Thursday, September 9, 2010

If you don't like Tequila, you'll still like Te'kila

After dinner at New Orleans inspired restaurant/bar Five 0 Four in Hollywood, I was looking for post-dinner cocktails that weren't the sweet, collegiate alcohol beverages (think bright colored drinks that should be served in a huge Styrofoam cups) that Five 0 Four served (in their defense, their Happy Hour prices and food were good, but the drinks weren't sophisticated). We walked across the courtyard to new bar Te'Kila. See!! Who says we can't bar hop in LA.

Te'Kila is located in the old LA Cantina spot and has only been opened for a month. I wasn't exactly jumping for joy. After all, I don't love tequila. I can do the customary margarita specials at Cabo Cantina or El Cholo, but it's never my liquor of choice. Somehow, visions of numerous tequila shots in my lifetime, followed by massive hangovers the next day has conditioned me to steer clear from the evil spirit. So I begrudgingly made my way over to the seats at the bar. I could always get one of their few non-tequila cocktails *gasp*

Similar to its neighbor Five 0 Four, Te'Kila is designed by Kris Keith's Spacecraft, who has had a hand in practically half of Hollywood's bar scene. It's dark and gothic inside with heavy wood furniture, ornate candelabra chandeliers and a metal embossed flower tiled ceiling. The best part of the restaurant are the french doors that open out onto Hollywood Blvd.

Te'Kila has happy hour from 4-8pm Mon through Fri. Their regular food menu looks great, with numerous taco selections and a build your own burrito option. Te'kila offers over 100 tequilas and the bartender means serious business. He not too thrilled about the mojito on the menu because this is a tequila joint. He tried to convince us to take some shots but I think this youthful Asian face tricked him into thinking my liver could handle it. As tempted as I was to order the mojito, I refrained for fear of the evil eye from our bartender.

Pinche Pepino (Milgrano silver, fresh lime juice, cucumber, mint leaves) was actually really good. I didn't taste that strong nasty tequila flavor. This definitely wasn't happy hour drinks at El Torito. The bartender made a concoction for my friend that mixed tequila with St. Germain and ginger brew. Another good drink. I was caught off guard. Did I really enjoy a tequila drink and still wanted more?

Next, I was tempted by their margaritas ($9, add $1 for fruit choices of strawberry, raspberry, mango, watermelon, pineapple, cucumber). Don't worry, they won't be dispensed from the slushee machines like over at Five 0 Four. All the fruit juices are fresh.

Our bartender recommended the Watermelon Margarita. I was apprehensive because I just pictured overly sweet jolly ranchers. But I decided to trusted him since he had won me over with the last drink. And he succeeded again. It really tasted like a fresh, juicy slice of watermelon. It wasn't sweet, yet it was still able to mask the tequila (that's a good thing).

I loved the Watermelon Margarita but the Mango Margarita was definitely the winner of the night. The mango juice was thick enough so it didn't taste watery, yet it wasn't as heavy as processed juice puree. Once again, unlike crappy margaritas at many bars, the fruit juice tasted fresh and not super sweet. This reminded me of the mango smoothie (sans alcohol) that I had in Costa Rica 4x a day (it was that good).
I also ordered the Seasonal Tequila, which was a mixture of tequila, pineapple and serrano chili. Our bartender explained that the inside of a serrano pod is somewhat similar to the vanilla bean. And similar to vanilla bean, serrano pairs well with pineapple. This drink reminded me of a pina colada, only less sweet and less thick.

It was getting late but I really didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay and continue to try more cocktails. I couldn't believe I wanted to forgo sleep and late night TV for a tequila drink. I walked away excited about my new find. I love the ambiance of the bar, I love the cocktails, the prices were reasonable for Hollywood standards. And most of all, I love that I enjoyed many tequila drinks (and wanted more) instead of whining like a brat that I haaaaate tequila. I guess those images about massive hangovers after tequila shots no longer haunt me. Until tomorrow, that is...

Hits: ambiance/decor, mango margarita, seasonal cocktail
Misses: dangerously good
Rating: ***1/2

6541 Hollywood Blvd.,
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 960-2404


Banana Wonder said...

Yum! I know what you mean about all those fake margs. Ugh. They have headache written all over them. Fresh fruit all the way! Take me here next time and we will show that evil off bar tender wasssup.

Diana said...

I don't know, Stephanie. I'm still a little scared of the big bad Tequila beast! And I'm not sure if I'm ready to forgo sleep and TV! There are Top Chef recaps to write!!! ;)

stuffycheaks said...

Anna - actually the bartender warmed up a bit through the night, I just think he's like a serious guy you know? Doesn't mess around with his tequila

Diana - keep writing those Top Chef recaps!