Don Orange's front door

Happy Hour review: Don Orange

You can have your own fiesta Monday through Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Don Orange in downtown Redlands.

That’s when Happy Hour is in full swing, with a small menu of drinks and snacks available. Each table receives a complimentary bowl of yellow and blue corn chips, along with a thin salsa. There are several appetizers on the Happy Hour menu to choose from (and each item is also available for a few dollars more outside of Happy Hour), including picante mac and cheese, papas taquitos, a trio of dips (salsa, guacamole, and bean), chicharrones, and escabeche, which is “spicy pickled yellow chiles, sliced baby carrots, jalapeños, and julienned onions.”

Chips and salsa

A friend and I decided to just stick to drinks. The signature margarita, Don’s OG, is $6 during Happy Hour, while draft beer (Modelo, Modelo Negra, and Estrella) and well drinks are all $5. We focused on the $8 cocktails, and settled on two different concoctions: I went with the Tekila Burro (Camarena silver tequila, prickly pear syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer), while she chose the La Jamaica (Camarena silver tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, hibiscus syrup, and soda water).

They arrived quickly, with my drink in a tall glass and my friend’s in an interesting mug that looked like a piece of pottery found in Mexico. Not long after I received my drink, our waitress — who was outstanding, extremely friendly and always checking in on us — came running up to let me know that the bartender had not added the ginger beer to my drink. It turns out they ran out of it, and she asked me if I’d like a replacement drink. I thanked her for the offer, but decided to stick to the drink in front of me.

Drinks at Don Orange

Both were strong, and we definitely took our time drinking them. The Tekila Burro was a beautiful lilac color, and while I could taste the prickly pear syrup, the tequila was still the star of the show. I think the ginger beer would definitely help balance the taste, and I’ll order this again in the future when they have that ingredient on hand. My friend also enjoyed the La Jamaica, although she couldn’t really taste the hibiscus syrup. The grapefruit juice also wasn’t a distraction from the other flavors, with tequila once again the dominant flavor.

We sat in a booth along the side of the restaurant, across from the bar, but there is also seating in the front of the restaurant facing a wall of windows — you can get some fresh air, margarita or cerveza in hand, while watching the people go by on State Street. What could be better than that? —Catherine

Posted: August 18, 2019 

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