As a blogger, I get nasty comments about my opinions all the time. (Well, not all the time. Fort Collins is really super nice.) And you know what? That’s fine. ...
Breakfast cocktails can be tricky. Too much booze and you’re completely useless for the rest of the day; too much mixer and you end up with what’s essentially a $9 glass of juice. I’m picky about my bottomless mimosas for the same reason – I want to feel like I got my money’s worth without falling out of my chair before 10 am.
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck though, a big Bloody Mary is the way to go. Any halfway decent Bloody will include enough vodka, juice, and fixings to get you through a slow-moving Sunday morning with or without any actual food. It’s brunch on a budget!
The Sungold at Snooze is a great way to switch up your standard Bloody Mary. Made with Mell Vodka, crushed yellow tomatoes, pepper, lemon, and massive quantities of fresh basil, this is lighter and fresher than a typical tomato juice-based Bloody Mary. Topped with a lemon wedge, cherry tomato, and big honkin’ spear of cucumber, the Sungold – like most Bloody Marys – provides enough sustenance to quiet your growling belly while you’re waiting through the endless line at Snooze.
Listen up, guys. There’s a beloved local business in trouble, and they need your help.
The Astoria is one of my favorite bars in Fort Collins. You can read my glowing review from last year, or Feasting Fort Collins’ equally appreciative take on their food menu to get an idea of why I love this place so much. Their cocktails always feature prominently in my Drink Off competitions, and even after sampling the Cuban food trucks of Miami and the Florida Keys, I still think they have some of best ceviche, lechon, and Cuban sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
But great food, impeccable cocktails, and an utterly unique atmosphere doesn’t always guarantee success, more’s the pity. We all know the rent in Old Town is outrageously high. In the last few years, we’ve seen business after local business shutter their doors due to skyrocketing rent increases, replaced by the only businesses that can swallow the cost – namely, chains and other behemoths that can take those increases in stride. Sorry, Mom and Pop, but there’s money to be made. Small, new, less financially flush bars and restaurants are forced to either give up the game or move to cheaper pastures, leaving Old Town on the verge of becoming the soulless strip mall that haunts your worst suburban nightmares.
That’s not to say that every locally-owned establishment deserves to stay in business. It’s a jungle out there, and the restaurant and nightlife industry has always been more brutal and ruthless than most. With this in mind, it might seem weird for a business to start an IndieGogo campaign as a last-ditch effort to save their skin – after all, why would I donate my hard-earned money just to keep someone else’s business afloat?
But Lindsey Anderson, owner of The Astoria, is not asking for donations. She just wants you to put your money where your mouth is. And that’s why I support this campaign 100 percent.
The full story of her campaign is worth a read, but long story short: she needs $35,000 by September 16, or she’s out – along with every musician, artist, drag queen, and Cuban food aficionado who’s ever found love, laughter, or conversation inside those crimson walls. To raise this money, she’s selling anything and everything, up to and including her personal art collection, guitars, and furniture. She doesn’t want a handout (although generous tips are probably appreciated). She just wants you to freaking come in and buy something already. A drink, a sandwich, a private party, a piece of art, or even The Astoria itself – if you happen to have $150,000 laying around.
5-star Yelp reviews are all well and good, but they don’t pay the bills. So tomorrow night, when you’re trying to decide between a boring bowl of pasta at the Olive Garden or an overpriced cheeseburger at Red Robin, why not give the middle finger to corporate America and support a small local business instead?
Learn more about The Astoria’s IndieGoGo campaign HERE, or visit them at 146 N. College Avenue.
Last week, I went into Blue Agave Grill – the new Mexican bar and restaurant underneath the art museum in Old Town – for the first time. I was only grabbing a quick cocktail, so I didn’t get the chance to try too much. Margaritas were first and foremost on my mind, of course, but as I scanned the extensive drink menu I was unusually tempted by the Spring 44 Honey Vodka Margarita.
I’m always a fan of Spring 44, but I didn’t stop to think that by taking the tequila out of a margarita and replacing it with vodka, you really don’t have a margarita anymore. What you have instead is a very large Kamikaze. It wasn’t bad, exactly, but I was definitely casting a lustful eye on my neighbors’ traditional margaritas as I slowly sipped away at my own drink.
But this brings an interesting question to mind – when is a margarita not a margarita? Can you really make one with vodka and still call it a margarita? In my opinion, no. Absolutely not. You can make margaritas in a lot of different ways – on the rocks, blended, salt rim, sugar rim – but without tequila? Now that’s just blasphemy.
Plenty of bars play fast and loose with cocktail categorizations. The martini is the worst of the lot. It seems that anything can be called a martini as long as it’s served in one of those characteristic glasses. But for the love of all that’s holy, do we have to bring the margarita into this lawless frontier of mixology? There are already a myriad of ways to put your own personal twist on the margarita (Blue Agave has at least 10 or 15), but vodka is where I draw the line.
No tequila, no margarita. It’s that simple.
What do you think? Is a margarita a margarita if it’s made with vodka?