Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where to Drink: Strong, Cheap Mai Tais and Chi Chis @ Damon’s Steak House

The Drinks: Signature Mai Tais and Chi Chis  

The Vibes: A vintage tropical oasis that hasn’t changed since it opened almost 75 years ago, in 1937

Good for: Strong, cheap cocktails…and monstrous cuts of steaks accompanied by gigantic baked potatoes and heaping portions of salad

When-to-Go: Mai Tai Monday! Mai Tais are $4 all day long, and there's a Monday-Friday happy hour, featuring $5 Mai Tais and Chi Chis

The $ Factor: Affordable; $7 otherwise

The 4-1-1: There’s a metered parking lot right in the back

I’ll Be Back…: To get dinner along with my Mai Tai one of these days…

When I was a young, innocent child, I never understood why my mother would force us to battle an hour of horrific traffic, all to meet her best friend at Damon’s Steak House out in Glendale after work, and why they always had to meet there.

Yes, the garlic bread was scrumptiously yummy and crunchy and Damon’s portions were enough to feed a small village. OK, and the tropical Polynesian paradise theme did amuse my juvenile, vivid mind. But was all of this really worth the drive? Weren’t there other restaurants to explore?

Then I got hold of a fake ID turned 21. 

And it was only then that I understood why they came so often. 

You see, after hitting up a few bars and going out in a city like Los Angeles, for even like, six months, it’s easy to quickly learn that strong, delicious and cheap don’t always go together. Sure you might get one – i.e., strong – if you’re lucky…perhaps two – strong and cheap – on occasion…but all three? In one drink? That’s like asking for a miracle.

But lo and behold, Damon’s must be in the miracle delivering business, because their signature Mai Tai and Chi Chi cocktails are as affordable as they are divinely potent and delightfully sweet. I swear I can taste the alcohol dripping down from my esophagus into my stomach…just as much as I can taste the fresh pineapple and coconut juices making the same route.

The Mai Tai has pineapple and orange juices, dark and light Bacardi rums, and a special secret sauce; the Chi Chi consists of pineapple juice, coconut creme, dark and light Bacardi rums, and that special secret sauce. On more than one occasion, I’ve politely asked what was in this secret sauce, only to be shot down. Looks like the sole keeper of the ingredients is the oldest bartender who’s been there over a decade, and he refuses to share, even with his fellow bartenders. Let’s hope he doesn’t put in his two-week notice anytime soon.

So the next time you’re in the Glendale area, stop by and say hello to the servers who look like they’ve been working at Damon’s since it opened its doors. Sure, the carpet may be a little worn and the décor hasn’t changed in forever, but the colorful murals and the bamboo accents still transport you to paradise…along with that $4 Mai Tai in your hand. See you there soon!

For more information, Damon's Steak House

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been to Damon's in several years and I'm always on the lookout for a good happy hour. Thanks for the reminder, Amber!