I think the best Saturday nights are the serendipitous ones.

So, remember that Wondercraft hot guy contest I was judging?  Three cheers for the organizers, because that place was capital-p PACKED.  Packed enough, Ross and I decided, to let things thin out a bit.  Go have a drink in the neighborhood.  Come back later when it wasn’t so cah-razy.

“Rio Rita?” I asked.

“Rio Rita,” he agreed.

Given the name, you might think Rio Rita is a Tex-Mex restaurant chain if you’d never been there before.  But oh, what a far cry that would be.  Rio Rita is one of my favorite little east Austin outposts, a cross between a demure coffee shop and a hipster-bordering-on-dive bar.  There’s charming vintage furniture everywhere.  Endearingly sloppy wall paint.  And best of all, various alcohol infusions lined primly above the bar itself, weakening your knees at the register. Apple infused bourbon, jalapeno garlic infused tequila, lavender infused vodka.  Between you and me, I’ve spent more time staring googly-eyed at those luscious bottles than I care to admit.

Along the way, Ross and I picked up our friends Candace, Claudia, Jason, and Ashley, and found an extremely rare treat waiting for us at Rio Rita: A whole unoccupied corner of open seating.  We decided it was fate, staked our claim, and didn’t leave our cozy corner for the next three hours.

If you go to Rio Rita, then you must make me a promise.  You have to try one of their Bloody Marys, if you haven’t already.  That jalapeno garlic infused tequila business?  They do that to vodka too, mix it in said Bloody Mary, then proceed to toss a virtual salad inside the whole thing.  It’s a real show-stopper of a drink, pretty and salty and tall.  If pressed, you could even call it healthy.