At most bars, tequila is something you slug (and more often than not, there’s some wincing involved). At Calavera, it is savored. With more than 50 types on the menu, patrons are encouraged to order a flight of three. As owner Kenneth Yowell says, “From the vanilla and caramel flavors of a great añejo to the pepper and citrus flavors of a premium blanco, there’s so much to explore and fall in love with.” He’s right. I sipped the Don Julio 1942 and could detect a hint of vanilla. Accompanied by a little glass of sangrita, an acidic, spicy palate cleanser, I was ready for flaky empanadas like the Piggly Wiggly, their ode to Carolina-style pulled pork, and my favorite, the Havana Jerk with mango salsa. Cocktails made with freshly squeezed juice and dessert empanadas make it hard to leave the cozy eatery decked out with candles, glittering strands of lights and glowing stars. As Ken says, “We had a guest from Mexico City the other day pay us the highest compliment by telling us ‘You got it perfect – it’s like a little piece of home.’” Empanadas, $3.50 each. Tequila flight, $15.
Calavera Empanada & Tequila Bar, 370 E. Main St., #180, Carrboro; 919-617-1674; calaveraempanadas.com
Ed. Note: This article first appeared in our May/June 2015 issue.