In order to force AVH to hang out on Washington Avenue, it would take Dog the Bounty Hunter hog tying me to the hood of my car while tragically towing it to this notorious neighborhood in Houston. The majority of all humans calling Washington Avenue their haven, um, frighten me. After one visit to Sawyer Park Bar, I knew in the surest of all sure ways, that this jock block slash hottie sorority scene, double um, doesn’t fancy my forte.
All it took to get me to TQLA is hearing that the owner possesses the most exciting title in the history of AVH. Scott Lindsey is none other than a… real… live…tequilier. We who know close to nothing about the endless possibilities one with ultimate tequila knowledge can have, well, are completely curious.
From the moment I sat down to interview Scott, I forcibly refrained from informing him that he, in fact, has the very same first name as that of my most recent ex-boyfriend with a… double life.
Rather, I chose to inform him that I could not wait, not for a single solitary second longer, before he provided total tequilier status enlightenment.
Scott explained, TQLA offers 180 types of tequila, in which 8 are on tap. As menu building began, offering something substantially different became a primary goal. It’s just fine & dandy having such a wide variety of tequila, but those involved with this concept felt they must educate their clientele as to the actual differences.
Average drinkers probably only know the five most marketed brands of tequila. In order to stop this travesty in its tracks, Scott’s only option was to become a… Texas Tequilier.
The CRT, which is the governing council over the tequila industry, provides courses in Mexico, thus educating those willing & wanting on how tequila is produced, as well as what makes each kind different.
Fact: There are roughly 30 tequiliers in the United States.
My question for this mighty man possessing master tequilierness: Did you have to taste to the point of tequila shot drunkenness slash turning green with the scariest of all scary hangovers?
He explained that after so many classes, it was time to taste. As taste & compare occurred, tequila flowed through his veins. Outcome: He took the big test… with a big buzz. After blinking his eyes a few times, he ultimately prevailed. Pass!
Radio host slash cookbook & mystery novel author, John DeMers, joined me for lunch. We began our Mexican fiesta with ceviche. Two kinds are offered, with the always exciting choice to have both.
Baja Ceviche consists of crab, shrimp, fish, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado. Both are enjoyable, with the Ceviche Camerones being my favorite. The shrimp arrive perfectly prepared with avocado, pineapple, Serrano chiles, and tomatillos. A side of blue corn chips arrived for dipping.
The new addition to the salad section is especially inviting. Not only does the Ensalada de Casa have lump crab meat, it also possesses a… fried green tomato. Stop it! I almost ordered the Grilled Shrimp & Pineapple Salad with chopped romaine & spinach, queso fresco, jicama red peppers, cucumbers, and achiote orange vinaigrette.
Chef Birdwell quickly approved my request to have the Baja Tilapia Taco arrive blackened instead of grilled. This taco is perky fresh with jicama slaw, blackened jalapeno aioli, and tequila vinaigrette.
The Sauteed Shrimp Taco is delicious. Gulf shrimp arrive with crispy sweet peppers, Serrano slaw, jalapeno cheese, and ancho lime butter. For the always roaming around looking for carcass stalker in your life, a taco treat awaits. TQLA provides a chicken taco as well as pulled pork and grilled steak.
Presentation approval is a must as the Wild Mushroom Tamale arrives. Scott explained that this item has been so successful they were forced to do the unthinkable. TQLA added a new menu item: BBQ Duck Tamale. Yikes.
What happened next almost sent AVH peeling out of the parking lot in order to rapidly race to my therapist’s downtown office. With most details having been repressed, this is what I randomly recall… Without any hint of sudden duck story movement, Scott began to elaborate on BBQ Duck Tamale… preparation. The duck is cooked for 18 hours! Exiting details are mildly painful as this duck’s skin peels off and quickly… crumbles.
Triple Confit Sniffle.
During my first visit to TQLA, my server recommended the sweet corn cakes topped with sautéed crawfish, tomatillo pico de gallo, and tequila lime butter. This starter feels like pancakes & crawfish, which is oddly different, but actually works.
The jalapeno cheese enchilada is topped with chopped red peppers. Gift giving becomes reality when any chef slaps a fried egg on top.
An interesting dessert is the Cuatro Leches. Coconut milk and vanilla merigune are topped with fresh berries, as well as an option to add a sip of Patron XO for… $3.00.
A brand spanking new dessert on the menu is Patron XO Flan. Chocolate flan with Patron XO and cinnamon is topped with fluffy whipped cream. TQLA also offers cinnamon apple pie, chocolate chunk brownie, old fashioned chocolate cake, and the always perfect palate dinner ender… sorbet.
Chef Birdwell met with Star Chefs hot shot, Will Blunt, for a photo shoot showcasing many creations brought to life daily at TQLA. His experience & talent, combined with the drive of his partner, are a solid indication TQLA is a Mexican restaurant worthy of a Washington Avenue want.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch
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