Come on, you know who you are, and I know you are reading along. You have a drinking problem. The problem has to do with being too geographically far afield from Mesa Grill's Cactus Margarita, not to mention the breadstick bar noshes (but I digress).
You see it in your best dreams, electric fuchsia in shade with a vibrant lime clinging to the edge of the old fashioned glass edge, wishing, wishing it could leap, like you, into the glory inside the rim. It is sweet and salty all at once, like a cool Pacific breeze across your tongue. Not the way margarita's used to be for you before you knew this one, no. New, thrilling, you're rolling it up and down in your mouth like you were some Coney Island refugee looking for a new, legal, adult thrill. Well, you found it, Mr. and Mrs. Dangerous, now if only you lived closer to it, or could somehow figure out adequate Fedex packaging from Manhattan to you... what will do now that you know what you know? Well, don't look at me, I do what it takes to get the real thing. You live in Palm Beach? Ugh, that is a pickle.
Oh, fine, here's the recipe. Food Network has published it, but who cares? It's not the same without the duck quesdilla, the pillowly queso fundido, the marbled blue corn biscuits... make away, it surely loses something without the food it is destined to accompany.
Aaron Sanchez. Can we have a conversation about that Hibiscus Margarita of yours? How do you do it, reach that perfect cheek-puckering icy crescendo of deep aubergine fuel that is the Centrico Hibiscus Margarita? I have been there, to your place, and not seen you. Are you truly the Chef, or have you lent your name out and scurried off to Central America to study further or bask (deservedly) in the sun? You certainly left us a doozie, if you will, before you took off, and I will not be some thankless consumer of liquid perfection. Thank you, Aaron Sanchez, wherever you are (though it would have been really great if you could have popped up and at least thrown together some sopes for us before you bolted).
This little tidbit you have just thirstily languished through is sure to cause some readers to pummel one another verbally, with good reason, one's tongue guides one in personal and inexplicable ways. I like the whole thing at Mesa: the location, feeling you are in the true middle of the foodie thing in New York, the dressed up and down again nature of the place and the fact that it goes big in everything it does. I suppose I agree with Frank Bruni's assessment in the New York Times recently which took a star from Mesa Grill and leaving it with one, for technical reasons only he, other culinary grads, and front-house managers understand. But if stars were given for fun places to imbibe tasty, pretty cocktails and small bites on wintery evenings at the holidays, then ***!
And Centrico: It's a little off the beaten path in New York City, for me. I went to school in that neighborhood and it has always seemed a workday section of the city. However, the place did eventually begin to move on a Saturday evening at 8:30. The cocktails and food were fabulous though the bar crowd lacked a little, er, no, completely. Then, $15 for guac and chips is always a little stupid, I don't care who you are. But, this will be forgiven because this is a free country and I don't have to eat the chips, and because of that Hibiscus Margarita. As life moves on from here, it will always do so with slightly less dazzle if I do not have a Hibiscus Margarita before me.
Here is Mesa.
Here is Centrico.
And as I give you these sites, I note Centrico has gifted us with a recipe which I will one day try and report back on. At the moment, I am tied up with Bon Appetit March 2008's cover recipe, 12 days to a great Corned Beef sandwich...