October is baseball heaven and football's early-season shakeout, the last month before Blazers fans get really depressed. And at your neighborhood Applebee's (ours is at 1439 NE Halsey St., 503-284-8040, applebees.com), it's $1 mothafuckin' margaritas all day, every day, all month.

Few press releases have ever spurred our editorial staff to swifter action: We rushed down within minutes of reading about it to drink two Dollaritas™ apiece, batch-mixed into tupperware and poured into weird little beer mugs filled with ice cubes.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

The cheap margaritas are here, we're told, to remind America that Applebee's is also a bar. But it is not a bar. The physical bartop and rail are a horseshoe island in a sea of heavy booths and heavy eaters. In its clunky corporate reliability and naive huckster branding—one sign cheerily announces $12.99 all-you-can-eat riblets on Thursdays—Applebee's is a retreat from both ecstasy and tragedy. Nothing good or bad is possible here.

The half-rack of ribs tastes nostalgically like those frozen Tony Roma's ribs my father used to bake in the oven. An onion-laden burger is so full of fat and sugar, the bun seems to dissolve. A mere $25 buys a steaming hill of calories, including burger, ribs, mashed potatoes, fries, green beans and onion rings.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

And as for those Dollaritas? They taste a little like lime Kool-Aid. Each little mug is a sweet and sour bomb lit with a fuse of budget tequila. Four dollars buys the sugar-spinning buzz of two grown men. The Dollarita is, perhaps, a miracle. The mood outside these walls may be apocalyptic, but Kansas-based Applebee's is the still-smiling face of fake America.