Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pre-siesta time

Posted on Wed, Jan 21, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Release Date: 2009-01-21

I’ve always enjoyed El Mirador’s food — conscientiously prepared and delivered — and they’ve now expanded their restaurant to include a lounge, also conscientiously prepared and delivered. It extends the Caribbean feel of the restaurant — builds on it. From the brilliant green and fuchsia of the bougainvillea that lines the orange building to the fresh red salsa, the lounge is inviting and perfect in the Aristotelian sense of the word. Even the slight hum of the margarita machine and the tantalizingly low volume of the Afro-Cuban beat coming from the inconspicuous speakers seem to add to the serenity. The cochineal-colored accent wall in front of the bar infuses the air, while the plantation slats in the window mute the sunlight, making it at once effulgent and cool. Even when, unfortunately, a family with their rotten kids comes in, the noise is lost in the ambience of the languid afternoon. 

At the bar, the pleasantly nude wood pleasantly slips under my fingertips like water as I wait patiently for a “supreme” margarita ($7.95). Salt dissolves on my lips and the alcohol trips across my tongue, soothed by the tang of lime. This is a lazy dance we are dancing, the margarita and I. Lulled into thought, I admire the metal light fixtures and the enormous bean pots filled with snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue struck dumb, and the crisp tile floor mimicking the wood and the slightly ajar door leading to the room reserved for the members of El Puro Social Club (where paying members — $100 for the year — can smoke their cigars; the slats are closed and it is dark and mysterious).  

Behind the bar, aligned on glass shelves in front of a mirror, bottles of tequila, scotch, gin, vodka, rum, and wine sit at varying degrees of dissipation (I’ve only just started my second margarita). They’ve got Bud Light and XX on tap and a variety of beers in the bottle. The bartender, in the simple and elegant white guayabera, black pant uniform, brings me another margarita. Only because they’re so good and I can’t tear myself away from the unflappable atmosphere so perfectly situated for a San Antonio afternoon, do I have another one when I know there are other things I should be doing. The siesta hour, paused here, consumes me. Not even the buzzing of a fly disturbs the silence.

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