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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

We’re delighted to have Joancarlo Parkhurst, chef and owner of La Famosa, as our guest du jour; he’s been primarily focused on bringing top-notch Puerto Rican food to Navy Yard, but has also been doing plenty of (masked) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, spending time with family, putting on backyard movie nights and more:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison?

I usually like summer although it’s not my favorite season. Typically pool time, road trips and spending time outdoors with my family are the highlight. This year we have spent time together but have obviously missed out on outside time and road trips, but have made the best of it. But it has been different that’s for sure.

What is your summer shaping up to look like?

Lots of work getting La Famosa open. Restaurant openings are very busy, so doing one in the middle of a global pandemic has been a new challenge. It has been a great distraction from what is going on in the world though.

Is there anything in particular you’re actually looking forward to this summer?

From a professional standpoint, I can’t wait to open our new venture. La Famosa is passion project for me and I couldn’t be more proud and excited to bring Puerto Rican food to Navy Yard. From a personal standpoint, I look forward to a few more days by the pool, since it finally opened in my neighborhood.

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now? 

My daughter and I cook a lot at home and have tons of fun making different dishes together. I spend lots of time with my son practicing his lacrosse skills. I try to be present, truly present, with my wife and kids. They keep me sane.

Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front?

I’ve practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past 12 years and manage to squeeze it in three times a week. We wear masks and while contact and classes are not what they used to be, it allows me a social and physical outlet. Without my Yamasaki team, I would be lost.

Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform?

I rock jeans and white or black Costco Ts. I love them and for a tall guy they have good length. Most of my masks have been gifted to me but I really like a blue Adidas one I have.  

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.) 

Love in the Time of Cholera. It seems appropriate.

Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now? 

Love making seafood paella on my gas grill. The most important thing is to get even heat and a grill that’s big enough.

What about a great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe? 

This year I have been drinking one too many rum sours. I call it research and development for the upcoming La Famosa menu. 

What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you?

New Strokes album is getting heavy rotation in my car.

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks? 

I really want to take the family to Lisbon.

And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby? Any day trips or local spots worth mentioning, for example? 

We braved Lewes, Delaware one weekend, and I must confess that I did not feel very safe so we have been hanging at home and doing backyard movie nights.


Featured image courtesy of General Design Co.