Down Dog Dinner: David Romanelli’s Yeah Dave Yoga
MOST YOGA CLASSES finish up with savasana — aka corpse pose — the least demanding of all possible positions. Laying flat on your back with your eyes closed is a pretty sweet way to wrap up a practice, but how’s this for an even sweeter one? Strawberry and rhubarb “gratin” served with black pepper sabayon and pound cake streusel.
That’s the third course planned for Friday night’s dinner at Zola ($70 excluding tax and gratuity; 6:30 p.m.; 800 F St. NW; 202-654-0999), the latest stop on David Romanelli’s nationwide food and yoga tour.
“Instead of rolling up the mat and going home, let’s savor a meal together,” suggests Romanelli, the founder of Arizona’s At One Yoga who’s pioneered the pairing process with his popular “Yoga + Chocolate” and “Yoga + Wine” programs (also being offered in town this weekend, see end of story for details).
While he’s often been derided as gimmicky by many in the yoga establishment, Romanelli counters that these sorts of events make yoga more accessible to the masses. They help people figure out how to take what they learn in their physical practice and apply those lessons to everyday life. “Instead of feeling you need to strap on a loincloth, become a vegan and move to India, recognize that a glass of wine is all you need to get into the moment,” he says.
Or, in this case, a few glasses of wine along with plates of gourmet cuisine. The idea is that after getting in touch with your body and your senses, you’re able to think about your meal in a new way. “We’re taking cues from the slow-food movement,” he says. “You have greater awareness of subtleties, like the freshness of vegetables.”
For the culinary part of the evening, Romanelli turns the show over to the kitchen gurus — in this case, executive chef Bryan Moscatello — who can share the inspiration behind the dishes and where the ingredients came from. (In case you’re wondering, the first two courses are a warm Rappahannock River oyster salad with cucumber ranch dressing, and your choice of pea and brie ravioli or sockeye salmon confit.)
Formats for his programs vary by city, but “Zola is going to be more of a dining experience,” Romanelli says, meaning that instead of eating from a cross-legged position on your mat, you’ll get up and head to a table.
Not that there would be anything wrong with chowing down while hanging out on a Manduka. “It’s not this thing where people are gross,” he adds. The hour-long practice, a “mellow vinyasa flow” for all levels, is accompanied by Romanelli’s eclectic soundtrack selections, which range from the Grateful Dead to Vampire Weekend.
In other words, there should be something to suit everyone’s taste even before they get to dinner.
JUST A TASTE
Romanelli is eating and sipping his way across town this weekend. On Saturday at 1 p.m., his “Chocolate Chakra Tour” arrives at East Meets West Yoga Center ($40; 144 Church St. NW, Vienna, Va.; 703-281-2431). Then he heads to Sacred Space Yoga (5624 Randolph Road, Rockville, Md.; 301-231-0022;) for “Yoga + Miracles: With Wine Anything is Possible” (6:30 p.m.), and “Chocolate-Covered Happiness” (May 9, 12:30 p.m.). It’s $45 for either workshop.
For more on this story, please visit The Washington Post’s Express Night Out.