Photo by James BunoanSo, we do these restaurant issues a couple of times a year, and every time we do them, they're always about food. Food this, food that—frankly, we've had it up to here with food, especially during the summer when no one eats anyway. If you're anything like us—and don't you think you ought to be?—not a morsel passes your lips between Memorial and Labor days. It's just not good manners. What we do is drink. Summer is the time for drinking. There's nothing like a warm night and a cool drink to help you forget about the weapons charge. There's something about a cocktail that screams summer—both so cool yet somewhat sleazy, you know, like Russell Baker.
So, this restaurant issue, this summer restaurant issue, is about booze, hooch, Johnny Go Blind. You'll find helpful stories about cocktails you can't find anymore—but that we show you how to make. There are martini safaris accounts and all-night drinking games as well as a very special episode in which we apologize to the restaurants we've reviewed in the past.
But first, may we suggest you start off the evening with 25 very extra-special cocktails you'll find below. . . . Actually it's 23 cocktails. One of the items is actually a dessert and the other is about a drunk woman who kisses a guy and throws up. Skoal!
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BLOODY MARY, THE BEACH BALL
The Beach Ball is a dark, little place that people stream into early in the morning not to wrap things up but extend them into the next day. That's where Jody's Bloody Mary, the one she made with Worchester sauce, red and green Tabasco, horseradish, crushed ground pepper, ground celery salt, and too much vodka, comes in. Hot and flavorful, it seems to open up additional airways and possibilities. Just a couple mend the damage of a night's drinking and put you in the mood for something else, say, drinking another Bloody Mary from the sweet little glasses and singing "Sweet Caroline" along with the jukebox or waking up your brother whom you forgot was slumped over in the passenger seat of your car. 2116 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, (949) 675-8041. CHUPACABRAS, CUBAN PETE'S
Skyy vodka, Seagram's gin, Bacardi 151, Malibu rum, Pepsi and lemon-lime soda. For the low, low price of $39.95, you can get this demon puppy in a 128-ounce deadly clam size, served in an ornate shell. 1050 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 490-2020. THE FLAMING VIRGIN, MANDARIN PAVILION
This Chinese restaurant has the best house drinks, and the Flaming Virgin is the best of the best. Something like a fruity Long Island iced tea, it has both light and dark rum, plus a lot of other unidentifiable liquors mixed up in it. It's also really strong, so don't bother ordering another—all you need is one, and you've bought yourself a condo in Totally Fucked-Upville. Even more stunning, they serve it to you in this gargantuan, margarita-type glass—almost like a goblet—and then it's topped with a brandy-dipped lime they set on fire as it's brought to your table, hence the name. 1050 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, (714) 870-7950. IRISH ROOT BEER, STUBRIK'S STEAKHOUSE
Made with Kahlua, amaretto and Bacardi 151, poured into a shot glass and dropped into a half-pint of Guinness. Many people prefer the drink to be lit. Have a couple, and you will be, too. 118 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 871-1290. HB TAP WATER, WASABI
Sure, you could get a cold-filtered sake or a cool, lovely Sapporo. But since we're talking specialty drinks, nothing beats getting sloppy with a terrifying, dark-gray concoction that looks radioactive, sludgy and positively vomitous—but in the good way! Made with peach schnapps, Malibu rum, raspberry liqueur, vodka, blue curaçao and pineapple juice, it goes down smooth—at least according to the hard drinkers who were sitting behind me. But then, they had already happily downed a couple of Jägermeister and Red Bulls, so make of their opinion what you will. 200 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 901-0300. BUTTERSCOTCH LIFESAVER, VENUS
A half-shot of Malibu, a half-shot of butterscotch schnapps and a splash of pineapple juice. The bartender called this a "shot for chicks." 11572 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 898-9933. THE SCORPION, SAM'S SEAFOOD
Is it the Enchanted Tiki Room? No! It's Sam's Seafood! While there are many (many) fine drinking establishments in Sunset Beach catering variously to dirty bikers, dirty Irish, dirty hippies and very clean rastafari, Sam's Seafood is the ne plus for retro, groovy, swingin' types—or just the really old. It's so goddamn tropical and lush and waterfally, and the Scorpion—for lovers only!—comes in a giant clam shell (no, a really giant clam shell, a clam shell so giant it evokes Anna Nicole Smith) with foot-long straws so you can look into your lover's eyes while imbibing quarts of pretty liquor. Do us all a favor. Call a cab. 162785 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-1321. TROPICAL BULL, THE IRISHER BY-THE-SEA
Seal Beach's classiest dive, which is constantly concocting new summery drinks just for general "entertainment, kicks and grins." This one's Tropico (mango-flavored Bacardi) in a shot glass dropped in a cocktail glass filled with Red Bull. 121 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 596-1427. THE $71 MARGARITA, ST. REGIS MONARCH BEACH RESORT & SPA
Perhaps you have so much lovely money you don't know what to do with it all. Perhaps your lovely money is very shiny and new. In that case, head on down to Dana Point's sprawling St. Regis. (For added fun, be sure to stop in the middle of the lobby to whisper secrets that the amazing acoustics will carry to all and sundry, preferably secrets about having "done it" in the gazebo.) There, at the St. Regis bar, you have your choice of many ridiculously expensive drinks on which to blow your cash. And the nouveauest riche of all those drinks? Why, the $71 Margarita! It's made with Herradura selectica tequila and hundred-year-old Grand Marnier. No, we didn't have one. Who do you think we are? WorldCom? But the handsome bartender (he was thisclose to making our list of OC's hottest bartenders—see Commie Girl) says people do indeed order them, but in waves. "We might sell eight in a night," he said, "but then we won't sell another for two weeks." 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, (800) 722-1543; www.stregismonarchbeach.com. BLACK VELVET, MUTT LYNCH'S
Mutt Lynch's is a beer bar, but it has a whole range of snakebites—cider and beer concoctions. Bartender Frank says the Black Velvet, pear cider poured atop a Guinness, is his favorite. 2300 W. Oceanfront, Newport Beach, (949) 675-1556.
Photo by James Bunoan
ONE LOVE, BEACHFIRE
The waiter wasn't sure what was in this darling and sweet (but not Disney-sweet) tropicalia. Served in blown-glass Mexican martini stemware and garnished with the ripest pineapple known to man, the One Love was being sucked up all over the brand-new BeachFire. The waiter was pretty sure it had Jack Daniels in it(!), and he thought amaretto, and um, some orange juice and cranberry? I think he was lying about the cranberry, confusing it with pineapple juice (they're easy to mix up, since one is purple and tart and the other is yellow and sugary). By all means, get some appetizers to soak up the Jack. The tuna sashimi is thick and fresh on a griddled bed of mild wasabi crème. And some kind of fried Bali roll is all good and fried and stuffed with avocado. But here's the real hot tip: fill your pockets with bread sticks before you leave. 204 Ave. del Mar, Ste. D, San Clemente, (949) 366-3232. TANQUERAY NO. 10 GIN MARTINI, UP, DRY, WITH AN OLIVE, BAYSIDE RESTAURANT
A gimme, sure, but those in the know—that would be Rick Reiff, executive editor of the Orange County Business Journal—say that martinis just taste best at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach with its soft lights and Sinatra, Tony Bennett or, naturally, Dean Martin crooning away. Rick says that after two of these, he often sings along. Martini, a must; earplugs, optional. 900 Bayside Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 721-1222. MIDORI MARGARITA, HILTON WATERFRONT BEACH RESORT
OC Weekly: So, what's your favorite drink? Drink Throat: Well, my current favorite is the Midori margarita. Does it have to be my all-timefavorite, or can it be my current favorite? The Midori margarita is fine. What do you like about it?What's good about them??? If what's good is what you like about them, then, yes, what's good?Oh, my! They are slushy and refreshing and—the best part—they are the coolest color green! Midori is watermelony, right?Some places make them too liquidy with little slivers of ice, but the Hilton's are like Slurpees for grown-ups! Slurpees with tequila. Like watermelony Slurpees, then?With tequila. Midori tastes like watermelon? Please, just tell me that, yes or no.Midori is melon, yes, but not watermelon. It's Japanese. They're dangerously deceptive in that they don't taste like alcohol. They are big-time yum! Oh. . . .But I don't drink in the bar. No? Where do you drink?It's too . . . um . . . dignified . . . in the bar. Where do you drink?The patio—the little one over where the Surf Hero used to be. And the view . . . ahhhhhhh! Surf Hero? Is that the statue of the naked surfer?Of course, I travel through the hotel with my drink—as if I own the place! I much prefer the view in the daytime or at sunset. The view of the naked surfer statue? No, the Surf Hero was a great little sandwich shop run by the Hilton [located in the corner, by the end of the hotel nearest the large fountain out front by PCH]. There's a restaurant, the Palm Court, near there now. Oh. . . . You can see "to infinity and beyond"—across the pool to the ocean—from the small little patio there. And, best of all, no one can see you! Well, I mean, you're less likely to run into anyone you know there. (So you can suck up 10 or 12 drinks without it making the grapevine!) I'm confused. Where is this patio? Do you order your drink from the bar or the restaurant?Palm Court is the restaurant on the second floor. They have outdoor dining as well as indoor. I order my Midori margarita from the bar and walk it over to the patio, which you can get to by going up the stairs near the outdoor dining area of the Palm Court. Okay. Got it now. Thanks.Hey, you're not going to use all this, are you? Because it's my getaway. You can tell people there's a favorite secret patio, but if you give them good directions, I'll have to kill you! 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-7873; www.hilton.com. BLOODY MARY, WHITE HOUSE RESTAURANT
It's the horseradish, stupid. 887 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 772-1381. $5 MILKSHAKE, CAFE CLAIR
"I'm not supposed to tell you about this because it's like a Korean underground thing that white people aren't supposed to know about, but whatever. There's this place called Cafe Clair in Stanton, in this marketplace next to a karaoke thing. If white people go in there, they get glared at—it's all Korean clientele. But they have these really great $5 milkshakes—they're really small, but so good. It's a little bit bigger than a shot glass, and I don't know what's in there, but they're very creamy. And you're kind of intimidated into buying something because people are mean and snobby, and you feel like you have to buy something. Go with an Asian friend, preferably a Korean and preferably a Korean that speaks Korean. 12860 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 379-2575. THE RAINBOW, ALOHA GRILL
I love the Rainbow drink over at Aloha. It's like an icy drink with different rainbow colors in it, and it's really good. It's got, like, Meyer's rum in it, some kind of sweetener . . . But does it make you feel tropical?Yeaaaaaaah. Well, kind of. 221 Main St., Ste. F, Huntington Beach, (714) 374-4427; www.alohagrill.com. FERNET BRANCO, DIPIAZZA'S
Mark DiPiazza is a pusher. Just keep him away from your kids is all I'm saying. But when I went into the comfortably padded DiPiazza in Long Beach, bitching about some ailment or other, well, a pusher was just what I needed. "Drink this," he said, pulling out two small, tulip-like shot glasses and filling both. He offered me a flat Coke as a chaser. We quaffed; he filled again. "Again!" he said, and then, "Again!" A wild look was coming into his eyes, as he explained that he and wife Marilyn had now gotten the entire waitstaff hooked on this bottled cure-all. "It's like bitters!" he said. "It'll cure anything!" he said. "Drink some more!" he said. And I did. And I was loaded. But it was a mellow loaded, a floaty loaded, not a slurry, stumbling, fighting loaded, but a graceful, ethereal, peaceful loaded. And the come-down, a couple of hours later, was easy and fluffy. And my ailment, whatever it might have been, was gone like a one-night stand. 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461; www.dipiazzas.com. GRAND MARNIER-INFUSED, CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES, LAS BRISAS
The name of Las Brisas' house specialty describes its making. The result is as beautiful as the cliff-hugging restaurant. And many of them will get you buzzed. ¡Qué bello! 361 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-5434. ADIÓS MOTHERFUCKER, CAFE TU TU TANGO
We all like to go to Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orange. We're always fed up with work, and since our work is no laughing matter, we can be as improper as we want to here. That's probably why we drink in the first place. One of the reasons we like Cafe Tu Tu Tango is because of the open view and the fact that people are always streaming in from the other businesses in the Block. Having many people is always important for a good ambience at a bar; you lose your inhibition easier that way. I always get the Adiós Motherfucker. I don't even know what it's made of—I've heard there are five different liquors inside. All I know is that after an Adiós Motherfucker and a mai tai, I'm gone. It's cheaper this way; I don't have to spend money on sissy drinks. The Block at Orange, 20 The City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 769-2222; www.cafetututango.com. THE GRENADE, STUBRIK'S STEAKHOUSE
Bartender Barclay has come up with the grenade, a twist on a mai tai. It includes shots of vodka, rum, gin and Midori, along with blue curaçao, sweet and sour, orange and pineapple juices, and 7-Up. 118 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-1290. CUBA LIBRE, JC FANDANGO'S
JC Fandango's Cuba Libre is perfect for an evening at the Anaheim Latin-music institution and not just because of the cultural connection. They make Papa Hemingway's favorite with a caffeine-heavy cola and an 80-proof rum from somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere (the bartender refuses to say where) to create the proper brain-numbing effect. And you need it at this club, whether it's to gather courage in asking that barely dressed salsera to dance or to mosh into that hulking rockero. 1086 N. State College Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-1057; www.jcf.com. DIRTY GIRL, ST. REGIS MONARCH BEACH RESORT & SPA
We loooove the name of this one: VOX vodka, champagne and cranberry juice "cocktail" (that's what they call that 10 percent, Hi-C-like, "juice" stuff). Yum! 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, (800) 722-1543; www.stregismonarchbeach.com. WASHINGTON APPLE, BLUE BEET CAFE
People go to the Blue Beet to do a lot of things: meet girls, eat great steaks, meet guys, gaze at the ocean from the rooftop patio, meet girls, dance Friday and Saturday nights, meet girls, relax with friends, and meet girls. Oh, and they can also drink. One of the best things customers can drink is a Blue Beet specialty, the Washington Apple. Served as a martini, cocktail or shot, the Washington Apple has Crown Royal, Apple Pucker and cranberry juice. And just as its name implies, it tastes like a juicy, delicious Washington red apple. It's good for what ails you. A bartender pal of mine once mixed a friend an entire gallon of Washington Apple for her birthday. She's still drying out. 107 21st Pl., Newport Beach, (949) 675-2338. MARGARITA, SENOR CAMPOS
It's just a regular margarita with sweet and sour, triple sec, and tequila, but it's blended just right and comes across like an adult Slurpee. 1220 W. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, (562) 694-3614. THE RAGING BULL, MIKEY AND CHER'S
I first partook of this drink at Mikey and Cher's house on New Year's Eve 1999—remember, it was supposed to be the millennium, but it really wasn't, but everyone pretended it was. Well, there I was, "dressed for the future" as the invitation required, in a haz-mat jump suit and cowboy hat, and someone made me this "futuristic drink," the Raging Bull. I drank it. Then I started seeing things and tripping on smoke, and then I ended up making out with a guy who is actually a friend, but really not someone I wanted to make out with—you know the drill. Well, while we were making out, I had an out-of-body experience and was able to hover over my own body and watch myself making out. It made me dizzy, as hovering would, so I went into the bathroom to splash water onto my face. This girl who was already in the bathroom offered to hold my hair while I puked, which seemed like a better idea, so I did that instead. Then I started shaking and crying, and then the cops showed up. My friends had been searching the grounds of the house for me, thinking that maybe I'd fallen into the pool, or the bushes, or was in a car making out, but no! I appeared at the top of the stairs in my silver haz-mat suit and had to be carried out of the house. "What the hell happened!?" my friend asked. "He, he kissed me, and I puked," was all I could utter. And that's how the rumor started that this guy was such a bad kisser that he made girls sick. Happy New Year!