January 30th, 2006

default, pepper

The weekend, and more

On Saturday, dracosphynx and I went to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which had a “grand re-opening” in October. It’s a big museum, bigger than you think when you enter it; we were there nearly five hours, and it felt like something of a whirlwind tour nonetheless. It’s a neat place, ranging the gamut from native art thousands of years old to contemporary abstract art. The building itself is pretty striking, too—an aggressively modernist design that I imagine gets pretty polarized reactions, although I rather like it. It’s industrial without being brutal.

I’d intended for us to go to dinner at Tres Agaves, a new Mexican restaurant and tequila bar near SBC Park, but apparently there was a motocross event going on at the stadium and the cheapest parking there was $20. I think next time I go into SF, I’m going to really strongly suggest we just drive somewhere close to the city and take public transit the rest of the way in.

Instead, we ended up at Consuelo in Santana Row, a neat tapas-style Mexican place that also has a terrific tequila selection. This is both good and bad, good in that I had what was probably the best margarita I’ve tried—bad in that it’s encouraging me to think about how to make my margarita recipe better. I had a good pork dish, although dracosphynx was put off by the restaurant being loud and seemed to have a general mood crash. (This may have really been the onset of a cold he has now.)

Yesterday was the day I’d planned to spend on personal projects, although of course that didn’t go quite as intended. I set out for Panera but detoured to Sweet Tomatoes, and spent something like two hours there puttering around with story notes and a bit of web design work. Later that evening I got the “first draft” of the ESM web site up for testing, which looks fine in everything but—naturally—Windows Internet Explorer, which screws things up in both subtle and unsubtle ways. CSS positioning is off by a few pixels, dotted borders become dashed borders, some borders just go away, and to add a bit of insult to injury, IE can’t handle Unicode dingbats: I was using the ❦ character for section separation. On any platform with a dingbat font available, that will (should) be an ivy leaf, except WinIE, which will present a glorious empty box.

default, pepper

Margarita, improved

Inspired by the “high-end” tequila bars, I’ve tweaked my margarita recipe to have a different balance. This is more work, but I think it makes a pretty damn good drink.


2oz. tequila
1oz. Patron Citronge (orange liqueur)
1oz. fresh lime juice
½oz. lemon syrup

Shake with plenty of ice. Serve over crushed ice, no salt.

The big difference between this and the previous recipe is the fresh lime juice. I’m convinced, finally—as much as I love key lime juice, you can only get it as concentrate, and it’s better to have fresh “normal” limes. (You want it as pulp-free as possible, though.)

Why Patron Citronge? My original thought was, “Hey, it’s from a tequila company, so it’s probably going to work with margaritas.” (Use the Citronge and a splash of orange curacao for a Cadillac-style margarita.)

The lemon-flavored simple syrup is (as far as I’ve been able to tell so far) a unique part of this recipe. I’m using one from Sonoma Syrup, but I suspect the much cheaper Torani or Monin syrup would work just fine. I’ve also tried it with a full ounce, but that seems to make the flavor a little “thick” without making it appreciably sweeter.

One thing about this recipe: it doesn’t hide the flavor of the tequila at all, which means the tequila better not suck. Personally, I’d recommend 100% agave reposado. I’ve tried Cabo Wabo Reposado, El Jimador Blanco and Jose Cuervo Reposado Tradicional; out of those, the Cabo Wabo is the best, but also the most expensive. (Surprisingly, at least to me, the El Jimador is better than the Cuervo, even though that’s not the cheap Cuervo.)

Update One other thing about this recipe: the drink is rather strong. Whee! Work is gonna suck tomorrow morning.