Margaritas and Mariachis at Maya

*Whew* It’s finally Thursday! Thirsty Thursday, some might call it, but regardless of what clever alliteration you come up with it’s all code for that fabulous and much needed break from the mundanity of cubicle life known as Happy Hour (HH). It’s that time of week when folks put down their pencils ex out of their spreadsheets, loosen their ties and put on their heels, and head to that most revered city sanctuary — the bar.

Last Thursday Ndub reached out to me suggesting we try out Maya, the Richard Sandoval Restaurant on the Upper East Side. I’ll usually try anything once and it seemed convenient given that it was just 15 blocks uptown from my office. So at 5:00 pm that afternoon I skipped out of the office and hopped on a bus up Third Avenue to Sixty-something Street. Traffic was awful so after spending 20 minutes on the bus I left it behind for a more reliable method of transportation (feet).

Rounding the corner from 64th Street onto 1st Avenue — yes, it’s all the way on 1st Ave, a sad fact I realized somewhere between 2nd & 3rd — I immediately saw a burst of green and white balloons. It was like a sign from above, a beacon drawing me home. I made a beeline for it and promptly ordered a mango margarita, with sugar on the rim. I’ve been in such a sweet-tooth mood lately! I think it’s the sudden drop in temperature — my body wants me to layer up and go into hibernation, but I shall resist! Well, from here on out, I shall resist — I may or may not have had a piece of strawberry cheesecake from Cafe Metro for lunch yesterday…

Maya, as I said, is the Richard Sandoval location on the Upper East Side. He also has the Tequila Library on Lexington and East 40th St, among others. This particular one, I’m sorry to say, may never feel the grace of my presence again. I’m all for dark, kitschy Mexican restaurants, and in terms of decor this place was very Mexican chic. And their Queso con Chorizo served with a side of warmed corn tortillas was pretty mouth-watering — as Ernesto put it, who doesn’t love cheese? But the service wasn’t particularly great, and that damn mariachi band! Maybe I just have an unfair bias against mariachi bands because they have a knack for detecting my Sunday morning hangover and inevitably choose to stand next to me and blare their horns, accordions and smooth vocal yelps when all I really really want is a peaceful subway ride to brunch. Either way, this one didn’t help matters much. It’s true, I’m fairly soft-spoken, but Ndub is anything but soft-spoken, so for me to ask him to repeat himself borders on ridiculous. Looking for a nice relaxing happy hour? Skip Maya, pick a place closer to public transportation and farther from the piercing mariachi version of the Chicken Dance (not kidding, they actually played that one).

Now. Where to go tonight? That’s the question. Where are you going?

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