The Tequila Trail
Marin County's Tequila Trail is perfect for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
Hola mis amigos! Monday is May 5th – also known as Cinco de Mayo. Not a holiday that is celebrated in many Hispanic countries*, but one that Mexican restaurants throughout America have capitalized on to generate humungous sales of margaritas. So, if you want to get silly, wear a sombrero, eat chips and salsa and swill some tequila, the first thing to remember is do not drive. Get a designated driver; call a cab. Drink responsibly. Meanwhile, here is a tequila trail from southern to northern Marin County.
Sausalito’s Copita (owned and operated by restaurant guru Larry Mindel with celebrity chef and cookbook author Joanne Weir) has one of the best margaritas in town served with a large block of ice, fresh lime juice and not much else besides good tequila. All of their tequilas are 100% agave. Just down the street on Bridgeway going north, is Saylor’s where a “taste of Cabo in Marin” translates into over 200 tequilas and many takes on the margarita. This may be the largest collection of tequila in Marin; some shots are as much as $50 each. (Try not to do this at the end of your evening.)
Guaymas in Tiburon/Belvedere is another great margarita and one of my favorite Mexican menus because they don’t serve tacos and burritos…it’s “real” south of the border fare. Guaymas has an entire Cinco de Mayo “Fiesta Weekend” planned including lots of live music so you don’t even need to wait until Monday to start.
Moving on to Mill Valley, there is the venerable Cantina, where they offer 112 tequilas (I counted) and another one of the best margaritas in Marin, in my opinion. Since we’re in Mill Valley, it is (of course) called the “Organic Margarita”. (What isn’t organic in Mill Valley?) The Cantina margarita is made with Casa Noble tequila, fresh lime juice and organic agave syrup. And for Cinco de Mayo I’m told they are turning the parking lot into a Mexican beachfront.
Moving north, we come to the legendary Celia’s off of Francisco Blvd in San Rafael. What they lack in ambiance is made up for in value. They offer “Hora Feliz” (happy hour) seven days a week, from 4-7 p.m., and each cocktail you buy comes with a free appetizer (either a plate of nachos or a quesadilla). These aren’t designer margaritas (they’re made with Jose Curevo Gold) but they are tasty. And on Cinco de Mayo they’ll have a Mariachi Band.
Finally, in Novato, there is the popular Las Guitarras. A family-run business that began in the San Francisco Mission District in 1973, with traditional recipes and plenty of margarita mixings.
Obviously there are many more sources for tequila in Marin and many more Mexican restaurants, but there is no way you could drink all those margaritas, nor space to mention them all. Ten cuidado; pace yourself; and by all means do not drink and drive! Hasta luego.
*Cinco de Mayo dates back to a Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla May 5, 1862. It is only celebrated in Mexico and the U.S. where it has evolved into a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.