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And, of course, I drank tequila, straight up, out of a snifter, with a glass of tepid water, the way it's supposed to be done. I sampled the fruity, handmade El Tesoro añejo ($6.50), the somewhat oakier Herra- dura añejo ($6.50), the honey-colored Hussong's añejo ($6.50), and the Cabo Wabo reposado ($6) made by that most rocking of red tequileros, Sammy Hagar. I invited friends and family to drink tequila. It got emotional: My father and I shared a very special moment when we realized that the 1921 Reserva añejo ($9) had an almost buttery feel to it, and slid over the tongue like a fine chardonnay.
I contemplated reposados. I waxed poetic, comparing the bouquet of the Centinela Tres Anos 1996 añejo ($8.75) to a breath of morning wind in the desert. For the hell of it, I actually ate something (Tommy's also has food), procuring a decent pollo "pibil" (chicken cooked in banana leaves, $10.25) for my father and a fine camarones a la Veracruzana (shrimp with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, capers, and olives, $15.95) for myself.
San Francisco, CA 94121
Region: Richmond (Outer)
And then, my education moving along splendidly, I made my one foray into the world of high-end tequilas, which, like fine scotches or cognacs, can run a heartbreaking $350 per snifter. Now, for most people -- such as myself -- money is, unfortunately, an object. But if money isn't an object -- if your IPO goes ballistic, or your lawsuit against Big Tobacco is settled in your favor, or you're the first pick in the NBA draft -- well, please do as follows: Take your family on one vacation, your friends on another, help your loved ones if they need it, and then help charity, because, when you think about it, you've got more than enough money, and it's just the right thing to do.
And then get your filthy rich ass down to Tommy's and buy the house a round of the incomparable Herradura Seleccion Suprema añejo ($23). Aged for up to five years in French oak, with a color reminiscent of cognac and a bouquet that caresses the senses with all the tenderness of young love, the Seleccion Suprema will take you to another place. Just smelling this wondrous potion was an experience in itself; on first sip, it reminded me of the best dream I'd ever had; on the second, of those times when my mother used to tuck me into bed, rubbing my little back and telling me everything was going to be just fine. And the last drop was the best -- after one final sniff, I eased it onto my tongue and simply waited for it to soak in.
"Sir, are you OK?" asked a bartender, a bit concerned.
I nodded, smiled. He may not have understood, but at that point it didn't matter a bit.
Well, after a tequila like that, I figured, it wasn't going to get much better, and since I'd downed some 18 double shots over the course of a week, I decided to take it down a few notches lest I find myself 12-stepping my way into the new millennium. I was at home, sober, simply reflecting on añejos, when, as happens from time to time, the phone rang:
"Could I speak with Gregory B. Hugunin?" asked the caller.
"It's Greg," I told him. "This is he."
"Hello, Mr. Hugunin, my name is [that of an annoying bunghole who calls people at home, at night, trying to sell them things]."
Well, as I soon explained to that young man, I don't take kindly to such interruptions. And furthermore, I added before hanging up, after another 52 double shots of tequila (and a written test), that's going to be Dr. Hugunin to you.
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