The Melting Pot Revisited – University City, MO

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Freshly Picked Margarita, The Melting Pot – University City, MOMy family visits The Melting Pot quite often. I usually like to sample one of their cocktails, especially if they are offering a new variety of Margarita. On this visit I noticed they were in fact highlighting a new drink that they called the Freshly Picked Margarita. The ingredients listed were Avion Silver Tequila, Solerno Blood Orange and Cointreau orange liqueurs, agave nectar and fresh lime, lemon, orange, and grapefruit juices. With ingredients like those, I knew I had to try it.

Unfortunately, the combination of ingredients just didn’t quite work out to make a good Margarita in my opinion. First, the initial flavor hit was a bit bitter. The tequila flavor was good but there was not enough lime flavor. The orange and grapefruit flavors were quite a bit more prominent instead. While it was an overall good drink, the fact that the flavor profile is much more orange than lime strays away from what I would call a Margarita. Because of that, I only rate this drink at a 6.5 as a Margarita. However, as a general cocktail, it probably deserves higher marks so if you like a Margarita-like drink with more orange flavor, this might be your thing.

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Chaparritos Mexican Restaurant, Margarita Run II Stop #5 – Cherokee Street, St. Louis MO

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Margaritas, Chaparritos Mexican Restaurant – St. Louis, MOFor our final stop on my second Margarita Run, we stopped at a place called Chaparritos Mexican Restaurant.

Unfortunately, the Margarita we had that night was a bit fruity tasting. It tasted nice overall, but I would prefer more citrus and tequila flavors. At least it did have a nice finish and was refreshing. I would rate our final Margarita of the night a 7.

So this wrapped up Margarita Run II in St. Louis. Overall I would say that I was expecting more out of the Margaritas in the various Mexican establishments on Cherokee Street. None were really bad, but none really stood out as a Margarita I would consider anywhere near the best in the city. Perhaps the establishments all were gearing their drinks to satisfy the multitude of gringos that visit and maybe they have special Margaritas for those in the know? If so, I’d like to find out how to get some of those! Until then, I’ll keep searching for the Ultimate Margarita.

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Taqueria el Torito, Margarita Run II Stop #4 – Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO

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Margarita, Taqueria el Torito – St. Louis, MOFor our fourth stop on Margarita Run II, we chose an establishment called Taqueria el Torito.

We ordered a Margarita pitcher. The drink overall was smooth and balanced but it had a bit of a “medicine” twang on the finish. I would have preferred more citrus flavor and stronger tequila flavor. However it was light and refreshing so it gets a 6.5 rating for this visit.

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Don Carlos Restaurant, Margarita Run II Stop #3 – Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO

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Margarita, Don Carlos Restaurant – St. Louis, MOFor our third stop on this Margarita Run, we chose Don Carlos Restaurant. Of all the places we visited that day, it had one of the most unique decors I remember. But on to the Margarita.

The drink we received that night had a good overall flavor. It was a little more on the tart side, and unfortunately did not have a lot of tequila flavor. However, it was generally balanced and refreshing. For this I give the Margarita we had that night at Don Carlos Restaurant a 7.

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La Vallensana, Margarita Run II Stop #2 – Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO

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Margarita, La Vallensana – St. Louis, MOFor our second stop on Margarita Run II, we chose La Vallensana. This restaurant gave us a choice of what tequila to use in our Margarita so I we ordered a pitcher with Don Julio silver.

The taste of the Margarita was smooth and well balanced. Similar but a little sweeter than the one we had at Taqueria el Bronco. But since I had the choice of tequila, it definitely had a better tequila taste. I give the Margarita we had this visit at La Vallensana an 8.

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Taqueria el Bronco, Margarita Run II Stop #1 – Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO

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Margaritas Jose Cuervo, Taqueria el Bronco – St. Louis, MOAfter the fun we had on my first Margarita run a couple of years ago, I decided it was time for another. This time, we would focus on establishments on Cherokee Street in St. Louis, an area well known for Mexican restaurants and grocery stores.

Our first stop was Taqueria el Bronco. I chose their “Margaritas Jose Cuervo”. It had an overall good flavor, although the tequila did taste like a mixto, which I believed due to the fact there was a bit of a “twang” on the palette. Light and balanced, if it had better tequila it could have been a big winner. However for this visit, I only rate it a 7. Now they do have Don Julio, Patron, Hornitos and some other nice tequilas in their bar, so I believe they would use a better tequila if asked. However for this visit I just wanted to get their normal recipe. If I ever come back, I’ll be sure to request a better tequila.

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Cantina Laredo – Clayton, MO

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Margarita, Casa Laredo – Clayton, MOAn upscale Mexican restaurant in the town of Clayton, MO, I was really excited to try Cantina Laredo. As it just so happened, I noticed the County Executive of St. Louis County was having a drink there while we were having lunch. Happening place it seems!

I chose to sample their Casa Rita Margarita, their claimed “signature margarita.” Highlighting Giro Silver tequila, Cointreau, and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juices, I figured this Margarita should be a winner. Overall the drink was decent tasting, but it had a bit of strong alcohol finish. It tasted like it might have been a bit too much Cointreau. It was also a little lacking in sweetness and not enough of the fresh lime juice flavor comes through. The “wang” of the Cointreau made it taste like it was made with a mix, even though the ingredients seemed to be all top-notch. On this visit, I would rate the Casa Rita from Cantina Laredo a 6.5, but I’m wondering if the bartender was just a little too heavy-handed on the alcohol this time around. One day I’ll make it back to Cantina Laredo and give their signature Margarita another try.

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Another Visit to Cleveland-Heath – Edwardsville, IL

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Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao and Tres Agaves TequilaSince I last wrote about Cleveland Heath’s Margarita, I’ve visited a few times since then, but hadn’t written about their Margarita. This visit I wanted to make sure to take notes of the Margarita I was served.

One of the great things about Cleveland Heath is that they have an excellent bar. They make many varieties of great drinks using fresh ingredients and expert bartending. I asked the bartender what he made his Margaritas with and he showed me Tres Agaves Tequila and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao. Tres Agaves is a quite popular Tequila around my area and I’ve found it to be quite smooth and tasty in a Margarita.

Margarita, Cleveland Heath – Edwardsville, ILThe Margarita I had this visit was quite tasty and smooth. It had a great balance of sweet and citrus flavors. Perhaps it was just a bit on the sweet side and I would have preferred a little more fresh lime flavor, but it was overall excellent, as their drinks usually are. I would rate the Margarita on this visit an 8.

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Applebee’s Again – Glen Carbon, IL

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Applebee's new Margarita Menu

Applebee’s new Margarita Menu

Prior to this particular visit to an Applebee’s, I had stopped for dinner at an Applebees on the way back from a road trip. I noticed at the time that they were featuring a new Margarita selection menu. I didn’t take the time to compare the new varieties as I usually order the Perfect Margarita, but I did have a sip of another variety of Margarita a friend had ordered. I thought the flavor was good, so the next chance I got to go to Applebees, I wanted to make sure to sample several of the new offerings. Plus it was almost my birthday, so I figured this was a good way to celebrate!

Applebee's Blue Agave 'Rita, Applebee's – Glen Carbon, IL

Applebee’s Blue Agave ‘Rita

I first tried their Blue Agave ‘Rita, made with Sauza Blue tequila and lime juice. The ingredients sounded simple, so I was hopeful it would be a good Margarita. This was a flavorful drink with both sweet and tart components well balanced and decent tequila flavor. I felt it could have used a little more fresh lime flavor, but overall I would give it a 7.5 this day.

Next I tried my old standby, the Perfect Margarita. The menu listed 1800 Reposado tequila, Cointreau and Grand Marnier, and lime juice as the ingredients. I’m not sure if Applebee’s had changed the formula or if these were the ingredients they had always used, but this particular

Applebee's Perfect Margarita, Applebee's – Glen Carbon, IL

Applebee’s Perfect Margarita

Perfect Margarita tasted a little different that I remembered. It seemed like it had more lime juice than usual and the consistency was not quite as thick. It was still a good drink overall, however. Between the Perfect and the Blue Agave ‘Rita the main difference in flavor I felt was the Grand Marnier. For this visit, I would rate the Perfect Margarita also at 7.5

Finally I tried a new variety, the Perfect Patron Margarita. Highlighting Patron Silver tequila and lime juice, I was also quite interested in that a listed ingredient was Patron Citronge, which as I mentioned before, has become one of my favorite orange liqueurs to use in a Margarita. Regardless, I was excited to try this Margarita because of the ingredients. As compared to the regular Perfect

Applebee's Perfect Patron Margarita, Applebee's – Glen Carbon, IL

Applebee’s Perfect Patron Margarita

Margarita, the Patron version was a little smoother and not as acidic. I felt that it was a little better than the regular version and therefore would rate it an 8 for this visit.

Once again it was nice to see a popular restaurant chain start to feature Margaritas with top shelf ingredients. I wonder if this is a trend for some reason? Maybe they’ve been reading my blog? 🙂

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Dave and Buster’s – St. Louis, MO

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Margarita Menu, Dave and Buster's, St. Louis, MO

Dave and Buster’s new Margarita Menu

Dave and Buster’s may be known for their food and video games, but when visiting them this day, they had a nice selection of Margaritas, all featuring 100% Agave Tequila. So, of course, I decided to sample a couple. All in the name of finding the ultimate Margarita!

Dave and Buster’s offered a Perfect Margarita (not to be confused with Applebee’s version). I really liked the fact they listed Patron Citronge liquor, which has become one of my favorite orange liqueurs to use in a Margarita. I’ll explain why in a future posting.

Perfect Margarita, Dave and Buster's, St. Louis, MO

Dave and Buster’s Perfect Margarita

The first sip was very thick on the palette, to which I assume was due to a high sugar content or consistency of the mix they used. The overall flavor was very tart, yet it was smooth and sweet. This wasn’t a Margarita I would consider to be a traditional flavor, but if you like the flavor of the mix they use in their Perfect Margarita, then you could be a fan. Just be aware that it is quite sweet! I’d rate Dave and Buster’s Perfect Margarita a 7.5 for this visit.

Next I tried their Million Dollar Margarita. Certainly an interesting name so I decided to give it a try. As compared to the Perfect Margarita, the Million Dollar was not quite as thick. It was tart and sweet with a little more citrusy flavor. Overall it was a smoother tasting drink although it still had a bit of a mix flavor. I’d give the Million Dollar Margarita a 7.5 as well.

Million Dollar Margarita, Dave and Buster's, St. Louis, MO

Dave and Buster’s Million Dollar Margarita

It certainly is nice to see more places featuring Margaritas on their menu, especially when they detail the ingredients they use and those ingredients are quality. We just need to get more places to realize that they need certain ingredients to be more fresh instead of mixes and we’ll be on our way to Margarita heaven!

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