Best Margarita - 2003
Canyon Southwest Cafe
For almost 20 years now, the margarita has been the afterwork drink of choice. Snowy cold, almost flavorless, giant-sized, and packed with enough clear tequila to power an outboard motor, it's a cocktail to blow away that acrid 9-to-5 pall. When the eagle flies on Friday, it's solace in a glass. But, hell, for all the gustatory pleasure it provides, you might as well inject it into your arm. Canyon gives you some of the kick of the pedestrian version with a dash of flavor and a trace of the exotic. The restaurant's house specialty, the prickly-pear margarita, is made with good Hornitos tequila. It has a pink blush and a faint, tropical-fruit afterflavor that'll have you groping for comparisons. It tastes like, um -- a cross between a banana and a mango? No, that's not it. Whatever it is, it's tasty and, well, different. Let's call it subtle. The Canyon even delivers a feel for the Southwest. After your second or third prickly, you may look around at the restaurant's faux adobe walls and rancho ceiling beams and swear you hear coyotes howling out there somewhere. The prickly costs $8, $7 during happy hour.