Caracol's weekday happy hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m.

Image: Kate LeSueur

A rumble of thunder bellowed loudly outside my window at work, which showed a slick street three stories beneath and still more raining beating down on the hot asphalt. I grumbled to myself. Another rainy day; we may as well be living in Portland. And just then, as if by magic, a photo popped into my Facebook feed as I scrolled through distractedly—a photo of ceviche surrounded by bursts of color from citrus and chiles that looked like a vacation on a plate. Underneath, a caption: "Sounds like we're getting more rain today...come enjoy a sunny plate of ceviche!"

Caracol
2200 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 160
713-622-9996
caracol.net

Though I've only been to Caracol on sunny days—the likes of which we haven't seen much lately—there's something innately sunny about the Mexican seafood restaurant. Part of it is the tall plate glass windows along the front that let light stream into the airy bar, with its high ceilings and clean lines, providing a sort of instant relief after being inside a dull gray-blue cubicle or cramped office all day long. You feel like you can breathe in here, like you can stretch out and loosen up and shake off the hour-long conference calls and endless meetings and ever-multiplying emails in your anxiety-inducing inbox and just relax. This is what happy hour is all about, right?

Roasted oysters are half-price during happy hour.

Image: Kate LeSueur

Oh, right. It's about the deals, too. Don't worry—Caracol has those in spades too. Relax. While the season is mostly over for raw Gulf oysters, that doesn't make much difference here, because the best way to enjoy oysters at Caracol is out of its wood-burning oven. Roasted Gulf oysters in a smoky, gently spiced chipotle butter are regularly $14 for a half-dozen or $26 for the whole dozen. During happy hour, however, these beautiful bivalves are half price (that's $7 for a half-dozen or $12 a dozen in case you're a liberal arts major like me who also went to a Baptist college that allowed students to sub religion courses for math courses).

The $7 deals don't end there; you'll also find a whole happy hour food menu where every dish is $7, from fried oyster tacos to pork taquitos and even a plate of housemade chicharrones with guacamole. On the drinks end of things, Mexican beers are $4 while most everything else—sangria, wine, mojitos and margaritas—runs $6.  Sadly, there's none of that sunny ceviche on the happy hour menu, but you can always order a plate from the dinner menu to enjoy in the bar—or make your way into the dining room for dinner after a few margaritas and a round of roasted oysters.

Whatever you do, try and knock off early today. Tell your boss you've gotta get home to make sure your pantry isn't flooded, or that you've got to clear the pine needles from the drains in your backyard, or that you left the cat outside. Go to Caracol instead, where happy hour starts at 3 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Eat some oysters, sip on a margarita, pretend tomorrow is Saturday and pretend the sun has come out again.

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