Archive for September, 2014

Our latest stop on the Bloody Mary trail was at the Highland House in Mequon, Wisconsin.

We did not specifically seek out Highland House as a Bloody Mary destination and thus were pleasantly surprised by what we found:

Highland House

We found ourselves in Mequon and used Yelp to find a bar nearby. The Highland House, according to their website, “is a blend of California, Caribbean and Mexican influences in both design and menu.” I would 100% agree with this statement.

There are many tropical and blended drinks on the menu and, we were happy to discover, their “Famous Bloody Mary.”

This gigantic beverage is served in what I estimated to be at least a 20 oz glass, with a 7 0z bottle of Corona–so cute and in keeping with the theme.

Here is the breakdown:

Mix:Zing Zang

Chaser:Yes, a 7oz Corona

Fixin’s: Beef Stick, Celery, Lemon and Cheesewhips

Price: $9.50 –plus, save $2 on Saturdays and Sundays!

Happy to have stumbled on this place, I will definitely be back. If you’re in the mood for a Bloody when you stop in, definitely order this one, you won’t be disappointed. For us, this was definitely delicious, but now that we’ve checked it off the list, next time (and there will definitely be a next time) we might try one of the frozen drinks, such as a margarita instead.

 

This weekend, we stopped at Walters’ on North to sample their Bloody Mary.

We’ve been here before, but have never reviewed this drink.

When ordering, we were asked if we wanted it spicy, medium or mild. I chose medium…but I’d hate to see what spicy tastes like. I could barely finish a quarter of my drink–the horseradish and hot sauce were so potent.

Walters

Mix:Homemade-you could definitely taste the horseradish and hot sauce!

Chaser:Yes

Fixin’s: Summer Sausage, Cheese, Pickle and Olive

Price: $?

I must admit, I was not a fan of this drink.

And, although the people here are friendly and there is definitely that neighborhood pub vibe, I’m also not a fan of the interior of this bar. With carpeting on the floors and that lingering smoke smell from over from 2010 when the smoking ban went into effect, I feel more like I’m in someone’s basement than a pub where I’d like to spend a lot of time. Compared to the other bars on North Avenue, Walters is very dated and in need of renovation. I felt the same way about Shepherd’s before it became Red Dot and now that’s one of my favorite places to go.

Over the weekend, we stopped for Bloody Marys at McBob’s Pub & Grill.

We had heard they had a special Bloody Mary on their menu. They call it the “Bloody Dew,” although Bloodies made with Irish Whiskey are typically called a “Bloody Molly.”

However, when we first bellied up to the bar and placed our order for Bloody, they started preparing it with vodka; fortunately, we realized this right away and inquired. “Don’t you have a special Bloody Mary made with whiskey?” we asked.

“Yes,” he said.

Again, not sure why special bloodies aren’t offered when a regular Bloody Mary is ordered. Perhaps the bartenders assume we know what we’re doing, or have looked at the menu, or maybe they even expect us to know their “secret.” But I just don’t understand why they don’t take the time to clarify or promote their specialty.

McBobs

 

Anyway, this time, the crisis was averted and we got what we came for:

Mix:Homemade–with Tullamore Dew!

Chaser:Yes

Fixin’s: Beefstick, cheese, olive, spicy pickle

Price: $7.25

This Bloody Dew was quite good, the whiskey warming you up from the inside a way you don’t quite get with vodka.

I do recall having this drink at the East Town’s Heat it Up event last year. There, it was served with a mini reuben.

If you haven’t already guessed, McBob’s is an Irish pub. It’s kind of off the beaten track and has an eclectic but passionate clientele. I haven’t eaten here, but I’m told their reubens as well as their burritos are fantastic.  In fact, I think the mini reuben in the drink should be a staple.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

I recently stopped at Water Street Brewery, a brewpub with three area locations, brewing a variety of award-winning traditional and specialty beers from ambers and ales to stouts and seasonals.

While their beer is good, I had never had a Bloody Mary here, so I stopped in at the Lake Country location and ordered one up.

I was happy to get to select my own chaser because Water Street Brewery offer an ever-changing selection of delicious beers on tap and given that it’s mid-September, they had a delicious pumpkin pie beer on the menu. I know what you’re thinking: Bloody Marys and pumpkin beer don’t really go that well together, do they? No, not really, but if you drink each separately, you have the best of both worlds.

Anyway, read on for the stats.

photo 1

Mix:Homemade

Chaser:Yes–you can pick from any of their beers on tap; I chose pumpkin

Fixin’s: Two olives, lemon, lime and pickle

Price: $7.50

The flavor of this Bloody was very good–you could detect the horseradish, but it wasn’t too spicy. I liked the salted rim on the glass, a nice touch. This Bloody Mary was decent, but when the bartender came to ask me if I’d like another, I chose a full pumpkin pie ale instead.

But then my dining companion asked to see the complete beer list. He was given a menu to peruse and I happened to notice this:

photo 2

They have a special Oktoberfest Bloody Mary! For just $4.50 more, I could have had the “signature garnish,” a shrimp fritter, bleu cheese croquette, brewton, cheese curds, eggplant fry and bacon.

“Excuse me,” I asked the bartender, “You have a special Bloody?”

“Yes,” he admitted, perhaps sensing that something was amiss. “But that’s more like a meal,” he said quickly, trying to deter me, as if there were a problem with that, as if that wasn’t what I lived for.

I hung my head in disappointment. “If I would have known, I would have ordered that one.” I told him.

He didn’t apologize or offer to do anything for us. My dining companion decided not to order a second beverage and instead helped me finish my pumpkin beer and we quickly left following that exchange.

I guess I am partly to blame for ordering without looking at a menu first, but clearly this was special beverage created for this time of year, so I am not sure why this wasn’t suggested or offered when I initially ordered the Bloody Mary.

Lesson learned. In the future, I will ask more questions.

 

Absolut Vodka and Food Network’s CHOPPED are on the search for the country’s perfect Bloody Mary and the bartenders who create them.

Recipes have been submitted online, the public will have their say and finalists will be brought to NYC to shake, stir and pour the spiciest, most elaborate and delicious bloodies in the 50 states.

I was contacted by the Harley-Davidson Museum’s Motor Bar & Restaurant. Their Beefy Bloody is in the Top 5 (in #2 position as of this writing) and voting ends tomorrow. They invited me to come out, taste the Bloody, write my review and help spread the word.

So, today, I headed downtown to the restaurant where I have dined many times before (I love their Smoke House Chicken Salad), yet have somehow have never tried their Bloody Mary.

I have been missing out.

MotorMix: The key to this Bloody is their homemade mix. It is very flavorful; there is not a lot of hot spiciness–instead, there is almost a hint of sweetness, in a delicious way.

Chaser:Yes

Fixin’s: Beefstick, celery, pickle, olive, lemon and lime

Price: $8.99

Like I said, loved the mix and it would be great for a local place to move on in the competition, so I highly encourage you to click here and vote for Motor!

Now, I will warn you that the Bloody Mary featured on the site is not the one they have in the restaurant; this was a special recipe created for the competition. It sure looks delicious though, doesn’t it?

Beefy Bloody Mary

 

As fate would have it, Motor’s September Burger of the Month is a Bloody Mary Burger; this was not planned as part of the competition, just serendipity. Of course, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try this, too!

Motor 2

The burger is soaked in their same delicious homemade mix and it’s topped with pickles and celery and all sorts of Bloody Mary-related goodness–and fixin’s! Absolutely fantastic. This should be on the menu year-round, but right now it is not. Be sure to get there soon to try it, but first make sure to cast your vote for Motor’s Bloody Mary by Monday, September 15.

Yesterday was East Tosa’s annual Chili’n on the Avenue event, featuring both a Bloody Mary competition and a Chili competition.

Once again, this event fell on the same day as the East Side’s Tomato Romp event and once again, we chose to attend the Tosa event even though there were only four different Bloody Marys in that competition, compared to 14 at the Romp.

Although there are a few things that could be improved, we really prefer the intimate neighborhood feel of the Chili’n event and how true each spot stays to the actual Bloody Mary served at their establishment.

The four entries in this year’s Chili’n event were:

North Avenue Grill

Cranky Al’s

Bel Air Cantina

Red Dot

We started at North Avenue Grill; this bloody was very spicy. It came with a slice of bacon and ghost pepper cheese. It had a good overall flavor, but was a little too spicy for our taste.

North Avenue Grill

Next, we moved on to Cranky Al’s. We had watched a segment on FOX 6 about this event and there, Cranky’s Bloody Mary was topped with a unique fixin’: Donuts! When we got our sample Bloody on Saturday, however, we bummed to find a very standard Bloody Mary. It tasted fine, but was nothing special. When we asked about the donuts, we were told this was just for TV. That was a bummer, but the bartender did give us a free donut anyway for our troubles. That earned this bonus points.

The third stop was Bel Air Cantina. They serve up a Bloody Mary made with Tequila, so it is really a Bloody Maria. It comes with a chaser of Lagunitas and is topped with an assortment of pickled veggies from the Tosa Farmer’s Market. While we gave them props for the chaser (the only place who offered one) and sourcing their fixin’s locally, we just couldn’t overcome the harsh bite of the tequila to rate this Bloody very highly.

Bel Air Cantina

The final stop was at Red Dot, the winner of last year’s event.  This Bloody Mary is already one of the tops in our book, so we knew going in, this was a frontrunner. And they did not let us down. We had to rightfully cast our vote for Red Dot’s Basil-Garlic Bloody Mary.

Red Dot

And the public agreed. Red Dot was named the 2014 Bloody Mary Champion for the second year in a row!

Like we said, we have come to like this event far more than the Tomato Romp for many reasons, but we do have a few more suggestions for the future, such as getting more bars & restaurants to participate in the event, making sure to announce the winners on social media on the day of the event so those who had to leave early are able to find out the results, and clear marketing on times of the event (one flyer we spotted said Chili started at 11am and another said 1pm). We would have preferred an overlap of the Bloody Mary and Chili Competitions.  You could definitely start the Bloody Marys at 10am and Chili at 11:30am and end both early in the afternoon. Just something to think about for future years, but overall, we enjoyed the event once again and can’t wait to return in 2015!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Saturday morning, I stopped at Highlands Cafe in Wauwatosa for brunch. This place has been around for quite sometime, but I’ve personally recently discovered it.

Their sandwiches are great and, as I would discover, so is their breakfast menu and Bloody Mary!

Highlands Cafe

Mix:Homemade

Chaser:Yes–a shortie!

Fixin’s: Beefstick, cheese, olives, lemon, pickle

Price: $?

This is one large mason jar filled with goodness. I’m glad they have a simple, inexpensive breakfast option to accompany it–2 eggs and toast for just $2.99. This Bloody was quite filling on its own, but I would have felt a bit like a lush if I hadn’t at least put up the pretense of ordering food.

I highly recommend this place for breakfast, brunch or lunch. And of course, for their Bloodies.

They are also open for dinner, but I have yet to try them for that, but I’m sure I will soon!

 

Some may advise you to take professors, not classes; read authors, not books… how about bartenders, not bars?

We enjoyed our Bloody Mary at Presidio Social Club so much that we followed Bar Manager Scott Brody to his other gig at Louie’s in San Francisco.

Louie’s feels like your local neighborhood bar; it has a very fun vibe, showing old movies on the TV, music blasting, people socializing on a Friday night. Delicious food that’s a step above pub fare, too.

Louies

As for the Bloody Mary:

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s: Lemon, onion, olive

Price: $?

Looks like Scott can whip up a variety of great Bloody Marys no matter where he goes. This one was not as horseradish-y as the one at Presidio, but had its own unique flavor. I also like the fact that he strongly believes in chasers.

One thing I would like to see are more fixin’s, but I’m aware that those are more common in the Midwest. When I travel elsewhere, it is usually a happy surprise to find more than lemon, lime, olive and pickle.

Thanks again, Scott!

 

While in San Francisco, I happened to meet the bar manager of Presidio Social Club who invited me to try their Bloody Mary. I happily obliged.

The restaurant itself is located in the Presidio of San Francisco, as I am sure you could have guessed.

Driving up to it, you feel like you have left the city; it is in a very pretty, tranquil spot. The place reminded me of a modern old-fashioned supper club.

Presidio Social Club

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s: Lemon, olive, onion and mini pickle

Price: This one was on the house!

This Bloody Mary was very tasty and if you’re a fan of horseradish, you’ll be especially pleased. I was also happy to see that this one came with a chaser. Special thanks to Scott Brody for bringing us here and being our expert mixologist.

 

The next stop in SanFran was Park Tavern in North Beach. 

We must have got our tip from an old list because a variety of Bloody Marys was not offered here.

Park Tavern Bloody Mary

Mix:Homemade

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Pickle and 2 olives

Price: $?

I was highly disappointed with this Bloody Mary; however, in talking to the barkeep, it does sound like they have a special Bloody Mary served on Sundays which includes beef jerky. Bummer!