Cocktail Corner: Margaritas at the Paradise Cafe

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Paradise Cafe Margarita, courtesy photo

Paradise Cafe Margarita, courtesy photo

My childhood smelled like Coppertone, my teenage years like Love’s Baby Soft, and my 20’s smelled like the Margaritas at the Paradise Cafe (702 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, 805/962-4416).

I had one the other night and I could swear I heard the Bangles singing about “A Hazy Shade of Winter” in that glass.

Simple, straightforward and consistently delicious, the Paradise Margaritas are poured straight up on the rocks, with Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila. There’s no need to fool with fancy Farmers’ Market infusions here, no muddling around with mango and papaya necessary—these Margaritas taste exactly like a Margarita should: tangy enough to make your lips pucker, sweet enough to make everyone around you look prettier and strong enough to make your companions wittier, if not downright hilarious.

They’re great on their own, but even better with a side of what have to be the best French Fries in town. Plus, believe it or not, the Paradise still has $4 Happy Hour Margaritas (Monday-Friday from 4:30–6:30 p.m.), a miracle as cocktails are often in the $12–$15 range these days, and rarely as good as this one.

When most people walk into the Paradise Cafe’s bar, they feel as though they’re stepping back into the 1930s— the welcoming red and green neon sign, the art-deco light fixtures, the full length Aztec warrior mural all speak of a simpler, friendlier time—but it’s all about the 1980s for me, a carefree time full of friends, fun and always a Paradise Cafe Margarita.

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Photo by Derek Johnson.

Photo by Derek Johnson.

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 17, 2013.


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