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A winning strawberry jalapeño margarita at Salsa on the Rock 

click to enlarge GRIFFIN SWARTZEL
  • Griffin Swartzel

Salsa on the Rock, 802 Village Center Drive, 266-9244, salsaontherock.com

Formerly Salsa Brava, this spot was sold by Rocky Mountain Restaurant Group to its new owner/operator, Scott Morrissey, though the handover hasn’t changed the menu. When I visit, the bright space and its blue holiday lights have me feeling summery even before we order a smaller-sized, 12-ounce strawberry jalapeño margarita.

The menu claims that AOL Travel readers voted it the best marg in the U.S., and while I’m not sure about that, it’s a damn fine beverage. It’s no sugar bomb, only subtly sweet with fruit flavor and pepper heat finishing, letting the tequila sing its black pepper and faint smoky notes. I pair it with a server-recommended chicken quesadilla, a lunch special.

Chicken meets roasted red peppers, diced green chiles and cheese in a Pueblo green chile tortilla, garnished with crumbled cotija cheese and served with a side cup of bleu cheese aioli. The chicken’s tender and juicy, salted properly and seasoned reservedly enough that the peppers and chiles play a big flavor role.

That bleu bears big chunks of cheese and major funk, which we enjoy.

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