Best Margaritas, Palomas, and Agave Selection 2017 | Casa Añejo | La Vida | Phoenix

Best Margaritas, Palomas, and Agave Selection

Casa Añejo

They're the new kid on the block, sure, opening only halfway through 2017 — but that's proof that an agave-spirits cocktail bar (and, in this case, restaurant) with craft sensibilities has been sorely missing from Phoenix's drinking scene. Casa moves a few steps in the right direction past its closest competitors, by offering not only margaritas in a requisite array of fruity flavors — kiwi, watermelon, mango with chile, and an unexpectedly welcome berry hibiscus — but also tropical, modern tiki drinks from bar manager Riley Jones, in addition to tequila and mezcal drinks, where the spirit does the talking.

Sky Lounge has been a go-to spot for the Latin crowd — or anyone else interested in shaking their groove thang — since the '90s. And, quite frankly, the vibe at the two-story downtown Phoenix discoteca hasn't changed much over the years. Sky Lounge still serves up a mix of sultry Latin sounds, cheap drinks, and an abundance of eye candy on both of its floors every weekend. And the clientele that frequent the place is still of the young and sexy variety, including chicas in form-fitting clubwear and the cabrones who admire them. You can find them on Sky Lounge's dance floors or huddled in its VIP booths during the club's popular Latin Ladies Saturdays party, which features a soundtrack of reggaeton, cumbia, and hip-hop, as well as live music from local orchestra Banda la Xplosiva. There's even a hot dog cart outside, in case you and your novio or novia have worked up an appetite while dancing and drinking.

Katie Johnson

Over the years, Taqueria La Hacienda has become something of a landmark on Buckeye Road. This longtime, cash-only Mexican food truck might not seem as hip as the fleet of trucks parked outside the city's night clubs and bars. Obscure location aside, though, it doesn't take long to fall in love with La Hacienda. The taco selection is comprehensive — try the spicy chicharron if you love your pork with some heat — and the service is generally very prompt and friendly. Even better, night owls are well-accommodated. La Hacienda is open until midnight on weeknights and until 2 a.m. on the weekends. It's no wonder, then, that the truck has become a popular spot for late-night travelers making their way to and from nearby Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

For many Hispanics, the holiday season is not officially over until Día de Reyes on January 6. Día de Reyes celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men — Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar — to visit baby Jesus. This day is also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. In some parts of Latin America, kids typically get presents on Día de Reyes instead of Christmas. They leave their old shoes outside their rooms or in the living room, and in the morning they find them surrounded by gifts given by the Three Kings. The traditional food, Rosca de Reyes, is an oval-shaped (to symbolize the crown) sweet bread with dry and candied fruits. The rosca has a small plastic figurine inside representing baby Jesus. Whoever gets the figurine in their slice of rosca must throw a party with tamales and atole on Día de la Candelaria on February 2. The Rosca de Reyes is usually eaten in the morning with hot chocolate and champurrado, making it the perfect reason to keep binge-eating and delay those New Year's resolutions. You can usually find the rosca during the first week of January in local panaderías. Freshly made roscas await you at this traditional panadería, which also serves tasty pan dulce. Antigua Bakery offers two sizes of roscas. Be careful when you bite into the Rosca de Reyes; you don't want to break a tooth on baby Jesus.

Did you know that there's a patron saint for farmers (St. Isidore), nurses (St. Agatha), and truckers (St. Christopher)? There's even a patron saint of television — St. Clare of Assisi. You'll find both popular and obscure saints represented at Books and Blessings, a pleasant and friendly religious gift shop located at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale. The shop carries a wide array of saint prayer cards, saint figurines, saint-related literature, and high-quality saint statuary. The store also offers a nice selection of Mexican folk art, greeting cards, imported Italian art, and religious jewelry. Whether you're looking for a saint who's been known to help in matters of real estate (selling your house), or matters of the heart (finding a spouse), you'll probably find that saint at Books and Blessings.

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