Suburban Escape

I was tired of the downtown scene, where big-haired, jobless 27-year-olds wearing skintight jeans were about the best you could hope for in terms of a little action. It was time to head out to the burbs and look for a rich divorcée who might need a little company on this cold February evening. Located in a nondescript strip mall across from Champions Golf Course, Raoul's (5121-A FM 1960 West, 281-893-2281) is a dimly lit restaurant with lots of exposed brick, polished brass chandeliers and wine racks; it doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a supper club or a cocktail lounge. There were a few couples finishing up their meals, but not a divorcée in sight. So at the bar, I ordered a red apple martini and struck up a conversation with the piano man. Between sets of outdated standards and Billy Joel love songs, he told stories about rock bands and private drinking clubs in the '60s and double-puffed his Marlboro Lights as if he'd spent his entire life sipping and inhaling at two-minute intervals.

Raoul's Red Apple Martini:
2 generous splashes Rémy Red
2 1/2 ounces Citadel vodka
1/4 ounce Martini & Rossi dry vermouth

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add ingredients. Shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with sour candied apple, if available.

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