As you may recall, CliffDweller Magazine did an extensive Oak Cliff taco tour last year (Taco The Town, November 2006). It was a Herculean task. 10 taco stands. 5 CliffDwellers. 1 day. We had indigestion for a week. So this summer, as it started getting hot, the brain trust at CliffDweller world headquarters thought it might be nice to pair our tacos with something cold to drink. And so, the first annual CliffDweller margarita tasting tour was born.
Amazingly enough, we asked around the office and everyone wanted to participate. So, here’s the margarita tour by the numbers: 6 establishments that serve margaritas. 13 CliffDwellers who claim they know something about good margaritas. 1 afternoon. 1 limo. (Come on, we’re responsible citizens and we’re not trying to encourage anything other than responsible behavior. Do not try this at home. We take no responsibility for how you feel in the morning if you do.)
The limo left the CliffDweller office at 4 p.m. We had 3 hours and 6 margaritas to taste. To add some structure to our little contest, we graded each margarita on the following scale: Color. Flavor. Consistency. And then we ranked them on a scale of 1 to 4… limes.
110 W Davis, Dallas, TX 75208
Often forgotten as one of the larger Mexican restaurants in Oak Cliff, Tejano’s began dishing out enchiladas long before Jimmy Buffett immortalized our favorite frozen concoction in song.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Tejano margarita is the most unusual shade of green. Our tasting experts called it: “fluorescent,” “toxic green,” “kryptonite,” and “nuclear green.”
Connoisseurs and Parrot Heads alike should probably steer clear. But, for the rest of us Tejano’s makes a margarita that goes well with a nice plate of enchiladas.
LA CALLE DOCE
415 W 12th St, Dallas, TX 75208
You may recall that La Calle Doce won the Best Margarita in Oak Cliff according to our readers in our November 2006 Best of the Cliff issue. They are well known for very, very good ritas. After exiting Tejano’s, we loaded up the limo and made fast tracks over to Twelfth Street.
We sat outside, and ordered a mix of rocks and frozen. The color was perfect. The taste… finally, a little tequila and real lime. The only criticism we could really muster was the use of table salt on the rims of the glasses.
Sitting at La Calle Doce, sipping a margarita, you can almost forget that you are sitting next to Twelfth Street in the middle of Oak Cliff. Close your eyes and there’s a breeze from the ocean and the soft sound of a guitar in the distance. You’ve heard the saying “It’s Never Too Far to the Cadillac Bar.” Well we’re here to tell you that La Calle Doce is closer.
600 W Davis, Dallas, TX 75208
If you haven’t had a margarita at Gloria’s, we’re not sure what you’ve been drinking. In a word, our tasting experts said “STRONG.” And at our third stop, we were ready to really start enjoying our work. (And this is HARD work!)
The color is perfect. The taste is all tequila with a little lime. If you don’t like tequila we’re not sure why you are drinking margaritas, but this is a great rita!
And then things got interesting. One of our tasters mentioned that the mango-flavored rita at Gloria’s is her favorite. Being the diligent research team that we are, we felt compelled to give it a taste.
Wow. We need to give the caveat that we didn’t try flavored margaritas in other establishments, but this is a margarita to be tried by all in the Cliff.
1111 N. Beckley Ave. Dallas, TX 75203
You can stick to the traditional establishments when it comes to margaritas, but we had it on good information that Jamie (one of the finest bartenders in the Cliff) makes a mean margarita. Being very familiar with her masterful skills in mixology, Beckley was quickly added to our list.
The only option here is on the rocks, no frozen. But this rita is a
luscious concoction of lime and pineapple juice with the perfect amount of tequila. The pineapple juice makes this drink amazing. It keeps it sweet without getting too sugary.
Purists may scoff, but we thought the Beckley Brewhouse margarita was one of the best in the Cliff.
408 N Bishop Ave., Dallas, TX 75208
With only 10 tables or so, a crowd of 13 margarita tasters will fill this joint. Lucky for us, we arrived promptly at 5 p.m. when they opened for dinner.
One taster described the color of the Vera Cruz rita as a “lemon bar.” This golden contender had perhaps the smoothest taste of the frozen drinks we had tried.
This was also our fourth stop, so I don’t have to tell you that our tasters were really starting to enjoy the process. The only negative to report on the Vera Cruz margarita (and this is clearly subjective) is that the drink seemed to contain more Triple Sec than others we tried, and so it is one of the sweeter tasting margaritas we enjoyed.
3311 Sylvan Ave., Dallas, TX 75208
Call it good luck or good planning, but we finished our tour on one of the nicest (and unexpected) patios in Oak Cliff. Drive down Sylvan from Ft. Worth Avenue, and Tio Joe’s is an oasis just before you cross the Trinity.
Our limo pulled in just after 6 p.m. and we settled in to enjoy some margaritas along with a little food. After six stops, it’s unadvisable to keep drinking without putting a little fuel in the tank.
The verdict? Real lime flavor, natural color and smooth consistency make Tio Joe’s margaritas really good. Drinking them outdoors on the patio makes them even better.
Once the ballots were in and the votes tallied, we were tired, but feeling no pain. It had been an amazing first CliffDweller Margarita Tour, but one that we knew we’d pay for in the morning.
Anything for the sake of our readers. Salud.
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