Archive for October 14, 2013

Club Paragon

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
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One day after returning home from Las Vegas, I found myself at Club Paragon in West Allis, watching the Packers game.

While good Bloodies were few and far between on the Las Vegas strip, I walked right into a bar in Wisconsin and found myself staring down a build-your-own Bloody Bar.

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Spice: It’s what you make of it!

Mix: I used Sacramento Tomato Juice, although Zing Zang was another option.

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  Beans, asparagus, pickles, olives, mushrooms, pearl onions, brussels sprouts, celery, lemon, lime.

Price: $4.50

Yep. A ‘Stallis bar just bested Vegas. For half to one-third of what most of those Vegas bloodies cost, I got all of this. Still no meat and cheese, but I’ll take it!

It sure is good to travel, but sometimes it is even better to come home.

Cheers!

I was departing Vegas in less than 24 hours and my quest to find the best Bloody Mary was in jeopardy.

I consulted my carefully researched list of other establishments. After learning from my experience at Hash House, I did a little more digging and discovered that yes, many of these specialty bloodies were only available on the weekends.

This posed a problem as my flight was early Saturday afternoon; however, I soon realized that nothing was preventing me from having a Bloody for breakfast before boarding the plane.

After confirming that they did in fact have the Bloody Mary bar I had read so much about, I quickly made reservations at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel for 9am on Saturday morning.

From the moment I arrived, I knew that this Bloody was going to be the “Pièce de résistance” of the trip— we got a table outside on the patio, our waitress was nice, the food looked delish and the Bloody Mary cart was teeming with fresh ingredients and in full view.

Spice: You  play mixologist! The top of the bar is lined with every hot sauce under the sun. Also, add horseradish, Worcestershire, etc.

Mix: Choose from Clamato, Tomato Juice or a mix I had never heard of—Dr. Swami and Bone Daddy’s. I used this opportunity to try the new mix and must say it was very good!

Vodka; You call it! I chose Tito’s.

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  A wide variety to choose from, mostly consisting of fresh veggies such as: cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pickled carrots, and peppers, plus lemons, limes and olives. (Notably missing to midwest folks: meat and cheese!)

Price: $11

This bloody was absolutely amazing—my compliments to the bartender—that’d be me! I had a ton of fun building my bloody.

BEFORE

AFTER


I finally hit the jackpot in Vegas and just in time, too! I highly recommend Mon Ami to anyone looking for a Bloody Mary fix in Vegas. The only downfall is that the Bloody Mary cart is ONLY available on weekends.

Given the Vegas nightlife scene, one would really think that there would be a big market for Bloodies there; however, I found it really difficult to find a good one that was available on a daily basis.

I realize by now that  fixin’s overloads and beer chasers are primarily a Midwest thing, but I’ve got to believe that in the city of excess, a Sobelman’s or O’Davey’s-style Bloody Mary would go over well there.Not once did I spy a beefstick, shrimp, bacon or cheese cube on my journey.

I’d be tempted to open up a specialty Bloody Mary bar there if I had any restaurant experience. I can see people making a pilgrimage to it and really having some fun with it. If you have the capital and wherewithal to do this, let me know, I’d be happy to help consult!

Regardless, Vegas, you redeemed yourself at the last minute. Until next time!

While I was in search of the perfect Bloody Mary, my traveling companion (my mom) was in search of the perfect burger.

We ended up at Gordon Ramsay’s newest Las Vegas restaurant, the aptly named BurGR, late on a Friday evening.

We each tried a different burger and then split them (Hell’s Kitchen and Britannia for those of you scoring at home) and we also split an order of the sweet potato fries.

The burgers were amazing (we liked the Britannia the best) and the fries were to die for. Mom definitely got her wish granted at BurGR.

So, while there, I decided to give their Bloody a go.

Spice: It had a little kick to it.

Mix: Homemade mix.

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  One olive, one lime.

Price: $12

Our experience at BurGR was awesome, and In the end, this was probably my favorite bloody so far on this trip. but I was waiting to be wowed, like mom was when she finally found the burger of her dreams.

To Be Continued.

When you tell people you’re going to Las Vegas, they tell you that it is awesome because the casinos dole out free drinks while you’re gambling. Don’t buy drinks at the bar, they say, just hang out by the tables or slot machines and a waitress will come to you—just give her a nice tip.

On my first trip to Vegas, this didn’t happen once so I was a little skeptical. Thus, this time around, like finding a good Vegas Bloody Mary, getting a comp drink on the casino floor was on my list of things to do.

And, like my Bloody Mary search, I was beginning to give up on Vegas in this regard, but then my luck changed. Waitresses approached me at two different casinos and, of course, I had to order Bloodies.

Here’s the Bloody I got in Treasure Island:

And here’s the one from Planet Hollywood:

These were basically a little larger than shot size and each contained an olive and a lime. You can’t really complain as these were “free” drinks and I was just happy to cross another thing off my to-do list.

But my best Bloody search was still eluding me…

I had lunch at Gilley’s, a restaurant in Treasure Island in Las Vegas and decided to try yet another Bloody Mary.

Spice: It had a little kick to it and a chipotle flavor.

Mix: Homemade mix

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  One olive, one lime

Price: $9 

While good, this bloody was average at best! 

I was very close to giving up my Bloody Mary search in Vegas and switch over to the frozen drinks that abound on every corner…to be continued.

I arrived in Vegas with a list of things to do/sights to see and on that list was to have a Bloody Mary at Hash House A-Go-Go.

Yes, I had done my homework (or so I thought), researching the Best Bloody Marys in Las Vegas. Hash House and their BLT Bloody was on several lists, so I went there first. Located near Harrah’s, I found the establishment in a relatively new building called The Quad.

Thus, I was expecting something like this:

And instead, this is what arrived:

The bartender, to his credit, could tell I was disappointed when my drink arrived. I expressed that I was expecting something different. “Oh yes, our specialty Bloodies are only available on the weekends,” he said. This was a Wednesday and I wasn’t going to have the chance to come back on the weekend.

None of the reviews I read mentioned this. The bartender knew that I was solely there for the bloody and felt bad about the mix-up, so he didn”t end up charging me for the drink, which was nice.

Here are the “stats” for this plain-jane Bloody at Hash House:

Spice: It had a little kick to it.

Mix: Homemade mix.

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  Lemon, 2 olives, mini pickle

Price: Unsure—no charge for the mix-up.

So far, I was 0-2  in my search for the perfect Sin City Bloody.

…To be continued.

This past week, I was in Las Vegas and decided to sample some of what Sin City has to offer.

My first Bloody was at the House of Blues, which is located in Mandalay Bay.

Spice: It had a little kick to it.

Mix: Homemade mix.

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  One olive, one lime.

Price: $5 (Happy Hour Special)

I learned pretty quickly that for all the excess that Vegas is famous for, when it comes to Bloodies, the Glitter Gulch is pretty pedestrian.

This one was decent, but disappointing, so I continued on my search… to be continued.

Last week, I played golf at Morningstar in Waukesha, Wisconsin. While there, I had the chance to sample their Bloody Mary.

Spice: It had a little kick to it.

Mix: Unsure, but they used bacon-infused vodka

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  Pickle, Two Olives

Price: Unknown

Although the photo does not do it justice because it was made in a to-go cup, this Bloody was pretty decent, but nothing special.

Last Saturday, I attended the East Town Association’s Heat it Up Event, a Bloody Mary & Chili tasting at Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee. I had first attended this event last year and this year did not disappoint.

Location:

Heat It Up takes place in a fenced in area in Cathedral Square Park. Each establishment has a table under a tent and participants line up in front of each one to claim their samples. You don’t get to experience the actual atmosphere of the restaurant (and they don’t get the benefit of you potentially buying additional food/beverage), but it’s much easier on the participant. You maximize your tasting time and you’re surrounded solely by people who share your passion.

Price/Samples:

Heat It Up went up in price to $25 this year, but for that price, you UNLIMITED get samples of 19 different Bloodies and 13 chilis.

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Heat it Up offers the awesome combination of Bloody Marys AND chili.The samples are ample-sized and, even though only one place offered a beer chaser, excellent. In my opinion, they are a fair representation of each establishment’s actual Bloody….BECAUSE THEY ALLOW ACCOUTREMENTS (unlike the Tomato Romp).

Voting/Winners:

Each participant is allowed to vote for one chili and one bloody mary. Thus, the announced winners were as follows:

1st Place Chili – Nines at the River Club
2nd Place Chili – Burke’s Irish Castle
3rd Place Chili- Maxies Southern Comfort

1st Place Bloody Mary – Miller Time Pub*
2nd Place Bloody Mary – Camp Bar
3rd Place Bloody Mary -Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar

*Also got my vote!


I didn’t make it to each place, so I’ll give you a few highlights of the Bloodies that stood out in my mind:

1) The No.1 Bloody, from Miller Time pub (pictured top left row, above), was my favorite as well. A beefstick, shrimp and jalapeno popper among other items make this a meal in itself.

2) Burke’s Irish Castle (pictured middle right), was made with tomatillos and Irish Whiskey. Definitely different and not half bad!

3) McBob’s (bottom left) also used Irish Whiskey. This popular late night Reuben joint also includes a mini reuben in its Bloody.

4) Millioke (not pictured) used a “pizza flavored” Bloody Mary mix. They had a piece of cheese, pepperoni and an olive as fixin’s, plus a sprinkle or Parmesan. Different for sure— and very good.

5) Blue Jacket (not pictured) used gin and bitters. I’m not a fan of gin, so I definitely didn’t gravitate toward this one, though I gave it the old college try.

This event is an incredible deal and was sold out again this year. I highly encourage you to check it out next year—and to stop in to each of these establishments to do you own tastings in the meantime!