Every day should be a Chula-rita Swirl day at Pakpao. (photo by Carol Shih)

Forget the Mambo Taxi, Here’s the Only Drink Conan O’ Brien Should Have in Dallas


In early March, actress Angie Harmon told Conan O’ Brien to go straight from the airport to Mi Cocina, where he could drink a Mambo Taxi. Or three.

Team CoCo, as you probably already know, is in Dallas right this very minute, filming about the Final Four at the Majestic Theater through April 3. (His live broadcast begins today.) If you haven’t been able to secure tickets yet, well, that sucks. And if you did get tickets, then you suck.

So no offense to Angie Harmon, but the Mambo Taxi isn’t exactly the best frozen margarita in Dallas. She has been in Hollywood La-La-Land for too long. The late-night talk show host already visited Al Biernat’s on Saturday night, but if he leaves without drinking one of Pakpao’s Chula-rita Swirls, he’s in for a big cryfest upon his return Los Angeles.

For $8, the Chula-rita Swirl is made from blue agave tequila infused with fresh lemongrass and orange peel for 10 days. It’s then mixed in the margarita machine with triple sec and a house-made lemongrass sweet and sour syrup, sprinkled with palm sugar, and swirled with a prickly pear puree. It’s the bomb.


  • Just curious

    I don’t understand your need to bash one thing in order to praise another. Plenty of local folks like the Mambo Taxi just fine.

  • Glenn Campbell

    Again, as we’ve come to expect, Shih has missed the mark. The mambo taxi is probably Dallas’ signature drink. Not the best. The idea was not to serve the best drink to him, but to serve an iconic and recognizable local favorite. Very few people have been to pakpao, and of them even fewer have had this obscure drink you seemed to enjoy.

  • 21TC

    How about we suggest Conan try one from each place in Dallas and let him decide. I would have never thought to suggest a Thai place for a margarita but ok. My favorite just happens to be where the frozen was born………..Mariano’s Hacienda at Skillman and Abrams.

    • Carol Shih

      Nice! I’ll put that on my list.

  • Emily

    Mambo Taxis are a Dallas staple. They’re good, straight forward and not too fussy. Margaritas aren’t supposed to be “infused” and sprinkled with palm syrup and prickly pear puree AND they sure as heck don’t need to take 10 days of prep. I’m sure Pakpao’s mixes a very nice drink, but they shouldn’t call it a “rita” just because it contains tequilla.