Stirred and Shaken

A huge hammerhead shark is mounted on the wall behind the fish counter. Fishing nets hang from the ceiling. I pull a nice-looking red snapper from the bed of ice and hand it to my waitress, who weighs it and passes it along to the kitchen. If you like fresh Gulf seafood, Tampico Seafood and Restaurant [2115 Airline Drive, (713)862-8425] is your kind of place. I have a cold shrimp and octopus cóctel, while waiting for them to grill the huachinango. The waiter recommends the house specialty, a beer cocktail called a michelada. It's Mexican beer with lime juice and hot sauce.

Tampico's michelada: By now, lime juice and Mexican beer seem like a normal combination. The addition of hot sauce somehow makes sense -- especially with cold seafood. Instead of dousing your shrimp or oysters on the half shell with cocktail sauce, you just drink one of these on the side.

Lime wedge
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (the kind made from chile powder, not salsa)
1 bottle Corona Extra

Rub the lime wedge along the rim of a chilled beer mug, then dip the rim in the salt. Put the lime juice and hot sauce in the bottom of the mug. Serve the glass and the beer separately, allowing the drinker to pour his own cocktail. Makes one.

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Robb Walsh
Contact: Robb Walsh