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Archive for March, 2012

Wednesday at 8:12 PM (EST) I became the person who gives an honest answer to the question “How are you?”

The usual polite exchange takes just three sentences of decreasing complexity:

“How are you?” (three words)

“Great, you?” (two words)

“Great.” (one, single word)

Six short words break the binds of social necessity and you’re free to go buy a sweater, get a driver’s license or go through airport security feeling good about yourself because you’re a friendly person. If you want to fancy it up, you can throw in a “Thanks for asking” But nobody goes past the thanks-for-asking flourish without risking eye rolls.

When I went through security at LaGuardia airport, after having just been in a cab accident, suffering whiplash and nearly missing my flight, I was primed to over share when the TSA agent asked “How are you?”

And I told him.

I told him I’d been in a cab that rear-ended a van. That the cab driver tried to get away from the van driver but the van blocked his escape and that the two drivers got out and yelled at each other. There was finger-pointing, maybe a little shoving but it was too dark on a side road in God-knows-where-Queens to tell. I thought the altercation was over when the cab driver returned to his car but the van driver ran over and took pictures of the cab’s license plate and hack license with his smart phone and that sent the cab driver into another frenzy.

I did eventually make it to the airport. And I made my flight. But as minutes ticked by my whiplash set in. And I shared. I shared so much he might have let me through security even if I was carrying liquids over 3 ounces.

What I didn’t share is that a Margarita at ‘inoteca saved my life.

Before flagging what turned out to be the wrong cab to get to the airport, I met a friend (and member of the independent panel of judges) for a drink and a snack at ‘intoeca on the East side (323 3rd Ave at 24th St). I had an excellent margarita and we split baked lemon ricotta & butternut squash w/ crispy bread and cavatelli w/ fennel sausage, red onion, plum tomatoes (we picked the cavatelli because we saw someone’s order go by and it looked so good we had to have it). When I got into the cab, I was relaxed and buckled in with my eyes closed. I didn’t have a chance to tense up for the fender-bender. I literally didn’t see what was coming.

I’m grateful that ‘inoteca takes their cocktail-making seriously. And saying they are “serious” might not quite cover it. My friend was Mad Men inspired and ordered a Whiskey Sour though she asked for a “plain, old Whiskey Sour” to avoid any fancy twist on the original and the bartender appeared offended when he told her that there’s nothing “plain” or “old” about it.

Their menu explains their cocktail philosophy that includes premium spirits, fresh ingredients, respect for history and passionate and skilled bartenders. They say “… great cocktails, like life, are about the journey.” I’m pretty sure that ‘inoteca’s amazing margarita made my journey and the excellent weekend that followed possible.

And because of ‘inoteca and my cab ride, I’ve taken the idea of the “Medicinal Margarita” to a whole new level: I now know that you should have one before you know anything might be wrong.

So check out ‘inoteca. They draw quite a crowd – good thing they have several locations.

Coming soon – Empellon and Margaritas in Maine!

'inoteca - The Margarita That Saved My Life

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