Editor’s note: Jay Veit offers a review of the Cyclone Anaya’s margarita menu.
By JAY VEIT
Known for its quality Tex-Mex cuisine, it goes without saying that Houston has countless options with regards to finding a refreshing margarita to dump down ones hatch. Frozen or on the rocks, salt or no salt, and a top shelf or heartburn inducing house margarita are standard questions asked when ordering, but every little taqueria or national franchise tries to put their own spin on this happy hour favorite, and I’m excited to be reviewing a different margarita each week. Throughout the search for Houston’s best rita, I’ll explore countless happy hours, gallons of salsas, and probably a carne asada or two, all with the mission to bring the wonderful readers of this website useful information to help out when deciding on where to end up for a much needed dose of tequila and lime flavors.
My first stop brings me to the Midtown neighborhood, off of West Gray and Bagby. Cyclone Anayas has several locations in the Houston area and has been around since 1966 with ownership still kept in the family. First and foremost this is a margarita review, but I must point out that the quality of food for the price point is a terrible value. I refuse to pay $15 for an enchilada plate, but I’ll gladly fork over the same amount for one of their jumbo margaritas. Trust me when I say that top shelf isn’t necessary here. I discovered that the house batch includes not only tequila and triple sec, but also a generic version of everclear. Yes, that everclear. The same booze that high school kids in every small town put in their trashcan punch, that can be found at almost every self-respecting pasture party.
The drink menu in particular is vast, ranging from six different fruit flavor options to a page devoted to eleven specialty ritas. I’m simple, requiring only a rock rita with salt to be violently shaken, but I branched out and can definitely recommend trying the Agave Julep margarita. Made with Maestro Doble tequila, muddled mint, Agave syrup, house mix, and ginger ale, this margarita opened my eyes to a limeless rita and how it doesn’t suffer one bit. For round two I decided to add some color to my rita, since it’s 2016 and #allritasmatter, and I ordered the Ocean Blue margarita. Using Herradura silver, blue Curacao, fresh squeezed lime juice (I actually witnessed the squeezing), pineapple juice, house mix, and lemon/lime soda, this rita made me wish it was July again as it is perfectly suited for the hot summer months.
After finishing off with a regular sized El Don, consisting of the obvious Don Julio tequila, I found myself ready to dance with the hostess, yet not at the level of wearing a sombrero and asking for the music to be louder. For a Wednesday night, the bar was fairly packed and I learned that regulars frequent the bar three to five days a week, creating a friendly atmosphere where everyone’s looking to ignore their troubles and engage in hilarious “locker room talk.”.
While the food is honestly meh, and the drink prices (including happy hour) not being meant for drinkers on a budget, if you find yourself and a group of friends looking to have a good night in Midtown, Cyclone Anayas is a solid place to pregame. Just be careful because these ritas pack a Tyson level punch, thanks in part to the inclusion of everclear in every rita.
Next week I’m visiting Pistoleros on a recommendation from a trusted source, so be sure to check back as I’ll have plenty of useful insight to share. If you know a place that I should review, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it to my list. In the meantime, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but if you do, name it after me.