El Toro Palomo
Stupid question, but have you ever just needed a drink? Not wanted one, or felt compelled to have one because it was Friday or Monday morning, or because someone exerted some major peer pressure by calling you a certain female gynecological body part. And not needed physically, either -- to quell the shakes, hallucinations and seizures. I mean needed, the kind of yearning that comes from the depths of your superego and demands that either you have a drink or you stick your head in the microwave -- or dunk somebody else's head in a toilet.
I needed a drink after Black Friday. The morning started in a mall, doing Christmas shopping just like a person who goes out and shops to excess for fun (and to punish her husband by burying him in financial hardship). And not only did I shop, but I did something I'd sworn I'd never do: I went to Victoria's Secret with my daughter. We went for an appropriate reason, of course; I needed her input before buying my wife flannel pajamas and a new robe. Still, once we stepped inside, several thoughts ricocheted in my skull. First, it's only a matter of time before I have to take out a second mortgage so that I can finance undergarments for Allison's prom dress -- except that after asking to shop at Victoria's Secret, she won't be going to prom. Second, only guys should be allowed to shop at Victoria's Secret, because we know what good lingerie is. For utility undergarments, women should just order straight from the Sears catalogue.
That I was shopping at all was a miracle, since my wallet had recently been stolen at a local convenience store. In one fell swoop, I lost every bit of identification I had and became a non-person. I re-entered the human race thanks only to the wonderfully professional staff at Buckley Air Force Base, which got me a new ID card the next day. To say the Department of Motor Vehicles was less than helpful would be like saying Republicans did less than well in the last election. The real pisser was not losing cards, ID and cash, however, but ten years' worth of my daughter's pictures. I want to know what those degenerates are doing with those photos. She's old enough to shop at Victoria's Secret!
El Toro Paloma
So I really needed a drink after I escaped the mall, and was late joining the Texan and Scottish representatives and my wife. To their credit, they waited far longer than anybody else would for me to show up at El Toro Palomo (250 Steele Street). I think one reason they stayed put is that they'd spent so much time looking for the place; it's in the lower level, beside Sketch, and not easily seen. The other reason they stayed is because the margaritas are superb.
El Toro was quiet, with the crowd consisting solely of our group. Which was fine, because we got speedy service and never wanted for anything. My margarita was waiting when I arrived, and my entree showed about thirty seconds later. The staff was so helpful that when I asked for a gun to shoot myself with, they asked how big a gun I wanted. Our waitress even inquired what caliber I needed. The Institute consensus was small-caliber: A .22 will rattle around in your cranium, fully scrambling your brain.
Short of a handgun, the best way to erase your woes could be a visit to El Toro. My first margarita was totally cathartic; I forgot about shopping and impending puberty, and was serene knowing that I would soon be back in the car (without a license, but not driving, either) and heading home rather than to the mall. I was almost ready to forget the douchebag who'd stolen my wallet. But first I have to stick his head in a microwave.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.