Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Tan

Here's a formidable challenge: just try and find a reputable dining establishment in the Caribbean in the heart of tourist season that hasn't already been inhabited by Jewish tourists making their annual diaspora away from the nativity scenes of the northeast.  Seriously.  I dare you.  I swear, there isn't a spot on this whole island that hasn't already been "found" by my Long Island brothas and sistas.  

It's an uphill battle.  I'm never going to find the restaurant frequented by natives where you have to order off the menu in Papiamento.  I might as well give up the ghost.

In the meantime, a girl has to eat.  Especially this girl.  Like, constantly.  Research brought me to Driftwood for a more-than-decent meal last night.  Here's what I liked about Driftwood: the owner/primary fisherman bases the menu on whatever he finds at sea that day (last night it was wahoo); the dining room is an overtly kitschy throwback to bad 70s cruises, replete with a bar made entirely of--you guessed it!--driftwood; they serve passable white sangria that they garnish with fresh watermelon and I'm so crazy about watermelon I will pretty much eat/drink anything remotely associated with it.  Here's what I didn't like: the menu, aside from its focus on fresh (and local... yay!) fish, was pretty pedestrian.  Could I get a crab cake anywhere?  Probably.  Would it be as delicious, with its serrano pepper-laced filling and its sweet sauce?  Probably not.  Could I get shrimp scampi anywhere?  I'm sure the Olive Garden sells it.  Would the shrimp have been as large, lovely, and succulent as they were swimming in my linguine and olive oil?  You get the picture. 

Honestly, the food was good and the kitsch was appreciated by those of us, ahem, who seriously needed a respite from the seriousness of serious New York dining rooms.  I can't help but think, though, that was really in short supply was originality of preparation. 

By now, you're probably thinking: this girl eats everywhere--can't she just be satisfied with shrimp that just came out of the ocean, even if it's arriving at her plate Olive Garden-style? Well, no.  I can't.  It's just who I am.  If I stopped looking for culinary perfection, what on earth would I have to look forward to?  

Klipstraat 12 
Oranjestad, Aruba


ramster said...

how did they cook the wahoo? i liek to make mine piri piri style (when i can catch that fish. they do show up off long island in late summer, sometimes)


They sauteed it in garlic and olive oil. What is piri piri?

ramster said...

you'll find grilled shrimp piri piri recipes on the internet, its a spicy marinade, i think its north african, usually lemon or lime juice, garlic and hot pepper flakes. sometimes coconut milk. then grilled. i find wahoo works good, being it is a very firm white fish, it can be put on a skwer and holds together very well. drizel remainign marinade over cooked fish. maybe a mango salsa.