John, a longtime friend, baker and connoisseur of all thing sweet, MET WITH ME ON THIS D.C morning TO DESCRIBE his most uniquely queer dining experience
"In early March, a good friend of mine, named Carson, train rolled into Union Station from Manhattan. I picked him up at the station and we began our drive to the trailhead of a week-long backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. We had a lot of catching up to do. Carson is the theater director at the MOMA and always has the best stories about meeting the most interesting people. On this particular occasion, the man of interests name was David. A man that we were stopping in Richmond to meet.
While I was I skeptical about driving two hours out of our way, to eat at a restaurant I knew nothing about, with a man and his husband that Carson had known for only a few hours, I’m a sucker for a good gay love story about a chef/professor power couple who rocks the Richmond art scene. In no time, we were on our way to a little restaurant called L'opossum.
We arrived promptly at 7pm and were greeted by a southern twink, who little to my knowledge, knew everything about us already. He showed us to our table, but only after pushing back a large, black curtain that separated the restaurant from the outside world. Similarly, every window had been draped with blackout curtains, completely cocooning the interior in darkness. This restaurant was odd: eccentric, dim light fixtures, large bronze swan sculptures, and a dead, stuffed opossum posed on the bar. The music and menu, both French, added to the quirkiness.
He poured us glasses of mint infused water, placed our menus in our hands, and then took off
After grazing through the menu, I decided to start with the venison, described as “chasing dragons above clouds of yuzu with lotus, hot mustard, and a consensual spanking of furikake.” Carson opted for the “Vegan Orgy on a Texas Beach.” According to the menu, it was “a banger.” We washed our first courses down with Laura Palmers, naturally with glasses cloaked in plastic wrap.
We move onto our second course, carefully guided by the chef, who came out of kitchen, because she too, knew who we were. The decision is one of my harder ones, but I finally decided on the Coq au Morocco, “a succulent young chicken’s exotic journey from the rough trade markets of Marrakes.” while Carson chose “C’mon Simone, Let’s talk about your big halibut.” Both of our choices ares succulent and wreak of queerness.
Stuffed, we decided to split “Butch Queen, First Time in Drag, At a Ball-Paris is Burning”, also known as of pork belly and sea scallops
We ended with a fiery chocolate creation that I fell madly in love with (or maybe that was the beautiful boy across the table from me, I’m unsure). One thing was for certain, this restaurant was unapologetically gay as showcased through the dish names to the gender neutral bathrooms with clown portraits. In that moment, I realized this restaurant had done something I did not think was possible, bring people together not only over food, but over a sense of queer community. I later found out L’Opposum is the number one rated restaurant in Richmond and one of the best in all of the south. David created a little spot of gay heaven in his hometown.
After he finished the story, John and I agreed that our community has been through so much shit together that we’ve created unspoken understanding of family in the LGBTQA+ community. In this instance, it was a connection that was powerful enough for David to invite practical strangers into his safe haven.
Food is a medium for conversations, comfort, and closeness. The undeniable truth is that nothing draws people together better than food - except maybe, queerness.
Follow John @loyallyjg