Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amaranta Spices Up the Valley!

Wondering where to indulge north of the 101?

Amaranta is a tequileria-meets-high-end-Mexican-restaurant which boasts nearly 400 kinds of 100% blue agave tequilas. From smoky to floral, blanco to anejo, there is something to suit every tequila-loving palate.

The Margarita Menu features 15 staples, in addition to several more which rotate with the seasons. During its July opening, watermelon margaritas were a popular item. For fall, a tamarind margarita hits the spot. All the drinks are made with fresh juices, not bottled sweet-n-sour, and it shows. (I recently tried the cantaloupe margarita and loved it!)

The Cazuela Margarita comes in a pottery bowl with two straws. (What better way to “get friendly” on a first date?) It is made with Casadores tequila, wedges of lime, lemon and grapefruit and a splash of Squirt (Mexico’s most popular soft drink!)

Instead of chips, house-made corn tortillas are brought to every table, along with three kinds of salsas. Definitely order the guacamole, made to taste, tableside. (Extra cilantro, hold the onion, not-too-hot? You can have it your way!)

Amaranta takes pride in the quality of its succulent entrees, and doesn’t cut corners. For example, the pork carnitas and the lamb (Cordero en Barbacoa) are each marinated for 20 hours, then slow cooked for 4. I tried the sweet and savory chicken enchiladas in mole (chili chocolate) sauce.

The Coconut Flan is a creamy little piece of heaven and the Dulce de Leche "crepas" with ice cream are great to share.

Happy Hour happens DAILY – even weekends – from 3 – 7 with drink and food specials. Every other Wednesday listen to live music from 7 – 10, and a DJ spins every other Friday.

Become a Tequila Connoisseur! Monthly tequila classes feature several kinds of tequila and are limited to a dozen people, so make a reservation! (Cost $35)

Try the Tequila Kiss (something between a Margarita and a Bloody Maria) at brunch, served from 11:30 – 3:00 pm.

Take It To Go! Not only is there a fine selection of tamales, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos and meat off the grill but also a selection of Mexican handicrafts, imported directly from around the country. Buy your family dinner, and a little gift for yourself! (As if that yummy meal is not present enough!)

Photo Credit: Howard Wise

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