Drink of the Week: Roy’s Kamikaze


Are you ready to party like it’s 1989? Roy Gandy of Roy is ready. In honor of celebrating 25 years in the restaurant biz, he is devoting August to his anniversary. He’s dropping prices on everything down to $15. That’s not exactly 1989 prices, but it is cheaper than the last several years. The other major feature is that Mr. Gandy is opening the restaurant for lunch! The last time that happened was … actually, we don’t know when that was. But Restaurant Roy used to be the Expressway Cafe, located at Chapala where it used to cross the freeway, traffic lights and everything. (Lily’s Tacos is there now, and a chain-link fence where there was a road). Mr. Gandy used to offer coffee and snacks to those waiting the eight or so minutes for the light to change on the 101 freeway. That was a long time ago!

For our Drink of the Week, he went back to 1989 and grabbed a popular cocktail, the Kamikaze, and made it for us. It’s equal parts vodka, lime juice and triple sec, essentially a vodka margarita. However, it looks and tastes lovely and sweet, and made the perfect toast for Restaurant Roy, one of the few places in town open till midnight. We’ll drink to that!

2 ounces vodka (preferably Sobieski)
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces lime juice

Combine all ingredients over ice in shaker, shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Restaurant Roy
7 W. Carrillo St.
966-5636 or www.restaurantroy.com

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Casa Blanca’s Prickly Pear Margarita

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

It’s week two of our Drink of the Week march toward Fiesta! Or rather than march, call it a saunter, with glass in hand. We are keeping our focus on margaritas, that endlessly versatile drink, and the go-to cocktail for Old Spanish Days. We decided to stop by Casa Blanca, the very large and very fun restaurant and bar on the corner of State and Gutierrez. When it first opened, we came here and tried many drinks, including the Sunset Margarita. This time, we wanted to check out the special, which bartender Morgan Moore was happy to make for us: the Prickly Pear Margarita. This cactus fruit has a banana-like texture and flavor and a neon pink color, and makes this drink pop out among all the others at the bar. Moore uses El Charro Reposado tequila, the bar’s well, but you can replace it with your favorite. Also included: lime juice, lemonade and orange juice, instead of the typical sweet and sour mix. This drink was so good, we were done before we started … or it seemed like it, with plenty of citrus-y goodness mixed in with the pear, tangy but soft. It’s our Drink of the Week, but stay tuned next week for our final cocktail!

2 ounces. El Charro Reposado Tequila
2 ounces Perfect Purees’ Prickly Pear puree (or any other brand)
1 1/2 ounces triple sec
Splash lime juice
Splash orange juice
Lemonade, to top

Combine tequila, puree, triple sec, lime juice and orange juice over ice and shake. Pour into salt-lined lowball glass, top with lemonade. Garnish with lime wedge.

Casa Blanca
330 State St.
(805) 845-8966 or casablancasb.com

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Palazzio’s Jalapeño Margarita

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

In just under two weeks, it will be Fiesta, and already we’re thinking about it … just the drinks, of course. OK, yes, we are thinking about the dancing, but that makes us think about the parade, and that makes us think about the mercado, and that makes us think of food, and that makes us thirsty. So there you go.

So what to do? In our first of three suggestions, we think that Palazzio just might be the place to stop. Jamie Freymuth has been the face of Palazzio’s bar for four years and creates all the cocktails there, putting the weekly winners on the little sandwich chalkboard near the street. That’s how we first saw the Jalapeño Margarita.

This is a quick mix. Several slices of jalapeño, then a mix of 1800 Reposado, triple sec, and then Palazzio’s house mix, a 50-50 of lemon and lime juice and simple syrup to top. When Ms. Freymuth unjarred that container of jalapeños, that spicy smell knocked us back, but, fortunately, the drink is sweet, not blasting with heat. It’s designed for a seat at the bar, looking out at the madness of State Street, just above the fray. It’s our Drink of the Week.

2 oz. 1800 Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz. Triple Sec
Lemon and lime juice, 50-50 mix, to top
Simple syrup to top
3 – 4 jalapeño slices

Muddle jalapeño slices gently at bottom of pint glass. Add tequila, triple sec and ice. Top with equal parts citrus mix and simple syrup. Shake and return to pint glass.

1026 State St.
(805) 564-1985 or www.palazzio.com

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Mesa Cafe’s Caipirinha

Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

By the time you read this, the finalists for the World Cup will be lined up, with only one last game to play in sunny Brazil. It was by chance, though, that we walked into the Mesa Cafe for lunch when the USA-Belgium game was going down and we realized that this restaurant bar is football — I mean, soccer! — mad. The servers and hosts were wearing USA jerseys in support (and before they got knocked out, Mexico jerseys too) to amp up the crowd that had come to watch and cheer. USA got eliminated, but the excitement is going to continue Saturday, and we are here to let you know that in honor of the World Cup’s hosts, the Mesa Cafe is offering caipirinhas for $6 each during the game and $3.75 16-ounce Bud Light in a special bottle.

We’ve talked about caipirinhas before, but here’s a refreshing refresher, courtesy of bar manager Caroline Saenz: lime juice, simple syrup and Sagatiba cachaça, aka Brazilian rum. Essentially, it’s like a margarita from the Southern Hemisphere, but without the burn of tequila; it’s smooth and sweet and the perfect way to indulge in this weekend’s game, no matter who you end up rooting for.

1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces cachaça (preferably Sagatiba)

Either muddle 2 lime wedges or use fresh lime juice. Combine juice, simple syrup and cachaça over ice, shake and pour into lowball glass. Garnish with lime and paper umbrella.

1972 Cliff Drive
966-5303 or www.mesacafesb.com


Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

Bartenders shuffle jobs often, and we were halfway through our introductions at Trattoria Vittoria when we realized we’d met our bartender before. Erica “Sparky” Sparks has a name you don’t forget, and we met her at Stella Mare last year. Because she once helped make drinks for a family gathering when she was a kid (and got tips!), Ms. Sparks likes to say she’s been bartending since she was 9 years old.

There’s so much on Trattoria Vittoria’s cocktail menu to go through, but one we really wanted to try was the Contorto Collins. Our main reason: Nobody orders Tom Collins (and variations) that much these days. It’s fallen out of fashion, taken over by its closest cousin, the gin and tonic. But the Contorto Collins replaces the lemon and sugar with apple schnapps and St. Germain, and soda water with tonic. If you love the elderflower taste, then this is the summer drink for you. It’s fruity and fresh and it’s also our Drink of the Week.

1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably Beefeater)
1/2 ounce DeKuyper Apple Pucker
1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur
Squeeze lime juice
Tonic water, to top

Combine gin, Apple Pucker, St. Germain and lime juice over ice. Shake and pour into Collins glass filled with ice. Top with tonic. Garnish with lime wedge.

Trattoria Vittoria
30 E. Victoria St.
(805) 962-5014 or www.trattoriavittoria.com


Photo by Nik Blaskovich
Photo by Nik Blaskovich

This Mother’s Day, friends, let us wish this upon you: May your mother stay consistent in all the great things she does, but also constantly surprise you.

Here’s an example: My mom knows how to roast a mean chicken and potatoes with lashings of gravy. And recently joined an improv group and is gearing up for a live show. Just when you think you’ve got your family figured out, they do this.

Read More