We tried three famous Milwaukee margaritas: we had one runaway favorite

For this  “Take Three Tuesday” we tried three margaritas suggested by our page members . Every three weeks we ask our members to name the best place to get a particular food or drink.   We pick three, check them out, and give you our thoughts.  A year and a half ago we tried margaritas in Racine and Kenosha; this time we focused on Milwaukee.

All of the places we visited are Mexican restaurants that sell high volumes of margaritas and use a mix – no problem.

Coming in at No. 3:

Conejito’s Place – 539 W. Virginia Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Conejitos exterior

Conejito’s first opened Milwaukee in 1972 and is consistently voted as “best cheap eats” in various local publications.   Many people glowingly talk about this place as having great food and drinks.  Unfortunately,  I don’t get it.   Yes, the prices are  cheap — but the margaritas were not as drinkable as the other two places, the chips were hard,  and salsa had an unusual taste of seasoning salt.

conejito interior

The day we were there, twenty-somethings dominated the crowd and it probably had something to do with the $3.50 margaritas and food.  The great thing about Mexican food is that  at most places it is quite affordable.

conejito menu

We ordered the $3.50 margarita and it was certainly better than one you would get at a corner bar where the weekend bartender has to ask the owner if they can make margaritas before searching out of forgotten bottle of mix under the bar, but it wasn’t anything to make us return.   The margaritas were poured out of jug of “Evonne’s” mix which was on the sour side.   The place is dumpy, which sometimes I enjoy, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t feeling it that day, I liked the more festive atmosphere of the other two places.

Conejito Margaritas

Coming in at No. 2:

La Perla, 734 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This is a larger Mexican restaurant in Walker’s Point,  that throughout the years has marketed itself with clever ad campaigns and billboards.  The day we walked in unfortunately it was 90 degrees and the air conditioning was “caput.”

la perla exterior

The inside is cheerful with multiple patios and two interior seating areas.

la perla margarita

We ordered the traditional margarita on the rocks for $7.25 which was the priciest of the three margaritas that we sampled.   It was a very drinkable margarita — just a tad on the sweet side.  The glass could have used more salt.   Also, no chips were offered to us as it was apparent we were there for the drinks.   There was not much wrong with this margarita except the price.

Coming in at No. 1 (WE LOVE THIS PLACE)

El Fuego, 909 W. Layton Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

El Fuego Exterior

This is a huge restaurant with a wonderfully festive decor.   It was too hot to sit outside but the patio seating is an oasis on Layton Avenue, which has more chain restaurants than anything in that area.  Expect a wait on Saturday night but don’t let that keep you away; this is one of the few Mexican restaurants to celebrate a special occasion – it has that atmosphere.

el fuego interior

We ordered the traditional margarita on the rocks, which was $6.00 individual or $12.00 for a small pitcher which seemed to equal three margaritas.

el fuego pouring margaritas

The margaritas were not too sweet or too sour, the salt was generous and glass size was adequate.  I haven’t even told you about the best deal in Milwaukee: between 2:30 and 6pm every day these margaritas are only $3.00 each!   I can’t end this without mentioning that the chips that they served with the margaritas were the most fresh, crispiest, hottest, chips I have had in my entire life.

Suggestion, head out to El Fuego right around 2:30 on a summer Saturday or Sunday.  Make sure you have a designated driver though because these drinks packed a punch.  Eat the glorious chips and salsa, sit on the patio, enjoy these few weeks of sunny warm weather we have in Wisconsin.  These are the days.

TAKE THREE TUESDAY – The Best Margarita in Racine/Kenosha is…

Last week, when we decided to do a margarita review, I was excited – I LOVE MARGARITAS!  Judging a margarita, however, turns out to be really, really difficult.

For this review, we ordered regular (lime) margaritas, on the rocks, salt on the rim (just how I like them) from all three places we visited.    We went to three locations suggested by our Facebook page members:  La Fogata, Casablanca,  and Jose’s Blue Sombrero.  (For those of you that suggested Milwaukee-area places, we are going to do a separate review of those)   This was a very close race. All of the margaritas we tasted were very drinkable, with slight differences.   I think our winner had a natural lime taste, and it was the least margarita-mix-tasting of the bunch.   In order of preference, here we go…

#3 – La Fogata,  (3300 Sheridan Rd Kenosha)  $4.50 –

http://www.eatatlafogata.com/

2015-01-24 16.29.22

This was a decent, standard margarita. Sweet and tart without overdoing it. Not syrup-y or thick. The menu boasts a “homemade mix” which I appreciate. All in all, a very tasty drink, but maybe a wee bit on the sour side. Side note – I’m also a fan of the glasses the margaritas were served in, very authentic.

La Fogata smal margarita
#2 – Casablanca de Mexico, 230 Main St, Racine, $5.50 –

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Casablanca-de-Mexico/195346954961

The main difference between our drink at Casablanca and our drink at La Fogata was Casablanca’s was slightly fizzy – not anywhere near as bubbly as a soda, just a slight tingle. I’m not sure if it was an added splash of seltzer water or a lemon-lime soda, but I liked it. It was a nice, refreshing surprise. The bartender also informed us that they also made their margarita mix in-house; always a plus.  I also liked how the bartender mixed the margarita: he put it in the blender giving it one quick pulse to blend everything together, leaving moderate chunks of ice.  Cute glasses too.

Casablanca small margarita

And the Winner is…..
#1 – Jose’s Blue Sombrero, 6430 Washington Ave, Mt. Pleasant, $6 –

http://www.josesbluesombrero.com/

jose blue sombrero margarita

Ah yes… this was an absolutely wonderful margarita – everything I wish I could do when I’m attempting to make these at home, only to end up failing miserably. The sweet/tart balance was spot-on. The drink was almost clear, not an artificial, yellowish color that’s usually a telltale sign of artificial flavorings and artificial syrup-like sweetness.   Smooth and very easy to drink. It was a perfect accompaniment to the homemade guacamole we devoured.  (More on that later)

The recipe for a margarita is pretty standard – tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (Triple Sec, Cointreau) and lime juice – variations of that recipe can seem endless. Jose’s Blue Sombrero nailed it and is our favorite.

And, if you are for some reason not a margarita fan, Jose’s Tornado is probably the best blended drink I have had.  It’s a mix of margarita and sangria: pretty much perfect. If you like Fat Tuesday-style blended drinks, order this immediately

2015-01-24 19.19.03