Members of The Explorer staff, along with a few members of the community, met up at Epazote for the monthly Sippin’ Social event on Feb. 27. Its happy hour, which is called Social Hour, runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and features half off draft beers, a selection of wines, and the bar menu.

Upon walking into the restaurant, which is located inside the Hilton El Conquistador, 10000 N. Oracle Road, the friendly and not overbearing service began and continued.

The seat choices were abundant at 4 p.m., but the prime locations this time of year on the patio were quickly taken. We opted to sit inside, but next to the open doors, which allowed for a comfortable breeze during our stay.

The first beer ordered was the Grand Canyon Sunset Amber Ale, priced at $3.50, it had a crisp copper color and had a slight malty taste. The beer was light enough to be refreshing, but heavy enough that it didn’t disappear too quickly.

I rarely do this, but enjoyed this beer so much so, that I picked it as my second choice as well.

Explorer reporter Chris Flora stuck with his selection of beer for both rounds as well, which was the Oak Creek’s hefeweizen. Brewed out of Sedona’s Oak Creek Brewing Co., the 4.5 percent ABV beer has a distinct banana and clove aroma and flavor combined in a light wheat malt with little bitterness. A very easy-to-drink, deep-gold colored beer. While known as a popular summertime beer, this is a delicious brew Chris would try again during any season.

The choices on the bar’s food menu were: rock shrimp flauta, smokey short rib sliders, fish tacos, southwest fries, green chili pork enchilada, and goat cheese bruschetta.

We picked the fish tacos, $4.50, which came with two tacos filled with lightly breaded mahi-mahi, roasted tomatoes and corn, lettuce, red cabbage, and cilantro on a corn tortilla. With a squeeze of lime, the taco was complete, and shortly thereafter, completely gone. Every single item in this dish was there to help the other items work together for a seasoned and delicious bite with a crisp crunch of the lettuce, corn and cabbage. 

With the second round of beers on their way, we placed an order for the smokey short rib sliders, $5.50. The plate of three sliders quickly arrived. They were topped with onion, organic arugula, and a prickly pear fruit barbeque sauce. Again, each ingredient helped the others by creating a slightly spicy taste, rounded out with the sweet and tangy barbeque sauce. The crispy bite of the toasted bun was quickly followed by the soft and chewy bread. The bite of the onion was accompanied by the smoky flavor of the pork. This, like the fish tacos, quickly disappeared. 

Epazote hit it out of the park. Everything was top-notch, from the friendly and attentive service to the wonderful atmosphere and views. For the taste and portions at their happy hour prices, Epazote is hard to beat. 

Join The Explorer later this month at Colt’s Taste of Texas Steak House, 8310 N. Thornydale Road, on Thursday, March 20 from 4 to 6 p.m.

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