After setting an overflowing basket of tricolored chips and two small bowls of salsa in front of me, my bartender at the recently opened Pinche Taqueria made a friendly threat: "You're going to be my guinea pig," he said, rubbing his hands together and surveying the bottles in front of him. I had just taken my first pull on a bottle of Dos Equis, a perfectly safe lunch beer, and I didn't feel like testing my capacity to work after a two-margarita lunch. "What do you have in mind?" I asked.
Before he could get carried away preparing an experimental cocktail with the potential to knock me on my ass well before 5 p.m., I zeroed in on a pair of oversized glass containers on the bar that were filled with a clear liquid and slices of fruit. "What's in those jars?" I gestured over his shoulder.
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off a jar holding what appeared to be a block of
bloated, pale pineapple. He tiled the jar and filled the tiny glass halfway, returning
with the murky liquid.
Turns out the jar held three bottles of tequila that had been soaking with fresh pineapple. If a shot of straight tequila brings water to the eyes, this was smooth as silk, faintly sweet with a mild but pleasant burn. "This is dangerously good," I said. He conceded and offered me the "exact opposite" in terms of flavor experiences: a piece of the pineapple that had been soaking in the booze for several days. It tasted like licking a bathtub of moonshine.
My tongue was still burning when my cheese quesadilla arrived with more chips, sour cream, and a very runny dollop of guacamole. I worked on the platter and nursed my beer while I watched passersby. All of the seating at Pinche Taqueria is covered, but the front "door" rolls up to convert the bar into a semi-open space. It makes for good people-watching, even on a slowish weekday afternoon.
The bar plans to go all out for Cinco de Mayo with nearly a week's worth of partying in store. This would be an excellent time to sample those fruit-infused tequilas. Just remember that while it doesn't taste like it, it's still booze.