Thursday, March 10, 2011

Food Field Trip Vieques: Bringing it Back to DC

Before I present a review of my most recent food field trip, I would be remiss not to mention the pure bliss of rum cocktails on a winter Caribbean vacation.  And while DC may not boast azure waters, balmy breezes or rum production, if you get creative, you can recreate that feeling here in DC (more on that later) on a rainy March day.

At the W Vieques Resort's outdoor firepit, we enjoyed gourmet bar bites from Alain Ducasse and the rum creations of talented mixologists. My favorite drink, the Downhill Racer, was a smooth and tropical mix of rum and pineapple juice served over ice.  B's choice was a riff on the Manhattan--with premium dark rum (what else?!) instead of bourbon--which paired well with succulent short rib sliders. And while these uber trendy rum cocktails were potent, it was Duffy's and their expat bartender Adam that really won us over.

The vibe at Duffy's, located on the side of the island opposite the W (a whopping 20 minute drive -- it's a small island) is everything a beach shack should be: an open air full bar with plentiful seafood choices and panoramic views of the Caribbean sea.  I thought the $6 classic rum punch was perfection, though I thereafter realized for a dollar I could have Adam spin the wheel for a chance to win another drink.  And what did that wheel land on?  You guessed it -- a free rum punch.  A drink and a wheel spin at lunchtime proved to be quite the relaxed, adult Price is Right.

The majority of the food at Duffy's consumed during two lunchtime visits was not overly memorable, nor all that palatable without the aforementioned rum.  But there was one notable exception: the daily special of conch ceviche, which included fresh citrus and was kicked up by Duffy's delectable homemade mango hot sauce.

What to do for rum and sand if you find yourself stuck in DC for spring break?  Don't fret.  First, head over to the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum for photographer Mario Garcia Torres's visual tropical escape.  Running through March 27th, the multimedia Directions exhibit pairs photographs of what remains of the once popular St. Croix Grapetree Bay Hotel with a still of the place in its heyday. This piece is strangely haunting, but brings you right onto the Caribbean shore.  The entire slide presentation lasts 12 minutes and is backed by Mario Lopez Landa's Caribbean-influenced soundtrack.

Thirsty yet? Cross the mall and walk through Penn Quarter to PS7 for its Sun and Sand.  This concoction of Brugal rum, rootbeer crusta, orange and vanilla delivers a sunny creamsicle for adults. This cocktail will make you forget you are in DC.  Just be patient; PS7's mixologist Gina Chersevani is (rightly) gaining in popularity for her creative concoctions, the bar area can be jammed, and the bartenders are in no rush.  But for $10 (the Hirshhorn exhibit is free), you too can experience a Caribbean-inspired rum fueled escape right in the heart of DC.

PS7's on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment