Two weekends ago, DJC and I went out for a frivolous night of drinking. We started out at Forbidden Island, a kitschy cute Tiki lounge, where the drinks are totally foo-foo and, if you're not careful, will knock you on your tush. Here's a pic:
Drinks on the menu come with strength ratings, or more correctly, a number of bottles with Xs on them, indicating just how much alcohol one can expect. They range in strength from zero (non-alcoholic drinks) to five bottles (the appropriately named "Zombie"). The drink on the left is called a "Boo Loo". Silly name...with four bottles and Xs. The blue one is a "Neptune's Garden" which kicked my ass with 3 Xs. Two or three drinks from Forbidden Island's vast repertoire might earn you a cab ride home, or at least a fun, stumbling walk. So, of course, we love this place.
Afterward, we headed over to Havana because I desperately wanted plantains, and Forbidden Island's limited menu of fried foods left a little to be desired. When DJC and I took two seats at the bar, we were greeted by bartender Johnathan. Just trying to make conversation, I asked what his favorite dark rum was. He immediately turned around a grabbed a bottle of Zaya Gran Reserva. He poured us a little straight up and asked us to smell it. I inhaled deeply and smelled warm sugar, vanilla, and caramel. It was positively luscious. Then he made DJC his "daiquiri", which consisted of a shot and a half of Zaya, fresh squeezed lime juice and a splash of simple syrup, all shaken with a crushed mint leaf garnish. Quite literally, it is the best mixed drink I have ever had in my life. Just delicious and lethal, especially on a hot day. I was so blown away that I came home and wrote a glowing, 5-star Yelp review.
Last weekend, we rounded up the usual suspects and headed back to Havana. The cocktail was so tasty that they HAD to try it. Bartender Johnathan recognized us from the previous week, and had read my Yelp review. We ordered two rounds of drinks and several appetizers. Johnathan sent over a decadent chocolate mousse dessert, on the house, and "forgot" to charge us for several drinks. He said it was the least he could do after the great Yelp review. He explained that they've been getting slammed on Yelp lately and really appreciated my nice words and that I had brought people back to try his drinks. We all had a great night and I've found a new favorite rum. Everyone wins!!
Most people only Yelp when they've had a negative dining experience. I get that...I've done it, for sure. But how frequently do we write about our good experiences? You never know when your review will be read and really appreciated by the owners or managers of the restaurants you visit. And if you're a regular, as DJC and I aspire to become at Havana, your positive review might even have unexpected bonuses attached to it! So, if you've recently dined somewhere outstanding or experienced excellent service, write about it. You never know who could be seeing your words and how they could pay off in the future...