If Iceland has taught us anything, it's that a carefully orchestrated PR campaign revolving around food and spirits can put your country on the culinary map, so to speak, in a matter of minutes.
Enter Chile … the new Iceland? First, pisco sours started popping up on trendy cocktail menus around town—not quite as ubiquitous as mojitos, but steadily gaining ground. And now curious foodies can sample Chile's cuisine by ordering from a prix fixe dinner menu through Saturday at Ceiba. The menu—which costs $37 per person (without tax and tip) and $49 per person with wine pairings (worth it for a glass of the Montes Alpha 2005 Chardonnay alone)—is the work of Chilean chef Pilar Rodríguez, and highlights a few ingredients that remain a mystery to most American palates.
The tasting menu includes a different amuse bouche each evening; an appetizer of seared scallop atop a roughly chopped salad of cilantro and onion; a fragrant, rich corn-and-seafood casserole; and a main course of pork ribs caramelized with Ulmo honey, which comes from the Chilean Ulmo tree.
But perhaps the best part of the meal is the dessert of lúcuma crème brûlée, with its side of carica salad. Never heard of lúcuma or carica? That's precisely what the Chilean Embassy would like to change, as they are hoping to start exporting these two unique Chilean fruits to this area.
If this Chilean food, wine, and cocktail trend continues, we all just may be regularly slurping down lúcuma this time next year.
Ceiba, 701 14th St., NW; 202-393-3983; ceibarestaurant.com