I don’t think either of us had any intention of getting a Margarita when we left the apartment Friday night. Caitlin had a plus one for Two Door Cinema Club and was gracious enough to take me. When we got to the window at Stubbs, the woman working will call stopped texting long enough to tell us she wasn’t on the list*. Welp. Caitlin had already gotten all dressed up and asked if I at least wanted to get a drink while we were out. Why not? We happened to be right in front of Pelóns, a brand new Mexican place in Austin that I’d been curious to try. You’re never going to believe it. They had margaritas.
*Seriously, this chick was SO rude. I understand people are probably trying to scam you on the reg, and I’m sorry for that. But that doesn’t mean we all are, or that you should take a shitty, pessimistic attitude to all of us because a few people suck. I was legitimately supposed to be on the list, and could have proved it. /rant.
I’d been intrigued about Pelóns for a few months, and started following their Facebook page when I saw they were taking over that long-dormant spot that used to be Jaime’s across from Stubbs. I’ve gotten to see the process of rebuilding the restaurant and it looks like a brand new place. I’ll let Caitlin describe the decorum, since that’s not really my thing, but it was charming*. We’d already had Rio’s for dinner and just wanted a margarita, but who can ever say no to chips and salsa? The green tomatillo salsa was exploding with flavor, but wasn’t too spicy. The red salsa was warm, which was a bit surprising and I never quite got into it, but I could take a bath in that tomatillo.**
*It was. There was a splash of turquoise on one wall, really great artwork all around, and I loved the little cacti on the tables. Simple, but appropriate for the food type and welcoming. And, a HUGE improvement over the former owners’ space — I only went in once to use the restroom before Phoenix played at Stubb’s, and it was shaaaady.
**Not much to add here except the tomatillo was really, really great. There was a nuttiness to it that made it incredibly appealing and complimentary with the salty chips. I also hated the warm red salsa (only cool red for me, please and thank you) but that tomatillo. Mmm.
We’ve established a pattern with ‘rita ordering, even if we haven’t really discussed it. Caitlin always gets the strawberry or raspberry and I always get the exotic flavor*. If I don’t like the exotic flavor, I default to mango. I ordered the guava before remembering I hate guava and then got the mango. I guess I could have gotten Sangria, but when you want mango, you need mango.
Taste: 7.5/10 It was a smooth, sweet treat. It wasn’t overly strong, there were no chunks of mango I noticed, but it was a solid margarita all the way through.
Value: 8.5/10 I totally got my money’s worth for $6.50 for the small. I would have believed them if they told me it was the large. It totally hit the spot and I didn’t need a second.
Presentation: 7/10 A nice crystal (?) glass, a lime wedge and a straw. No salt rim which was a tad disappointing, but they got all the basics right.
Overall: 8/10 I’d definitely recommend this place and the food looked outstanding. I wished I was hungrier. I’d come back any time and the location is ideal. Great addition to that area. I envision many dinners before concerts and/or late night food/drinks after.
*This about summarizes our personalities, in some ways.
Taste: 9.5/10 – This is, hands down, the best strawberry margarita I’ve yet to consume. Generally when I order the “strawberry” it just tastes like normal friggin’ margarita, like the cheapie kind you can order by the buckets at Freddie’s (not knocking those, though. I do love me some Freddie’s margs). This ‘rita, however, was legitimately strawberry. It had actual fresh strawberry chunks floating in it that gave it a fresh taste, and at the end there was just enough sweet strawberry syrup to finish off like a dessert on my dessert-y drink.
Value: 8.5/10 – As Zack mentioned, these were the “small” ‘ritas and were just enough to really hit the spot without being overly filling. I definitely felt I was getting my $7* worth.
Presentation: 7.5/10 – This is probably the only semi-weak spot. The glasses were really pretty and I loved the lime wedge & straw, but a salt-rimmed glass is kind of the classic ‘rita touch and would have balanced the sweet strawberry flavor beautifully.
Overall: 9/10 – This is my favorite ‘rita to date. It was unique without being novelty, delicious and truly spot-hitting. It totally cooled off my frustration at the entire lack-of-concert situation and made going out that night feel worth it, after all.