurant’s patio throughout June.
Bryant’s project, POP: Pilates on the Patio, was initially conceived as a way to energize hotel guests early in the morning, but the class has transformed into an open-to-the-public experience meant to reward the practitioner’s body. The 45-minute mat class focuses on developing flexibility, building core strength, and alleviating the body of imbalances due to stress.
As students practice Pilates, gentle rays of pre-noon sunshine beam down on the tranquil courtyard of the historic Hotel Monaco (where the restaurant is located), housed in the former 1855 General Post Office. The building boasts a chic interior, original stonewalls, and a gate wide enough for a horse-drawn carriage.
After class, students can drink a complimentary flute of champagne on the terrace or inside the glassed-in pavilion of the brasserie and are invited to enjoy brunch at Poste. The menu includes granola parfait with layers of crunchy dry fruit granola, yogurt with chantilly cream and fresh fruit, and one tasty dish with bite-sized spirals of egg white omelette, sautéed spinach, shredded butternut squash, and tangy goat cheese from a local creamery, served on a bed of greens — made out of some fresh ingredients from executive chef Dennis Marron’s on-site courtyard garden.
Bryant’s favorite plate is the chicken Paillard — a tender chicken breast pounded thin and grilled, with a smoky and caramelized char-lattice adorning the exterior. The chicken is topped with a heap of fresh arugula-mâche salad, tossed lightly in tangy, bright vinaigrette. Confit grape tomatoes contribute their juicy, moist texture, while a dab of brûléed goat cheese adds a touch of creamy decadence and a sharp acidity to balance out the smoky chicken.
"It’s the perfect post-Pilates brunch dish," Bryant says. "Pure protein from the grilled chicken, so much flavor from the goat cheese, and a salad that isn’t drenched in seasoning."
For more information about Pilates on the Patio, please visit their website.
Lili Kocsis is currently working as the Participant Assistant for the Hungarian Heritage program of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a B.A. in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.