While many people remember their first kiss, I remember the first bar where I ever ordered a beer. Back when I was far too young to drink — legally — my high school gang would spend hours on the Emerald Isle patio overlooking the Cherry Creek Reservoir, our bodies slathered with a combination of baby oil and iodine that we hoped would get us a tropical tan but in reality was just sowing a field of pre-cancerous melanomas. We always ordered piles of Americanized Mexican food, most of it fried and dripping with cheese, and attempted to order beers. I think it took about twenty tries before we actually convinced a server to bring us a drink — but I've never forgotten that day. So when I dropped by the Emerald Isle recently, a lot of great memories came flooding back. The patio is still a remarkable spot since it offers a view of an actual body of water in metro Denver. The food doesn't seem to have changed — and neither has the music, which sounded exactly like what was playing in the '80s. While it would have been more nostalgic to order a beer, I decided instead to try one of the Isle's "famous" margaritas. When I asked our waitress which one she liked most, she responded, "I don't know. I'm only eighteen." Sheez — kids these days! But she did know that the Frozen Strawberry Margarita ($5.50) was a best-seller, so I ordered it, against my better judgment. I couldn't discern any tequila mixed in with the frozen artificial strawberry jam; this must be the official margarita of Strawberry Shortcake and her crew, who I'm fairly sure are underage, too. For my next round, I went with what worked for me all those years ago: beer.
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