Spring in the Valley, a.k.a. the beginning of our 90-degree weather season, means endless events such as fundraisers, deadlines, new projects (we can keep going), in short, a bunch of things to do, not enough time to do them and being on the verge of a total meltdown because of the stress. But to maintain a required work-life balance, we follow the ancient mantra of “Work hard, play harder” and treated ourselves to an evening at The Centennial. We had to celebrate the fact that we hadn't completely pulled all our hair out by mid-week. Well, at least not yet.
Located downtown, just around the corner from the McAllen Entertainment District, The Centennial offers an oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of the everyday.
Stepping into The Centennial is like stepping into a time machine. Proprietors of The Centennial claim that in 2002 the former White Kitchen Café building underwent a vital restoration to bring back the essence and glory of the original 1920’s Golden Era.
The Centennial is tucked away from the rumpus normally found on 17th Street. Split among two floors (a rarity in this area), the spaces are eloquently tied together with their wooden flooring and furniture (possibly Mahogany), mood lighting provided by strategically placed spotlights and chandeliers, touches of velvet and a variety of art pieces, most of them by local artists and owner Isaac Guerra.
We made our way up the stairs and found ourselves in a speak-easy style lounge, sat close to the stage (of course) and got down to the first order of business.
Gaby: Cocktails, anyone?!
Trisha: As if the question is even necessary after this, so far, whirlwind week.
Gaby: (Singing) “Been around the world and I, I, I...I can't find my baby…”
Trisha: Lisa Stanfield..NICE improvement!
Vodka was our first pick of delight for the night. A watermelon crush (vodka infused fresh watermelon pulp, fresh basil and basil syrup with a lemon salted rim) and the required cucumber martini, to provide a fair rating scale to work off of. (wink)
*FYI the locally loved cucumber martini is not on the handcrafted cocktail menu, but is happily prepared upon request*
The evening’s music score was an eclectic combination of songs by artists like Sublime, Johnny Cash, Jack Johnson, Van Morrison and Randy Rogers, provided by the acoustic guitar renditions of Mr. Andrew Lopez.
Let the hair twirling and smiling commence! Oh, and the music was good too (wink)
We started off the dining portion of our evening with “Craft” Tacos: shrimp in blue tortilla; oysters with pecans in a red tortilla dressed with cabbage and ponzu sauce; pulled pork in flour tortilla with queso cotija. Within what seemed liked seconds of arriving at our table, those three colorful and appetizing tacos were split in half and joyfully consumed.
Exactly five minutes before 7:30, our charming server, who offered to be called by any name we’d like (teenage girl giggles), approached the table and asked if we needed anything else before the end of happy hour. Hand clap emoji indeed! Like we've said before, this is by far one of the best things that a server can do.
We ordered a Sophia Lavande (vodka, fresh grapefruit, orange bitters and homemade lavender syrup) and the Pink Sheba (raspberry infused vodka, lime, raspberry preserves).
Trisha: We had a slither of hunger left and, as usual, we both had different cravings. I wanted the Rockefeller Oysters, Gaby wanted raw meat again.
Gaby: I can't help it that I love my meat raw! Plus, this was Tuna Tartare diced with serrano peppers, caper berries, on a bed of citrus, capped with avocados, served with an orange ginger sauce and wasabi cream.
Trisha: Ok, someone is excited!
INSIDER’S TIP: If you don't want a full size meal or can't decide what to choose, The Centennial offers single serving portions of select dishes. Another hats off to our gracious server for that option.
Gaby: Yes, I’ve got to have my cake and eat it, too!
Gaby: The Centennial is more than just its setting, food, drinks and music. It is an attitude, an outlook on life. It is whimsical and artistic while simultaneously being cool, calm and collected.
Trisha: And dare I say “sexy”?
Gaby: Ha! Let's just say that if this article were to be written in emojis, this would read as follows: cocktail, eggplant, 100 sign, thumbs up, hand clap, cocktail.
Trisha: Oh, my...we have issues. (lol) I am glad we’ve both established that.
Gaby: The Centennial is located at 1410 Austin Avenue, McAllen, TX 78501 and can be reached at (956) 627-6257. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Thursday 5:30p.m. to 12:00a.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:30p.m. to 2:00a.m.; closed on Sunday and Monday.
Trisha: Enjoy select Sunset Happy Hour cocktails at half price, as well as $5 margaritas and Soul Tacos from 5:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. Also, keep up with their social media outlets, including Facebook @CentennialClub, to learn about the latest artists and musicians visiting The Centennial.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.