Archive for March, 2013

Today was my birthday and, to celebrate, I went out to dinner at Ristorante Bartolotta in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I’ve walked by this restaurant numerous times en route to the many other restaurants in the Village—including Cafe Hollander, the Chancery, Noodles & Company, La Reve, Yo Mama! and of course, Bartolotta’s own Pizzeria Piccola—but I’ve never gone in.

I’m not quite sure why, since all of the other Barolotta’s restaurants I’ve sampled are great—the aforementioned Pizzeria Piccola, Mr. B’s, Bacchus, Harbor House, Rumpus Room, and Joey Gerard’s (home one of my favorite bloodies!). Anyway, it was time to give Ristorante a try, especially since it is practically in my own backyard.

In scoping out the menu, etc., I came across this Facebook post:

Essentially, this sealed the deal. I could have an excellent Bartolotta’s birthday dinner and a great Bloody for the blog to boot!

I realized this post was from almost a year ago, but when I ordered my drink, I asked the server, “You guys have a good Bloody Mary here, right?” “We can make one,” she responded, hesitating ever-so-slightly. This should have maybe tipped me off, but I often get that kind of response when ordering Bloodies after 7pm, so I didn’t think too much of it… until this arrived at the table:

Spice:A subtle kick.

Mix:  Unknown

Chaser: None

Fixin’s:  Lemon, lime and two olives.

Price: Unknown

The rest of my party could see I was visibly disappointed. I pulled out my phone and showed them what I had been expecting. “Are you sure that’s not from a different Bartolotta’s?” they asked. I shook my head. “That’s a year old,” they pointed out. I agreed, but reasoned, “But why would they downgrade from this,” I pointed at my phone, “to THIS?” I pointed at my drink.

Our second server stopped by to check on us. “How are the drinks?” he asked. “Um…okay,” I said. I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, but I thought I’d just ask the question. “I was just wondering—do you have this Bloody Mary anymore?” I showed him my phone. He confessed that he was new and that he wasn’t familiar with it. I admitted it was an old photo and just said the drink wasn’t what I was expecting, especially since I am Bloody-obsessed. He said he would check with the bartender. I told him it wasn’t a big deal, but not too long after that, another drink appeared at my table.

“We’re sorry about the mix-up with your Bloody Mary,” the man said. “The photo you saw is our special one for Sunday Brunch.”

“Oh, that makes sense,” I said. I explained about the blog and how I had been excited when I saw the picture and eager to try the drink—had I not seen the photo, I probably wouldn’t have even ordered a Bloody at all, just wine with dinner. He agreed and said he wasn’t going to charge me for the drink and also hoped this new drink would make up for it.Unexpected and unnecessary, but certainly appreciated!

This drink is so new it doesn’t even have a name; it is something they are experimenting with—a main ingredient is tomato water and that’s also a cherry tomato you see floating in the drink. It has a lot of other ingredients—some of which I hadn’t heard of and some of which I can’t pronounce/spell, but the the things I remembered were the tomato water and gin.[Tomato water, in case you’re wondering, is the water extracted without the beef or seeds from the tomato.] It was definitely a lighter drink, and it was pretty good. It didn’t taste very tomato-ey at all to me and I’m not going to give up Bloodies now or anything, but I’d say they have a unique drink to play with and I’d try it again.

So, on the drink front, I went from disappointed to delighted and beyond that, everything from the food to the service was fantastic. I even got a free dessert for my birthday!

Thanks, Bartolotta’s for making my day as special as the company at my dinner table. Cheers!

To date, I’ve already reviewed the very famous Sobelman’s Bloody Mary and made note of their “Masterpiece Party Pack,” a Bloody Mary To-Go kit of sorts. So, by now you’re probably aware that this behemoth of a drink has received many accolades from a variety of news outlets and publications, including your very own

However, one thing I hadn’t tried yet was the second Sobelman’s location—Sobelman’s @ Marquette. I was down on campus for an event this evening and of course, I had to stop in just to see if there were any noticeable differences between the Bloodies at each establishment. You know, research for the blog… 😉

Well, I have good news for you—the Bloody is virtually the same at both locations!


Spice: Not very spicy, but still flavorful.

Mix:  Jimmy Luv’s

Chaser: Miller Lite

Fixin’s:   Lemon, cheese, olive, pickle, pearl onion, brussels sprout,  beef stick, cherry tomato, onion, mushroom, asparagus, a shrimp, fried green beans*,and a full-on mini slider with cheese**. (I actually even ended up putting condiments (ketchup and mustard on it!)

*The green beans were a new addition since I had last been to the original location.

**The original location had bacon on their slider the last time I was there.



Price: $9 ($7.50 if you decline the slider—-why would you do that?!)

The verdict?

After the bloodies in Australia, this was like coming home again.

If you’re looking to impress your out of town relatives and friends, take them here for a Bloody Brunch!


As an interesting side note, on our receipt we noticed Sobelman’s continuing a Food War with AJ Bomber’s, who also has a burger piece on their Bloody. The two establishments competed on Food Wars back in 2010 (Bomber’s won) and are tied for the top in best burgers in Milwaukee as well.

3/24/13 Update: Sobelman’s reached out to me via Twitter and here’s what they had to say about the receipt:

“It is not what we consider a “blatant” attack on Bombers. The show was “Food Wars” and yes, in FUN we see that “war” raging on. Some may fail to understand that it’s not an attempt to be rude or mean…we can’t please everyone; it is largely Bombers fans that take issue.”

Thanks for reaching out and clarifying, I appreciate. My feeling on the matter? Milwaukee is lucky to have two great burger/bloody establishments and lucky for Sobleman’s and Bomber’s, we have the appetite for both!

My last Bloody Mary in Australia came from Longrain, a swanky upscale restaurant in Melbourne.

They have odd hours (Lunch | Friday 12pm – 3pm Dinner | Monday – Thursday 6pm – late; Friday,  Saturday, Sunday 5.30pm – late), so it was lucky that we finally got here my last night in town.

Their Bloody Longrain is a spicy Thai take of the traditional Bloody Mary and I can tell you—boy was it spicy! This drink is NOT for everyone.

Here’s a video on how they make it:

Spice: Very! Of the three of us, I was the only one who really liked it; consequently, I had to finish two of these by myself!

Mix: See video!

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: “Pickle” (Not really a pickle as we know them, it was more like a cucumber) and lemon wedge.

Price: $17 each (high even by Melbourne standards!)

So there you have it, my Bloody Mary search gone international!


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I present the Green Tomato Bloody Mary! (Haven’t actually tried one, but sounds pretty great.)

Green Bloody Mary Recipe

Melbourne was my second stop after Sydney and I found more of the same in terms of availability and pricing when it comes to Bloody Marys.

But I gave it a shot and ordered one at the Melbourne Central Lion Hotel.

And I will let you in on a little secret: The Central Lion is not really a hotel!

Did you know that many bars are called hotels in Australia?

The reason dates back to late nineteenth century when liquor legislation forced pubs to also provide accommodation. The presence of a few rooms (rarely used) and the “hotel” name then gave some impression the rules were being followed. Many venues still carry this tradition today. (For more info, check out the Australian Hotels Association here.)

Anyway, on to the Bloody:

Spice: Not very.

Mix: Made with tomato juice worcestershire, and spices (I saw them hand mix behind the bar)

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Celery

Price: Wasn’t listed on the menu, so unknown, but likely not cheap!

The verdict? A cool little “hotel,” but when you’re in Australia, I highly recommend you try out some of the ciders they serve instead, or an ice-cold Carlton Draught!

On the advice of the bartenders from Bottleneck, I headed over to The Boston in Sydney to try their Bloody.


Spice:A little spicy.

Mix: Homemade, I think.

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Celery and two cherry tomatoes.

Price: $8 for a Virgin, add $7 more if you want vodka!

Although the bartenders at Bottleneck gave us good direction on dinner places, I was not impressed with their The Boston recommendation. This Bloody was nothing special and wasn’t worth the $8, much less the extra $7 for vodka. Don’t waste your time seeking out this drink in this hard-to-find bar (located in an office building).

So as I mentioned, I arrived in Australia fully prepared that Bloody Marys would not be as plentiful and that they would be drastically different than those at home,

However, fate intervened. While acquainting myself with the area, I was flipping through the local edition of Time Out magazine and came across a teaser for an upcoming article in the next issue on a place called the Bottleneck that served Bloody Marys and Meatballs. (The article is now up online here.)

Of course, I had to check it out. Located on Darlinghurst Road near the Darlinghurst/King’s Cross area of Sydney, we found the Bottleneck from the crew at Eau de Vie in the Kirketon Hotel.

Sure enough, true to their word, the chalkboard on the wall advertised their three featured Bloodies of the week. I tried both the House and Snapper while I was there and both were excellent—particularly the Snapper which is made using gin, sherry and cynar (I had to ask the bartender about this, an interesting spirit!).

Spice:Perfect amount in both.

Mix: Homemade—the secret for the Snapper is not just tomato juice, but also celery and carrot so as to make it a little sweeter.

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Lemon, celery, a carrot slice and a bean depending on the Bloody.

Price: $16 each (Nothing in Sydney is cheap as I came to learn—this was the price of an average mixed drink!)

This establishment is also known for its meatballs, which of course we also sampled. You get a small serving of four and there are a couple of varieties to choose from. We got the classic for $9 and they were simply amazing.

If you’re in this area, I highly recommend checking this place out—and make sure you engage with the friendly bartenders as well. They talked with us the whole time we were there and they ended up recommending several other spots to try out which were wonderful as well.


Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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On my first day in Sydney, I stopped in at a funky little place called Darlo Bar.

I asked if they had Bloodies and was pleased when the bartender said yes—and asked if I liked them spicy.

This was made with a homemade mix and Belvedere Vodka. It had a little kick to it, but it was a unique kick, not sure that it was Tobasco.

Fixin’s and chasers are literally foreign here, so none of that was to be expected; a stalk of celery and you’re good to go.

One other interesting tidbit is that the bartender inquired as to whether I would like “35ml of vodka or 50.” I am also quickly learning that drinks here do NOT come cheap.

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Continuing my travels, I was facing a long 15-hour flight from LAX to Sydney on Virgin Australia when the flight attendant asked what I would like to drink.

Of course, I asked for a Bloody Mary. She asked me if tomato juice and vodka would be okay. That being my best option, I said yes.

So, I had the barest of Bloodies somewhere out over the ocean—not even any salt or pepper added—-and I have to say it really wasn’t that bad!

However, the fact that they didn’t even have any mix on board didn’t bode well for me in the land down under… stay tuned for more adventures!

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Last night, I had dinner at a cute little upscale diner called Kitchen 24.

Of course I had to try their Bloody Mary, otherwise known as the “Charm City.” It was excellent, as was the food (I had the After School Special—tomato soup and a provolone grilled cheese.)

My only complaint? The table tents advertised a free cupcake for performing a variety of actions on social media (i.e. following on Twitter, checking in on Foursquare, etc.), which of course, I did… the only problem is that they were out of cupcakes! #fail

Spice:Perfect amount.

Mix: Homemade with an Old Bay salted rim!

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Lemon, lime, celery and an olive.

Price: $10 (not part of their amazing Happy Hour which lasts pretty much all night, but worth it.)

If you’re ever in the Hollywood area, take the Walk of Fame right down to Kitchen24 and you’ll be glad you did!