We all find our places to sip a brew, tell a few lies, and hopefully forget the recent events that often plagues a working stiff.
As a young child, my father would tell me that if you owe someone money, always pay them back in a bar. Preferably during happy hour.
The old man was chock full of alcohol inspired wisdom. Like "buying someone a drink is five times better than a handshake". I never fully grasped that one until I was much older, and realized that a drunk man will shake your hand ten times more often than a sober man.
An eight-year old cannot possibly understand this.
Anyway...The night was young and I needed a stretch, so I high-tailed it up to the bar. First stop was the quintessential cocktail dive Windmill Lounge. Respectable as far as small bars go. Resident bartender and owner Charlie Papaceno offers to pour me a drink he invented some years back during heated competition with a few other area bartenders.
Seems they do this about once a year, and the patrons lucky enough to sit at a bar stool are the judges. Lucky bastards
Several years back, Charlie made one concoction that a Dallas Morning News writer labeled Luna de Miel.
It is a fast drink of a good tequila, fresh lime juice and a simple syrup derived from honey. Sounds more like a margarita, but it is not. A margarita will suck in your jaws with its tart and bitter after taste. The Luna de Miel will gently force you to grin.
Charlie's drink was smooth and almost creamy. Easy to sip back a few without the cloying bitterness of fresh lime. The tequila lends a warm headiness. And since the drink was conceived at this bar--at least according to bartender stories--it would be difficult to find a competitor.
Or so it seemed.
Apparently Rick Avila at his family restaurant, a mere mile away, has a marvelous cantina, with a surprisingly well stocked bar of high end tequila's and a decent wine selection. The bar seats maybe four people and is more a holding pattern for the equally small dining room.
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Avila's is home to the wonderful brisket tacos you will often hear about--and they make a version of the Luna de Miel.
As we all know, being the originator of anything does not necessarily mean you created the best version. Godfather II was better than its original. Wrath of Khan kicked the first Star Trek's ass. In this case, I handed Charlie my empty glass and shook his hand several times and aimed my car down Maple towards Avila's for my second drink.
The Luna de Miel is second on a long list of house drinks on their cocktail menu. But this was not smooth and creamy. I tasted more tequila than fresh lime juice--not necessarily a bad thing--and more of the sugary sweetness often associated sweet and sour mix than honey infused simple syrup.
Win to the Windmill Lounge.