Best Tequila 2010 | 3 Amigos Tequila | La Vida | Phoenix
Without a doubt, one of the finest and smoothest tequilas you can treat your palate to is 3 Amigos Tequila. This premium, 100 percent agave tequila is handcrafted at a family-owned distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. The blue agave plants are harvested by jimadores with a talent for selecting only the healthiest and most perfectly ripened agaves.3 Amigos is an affordable alternative to the high-priced tequilas and rivals their flavor. It comes in several varieties, including Organic Blanco, a USDA-certified organic tequila. They also have 3 Amigos Blanco, which is double-distilled and bottled, 3 Amigos Reposado, double-distilled and aged for 11 months in charred white oak barrels; and 3 Amigos Anejo, aged in oak barrels for two years, giving it a distinct and balanced flavor of agave, oak, vanilla, and a light caramel body.
Yes, that is half of a lime, muddled and resting at the bottom of your frosty, salted glass. And trust us, a good amount of lime makes all the difference in this Mexican cocktail. A margarita at this retro (and very metro), dimly lit uptown bar will run you $6 — order one during happy hour (Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.) and it's $4. The semi-charming (also very metro) bartender pours a heavy-yet-smooth combination of Jose Cuervo Gold, triple sec, and fresh lime juice that he swears will prevent a hangover. Fair warning: The fresh juice won't get you down the flight of narrow stairs and out the exit after you've had a couple.
Scottsdale-based Cruz Tequila has numerous cocktail recipes for its 100 percent blue agave tequilas, whether you prefer blanco, reposado, or anejo. There's the Cruz Refresco with a splash of cola, the Paloma with grapefruit juice, and the self-proclaimed Perfect Margarita with agave nectar. For our discerning tastes, though, nothing comes close to the Cruz Cucumber Margarita. Muddle two ounces of Cruz blanco with one squeezed lime, two cucumber wheels, and one ounce of agave nectar. Shake with ice, add a splash of water, and serve over ice. If you've mixed it right, the resultant beverage will taste like plunging head-first into a blue agave waterfall. Drink responsibly, and save one for us.
Jackie Mercandetti
We've been around long enough to recall when Z'Tejas was barely a chain — just one here and a couple of outposts in Texas. Today, that's changed, with restaurants in five states and four locations in the Valley alone.Good, we say. That just means more Chambord margaritas for the masses. Smoother than a Slurpee and more lethal than just about any cocktail we've sampled, Z'Tejas' frozen marg stands up to any others, just on its own. But pour a shot of raspberry Chambord liqueur over the top, and you've got our idea of heaven. Also our idea of a hangover. But that's okay. We'll just put off the inevitable by ordering another one.
A nonstop war for supremacy is waged every weekend among the discotheques of downtown Phoenix. Believe us, it's quite the fight. The club-on-club combat is particularly punchy among the boîtes of Washington Street, with venues like Sky Lounge and Bar Smith battling for bigger turnouts and sheer volume. From what we've seen (and heard), Sky Lounge is the clear winner on both fronts, as its lines are longer and its sounds are doubly deafening. The two-story spot has continually trumped its neighbors and nearby Hispanic hot spots alike for years, thanks to having twice the dancing space as well as a later closing time of 4 a.m. Sky's wide selection of music and quality of turntablist talent is also a big factor. Latin Passion Fridays with Enigma and Waldo is purely about salsa and other sounds of seduction. And sabados are also gigante, as the DJ trio of Daffy, Kyko, and Mario paints from an ear-pleasing palette of cumbia, bachata, and merengue for hundreds of bouncing bodies. It usually results in some seriously sweaty shenanigans on a Saturday night.
Benjamin Leatherman
We can't decide which is a more popular activity at this super-size Saturday soiree encompassing both DWNTWN and Palazzo: drinking or dancing. Opportunities abound for both, as each club features its own dance floor, DJs, and alcohol selection. (If you can somehow find your way through the throngs, that is.) Here's how it all works, cabrón: DWNTWN features impromptu drink specials throughout the night, while the turntable tag team of DJ Rubas and El Mananero spins reggaetón, cumbia, hip-hop, banda, and Latin Top 40. Meanwhile, Palazzo features its own selection of drink deals to sip on during DJ Alfredo's merengue and salsa set. It's twice the vice.
Think the Valley's dance music scene is outta step with the rest of the world? Not this time: The embryonic Latin genre moombahtón has blown up quite big in recent months in dance clubs across the country. And, thanks to Phoenix's DJ Melo, it's snuck into our city via his Kaliente Saturdays night. He figured the bass-heavy spin-off of reggaeton would complement his already electric mixes of cumbias, merengue, and Top 40 during the event, which is Karamba's biggest of the weekend. The flock of hard-body barrio boys, faux-hawked Hispanic hipsters, and other members of the Latino LGBT brigade seems to have dug. It's one of the ways the DJ keeps the night fresh, and — more importantly — popular. He also flips over to higher-energy tracks from 2 to 4 a.m., to allow the under-21 crowd to come by and show off their dance moves until just before dawn. Viva la danza!
Miguel Morales (a.k.a. DJ Kyko) is down with downtown's Latin dance scene. Almost every weekend, you can find the 27-year-old pulling spin shifts in some of the hottest clubs situated in our city's central core, usually moving more bumpers than a body shop with his high-energy style. On Fridays, he serves as selectah during PHX Nightclub's weekly Latin night, masterfully mixing up cumbias, reggaetón, and hip-hop. Then it's on to Sky Lounge, where Morales spends his Saturday evenings raining tempestuous tracks from an elevated glass booth for slews of screaming señoritas, followed by his Sunday session waxing out reggaetón and hip-hop with Power 98.3's DJ Villin at Cheetahs. Local Latinos aren't the only ones going loco over Morales' mixes, as he regularly visits the clubs of Rocky Point and Ensenada during spring break or the occasional weekend when he ain't ripping up the record decks downtown. During one south-of-the-border visit a few years back, he even got a chance to provide the backing beats for notorious Oakland rapper Too $hort. And if Shorty the Pimp is a fan, then Morales most definitely has some skills.

El Pakal is one tough-looking hombre. Not only is he ripped from head to toe, but his face is hidden by a gold wrestling mask and his torso is painted with Aztec symbols. Is he loco? Nah, just a participant in lucha libre (Mexican-style wrestling). Pakal is a member of Gladiadores Unidos, a local group that holds matches every Friday at a converted South Phoenix warehouse, and also a rudo (bad guy) whose main goal in the ring is to beat the crap outta the technicos (good guys). For those who're unfamiliar with lucha, here's a brief primer, wey: Originating in Mexico and similar in most respects to the WWE, lucha features faster, higher-flying action that's a little different from what you see on Monday Night Raw. First of all, many Mexican-style wrestlers wear colorful masks. Also, the action takes place in three-on-three tag-team matches that involve a whirlwind of action that often spills into the audience. Gladiadores Unidos is one of three lucha groups in Phoenix and is, by far, the best. Its characters are more over the top (a wrestler dressed as a cat) and humorous. Don't worry if you're not bilingual, because the action is easy to follow. Just stay outta the first three rows.

Best Place to Get a Spider-Man Piñata

Mundo Piñata

How can cardboard boxes, busted balloons, sticky and shredded pieces of newspaper, and brightly colored tissue paper jazz up a child's birthday party? When they're used to create a custom piñata, of course!Sure, you can go with the stock piñatas — donkeys or bears with stiff, outstretched arms — hanging from the rafters of your local Mexican market. But the artists — and they are artists — at Mundo Piñata are ready, willing, and more than able to bring to life your birthday boy or girl's favorite superhero, cartoon character, or Disney fantasy.If you give them a picture of, say, Peppa Pig or a classic princess, a racecar or an image of Spider-Man leaping through the air, they will make it happen.The tiny, neatly organized shop also has a few shelves of Mexican candy and trinkets that you can stuff into the artfully handcrafted piñata — just before the children take a stick and pummel the goodies right out of it.

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