While on a trip to visit my younger daughter in college, we decided to go to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Zayka Indian Cuisine is conveniently located in downtown Springfield and has a good reputation. I had been there once before and I really enjoyed the food. This time, I decided to try a Margarita.
For those of you that have read my blog entries where I talk about how well Margaritas go with spicy food such as sushi, it should come as no surprise that I also enjoy a Margarita with spicy Indian food. The Margarita presented well as it looked very well done when served but unfortunately for this drink, while it had decent tequila taste, it just wasn’t very flavorful overall. So it wasn’t unpleasant to drink, but it just didn’t really do much for me. Maybe next time I go back we’ll see if they can make a better one. But for this visit, I rate it a 5.5.
As the COVID pandemic wears on, I’ve been going out to restaurants a lot less and when I have, it’s been mostly to familiar places where I’ve already had Margaritas. So the reviews were few in the last year but I’m starting to get back out more to new places. For example, I went to a concert at the iconic Blueberry Hill Duck Room in St. Louis and figured I’d have dinner at the Blueberry Hill restaurant before the show. No surprise of course that I chose to have a Margarita.
I wasn’t expecting all that much given that Blueberry Hill is fairly standard fare restaurant. However, I had not been there in a very long time and I noticed the extensive bar they had. So I held out hope it would be a good Margarita. As it turned out, there was a good balance of flavors between the citrus and the sweetness. It was more citrus forward with a sweeter finish and the tequila was blended in well throughout. A very nice Margarita with a 7.5 rating for me. Perhaps a bit surprising that it was a good Margarita, but maybe not given that Blueberry Hill has a good reputation in the St. Louis area.
My younger daughter selected to go to college in Springfield, MO. While on a trip there to tour the campus (which was delayed due to COVID restrictions), we had some dinner before heading back home. We stopped at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant where, quite obviously, I had to sample some Margaritas!
First was the Margarita they called “The Traditional”. The listed ingredients were 100% Blue Agave Cazadores Reposado Tequila, a layer of Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, topped with fresh squeezed lime juice. This certainly sounded like a good set of ingredients for solid Margarita. This particular Margarita had strong tequila flavor with good citrus flavor. However, it was a little harsh on the palette. Perhaps the bartender was a little heave handed on the tequila? Because it just wasn’t balanced well, I give it a 6.5.
Next up was their Agave Nectar Traditional, which they called their version of a “skinny” Margarita. The ingredients on the menu were Cazadores Reposado Tequila, 100% agave nectar, with one freshly squeezed lime. Even better ingredients than the first Margarita! I wasn’t wrong. The flavor was well-balanced and very similar to how I make a Margarita. So good that I gave it an 8.5.
If you find yourself in Springfield, MO, make it a point to find Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in the downtown area and get a Margarita. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I had previously been to Bonefish Grill where I had tried the Patrón’s Perfect Cucumber Margarita. On this trip I wanted to try their Parker’s Margarita, named after the founder of Bonefish Grill and according to the menu, his favorite drink.
The menu does not list the ingredients specifically other to say the drink is “finished with fresh OJ and Grand Marnier”. That being said, it was very well made with a good flavor. The tequila was definitely pronounced, as was the orange juice and Grand Marnier on the finish which adds some citrus and sweetness. Unfortunately, there is a little bit of bitterness as well on the finish as I find Grand Marnier tends to do. Overall it was very pleasing and nice to drink. Had it not been for the little bit of bitterness from the Grand Marnier, it probably would have rated higher than the 8.5 I’m giving it. I can see why this is the founder’s favorite and I wonder if they used Patrón Citronge orange liqueur instead of Grand Marnier would it be almost perfect?
After the long COVID lockdowns of spring and summer 2020, towards the end of the summer I decided to take my girlfriend to Vegas (yes, twice in one year) for an early birthday experience. While there we met some friends and went to a bar called Lucky Day Tequila & Mezcal House where I, quite obviously, tried one of their Margaritas.
Being a Tequila and Mezcal House, they have quite a selection of alcohols but as we were there later in the night, they have a smaller “Late Night” menu available. I chose their standard Margarita which had ingredients of tequila, lime juice, triple sec, agave, and sour mix. I chose Casamigos Tequila for this Margarita. The Margarita was well balanced with a pronounced lime flavor, subdued sweetness, a fruity finish with a bit of bitterness. I could have done without the fruity finish and biterness but it was overall a nice Margarita that I rate a 7.5.
I would definitely love to go back to Lucky Day when they have an expanded menu and try more of the varieties of Margaritas or cocktails that they have. The bar was a unique experience given the way it was lit up as you can see in some pictures below. I’m also quite certain they can make virtually any drink to specification as the bar staff seemed quite knowledgable.
July 2020 – we are in the midst of the COVID Pandemic. We finally have seen some relaxing of restrictions as the number of cases has dropped in late spring and early summer. So we finally get a chance to get out to a restaurant and sit down like normal people. My girlfriend and I end up at Brio Tuscan Grill and they have a very unique Margarita that I simply must try.
Called their Ultra-Premium Italian Margarita, it consists of Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Caravella Limoncello, and fresh lime juice. Certainly some quality ingredients, but I was very curious about how the Limoncello would work in a Margarita. The great news is that after a long dry spell not getting to have any Margaritas from a restaurant, the Ultra-Premium Italian Margarita at Brio was excellent. It was really tasty with a great balance of all the flavors. I personally wouldn’t think this was an “Italian” Margarita as it tasted very close to a traditional Margarita, although the Limoncello flavor was apparent. I guess since Limoncello is Italian, that’s close enough no? Regardless, I rate this very good Margarita a 8.5. I highly recommend trying it.
While on a business trip in Southern Illinois, I stopped by a place known for their BBQ Nachos. 17th Street BBQ has two locations and they both are on 17th Street in their respective towns! The one I stopped at was in Marion, IL.
If I’m having nachos, even of a BBQ variety, I want a Margarita to go along with it. So of course I ordered one. This particular Margarita had a very good flavor. It was highly tart and also pretty sweet, so those flavors balanced nicely. However, there was not a lot of tequila flavor. I would have preferred more of a fresh lime flavor along with a stronger tequila flavor but it was still a very enjoyable Margarita given the downsides, worthy of a 7. Plus the glass was quite funny!
Since my Margarita Run was impromptu and we got off to a late start, our 4th stop was our last for the night. Luckily it was literally a few doors down from our previous stop, El Macho Taco. Another new Mexican restaurant called Viva La Fiesta had recently opened that I had not yet had a chance to try so I took the opportunity that night.
I ordered their Premium Margarita. It was served in a very interesting fashion as it had a mini bottle of Camerena tequila turned upside down in the glass. Score points for that because I am a fan of Camerena. My only advice here is to make sure to let the tequila flow out of the bottle before drinking it. While the Margarita was made with a mix, it had a very good taste with an overall good balance of flavors, including some effervescence. It was a little bit on the sweet side with a little bit of a bitter finish. But overall a good Margarita that I rate a 7.5.
The 3rd stop on my impromptu Margarita Run in Edwardsville, IL was a new place called El Macho Taco. It literally had opened that week so it was still very much an unknown. Fortunately, I ended up stumbling upon a real gem of a Margarita!
I knew I was stepping into something special when the bartender, who was also one of the owners, proudly proclaimed that they do not use a mix in their Margaritas. This was certainly an excellent sign! I became even more excited to their their Margarita and I was not disappointed. Their standard Margarita had an excellent blend of flavors. There were good citrus, tequila, and sweet flavors all in a very smooth overall profile. It was a very impressive Margarita, especially for a brand new restaurant! So impressive that I rate it a 9.
In fact I was so impressed, I went ahead and tried one of their banana Margaritas. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was! I figured that the banana flavor would change the Margarita into something unrecognizable, but because they use all fresh ingredients, the banana flavor served to add sweetness to the Margarita while still keeping enough of the original Margarita flavors to make a very pleasing drink. I could see the additional sweetness of El Macho Taco’s banana Margarita masking the tequila flavor just enough for some people to get them in trouble after they have a few! I won’t rate this as a normal Margarita because I think you really must like banana to like this drink and I know there are people who do not like banana (weirdos).
Anyway, I highly recommend El Macho Taco both for their food and especially for their Margaritas!
Our second stop on my impromptu Edwardsville Margarita run was an old favorite, Taqueria Z. Taqueria Z is a pretty unique location as it could be described as a cross between a taco stand and restaurant. The dining area is tiny with only a few tables, but it has an outdoor seating area with a lot more room. You can go inside to order or place an order from their side window in the outdoor seating area. Their food is very good and their drinks, including tequila and Margaritas, are excellent.
On this night I ordered their Original Margarita. I know they hand craft their Margaritas and use high quality tequila so I expect a good quality drink. Sure enough, it had great lime flavor, the tequila was forward but not overpowering, and there was just enough sweetness to balance everything out without being overly strong. I rate it an 8.5.
If you want a very good representation of a classic Margarita, make sure to stop by Taqueria Z in Edwardsville, IL. You won’t be disappointed.