Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wait, Wait, Don’t Seat Me

Welcome to our new semi-regular TBIAW feature where we ignore our premise of making a Mr. Boston drink each day and instead review a drink from a local establishment.  Mrs. Bottle and I both believe that drinking should be done in moderation, so having a drink from the guide and a drink out might be a bit excessive.  Especially on those occasions where we have 2 or 3 drinks while out.

Last night we went with some friends to a local Mexican restaurant, Cantina 1511. * WARNING * WARNING * LINK CONTAINS MUSIC * WARNING * WARNING *   As we arrived we availed ourselves of the complementary valet parking (more on this later).  There wasn’t really a choice since the limited do-it-yourself parking was already full.  Car safely stowed, we approached the hostess and humbly requested a table for four.  She humbly replied that it would be a 45-60 minute wait.  No big deal so we headed to the bar to have a drink.  Ah yes, a drink, the reason for this post.

All that and a basket of chips (and salsa)
I started with the El Mayor, which features El Mayor Tequila, Gran Gala, blood orange puree, lime and sour mix.  Mrs. Bottle had a Tijuana Taxi, which is made of Hornitos Silver, Gran Gala, orange juice, lime, and sour mix.  Both margaritas were good, although I don’t know if I would call mine a margarita since the primary flavor was blood orange.  Mrs. Bottle’s was excellent with a nice amount of sweetness.  I think we each liked the other’s drink better than our own. In any case, we were both able to somehow suffer through and finish our drinks while longingly staring at our partner's.

The Friday special is a flight of margaritas for $15. Our dining companions tried this.  A fun idea, even though the bartender got the salt / no salt /sugar rimming wrong on three out of  three of their drinks.  I would make a bad rimming joke here if I didn’t make two yesterday.

We demurely sipped our drinks while the one-man band sang a number of songs at a high volume level.  High enough that we couldn’t even converse.  I confess that I am not a youngster, but is it really necessary to have the music so loud that you can’t have a conversation?  Is it wrong to want to talk without shouting? Do I sound like Andy Rooney now?  My companions were disappointed that they missed several of my wry observations.

In fairness, the singer wasn’t bad, but the song selection was a bit predictable.  He played Oye Como Va, Black Magic Woman, and Smooth.  Having exhausted the Santana catalog, he moved on to surprises Tequila (which led to all of us doing the Pee Wee Herman dance), Margaritaville, and La Bamba.  The poor guy is probably pretty tired of playing those songs.  The one surprise was Last Kiss, which is an oldie that was covered by Pearl Jam in 2003.  In case you aren't familiar, the song is about a violent car crash that kills the singer’s girlfriend. Example verse:

I couldn’t stop, so I swerved to the right
I’ll never forget the sound that night
The screamin’ tires, the bustin’ glass
The painful scream that I heard last

That really sets a festive tone for a night out with friends!  So festive that we ordered another round.

Sometimes you feel like a lime, sometimes you don't
For round 2, Mrs. Bottle and I both got the 1511, which is made of Herradura Reposado, Cointreau, lime juice, orange juice and sour mix.  The drinks were a little syrup-y in my opinion, coating my throat in a mucus-like film.  The flavor was nice, though.  I think after my super-sweet El Mayor, I should have gone with a more traditional margarita with a little less sweetness than these.  In any case, the bartender wasn’t stingy on the pours, as I could definitely tell that I had consumed a couple of drinks at this point. 

Eventually our little coaster pager lit up, signaling that our table was ready.  That pager lighting up is one of life’s small pleasures.  I think I might get one of them and use it to signal other things.  Maybe Mrs. Bottle could use it to tell me dinner is ready. That would be pretty sweet.

By now we had been at the increasingly crowded bar for about 75 minutes. You may recall, dear reader, that the hostess estimated our wait at 45-60 minutes.  Those extra 15 minutes are now lost forever.  When we finally made our way to the hostess stand, flashing pager in hand, our table wasn’t actually ready.  After a little more waiting, they seated us.  They did comp us with a free appetizer for the unexpectedly long wait, though.  So we had that going for us, which was nice.  At least the wait was not in vain, as our meal was quite good.  I recommend the Tacos al Pastor which feature pork, pineapple, and habenero crema.  It was like a Polynesian party in my mouth.

As our epic story draws to close, there was one last problem:  The valet lost our friend’s car keys.  They didn’t tell us at first as we waited and waited and they frantically searched and called the previous shift’s valet.  Eventually they owned up to having misplaced the keys.  It got a little tense when the valet wouldn’t let my friend look for the keys himself, but eventually he took matters into his own hands and located them.  They were on a peg with another set and his keys didn’t even have the retrieval tag.  I’ve never been a valet, but it seems like a pretty simple job:  Take keys, park car, HANG KEYS WHERE YOU CAN FIND THEM.  They got two of three of those steps correct.  Of course when you fail at step three, it makes the remaining steps of retrieving keys and returning the car much more difficult.  I guess we got what we paid for.

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