Girl Drink Drunk: Taco Diner

I generally don't dig on the frozen beverage unless I've just finished riding a roller coaster in 103-degree heat, urgently need a drink and someone is standing nearby with a Slurpee. I'll eat ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato, provided I'm in the mood (it's a seasonal thing; plus I'm a girl, so there are obviously moods to contend with).

But, for some reason, I can't fully get behind the slush. Perhaps I was traumatized by brain freeze at a young age--I don't remember so I feel sure I must have blocked it out.

But my fro-bev prejudices aside, I went with GD-er (that's Girl Drinker, by the way) Marla's suggestion to hit up Taco Diner for this excursion. It's pretty much a frozen world at ye ol' Diner, but I was hangin' with my girls so all was well. Besides, any time I can dip into TD's green salsa, I'm ecstatic. Seriously, I could bathe in that creamy tang of jalepeno happiness, but we're meant to discuss drinks.

Marls and I settled in with the El Tampico, a blended treat of banana and pineapple (for the record, the menu uses my favorite Spanish word, pina). Jen went for the Mango Margarita and Hot Off the Grill's Stephanie went for the Mambo Taxi, a frappe sangria with a brandy swirl renowned amongst ladies who lunch and peeps who like to actually drink fun. All come equiped with a frozen lime wedge to keep things frosty just a touch longer.


The night we visited the West Village taqueria, the El Tampico and Mango Marg were heavily sauced with Sauza Silver. Heavily. Marla, who told of once knocking back three Taco Diner frozen drinks with a meal and nary a second thought, could barely finish El T, and mine quickly separated into frozen fruity stuff floating on a crazy-time tequila party. Separation in slushy stuff is another downside for me, but I just swirled away with my straw and carried on. Chips and salsa and a steak-y entree buffered my one-drink voyage to tipsy.

Call me a light-weight, but that night I was a cheap date with one helluva stiff drink. Make that all of us.

Sidenote: I have a theory that often times bartenders think they're doing you some enormous favor by adding assloads of liquor if they know or like you or it's last call. If you actually like the pineapple-mango-whatever flavor of drink you ordered, this will not only spoil your cocktail, but also eff you up beyond repair. It's no favor; it's a hangover--and possibly a heave--waiting to happen.

But, in Taco Diner's case, what seemed like a little extra of the double-distilled Sauza Silver was a bonus. Perhaps that's due to the clean taste of the tequila, or because it's mixed with fruity flavors that cancel its fairly subtle bite, but at no time did we feel like we were drinking lighter fluid. Some may think it a disservice to the tequila, mixing it with banana and such, but the balance of flavors is so good, I forgot I was drinking anything frozen (which is saying a lot). Besides, that's the essence of a girl drink.

Jen's Mango Margarita was far less offensive than expected for something squeezed from "trash fruit" (not my term; can't claim it. A friend coined it saying mangos smell like the inside of a trash bin and unless they are not-yet-ripe, I can't disagree). Perhaps the added lime balances the heavy mango, but the overall taste was fresh and clean--a bit like a hearty, unidentified tropical fruit blend. She finished hers with the aid of some tacos, and then helped Steph polish off the Mambo Taxi...resulting in a bit of a slur and some giggles.

The Mambo Taxi, as I said before, paired frothy white sangria with a ribbon of brandy. It's a party in a glass and, depending on the blend that day, you might get away with a couple. Or, as Stephanie found that night, you might not be able to pound even one. She was feeling a little buzz so she handed hers off and dove into some brisket tacos to sober up for a responsible trip home a responsible amount of time later.

We girls may drink, but we do not drive drunk or condone such behavior. For those of us with slurs and tipsy issues, the lovely and sober Chelsea was there to provide awesome drunk girl anecdotes from her job in the entertainment industry (we apologize to fellow patrons if our laughs were beyond) and to drive us home. We love her for it.

Now, our waiter deserves props for recommending food and drink, and we we only wish we could have gotten to the Mojito #5 as intended. But the stars and the glasses were not aligned that night. In fact, the freezing mist started to fall, and we were all a little concerned about getting home lest we had to trade cars for skates. (I guess it was an appropriate night for frozen drinks on more than one level.)

So we headed out. But not before Jen, who generally does not hug, suddenly gave Marla a big bear version in the parking lot. Oh, Taco Diner, you served your tequila slush so well.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin