Di Parma Trattoria of Condado 11th Anniversary Celebration
The Condado strip extends the length of Ashford Avenue, popular with tourists and locals alike for its seemingly endless number of bars, restaurants, and shops all heaving with activity. Of the many wonderful options, few establishments can boast of a better location than Di Parma Trattoria. On park Ventana al Mar, the exclusively outdoor restaurant faces the park and sea, ensuring every seat in the house is a good seat. Gorgeous views, a relaxing atmosphere, and a light and fresh Mediterranean menu make for near perfect al fresco dining.
This October, Di Parma celebrates its 11th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, Chef Yamil Cintrón has crafted a special international pizza menu featuring 11 pizzas. Reflecting the many countries and regions from which the restaurant has welcomed patrons, the menu has something to appeal to nearly every taste and takes inspiration from: Mexico, Japan, Spain, Italy, the Mediterranean, the USA, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Turkey, London, and India.
On a recent visit, Spoon Food Tours was lucky enough to sample all 11 offerings. Every pizza is distinctive but what they all have in common are high quality ingredients. Chef Cintrón sources all of the greens for the restaurant locally and all off the dishes are made from scratch in house. He commented, “The ingredients used are unique to each pizza. They are also ingredients that I use at Di Parma and ingredients that I cook with at home. With so many choices, you will find one you relate to most.”
What stood out to us was that every protein topping was perfectly cooked. Seared Ahi tuna, shrimp, lamb, and steak are difficult enough to execute off of a pizza, let alone atop one. Yet, pizza after pizza, every protein came out consistently moist, having been cooked at just the right temperature. The Mediterranean featured baby prawns – heads and tails included in all their glory, the Japanese paired Ahi tuna with wasabi and daikon salad, the Turkish included surprisingly juicy roasted lamb, while the keystone of the Puerto Rican was impressively tender mojo marinated skirt steak.
With so many delicious selections it wasn’t easy to pick favorites, but our consensus at Spoon: the 2 pizzas containing homemade pastramis truly won our hearts and tastebuds. The first was the American, made with 3-day-cured prime rib beef pastrami and paired with smoked tomatoes, mozzarella, Gorgonzola, and watercress. The second, the Alaska, with salt brined salmon pastrami, ricotta, red onion, capers, Brie, and poppy seed dressing. Both of these pastrami pizzas are our favorites (asking us to choose between them is cruel and unfair) because we could taste how much time was invested in the primary ingredient.
Intrigued by the ‘Salmon Pastrami’ atop the Alaska, we asked Chef Cintrón to describe for us how he makes it in house. “We cure it here. We make it with salt, a little bit of sugar, and spices. The dry rub that we cure with has cayenne, paprika, and some other spices. To cure it – we put it in the refrigerator for 18 hours. While it’s still raw, the salt converts it. It is similar to Gravlax, but instead of using dill we use the dry rub, a series of spices, to create that pastrami.”
This attention to detail spills out from the kitchen and onto the patio bar at Di Parma, well-known by locals for its extensive list of whiskey and fine spirits. Drawing from their arsenal, the bartenders have crafted a signature drink for the anniversary composed of Hendricks cucumber gin, Domaine de Canton ginger liquor, lychee juice, and a ginger, lemongrass, and cinnamon simple syrup. The drink is garnished with delicious flambéed limes and candied ginger. Slightly spicy, sweet, and refreshing in the heat, you can sip this magnificent cocktail whilst enjoying live music beginning this Friday, October 16. On this, and every Friday after through November 6, smooth electronic lounge will be spun by DJ Ayran. Accompanying him live will be singer Fonrodona. This exciting electronic/vocal mashup makes for a truly beautiful and serene pairing.
The party continues every Monday through Thursday night as Di Parma offers guests free corkage on first bottles brought to the restaurant. For any subsequent bottles purchased, patrons can choose from their famed $32 wine list, offering quality and value, or their extensive list of fine wines.
Whether you want to relax by Ventana al Mar with a glass of wine during the work week or see and be seen on the Condado strip by the weekend, there truly is something for everyone during Di Parma’s 11th anniversary celebration. Be sure to pay them a visit during the month of October, but save some pastrami for us.
By Caroline Johnson
Photos by Gustavo Antonetti