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by Marisa Olsen

Margs Margs Margs

Last evening was dubbed at Margs Night 2008 as my guzzling partner and I coordinated and planned a Margarita Around Back Bay evening where we could explore and investigate the so-called leading margarita vendors of Boston. We surveyed our options: Mesa (already did the fish bowl marg- good but a little too strong, if you can believe it), Fajitas and Ritas, Cottonwood Cafe, The Cactus Club and Casa Romero. After careful examination, we finally narrowed down our search to a realistic and more- soberly acceptable two: Cottonwood and Casa Romero.
Cottonwood was fun; it has a great reputation, prime Back Bay location and great margs to boot. Our bartender/ tequila connoisseur was a bit rough at first, but eventually warmed up to us and we received a top notch agave lesson. Basically, tequila is made in a few ways: silver, oro reposado and añejo and extra añejo.
Silver tequila is un-aged and stored in aluminum or oak barrels. Good news for your alcs; It is ready to drink immediately! Oro is un-aged as well and is often mixed with coloring to “trick” the drinker that it is aged; often resulting in a gold or caramel color. Reposado is as it sounds; aged tequila, with a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. Añejo is aged more than a year but less than three years and extra añejo is aged in oak barrels for more than three years and is the newest trend in tequila. So when one chooses their personal blend, as they do at Cottonwood, it is important to know the following: tequila type preference, orange flavoring liqueur preference (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec) and of course the extras; frozen, straight up, on the rocks or salt. Our bartender was also kind enough to let us in a little secret; Patron is good, but not the best and backed it up by giving us a tasting of Corzo reposado (about $50 per bottle), a tequila aged in small oak barrels for optimum smoothness and flavor.
For margs sampling we tasted Cottonwoods’s Tradicional:
with Sauza Tres Generaciones and Cointreau–“the smoothest” and the Sauza Conmemorativo and Citronge “Boston’s Best” and most popular margarita. We loved both. A perfect blend of sweet and tart and paired perfectly with the salty, hot tortilla chips and four dips: guacamole, red and green salsa and con queso (note to self, stay away from the con queso, not necessary and could have very well come from the always entertaining/inspiring "Cheez Whiz" phenomenon).
After we exhausted ourselves with Tequila 101, we hit the pavement to Casa Romero, a charming sub-ground restaurant in an unassuming alley way around the corner from L’espalier. At Casa we had a fantastic Patron silver marg with salt and on the rocks that literally rocked. Unfortunately, our appetizer selection did not. We ordered the shrimp flauta, ok, but nothing to write home about, the pork tamale, all breaded and barely any pork, also quite under-seasoned, and chicken livers that had gristle and lack of seasoning as well. We should have taken our cue from the stale, flat chips we were greeted with upon arrival. Oh well. However, I will continue to persevere and give this cozy restaurant another try next winter, and I’ll be sure to go the entrée route. Even if the entrees are a let down, we always have that margarita…

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