Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Margarita

I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect that my husband Tom tasted his first margarita shortly after meeting me, and he instantly fell in love with it.  From then on, he was on a quest to find the perfect margarita - frozen, with salt.  He didn't like them overly sweet, nor reeking of an excess of tequila, but well-balanced and preferably with fresh-squeezed lime juice.

On balmy Friday evenings we would park ourselves in an outdoor cafe (frequently the one in Manhattan's Bryant Park, behind the main library), or the outdoor tables of one of our usually interior haunts, and greet the weekend with chips, guacamole, and margaritas.  The entire family knew of this obsession; one year he received two (matching, amazingly enough) sets of margarita glasses for his birthday, and kept them both.  Brian, his older son, inevitably took us to our first Margaritaville restaurant when we visited him in Hawaii.  When we moved to Arizona, Tom's younger daughter-in-law accused him of doing so in order to be closer to tequila country; she gave him a shotglass shaped like a squatty saguaro cactus as a going-away present.

That same daughter-in-law had earlier introduced us to the the delights of the frozen margarita bucket.  A relative from Georgia had brought her a bucket of On The Border's margarita mix; one adds tequila, mixes, and places the bucket in the freezer.  Voila, frozen margaritas on demand!  Add friends and it's an instant party.  Tom was thrilled to find both the buckets and the mother lode (actual On The Border restaurants) in the Phoenix area.  We also found what we thought was the perfect guacamole in a small Glendale restaurant named Lily's; the owner used his Mexican grandmother's recipe, containing nothing but avocados, onions, lime juice and a little salt.  Fabulous.

Of course Tom is gone now, and Lily's also died during road construction that cut off almost all access to the restaurant, but a bucket of frozen margaritas still lives in the freezer section of my refrigerator.  Tonight is Cinco de Mayo, and although I'm a little fuzzy as to what it's all about, I'll gladly celebrate any holiday that allows me to pull out the margaritas, chips, and Wholly Guacamole.

"If life gives you limes, make margaritas." ~Jimmy Buffett

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