Ten things I really hate:
1) The insanity-evoking act of sitting in rush hour traffic
2) The Abelam Tribe of New Guinea (screw you and your giant, painted yams!)
3) The smell of chicken on my fingers
4) The Hills
5) Eating after midnight (because if I do, I tend to turn into a Gremlin)
6) Dutch Ovens and Donkey Punches
7) People who only communicate through text messages
8) Cutting in line
9) Bitchy lists of things that people hate
10) Giving a unique and lovely place like Boteco a bad review
Because I genuinely like Boteco (916 NE 79th Street, Miami) -- or “Boo Tech KO” as the first page of the menu so boldly and phonetically spells out for you -- a Brazilian bar complete with tiragosto (snack food), tasty drinks, and a late-night, bohemian vibe that swirls through out their wooden, vine-covered, and mist-fanned patio, creating a warm twinkle on the otherwise dark stretch of the 79th Street Causeway.
And not only are their drinks easy on the taste buds, they’re pumped full of booze, and can be obtained on the cheap (they all range from $6 - $9).
So, when I received an email from Boteco, on Monday, with this little nugget of awesomness in it:
THURSDAY - 09/18
SPECIAL BEER & CAIPIRINHA
BUCKETS FOR $15 (5 beers) & CAIPIRINHA PITCHES FOR $20
You can imagine how excited I was (I even gave up watching the season premiere of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for this shit) to guzzle down a massive quantity of Brazil’s version of a mojito (minus the mint) all for a mere Andrew Jackson.
It seemed too good to be true. It had to be a mistake, a typo –
“No,” said a female voice on the phone after calling Boteco to confirm. “We’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and people really seem to like it. So, yes, we are definitely having that special on Thursday.”
Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.
Enter Vagner, my thin, silver-haired waiter on Thursday night with icy blue eyes and a personality to match.
Vagner: Can I help you?
Booze Hound: Yes, I received an email saying you had a special tonight, a $20 pitcher of caiprinha. I’d like that.
Vagner: We don’t have a special like that.
Booze Hound: But, I also called to confirm, and the woman on the phone said you were definitely having that special tonight.
Booze Hound: Are you sure?
Booze Hound: Can you check with your manager?
A nanosecond later.
Vagner: The owner says no.
Booze Hound: Okay, do you have any other drink specials?
Vagner flips over the menu. On the menu is a calendar illustrating the events and specials for each night in September. He points to Tuesday.
Vagner: Ladies night.
I read the Tuesday night special – “Ladies drink free special drinks from 7 – 11:30 p.m.”. Not bad, but,
Booze Hound: It’s Thursday, not Tuesday. Do you have any drinks specials tonight?
Vagner: Yes, it’s half price on a drink that’s not very good.
Booze Hound: Oh fantastic. Please, get me one of those. And while you’re at it, can you get me a dull knife so I can repeatedly stab myself in the head in hopes of eventually lowering myself to your mental state? Thanks!
Okay, so I didn’t say that last thing, but I did order myself and my friend a round of caiprinhas with muddled strawberry instead of lime.
Vagner: And do you want vodka or cachaça in those drinks?
I had no idea that cachaça was the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil and although it’s made with sugar cane juice, it’s not aged in oak barrels or made with molasses like rum (which it’s often compared to), but I did know that there was an exotic accent mark under the “c”. Which is reason enough for me to try anything.
Booze Pup: (my friend and companion for the night, who’s also a total light-weight): I’ll take vodka.
Vagner returns with two identical drinks. Me and The Pup take sips. The cachaça is very strong, tasting slightly like scotch, which I can get into, but my friend can’t.
Booze Pup: I can’t handle this, can I get vodka instead?
…and so forth.
Despite our server’s assholishness, the drinks, for the most part, were pretty decent:
Strawberry Caiprinha/Caiproska: Both come with muddled strawberries, sugar, and are $6.25. The one difference between the ‘inha and the ‘oska is that the latter has vodka and the caiprinha comes with cachaça. For the price, these drinks are great, with an Uma Thurman level of ninja-type quality, where five fancy taps to the heart will pretty much knock you out.
Ecopassion: VeeV Acai Spirits, passion fruit juice, strawberry, mint and agave nectar all mingle together delightfully in this little cocktail that sells for $8. You can actually taste all ingredient in each sip, making it taste an awful lot like a gummy bear. Or a war head, factoring in the tart.
Kiwi Caiproska: To me, this drink, with muddled kiwi instead of strawberry was pretty horrendous. The kiwi used in my drink seemed to lack the sweetness that a strawberry or the pizzazz that a lime lends to this cocktail. Maybe this was due to a lack of love put into this drink c/o Vagner (who had plenty of love for other tables, and himself, being that he added gratuity to our check) or perhaps it’s due to his spit, which we’re guessing provided a bitter flavor to a drink I can only describe as tasting like mowed grass mixed with grain alcohol. The Pup said that that description was generous, regarding it as tasting like pure rubbing alcohol. Even holding my nose, I couldn’t drink this drink. But, it’s only $6.25, so if you have low standards, drink up!
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Aside from the obvious, Boteco is a pretty fantastic place – filled with fun people, lots of colors, live bands, tons of tapas (my personal fav is Camarao Alho e Oleo, shrimp sautéed with oil, garlic and parsley for $12), and refreshing, high-quality drinks with surprisingly low prices.
And here’s two helpful hints: 1) Come early to nab yourself a table, because by 10:30 at night, the place is packed. 2) Don’t valet, there’s plenty of free street parking along the Causeway.
If I were to compare this place and it’s drinks to any kind of food, I’d have to go with the Garlic Crab Combo at Captain Crab Take Away, located a block up the street -- you get a lot for your money, you’ll have tons of fun (at least I think hammering a crab to bits to find a morsel of meat is an enjoyable activity), but due to this experience, you gotta watch out for snipping claws.