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Have liver, will travel

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Under the Volcano

On our excursions to New York City, the Alcotourist and I have enjoyed many a nice glass of wine and some very fine beers (Hammerhead Stout comes to mind). But we could always count on one thing to lure us back to smoggy Los Angeles: the finest tequilas. On our last trip, however, we happened—I do mean happened—upon a spot that may yet make New Yorkers out of us.
Our original destination was The Ginger Man, a bar of many beers on tap, on E 36th Street near 5th Avenue. The Ginger Man promised amber light and amber beer, but alas, it was crowded, loud, and warmer than the subway on an August afternoon. I would give the bar a chance on a cooler evening before peak hours, with a cravat caveat: many a tie and dress shirt stands between you and your porter.
The Alcotourist and I stayed for one drink, then decided to move on or at least get back outside where we could breathe. As we crossed the street to avoid a mountain of piled-up trash bags, we saw a little nook of a place beckoning from under a painted sign: Under the Volcano. We went inside.
What awaited was a fine selection of tequilas, a collection of cozy, dimly-lit tables, and relaxed, tie-free folks imbibing. This was more like it. The Alcotourist and I grabbed a spot in the back and got a couple of veggie tacos to get us started, with a fine Herradura margarita for me (yes, a real margarita, frou frou-free with fresh lime, on the rocks!) and a sublime shot of Paradiso for The Alcotourist. There is a reason why they call it Paradiso. It was wonderful and warm, smooth and buttery but with the necessary agave herbaceousness. I tried to steal as much of it away from The Alcotourist as I could.
It was heartening to find a place in New York that knew a margarita isn't a limeade slushie with a dash of Cuervo; a place to sip a little agave nectar by candlelight. We ended the night knowing we had found a special spot, away from the Wall Street crowd, away from home. We later learned Under the Volcano is owned by those who own The Ginger Man--for when they need to get away from it all, perhaps? Who could blame them? The oasis awaits...