SUMMER DRINKS: It started when the Poste staff began to play with the ingredients of classic cocktails. Erik Bergman, bar manager at the restaurant (555 8th St. NW, 202-783-6060), and his colleagues turned the Manhattan a bit on its head to make their Manhattan Francaise (Maker's Mark, Grand Marnier and sweet vermouth); then they tweaked the ingredients of sidecars and champagne cocktails. Then they really took it up a notch with the challenge of creating the Cocktail du Jour, a drink that reflects the season. Each day around lunch they set to work: The mint that grows outside the restaurant entrance could wind up with some rum in a mojito ($8), but it could be apple, orange or pineapple mint. Or they'll take a fresh batch of heirloom tomatoes and make tomato water, add some basil and vodka for a summery martini ($15). Making these drinks can be labor-intensive and requires the staff to do more than just open bottles and pour, but Bergman likes the challenge of keeping all their "synapses firing." There's no predicting what the Cocktail du Jour will be: "We just get together each day and create what we feel like."
SUMMER BRUNCH: Can't get enough of summer tomatoes? The Tomato Brunch ($58 for adults, $30 for children, excluding tax and tip) is for you, every Sunday until Aug. 29 at The Grill at the Ritz-Carlton (1150 22nd St. NW, 202-974-5566). More than 50 varieties of tomatoes will be used in dishes such as penne with beefsteak tomato arrabiata, or green zebra tomato farci with blue cheese and persillade.
-- Jeanne McManus
Tom Sietsema is on vacation. His Weekly Dish will return next week.