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The Bar Tab: Mexicali Border Café

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On the food front, Sundays and Tuesdays feature two-for-one fajitas. Mondays have $1.29 tacos and Wednesdays serve all-you-can-eat enchiladas.

On the food front, Sundays and Tuesdays feature two-for-one fajitas. Mondays have $1.29 tacos and Wednesdays serve all-you-can-eat enchiladas.

Julio Tumatoe—the sombrero-wearing, burro-riding mascot for Mexicali Border Café—roped me into his Bradenton eatery last Saturday with the promise of mucho margaritas.

Every year, the Cortez Road cantina gets local media kudos for its frozen cocktails, so it was time I sipped for myself.

“We have a lot of secret margarita recipes we just keep to ourselves,” manager Rich O’Connell informs me. “But our most popular are definitely the Hornitos, which have half the calories and are made with fresh lime juice.”

Fair enough. Upon arrival, I did see the banner above the front entrance that read “Back by Popular Demand: Horny Hornitos Margarita,” but whether the drink would have any effect on my libido remained to be seen.

I can tell you this: Nothing gets me in the mood like a low-calorie recipe, and for this, Hornitos tequila delivers. The “Horny” on-the-rocks margarita blends this liquor with triple sec and Mexicali’s secret mix (a simple but effective combo) while other varieties get a tad more complex.

The Swirl includes a choice of strawberry, peach, raspberry, mango, banana or sangria flavors; the Meltdown is topped with Bauchant orange liqueur, Cointreau, Chambord and Jose Cuervo Gold; the Top Shelf has Cuervo Gold and Gran Gala liqueur; and the Ultimate incorporates Bauchant and Hussong’s Reposado Tequila.

The prime opportunity to score any of these is on two-for-one Sundays and Tuesdays, or on Mondays when 10-ounce margaritas are $2.59. But happy hour is all day every day, open to close, with two-for-one wines, well drinks and sangria. Regular hours are from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m., and Sunday until 9 p.m.

Other current drink specials are: the Citrus Azul with vodka, peach schnapps, blue curacao and sprite; and the Bourbon Cooler with Jim Beam bourbon whiskey, agave nectar, and coke or ginger ale. For Fireball Cinnamon Whisky buffs, consider the Fireball and Coke, the Fire Extinguisher (Fireball and Bailey’s Irish Cream) or the Hot Apple Sauce (Fireball and pineapple juice).

On the food front, Sundays and Tuesdays feature two-for-one fajitas. Mondays have $1.29 tacos and Wednesdays serve all-you-can-eat enchiladas.

In keeping with the Hornitos diet strategy, pair this skinny marg with the new Mexicali Salad (fajita chicken, black bean corn relish, pico de gallo, sliced avocado, tortilla strips and mixed cheese) for guiltless gratification.

Mexicali Border Café
5502 Cortez Road W., Bradenton
761-9516; mexicalibordercafe.com
Last modified: September 13, 2013
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