Friday, 16 March 2012

I'll have the Tarantino

No trip to Lyon could be complete for us without experiencing the French nightlife, as we love to sample local beers and wine. After a few hours of wandering from bar to bar, I uttered the phrase that is universally accepted to mean that I am toeing the line of intoxication: “I could really go for some Taco Bell!”
We found a place appropriately named “El Tex Mex” which promised to bring us “flavors from afar.” The price and selection looked acceptable, so we decided to hang out in the unassuming bar next door while we waited for the restaurant to open. After a cursory glance at the cocktail menu I offered a word of warning to my travel companion. “Tomorrow, when we look back on the carnage of the evening and ask ourselves where things went wrong, know that this is the moment.”
He looked at me quizzically as I turned to the bartender and said, “I’ll have the Tarantino.”
The bartender nodded solemnly as we entered into a silent contract, both of us acknowledging that nothing good would come of this decision. He then proceeded to stir together a concoction consisting primarily of absinthe and rum, with a splash of sparkling water and grenadine.
Halfway through my massive drink that tasted of black licorice and regret, I noticed that there were quite a few bottles of absinthe along the wall, far more than I would’ve expected. Looking back at the menu, I quickly realized that we had stumbled upon a French absinthe bar. The “contemporary” art, blaring electronica, and the lack of door on the toilet probably should’ve tipped me off sooner, but sobriety had eluded me after that last glass of Côtes du Rhône.
I already had the taste of sweet, sweet absinthe on my tongue and my excitement was apparent. My adventure partner agreed that it would be a shame to let this opportunity pass us by. Glass after glass, we began to work our way through the extensive list. I have no idea how far we made it but with a bar tab that exceeded 100 euro, I’d say we made a pretty honorable run at it. I do remember one called the Edouard that hovered at 72% alcohol.
The fine selection of margaritas at El Tex Mex called our name. One hazy combo platter of quesadillas, nachos, chicken strips, and onion rings with a side of pecan pie and cheesecake later, we were well and truly proud of our multicultural evening. The following morning I lay in bed, sipping water and clutching my head in my hands. I reaffirmed my resolve that I am never, ever drinking absinthe again, but the green fairy knows that I’ll take her up on her offer the next time she asks me to dance.
**Update: When googling “El Tex Mex” to find the restaurant link for this post, I decided to use Google Street View to see the name of the bar we were at that night. It’s called La Fee Verte, which if you don’t know means “The Green Fairy” in French. To summarize, I was so oblivious that I didn’t realize that a bar named The Green Fairy was an absinthe bar. You win this round, France.

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