Alizé Pop-Up Lounge @ The Raleigh
I'm no Winter Music Conference junkie. Sure, I like a good electrodance DJ set every now again but WMC to me has always meant shirtless guys with high douche factor fist-pumping to bad house music while downing beer from plastic cups at a pool party in South Beach. But when this little nugget landed in my inbox touting a free pop-up restaurant at the Raleigh, I bit. For three days this week the spirits company - along with a slew of other sponsors like Cafe Bustelo, Original Penguin and some vibrator company - hosted this hospitality site where everything's free - you get handed a food and drinks menu with no prices.
We decamped to one of the couches at the rear of the hotel, by the outdoor ping pong table, and had a long leisurely lunch. It was more leisurely due to the Alizé cocktails (the one with ginger ale was quite refreshing) and bit longer than expected since the kitchen was tragically backed up - go figure, everyone ordering all that free food. When my tuna nicoise finally arrived it was pretty good, with hard boiled quail eggs and well-dressed greens. For dessert I managed to snag a cup of Cafe Bustelo coffee ice cream, the perfect caffeine fix for the day.