Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy Hour All Day Everyday with Chili's Rita Trio

My idea of living the good life is sitting down to happy hour every weekday with my favorite girls, with a bunch of cocktails on the table, chatting away about clothes, make up, men, and just about everything under the sun other than work. And I can be very particular about my cocktails - they have to be done right. None of that cheap crap that leaves you with a major hangover the next day after just three glasses of the stuff. No, if you're going to do anything in life, do it right and keep it classy.

So when I got invited to Chili's Bar & Grill to check out the new Rita Trio, I was so excited that I rushed over to their newest branch in Megamall, despite feeling under the weather. "A few glasses of margaritas should pick me up," I told myself. Little did I know that at the end of the day, I got way more than I bargained for!

The place had customers trickling in when I arrived with Jericho, so we found ourselves a spot by the corner and bumped into good ol' Gerry. What a pleasant surprise! This Chili's branch may not be as big as the others, but since it has more foot traffic than most, I expect this joint is always full.

Before we started chugging margaritas left and right, we shared a big bowl of Bottomless Tostada Chips (P350) while catching up on what everyone did over the holidays. This usually just comes with just salsa, but you can add P100 for the quezo dip, which is totally worth it by the way. This is quite addicting, as the tostada chips are warm, thin and crispy all at the same time, leaving for little resistance, especially when paired with Chili's flavorful house-made salsa. All you could hear from our table for a good 15 minutes was crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch... and then silence, as our server had to go and refill the bowl. Haha!

Another deliciously cheesy starter were the Classic Nachos (P435), very meticulously put together with the nachos fanned out in a circle, each chip covered with with melted cheese, jalapeños, beans, quezo, and a hint of seasoned beef served with house-made pico de gallo and sour cream.

After filling our bellies with nacho fodder, we proceeded to try the famous Rita Trio (P350). The promo lets you choose from any three of their five premium Margaritas.

I tried three of the flavors, starting with the Blue Pacific Margarita, a blend of 1800 Tequila, Cointreau and Blue Curacao. The smooth drink looked like it was scooped up from the intense azure blue waters of Cancún. How very, very refreshing.

The El Nino Margarita is quite citrusy, with a mix of 1800 Tequila, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, and a splash of fresh orange juice. This was definitely one of my favorites that night.

The Pomegranate Margarita is a a mix of 1800 Tequila, Absolut Citron, and pomegranate syrup. A tad tart for my taste, but I'd still polish off a glass, nevertheless.

I had a good buzz going on after taking generous sips of the different flavored margaritas and had to pass on the Chambord 1800 Margarita, and Tropical Sunrise to take a breather, and get something else other than nachos to sop up all the alcohol swilling around my stomach.

I initially thought the Margaritas were served in shot glasses for you to taste and pick your favorite flavor, but no, they came out in 9 oz glasses, so one glass is good for one person. If ya'll split a Rita Trio order, that's just a little over P100 a glass! That way, not only can you end up trying all the flavors and ordering a gigantic sized glass of your favorite, but you can also use the "sharing is caring" excuse to enjoy more alcohol!

It would be best to pair your margaritas with carbs to help absorb all that alcohol, and Chili's Big Mouth Burger Bites (P435) does the trick. Four mini burgers with layers of flavor - crispy bacon, aged cheddar cheese, and sauteed onions is served with crispy onion strings, sprinkled with green onions, and jalapeño Ranch dressing. That's a lot of bites for someone with a big mouth, if you ask me.

Another monster appetizer tray was the Triple Dipper (P495) - a combo of Chili's three favorite appetizers - generous portions of Chicken Crispers with honey aioli, Wings Over Buffalo with sour cream, and Southwestern Eggrolls with jalapeño Ranch dressing. I was especially attracted to the eggrolls that night, and loved the touch of heat the dipping sauce had, complimenting the chunks of chicken, spinach, bits of corn kernels, and diced tomatoes.

After filling up on food, it was back to the drinks. Were were introduced to the premium bad boys at Chili's, one of them being the Platinum Presidente Margarita (P395). Hand-shaken, Patron Silver Tequila (100% Blue Agave) is mixed with a few splashed of Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Fundador Reserve Brandy and Chili's secret sweet and sour mix. This had quite the kick at the end, so it wasn't something I'd fancy on a normal day. I do like the super cute shaker it was served with though!

The Presidente Margarita (P350) was more my style. The hand-shaken Margarita is made with 1800 Tequila, Cointreau, Orange Liqueur, and Fundador Reserve Brandy, and went down smoothly down the throat. And let me just say, that margarita glass is huge, there was no way I could manage finishing that off by myself. Not for the lack of trying. I didn't even feel my happy buzz until I stood up to head to the ladies' room!

The Patron Pomegranate Margarita (P380) on the other hand is the premium version of the Rita Trio's Pomegranate Margarita, with the perfect mix of Patron Silver Tequila (100% Blue Agave), Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Pomegranate syrup, and 7-Up.

Of course, I wasn't leaving without dessert, and was on a sugar high when I saw the High and Mighty Pie (P380). Good ol' English Heath candy pieces hide in the rich vanilla ice cream piled high on a crushed Oreo cookie crust before being drizzled with caramel and hot fudge. This wasn't just dessert, it was a freaking wall of ice cream!

I went home that night feeling all warm and tingly, with a smile on my face- a good sign when one has been out drinking. And I am pleased to report there was no hangover the next day, either. I will definitely be back at Chili's for margaritas with the girlfriends in the next few weeks as well as try out the new dishes they have to offer.

So if you ever find yourself mucking around Manila in search of affordable cocktails that don't skimp on the ingredients, check out Chili's Bar & Grill instead of heading to your usual watering hole for a change. It may be known as an institution for Tex-Mex cuisine, but now it's fast becoming popular as an awesome Happy Hour place - all day, everyday!

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Chili's Bar & Grill
+63 2 631 0380
2/F SM Megamall, The Atrium, Julia Vargas Ave.,
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong
Open Daily: 11am - 12mn