Cilantro Jalapeno Margarita
Calavera (my restaurant review)
I have been dying to try the tequila cocktails at Calavera. They plain sound amazing, and it’s hard to go wrong with me, tequila, and something spicy. So ordering the cilantro jalapeno margarita was basically a foregone conclusion. I’ve tried a million varieties on it by this point. Or, you know, four.
Made with Jimador tequila, lime, orange juice, and a cilantro and jalapeno simple syrup, this drink is satisfying if not quite as finessed as it could be. It reaches “Very!” on my unofficial spice scale running from “Peppers? What peppers?” to “Need a glass of milk, STAT!” The savory elements on the rim are essential to the drink. Otherwise, the sugar from the syrup would be overwhelming. The sour mix of just orange and lime is a nice complement to the rest of the drink, but I prefer it when a drink using fresh ingredients has some flecks of those ingredients in it. Somehow, that soothes me more.
Reviewed 29 Nov 12.
201 South Estes Drive
University Mall, Chapel Hill
City Kitchen is part of the Giorgios Hospitality Group. It is a remodel from Spice Street, transitioning the huge, open space from a restaurant with dramatic, international flair to more of a French corner bistro writ large. The redesign is definitely keeping with trends—apparently, we all want menus that boast of their simplicity and ingredient focus. City Kitchen delivers just that, especially with its drawings of hogs and chickens on the gigantic chalkboard overhanging the kitchen that, of course, also bears some menu item descriptions. One must have a chalkboard menu for this trend, nevermind the more extensive menus given out at the table.
The space is divided the same as it used to be: an inviting outdoors eating area, a modern stone bar, and a cavernous dining room that now boasts abstract takes on French art mixed in with a rustic country door and chairs that bear the restaurant’s logo in a design my friend described as tramp stamp.
There is plenty of blonde and dark wood in keeping with that hip country theme as well as steel, blacks, and whites. Did I mention they also house a bakery? City Kitchen is the sort of restaurant where you’ll find meatloaf specials comingling with bouillabaisse. A variety of flatbread pizzas and sushi rolls get their own featured lists. There is an affordable cocktail list, which means I ordered one, of course.
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