The Dallas International Film Festival Serves Up the Blueberry Hooch

Last night kicked off an annual tradition for Girl Drink Drunk--taking a week off to spend at the movies. Fellow girl drinker and film festival enthusiast Jen joined me in hitting up the opening night festivities at the Angelika at Mockingbird Station. 

The draw, for me anyway, was actually the Brooks Branch film Multiple Sarcasms. Even before I knew anything about the film, I knew Timothy Hutton was in it and honestly, that was all I needed to know. I'll leave the film critiques to Big Bob Wilonsky, but suffice to say Jen and I found the selection a fine way to start off the festival. (I've got 24 films on my schedule, though, so I can't wait to see how others rank against it.)

Following the screening as well as a Q&A with director Branch, we were ready to get our drink on at the "after party" in and out and around the Angelika. As we exited our theater, a DIFF volunteer smiled at us, shot double guns askance and trilled, "MarTINIS!" so naturally, we went the way of the guns. 

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The Sangria-Rita Diaries of Gloria, Buca and Matt

The weather has been pretty great lately, calling for a little patio here, a little frozen slurp there. But it's never a guarantee, so this girl drinker has been grabbing the goods when and where she can get them. I'm not going to say one word about the forecast this weekend for fear of a jinx, but what I am going to do is offer a wrap-up, a crash course, a crib sheet for you, beloved Aters. And this sheet spans three different sorts of settings: the girls' night out, the post-sport/post-move/casual lunch and the mass family dinner which may or may not include a birthday or anniversary. Two of the three locations include patios to entertain you. One includes garish decor to distract you. I think you'll know which one's which.

Gloria's frozen margarita with sangria swirl
Gloria's Restaurant - Our event was a combo girls' night and a birthday celebration for fellow girl drinker Marla. Leslie and I couldn't decide between sangria and margarita, so the waiter told us to go with a frozen 'rita with sangria swirl. Decision made. Easy enough. The margarita was perfect -- you could taste the tequila but it didn't overwhelm the palate and, overall, the frozen concoction wasn't too sweet. No risk of a Slurpee-ta. The sangria swirl was a little on the wine-y side, but that's something I prefer, so I was a happy drinker. It blended well with the frozen portion, and we didn't feel lit up. Other girls tried the mango margarita and liked it, but said it would be too dangerous for more than one round -- the sweetness virtually guaranteed a  massive hangover.

Word of caution: Since the remodeling/expansion of the Greenville Avenue location, the sound quality of the restaurant is severely lacking and it's hard to hear a casual conversation at times. Prepare to project...or just have two margaritas and don't worry about it.

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Lemongrass Makes the Girl Go Round

Libertine's lemongrass gets glowing reviews.
Every first Monday of the month our very own Pete Freedman serves as DJ for the Libertine Bar on Greenville Avenue. During the Local Hang ol' Playlister P plays nothing but local music (naturally) and so, being a fan of quality music played where I can eat and drink, I wanted to head out to support him. Though--I must admit--I had additional enticements.

Not only is there cream of jalapeno soup on the current menu, but a fellow drinker (girl and otherwise) and maven of Heartless Doll as well as Classy Cocktails with the Girl on Top (yes, that very Girl on Top) had given me a gift. She had come up from Austin a little while prior and had purchased, for me, a beer. And said beer was recorded up on the Buy-a-Friend-a... chalkboard that hangs above the glossy varnish of the Libertine's long bar. I had always wanted a drink dedication--I think the idea is totally fun. Like an alcoholic and platonic valentine, a perfect surprise when you think you only have the scrap for one drink, but realize someone's made it possible for you to have two. Or, if you're like me and have a slight problem handling too much attention or gift-getting, it's a subtle gift that makes you feel special but not spotlit.

So, you see, my mission was two-fold: Claim my delicious free beerlentine and support a friend rocking the local music.

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Girl Drink Drunk: Japan House

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Ramune, Geisha Cooler and Sake Cosmo
See, I've started this whole "eating well and exercising" bullshit that's totally overrated because it's making me feel better, sleep better, lose jiggle...wait, what? Yeah, it's working and I'm totally pleased, so I guess it's not really BS, but I like the snark so whatever.

Only problem with my new life plan (which, if you're lucky, you'll see disintegrate before your very eyes as Girl Drink Drunk progresses this year. Or, if I'm lucky, I'll be so successful, I'll start writing about places that allow me to wear sleeveless and bedazzled tops and drink with my pinky out.), is that it doesn't allow much wiggle room for the ol' PMS pig-out.

Did I discover a way around that? Hell yes. Did it involve copious amounts of mid-level Japanese food and sake? Yes it did. Did I also find that if you drink a Ramune marble soda right after a bite of green tea ice cream it tastes like you ate a piece of chocolate. No, that was one of my dining companions. But it's true.

So last Saturday, I was preparing for our food outing, watching Beverly Hills, 90210 reruns and putting on you do. I had made sure I had a calorie deficit on most days of that week to account for what I was about to do. Once our party amassed, we set out for the Collin Creek area. Destination, Japan House.

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Girl Drink Drunk: Skinnygirl Margarita

I made no New Year resolutions. At least, I've not called any of my plans to become a better me "resolutions." Too easily broken once you put that dastardly moniker on them, you know. But I will say that this Lose It! iPhone app is coming in handy and my EA Active for the Wii has officially kicked my womanly ass.

So, what better reason--other than the fact that I'm clearly obsessed with reality TV--to try Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita? The health and wellness guru--and resident hottie on The Real Housewives of New York--has developed a ready-to-serve concoction that tops out at 100 calories per serving. If you watch the show you've seen her drink it, and now we can too--while we all nix 200-plus calorie 'ritas, don brand-name designer apparel and kick it in the Hamptons. Wait, no.

OK, so the bottle only contains Blue Agave clear (very important) tequila, "a hint of agave nectar, fresh lime juice and a tiny splash of Triple Sec" (so say the press releases). No Manolos or 4-week beachside leases hidden in the cap, but it's cool. My aim is to be seen in public in a bathing suit without crying (me or anyone viewing me) before I go flitting around Housewife territory. Only problem is Skinnygirl Margaritas are real sweet and pretty damn strong.

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Girl Drink Drunk: Cowboy Chow

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In testing out the theories and recipes and perfect stomach liners for this column, I've realized (I actually always knew, but epiphanies are so much more on trend these days) that due to the "event" quality of a girl drink, we can drink fewer of them than just any ol' regular mixed drink or beer. Sort of like holidays--they're awesome, but you can't take in as many of them as regular ol' days because it's just too much work.

So when I say "event" referring to drinks, I mean that there's muddling, or some sort of crazy garnish, a combination of things that no one keeps in their house, a process that takes longer than a minute or an infusion of any kind. Which brings me to this installment's girl drink, Cowboy Chow's "cowboy cocktail," the pumpkin pie.

Now, you'll notice on the menu there are many other varieties of cowboy cocktails that seem more Girl Drink Drunk-friendly (the peaches & cream, the sweet watermelon and the Mexican vanilla coke, hello!), but hey, tis the pumpkin pie season my friends.More »

Girl Drink Drunk: Smoke

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The Texas Strawberry Sweet Tea and cute Sharpie menu
Dearest Smoke,
On two separate occasions you have wooed me and my posse with food and drink divine. I'm not even going to get into discussing the hominy casserole for fear I'll abandon all responsibility and drive to you to eat it now. But the drinks? I would be happy to tell you about my experiences with those drinks.

Now, Smokey (Do you mind if I call you Smokey? I think it's cute.), some might say your prices are a little steep for a single cocktail ($9, $10 and $12 a pop), but oh, they'd be wrong. I mean, hell, I'm holiday-broke and I made it happen. I shelled out some extra cash dollars to experience the natural, fresh, crazy-good specialties from your colorful drink postcard along with my Scantron barbecue and I can't say bringing my lunch the next day wasn't worth it. It was. It so was.

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Girl Drink Drunk: The Double-Wide, Anniversary Edition!

It's hard to believe that just over a year ago, I sat at a patio table at the Double-Wide with Jen as we got trashed on Hurritangs and I lost my camera. Oh, memories. Sweet, sweet memories. Well, since then, my girl drinkers and I (and a few boys thrown in for good measure) have put ourselves through the alcoholic wringer a couple dozen times for you faithful readers...and for fun. It is fun, I admit it.

So, it seemed appropriate that to celebrate a year of girl drinks, we went back to the start...where our GDD cohort Chelsea just happened to be celebrating her birthday with another one (the sixth annual, to be exact) of her charity rock shows, Cinco De Cha-Cha!.

Jen and I hit the D-W, each donned a complimentary sombrero and ordered up a Mi-Cha-Cha-lada, a version of the beloved michelada made special for one night only to honor the birthday gal.

In addition to the Mi-Cha-Cha-ladas, Chelsea had organized a banner line up local acts including the fabulous mariachi act, Mariachi Quetzal, who got a parking lot of early-comers moving and shaking...and who, incidentally, play every Friday night at La Milpa Mexican Restaurant in Denton. You want to see them. She also set up a salsa contest, provided a photo booth from which I procured three strips of classic shots and a tent of crazy good eats. And the decorations from Chango Botanica--so awesome. And all that was outside the venue where her rock show was kicking ass.
Mariachi Quetzal busts out some tunes.

But back to the drink...that's what you want to know about, right?

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Girl Drink Drunk: Capitol Pub

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A fireside Taxi Cab
It was a brisk night. Jessica and I had set out to see John Spriggins' Paper Dolls exhibition at the South Dallas Cultural Center. We made several illegal u-turns before successfully achieving our goal (the SDCC is precariously located at a wonky intersection) and perusing the collages of women's magazine propaganda filling the life-size silhouettes of real ladies. We discussed their shapes, heights, outlines of their hair dos. And then, because it was the middle of the week, we let the security guard close the gallery and we decided to go have a drink. And some food...but that was mostly my idea. All those sexy, waist-crunching headlines had made me hungry. You know, like they do.

So we headed away from Fair Park and over to the Henderson Avenue area. We deliberated on the Old Monk and Park and Barcadia, but decided on Capitol Pub. We scored a street spot -- Jessica adamantly avoids valet like most native OED-ites -- and walked down the block. It was a bit chilly and the roaring fire on the patio had looked so nice when we drove by, so we had our fingers crossed we might sit outside but near the hearth. Lo and behold we slid right into the table next to the fireplace -- like a World Series player might slide into home, but with far less enthusiasm and energy...and totally different clothes. The table also happened to be right below the TV so I had the opportunity to see the last of said World Series (but not really, because I promised my grandmother I wouldn't actively watch the Yankees, and also that would be just plain rude since Jessica had her back to it and would totally notice if I just stared at it the whole time -- clearly, there are many reasons). More important, I could see -- without incident or broken promises -- the animated reactions of the guys at the table behind us and a commercial for the next episode of House, which has been unfortunately been postponed the whole time this freakin' series has been underway. Damn, I love Hugh Laurie.

We ordered our drinks -- Jess opted for the Left Hand Milk Stout and I went with a Taxi Cab, Stella and Ace Pear, the chill of autumn and the roar of the fire steering me toward cider floats. I initially wanted a Snakebite (half Ace Pear and half Harp) or a Black Velvet (Ace Pear and Guinness) but had never had a Taxi Cab, and well, I love a good Stella Artois, so I was curious to see how it blended with the Ace Pear.

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Girl Drink Drunk: Matt's, Lakewood and David Cross

David Cross can work a room, and work over a heckler.
I met with girl drinkers Marla, Melissa and my sis Tracy for a night of comedy and cheesy appetizers. And drinks. Of course there were drinks. We were all geared up to see the partly-cloudy comic with a side of soapbox, David Cross. Unfortunately, we had no idea what time we'd actually get to see him.

The Lakewood Theater's Web site said 7 p.m. with an opener. Tickets said 7 p.m. And usually, the ticket time denotes the first act's stage time, with anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour prior for doors, depending on the venue. But with the Lakewood, it's always been an hour. At 6, there were people outside but not inside. No matter, though. We were meeting at the neighboring Matt's Rancho Martinez for margaritas and Bob dip.

I went with a regular old 'rita on the rocks, but I was feeling daring so I got salt. Mine was somehow smaller than Marla's but I didn't quibble. Melissa opted for a top shelf version and she and Marla discussed the merits of Grand Marnier with, I assume, Melissa taking the win since she had no squinched face after taking a sip of her drink like Marls did. I tend to prefer the regular for cost prohibitive reasons, though I'll drink a top shelf if someone hands it to me. A well-made marg is my friend indeed. I think I need to revisit for the frozen variety now.

Tracy, well I honestly don't know what she ordered, but she told our waiter Alex we'd take care of him if he checked back on the level of our drinks often and, sure enough, he brought her a new mystery drink without so much as a hopeful gaze in his direction. He was quick on the drink refills but unfortunately, the kitchen wasn't so quick on the food orders...which seemed strange since we just ordered dip, nachos and a taco. But it was Texas/OU weekend so the Tex-Mex requests were at an all-time high, as was the ratio of  douche wearing a team jersey on the wrong day to regularly clad person. I was a Longhorn, too folks, albeit for a brief time, but GAME DAY ONLY, people. They just aren't flattering enough for daily wear.

[Special note to our awesome waiter: I hope we tipped you well enough, Alex, because you had a lot of shit to deal with and that one dude who couldn't seem to master the longhorn handsign after many drinks was probably top of the list of less-than-stellar patrons.]

But anyway, the margaritas. They were not too sweet and not too strong. In other words, perfect for sitting out on a patio waiting for something to happen and dishing about stuff that already say, city council members riding bikes to City Hall with a throng of cyclists. Or, when we'd previously seen David Cross and would he be as surly as anticipated or as easy-going as before. Or, possible Halloween costumes.

We'd been keeping an eye on the front area of the theater when Jason and Dana joined us for a wee bite and drink and then we headed over at about 8 p.m. Opener Todd Glass had yet to go on..which was both cool and sort of confusing. I guess the doors opened at 7 after all, which totally makes sense since I've never seen a comedian perform before 9 p.m. on a night when he's only working the room once, we just weren't thinking. But I digress. And as we wanted to be ready for the funny, Melissa, Marla and I went to check out the status of our lipstick and um, read upcoming show fliers while Tracy bought us a round of drinks for the show.

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