I have never been a teenager in Cancun. Or even to Cancun at all, for that matter; my high school excursions were limited largely to family vacations and church trips to Florida. But I still lay claim to

the element of our cultural nostalgia known as Spring Break—as rediscovered at a bar in Santa Fe.


For years, the Coyote Café's rooftop Cantina has won SFR's readers' hearts for having, according to you, the

best cocktails in the city.

Shamefully, neither my microbrew-devoted friend (we'll call her E) nor I had ever been there. We slunk in on a Thursday afternoon, hoping no one would ask where in Texas we were from.

Our waitress was young, friendly and wearing lots of gold eyeshadow, which I immediately swore to wear more often. I asked her to recommend "something fun," so she steered me toward the Rockstar, described on the menu as a "Gorgeous Strawberry Lemon Drop Accented with

Pop Rocks

on the Rim." Good lord. Isn't there a cutoff age for Pop Rocks?

E got the decidedly more sensible Ruby Red—grapefruit vodka with grapefruit juice and cardamom syrup. Something about the palapa-like feel of Coyote's rooftop bar, the reggae music playing, the warm sun on our shoulders after a day spent in the office, made us discuss in earnest the possibility of spending our lives on a beach somewhere.

Then the drinks came. Mine won every contest in the girly-drink book, from color (bubble-gum pink) to fruityness (extreme) to alcohol-masking ability (neon pink pop rocks; need I say more?).

As for the Pop Rocks—my god. We sat there, concentrating carefully on the popping sensation.

"It's incredible how long the explosions last!" E said. We cracked up.

, according to Wikipedia, were invented by a General Foods chemist in 1956 but didn't grace the consumer market until 1975. Their moment of fame lasted only until 1983, "largely owing to its lack of success in the marketplace and to its relatively short shelf life."


: Apparently, sometime around the 80s and presumably way before the FDA existed, many people believed that mixing Pop Rocks with carbonated soda would make your stomach explode.)

In the end, my pink Pop Rocks concoction beat E's sour martini to a grapefruity pulp. Somewhat sugared-out, but still in the mood for Spring Break, we ordered these:

One's a Dos Equis. The other is a Dos Equis topped with a frozen margarita (at the Coyote, they call it a Lava Lamp). One was delicious, and the other was...well, let's just say we'd rather have Pop Rocks. Can you guess?

The Rooftop Cantina at Coyote Café

132 W. Water St.


daily 11:30am - close