"Now those are some nice tits!" the customer to my right says, sounding like a pirate on Viagra. The rack he's complimenting belongs to our spunky barmaid, who laughs hysterically as she walks up to each customer, unbuttons her jean jacket and gives them a quick flash, nipples and all. It quickly becomes apparent that the staff at Under the Volcano (2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282) has a great collective sense of humor: Our bartender is wearing a pair of fake plastic novelty breasts, the kind you find at Mardi Gras or Joe Francis's house on a Tuesday night. Recalling both the pool party scene in Real Genius and a frat bar in Honolulu, the Volcano is best described as a tiki bar from hell. And as one might expect from a bar named after a novel about an alcoholic diplomat exiled in Mexico, the Volcano is a sight to behold. The decor is nothing short of fascinating: Ceramic crosses line the walls, bat skeletons sport papal tiaras, fanged tribal masks leer at patrons and a shrine surrounded by fake hula grass extols the virtues of the aforementioned novel. When the well-endowed barmaid makes her way over to me, I order a strawberry basil margarita, one of the bar's famous drinks. As she does her magic, she has to stand on her tiptoes to see over her own plastic cleavage.
1 ounce tequila
1 ounce triple sec
Under the Volcano
2 crushed sweet basil leaves, fresh
1 ounce sliced strawberries
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1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with strawberry or lime wedge. Can also be blended -- if you're a wuss.