Cinco de Mayo is over, but in Dallas, the time to go on the hunt for the best area margaritas has just begun. VisitDallas, the brand name of the city’s conventions and visitors bureau, has developed an app to attract and entertain visitors to North Texas, but also to give locals a way to seek out the best margaritas we have to offer.
Margarita Mile, which launches officially today, is the bureau’s curated (read: not-paid-for) list of area restaurants, bars and taquerias in the area that serve unique, special or trip-worthy variations on the classic tequila drink.
VisitDallas officials concede they took some inspiration from Santa Fe, N.M.’s Margarita Trail, but notes that Dallas’ Margarita Mile doesn’t require a physical “passport” to be printed, stamped, replaced and kept track of, but rather an app that can be updated and added to at little cost, and is always with you.
The goal is simple: 17 margaritas at 17 locations have been selected and placed on the app (search Margarita Mile in your app store), which geo-locates you and shows you what area restaurants are closest to you serving one of the signature drinks — like Grindr for the other kind of thirsty. When you’re inside the restaurant, you can check in … though you don’t have to, but you can earn small rewards — a button, a hat, a tee, depending on how many check-ins you accumulate. (Think of it as a scavenger hunt for high-functioning dipsomaniacs. I kid, I kid.) Some of the restaurants even offer additional incentives, like a free appetizer or a BOGO. (Note: only the listed locations of chain restaurants participate; La Ventana along Woodall Rodgers, for instance, is part of the app, but not the new location on Cedar Springs, though the app will be routinely updated.)
I followed part of the trail myself (it’s a lot more than a mile, but kudos for alliteration), and checked out four of the destinations, starting with Mariano’s Hacienda. Founder Mariano Martinez, of course, is credited with creating the frozen margarita machine, so it’s a necessary stopover, and the sunburst marg — a layered combo of fruit puree, sangria and tequila — is a sweet, beautiful drink.
Over at Beto & Son in Trinity Groves, they don’t have to use a machine to chill your frozen, but combine agave, tequila, lemon juice and liquid nitrogen and hand-mash it into a creamy sorbet. Meso Maya serves the most traditional (and successfully so) margarita on the rocks, while The Rustic has several variations, including one that contains a popsicle right inside.
Which brings up a point: You don’t need to order the “featured” marg to enjoy the Mile. (VisitDallas doesn’t have a squad of enforcers, after all.) The point is to have fun, do a collective pub crawl and explore what Dallas has to offer.
— Arnold Wayne Jones