To name a drink is to love a drink. Harvey Wallbangers are for old geezers, Sex On the Beach is not all it's cracked up to be, and having a Screaming Orgasm is what life's all about. But why not just say it like it is? A rainy night at The Boat at 3 Cheers produced this dizzying little number made of vodka, Southern Comfort, Galliano, orange juice and sloe gin. Keep your old-fashioneds, Exploding Irish Car Bombs and Sex with an Alligator -- we'll take a Slow Comfortable Screw Against the Wall every weekend we can manage.

Sit back with a Mexican Coke and enjoy four tacos for the price of three (that's 75 cents each!). And be sure to slather them all with La Bamba's fabulous homemade salsa. Cooking onions and tomatoes with chiles de árbol makes the dark red sauce. Chile de árbol is a favorite dried pepper for hot sauces in interior Mexico. Mexican cooking authority Rick Bayless describes the shiny, orange-red, dried chile de árbol as "very hot with a straightforward chile flavor." We have seen them used in such quantities as to create hot sauces that will make gringos and small children weep. This hot sauce tastes especially good on a barbacoa taco, as the barbacoa is not seasoned with a sauce like most of the other tacos. And La Bamba has one of the best barbacoa tacos this side of Eagle Pass. La Bamba features ample seating, including two booths, a table with four chairs and a couple of stools by the steam table, with a maximum occupancy of maybe 15 people, if they're really skinny. This Mexican grocery store also is a great place to buy El Caporal pickled pork rind, cones of piloncillo, boxes of Mexican pasta and cans of Jumex fruit juice. There are also piñatas dangling above the soft drink case, in case you're organizing a last-minute birthday party. And at the cash register you can get incense sticks and lottery tickets.
Is there smack in this salsa? No, of course not. But the addictive quality of El Pueblito's version of the condiment will make you wonder. At this Guatemalan/Mexican restaurant, owned by Eduardo and Monica Lopez, the salsa is more than just something to dip the chips in while waiting for your main course -- in fact, stopping there would be almost impossible. The mixture of fresh cilantro and ripe tomatoes makes everything on the varied menu taste even better than it does plain -- from the vegetarian quesadillas to the fresh bay snapper -- so go ahead and cover your plate with the stuff. The chunky sauce is blessed with a sharp bite that somehow makes your mouth feel cool and hot all at the same time, and if you become a regular salsa junkie, the staff will string you out even more by bringing you extra big cups of it. Forget pot -- after one visit it's obvious that El Pueblito's salsa is the true gateway drug.

Your boss has been giving you a hard time. Your lower back's giving you grief. And your girlfriend's not giving it up. Well, the top-shelf margarita at Noche won't get you a promotion, it probably won't heal those aching vertebrae, and it sure won't get you laid. But once you've ordered this delicious concoction, you won't care about any of that. Pull up a stool and watch as the bartender lovingly measures out the Presidente brandy, Sauza Hornitos, orange juice, triple sec and sweet-and-sour mix; shakes the concoction tenderly; and pours it into a martini glass adorned with a lime wedge on a little plastic sword. Savor the comforting tart-sweet balance of the mix and the decadent tongue-pinch of the tequila. After a few sips, you'll start to wish you could have another. Lucky for you, there are at least two more servings waiting for you in the shaker.
The lunch salad with scallops, listed on the menu as "pancetta-wrapped Maine diver scallops, warm salad of watercress, jicama and wild mushrooms," tastes as big as its name. First you notice the scallops: three big fat ones, wrapped in pancetta, and the salty Italian bacon pairs beautifully with the sweet shellfish. Then you assess the "salad" part of the equation. Those scallops surround a small, warm mound of jicama slivers, wild mushrooms and watercress. When you eat a bit of everything at once, the combination of textures and flavors is so entrancing (chewy! soft! crunchy! salty! sweet! peppery!) that for a minute you forget about Quattro's impressive view of the George R. Brown Convention Center. You forget to enjoy the restaurant's hyperstylish interior. You forget even what you were telling your lunch partner just a second before. Maybe it's not fair to classify this dish as a salad -- it could count as a light entrée -- but chef Tim Keating obviously doesn't fret about such petty distinctions, and neither will you. In fact, you'll wish more salads took themselves so seriously.
Okay, here's the situation: There's this spot near Shepherd Plaza that serves delicious fruit-flavored margaritas that are way too easy to get hooked on. Half the joy comes from watching the fiery señorita behind the bar make them. She puts the flavored syrup (strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, Halle Berry, Ken Berry, Boo Berry, Berry Gordy -- whatever kind of berry suits you) in the plastic cup first, then piles on the frozen margarita mix. Then, you take your swizzle stick and mix it all up. And voilà, a lovely concoction that's sweet and soothing and can get you drunker than the Hilton sisters on spring break. Hell, just writing about it makes us feel a little inebriated.

Truluck's stone crabs are flown in every day from company beds in Florida. If they were any fresher, these crustaceans would arrive at your table fighting. They're kept on ice for the journey but never frozen. This yields a watery, stringy stone crab. Novices take note: You should eat only the white meat in the large claw. It's nearly impossible to find a more enjoyable feast than this, served with either a simple melted butter or a spicy mustard sauce. Monday is the best day: The all-you-can-eat stone crab feast is $39.95.
The challah is braided and brown on the outside and golden with egg yolks in the middle -- take some home and make French toast with it and your breakfast will take on a whole new dimension. If you're thinking of making roast beef sandwiches, you'll want to build them on moist, onion-covered Three Brothers onion rolls. Corned beef sandwiches? Get the seeded rye; the chewy crust increases the interest level of your typical meat-and-mustard combination dramatically. On Fridays, there's also corn rye, a super-dense version of rye that's outstanding with chopped liver. (It can't be cut with an ordinary bread knife so remember to ask them to slice it for you.) On Friday, Three Brothers also has chocolate and cinnamon babkas and other sweet breads to choose from -- all of them first-rate. What else would you expect from the best Jewish bakery in the state?

Floridita, Florida's, whatever. Management can change the name as often as they like, just as long as they don't change the recipe on the dark rum mojitos. Sweetened lime juice, club soda and fresh mint mingle with dark rum in a tropical paradise. One will get you humming like the overhead ceiling fans; two and you'll swear you can write like Hemingway. Where's that big fish?
The folks at CharBar take martini-making seriously, precisely measuring their cocktails as if they were fitting a new suit. And that makes sense, since this bar shares space and ownership with the Duke of Hollywood tailor shop. In fact, about the only thing missing from the fabulous chocolate Tuxedo Martini is owner Mike Shapiro's favorite prop, the tape measure. The greatest thing about drinking at CharBar is that you can get outfitted with stylish duds -- and even get your shoes polished -- while the bartender whips up another cocktail. It's the ultimate demonstration of living large.

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