In the dead of winter, there are few precious things that can provide a window of relief from the bitter cold.
Barring a trip south, there are blankets, heaters, sleeping animals and sometimes the right meal or drink to help bring the heat.
A trip to an authentic taqueria or a kicky Mexican restaurant can almost always provide a spark inside, and the next few days offer several opportunities to celebrate one of my favorite ethnic foods.
With National Margarita Day being celebrated on Monday, Feb. 22, and National Tortilla Chip Day on Wednesday, Feb. 24, it’s a chance to add a little sizzle with a trip to one of several terrific spots in town to grab spicy salsa with crispy chips or an icy cold margarita, or, my personal favorite — both.
One of my preferred destinations is the Taqueria Mixteca in Trotwood at 2190 Shiloh Springs Road. The restaurant’s Trotwood location is almost as bare bones and nondescript as their original location at 1609 E. 3rd St. in Dayton. The food is remarkable and authentic at both, but the beauty of the Trotwood location — and the major thing differentiating the two — is a liquor license, which presents the opportunity to order up a zippy Margarita or ice cold beer.
When the freshly made chips arrive at the table with chunky salsa, be sure to put in an order for their generous portion of chunky guacamole and terrific cheese dip blended with jalapeños — after all, you need something to put on those chips to savor them properly.
I unapologetically love Elsa’s Bad Juans and chips with salsa — to me it’s a neon green Dayton tradition that is worthy of embracing. El Meson’s Margarita is a nearly perfectly balanced mix made with fresh lime juice that is refreshing with the kind of kick that all margaritas aspire to have.
But for those of us craving flavor AND a deal, here are several spots with tempting offers.
El Meson in West Carrollton is offering one of the most creative offers out there just a few days after National Margarita Day (due to its hours of operation).
On Feb. 24, they are offering Classic El Meson margaritas at $5 each, but it’s the $15 flight they are offering that made us get out the old calendar and write down a date in ink. The four-drink flight features three margaritas and one cocktail. La Piña (a pineapple mezcal margarita), Hot Mamacita (a zesty margarita made by infusing their empanadilla sauce into lime tequila), Smoky Pepe (a sweet butterscotch and caramel margarita) and a Gogo Juice (tequila with rosé sparkling wine and rosé moscato mixed with fresh cucumber, strawberry and jalapenos) will all be served.
“We are all starving for what we don’t have and haven’t had and that’s the idea of memories and emotions that generate an escape. Food does that, cocktails do that and location does that. Everyone has had margaritas on vacation and they don’t think of Alaska, they think of Cancun, Florida ... someplace warm and beautiful,” said Bill Castro, partner/owner of El Meson in West Carrollton. “Your first sip will take you there. It takes you away and takes care of your emotion.”
Other spots offering deals in town include:
Condado Tacos at The Greene will be offering $5 house margarita all day long on Feb. 22, with a one dollar up charge for any other flavors, like blackberry, blood orange, strawberry, white peach, pomegranate, banana, mango or prickly pear.
Rusty Taco, with locations in Dayton, Beavercreek and Miami Twp., is offering $5 margaritas served in a limited edition cup to celebrate. It’s also introducing its Rusty Bandito Margarita, described as its “deliciously most potent rita.”
Agave and Rye’s new location in Troy will be offering $6 margaritas all day. The newest addition to their margarita menu, the Little Red Corvette, features silver tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, sugar water, a splash of orange juice, a strawberry swirl and an edible rose.
Chuy’s, with locations in Beavercreek and Miami Twp., will be celebrating with drink specials. They include making any regular house or frozen margarita a Grande in a commemorative cup for an extra $2 or adding $1 floaters, topping off the drink with an extra pour of tequila.
Regardless of where you choose to go to celebrate there are sure to be plenty of deals and opportunities to get some warmth and flavor.
“It’s like a computer — when you’re stuck you reboot,” said Castro. “That’s a margarita.”
That’s the best explanation we’ve heard so far.
For more information on National Margarita Day visit nationalmargaritaday.com.