If you're a fan of the Man in Black, you owe it to yourself to get to The Mean-Eyed Cat. It's open everyday, I hear.
On a most excellent get-away-for-the-day with my friend, Christy Horton of Epicuriosities, we found ourselves capping an Austin-perfect adventure with a stop at The Mean-Eyed Cat, 1621 5th Street, Downtown.
Christy graciously invited me to drag myself out of the country to be her 'plus one' for a local media tour, a 4-hour jaunt designed to hit the most-cool high spots of Austin natives. We'll be reviewing the whole afternoon, courtesy of Sherpalux, soon. Meanwhile, we're back at the Cat.
The concept is all Cash, all the time.
First-timer here, and I was starry-eyed. There were fantastic photo-ops around, above, below, inside, and maybe underneath, every corner. Camera to face, I was not to be heard from for the following hour. And anyone will tell you, that's a rare occurrence, my friend.
Titles and lyrics from Mr. Cash's songs, both popular and rare, are scattered upon benches, over tables, along the walls, and any other blank spot to be found. Even the most ardent fan will be challenged, and often amused, by even the most obscure references.
On the path from front door, to back, and all points in between, just walking through promises to be the best tour-on-foot in Austin.
You can belly up to the weathered bar, or find a dimly-lit, quiet, or not so, corner or table, perfect for solitary libations, or a raucous group of memory-seekers.
Pull out your tattered copy of Kerouac, shoot some pool, tap your foot to some live music, look like a local, or shed the burden of cool and just be the 'turist' you might be.
The Mean-Eyed Cat serves beer and wine--no hard stuff--but they get pretty creative in the mixology. I had their wine-based margarita, and while I may lose my cred amongst my tequila aficionado friends (I'm looking at you, Tequila Bob), I have to say I liked it! While it wasn't exactly the standard-bearer for the local favorite, it was light and refreshing, no funky artificial flavors to throw things off, and just what the doctor ordered to cool off on a hot, late afternoon.
So I made one at home. Having no idea how to do so. That's the convoluted way in which I roll. I just substituted a favorite dry white wine for the tequila, and proceeded thusly......
The Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants Wine Margarita
- 2 ounces of dry white wine
- 1 ounce of Triple Sec (yeah, I was going for cheap and easy, here. Grand Marnier would be the top shelf much-less-cheap, and still easy choice for those whose budgets allow)
- the juice of 3 limes
- a squeeze of a lemon wedge
- and crushed ice to fill.
I tossed in a pinch of salt--I like how the salt enhances the sweetness, but I'm not a fan of the salted rim for health reasons. Certainly juice and salt a rim if you are. Transfer well-shaken contents to your favorite glass, and enjoy.
I had two. I think I found my mojo and didn't even know it was lost.
Now, I'm a woman of a certain age and occupation that no longer considers time or money well-spent in the bars, but an interesting place to whittle away an afternoon, that's neither packed with high-heeled twenty-somethings, nor rife with thirty, forty, or fifty-something trustfund smooth operators, well, that's more my style. Tucked into a corner that looks like it could have been the home away from home for John Steinbeck and his Grapes of Wrath? That's even better. And surrounded by memories of the myth and the Man in Black? Fascinating.
I just love this place. Love it. Love, love, love it. I knew I had to tell you about it. Because....