Archive for November, 2014

While in New York last week, we had the chance to try the Bloody Mary at Cafe Luxembourg, a classic French-American bistro on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Cafe Luxembourg

Mix: I’m guessing homet had a lot of spices in it (horseradish, pepper, etc.) but wasn’t overly spicy-tasting.

Chaser: None

Fixin’s: One lemon

Price: $12.50

The food here was very good (we stopped by mid-morning) and the Bloody was flavorful yet nothing special (especially for the price).

I would recommend dining here, but skip the Bloody and try something else.

Last January, when I was in New York, I visited the “o-fish-ial” Packers bar, Kettle of Fish, in Greenwich Village.

Even though I liked the bar itself and the folks there were plenty friendly, at the time I wrote: “I couldn’t help thinking that a Packers bar might have a Bloody Mary up to Wisconsin standards… no such luck. This Bloody Mary was flavorful, but severely lacking in “fixin’s”-no olives were harmed in the making of this beverage!”

I even had a chat with the owner, Patrick Daley, who was working at the bar the day we stopped in and encouraged him to bring Midwest-style Bloodies out to New York, but he said he had tried but it wasn’t successful.

In follow up to that visit, I stayed in touch with Patrick. We connected when he visited Milwaukee this past summer and I let him know when I was back in NYC in June (although I didn’t have the chance to go back to Kettle that time) and that I was coming in November.

When we arrived at the bar on a Monday, right before the Happy Hour rush, Patrick was not there, but they were ready for us. He knew we were coming and had set aside cheese and sausage specifically for us!


I couldn’t believe it! This just shows you the kind of people the owners of this bar are–completely above and beyond.

“Well, you complained there weren’t any fixin’s last time,” they said.

Which, is indeed true, but not uncommon of elsewhere in NYC.

Kettle’s original Bloody Mary by itself was quite flavorful and good. This was just icing on the cake, or, I should say “fixin’s on the Bloody.” (Note: Not everyone should expect to receive this version, we feel really special!)

Kettle of Fish

Thank you so much to Kettle of Fish for giving us a little piece of home while in New York. We have spread the word to everyone we know that they have to visit Kettle of Fish while in NYC.

Kettle of Fish


Also, in case you missed it, as fate would have it, right before our trip, the local paper published an article on Kettle of Fish. I encourage you to check it out and then check out the Kettle itself next time you’re in NYC!

Thanks again, Patrick & Co.! We love you guys!

Last week, we were down in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area sampling Bloody Marys.

Our final Bloody Mary in Florida was my favorite, but I have to say it is because I had a little more say in the matter.

Before we go into details, here are the original stats on this drink at Rumfish:

Mix: Unsure… it was sweet and tasted “vegetable-y” to my companion. I think it was Campbell’s if I had to take a guess.

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: One lime and two olives, originally, but we took care of that.

Price: $?

We were here for a brunch buffet ($25/person), so I picked up some Bloody Mary essentials at the buffet and used them to spruce up the drink. Crab, shrimp, asparagus, cheese, meat…. ah, I almost felt like I was back home for a minute there.

I really wish restaurants outside of the Midwest would catch on to this trend. Especially in places like Florida, where they have a heavy population of defectors from the cold weather states!

Aside from having to doctor up my own drink, the brunch here was quite good and filling. We also enjoyed seeing the indoor aquarium, where people also have the chance to swim with the fishes!

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Last week, we were down in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area sampling Bloody Marys.

We headed to the Postcard Inn for lunch and some football watching on Saturday.

I don’t know about you, but I really can’t watch football without a Bloody Mary in hand, so that’s what I ordered.

Postcard Inn (1)

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Three olives, 2 lime slices, 1 lemon slice…and  side of celery sticks.

Price: $?

I think my dining companions were sick of me lamenting that the Bloodies were subpar in Florida so far, so they gave the waiter a bit of a hard time. They told him I like Bloody Marys with a lot of fixin’s… so he added an extra olive and lime slice and brought me a side of celery.

Come on people, haven’t you seen the Bloodys with sliders on top? Cheese? Meat sticks? I mean, come on, this is Florida! Would it kill you to spare a shrimp?

I appreciate the thought in bringing out the celery, but really wish those snowbirds from the Midwest would teach Floridians a thing or two about how a real Bloody Mary is made.




Last week, we were down in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area sampling Bloody Marys.

We wanted some really great seafood (particularly oysters), so we headed to the Island Grille and Raw Bar in Tierra Verde.

Here, in addition to the oysters, shrimp and smoked fish, we also had a Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter and one of their Bloody Marys:

Island Grill and Raw Bar Shooter

Island Grill and Raw Bar

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Lime

Price: $?

Here, I wouldn’t waste your time or money on the Bloody Mary.

The oysters are fantastic, so make sure you order enough of those to go around. If you have that Bloody Mary craving, order a Bloody Mary Shooter or two, then move on to a Rum Runner.  Cheers!



While in Florida, we paid a visit to one of the top steak houses in the country, Bern’s Steak House in Tampa.

And, it was more than just steak, it was an entire experience.

The place is much bigger than I was expecting. It seemed like there were rooms upon rooms (each with unique decor, themes and names) filled with people having a great time. Yet, it wasn’t so overcrowded that the service wasn’t attentive.

The entrees here come with a lot of food: soup, salad, onion strings, vegetables and potatoes, so we didn’t need to order any appetizers or sides (however, we did order extra asparagus).

We enjoyed a pre-dinner drink and of course, I had to try their Bloody Mary:


Mix: Homemade

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Lemon

Price: $?

Normally at steak houses, I have found that they have excellent Bloody Marys. This one was average, or even a bit below. I wish I would have stuck with wine, but now I know. So, we ordered a bottle of wine with our meal, which was quite good.

Following dinner, we were taken on a tour through the restaurant’s kitchen and impressive wine cellar:

Bern's Steak Wine Cellar

They have a huge supply at the establishment and another warehouse full. They have a 1947 wine that is their most expensive, retailing for $30,000 for the bottle. (We stuck with a more moderately priced bottle this time.)

Then, it was up to the Dessert Room, yes you read that right, ROOM.

This was my favorite part. Located upstairs, each party is treated to their own private booth (but not in the restaurant sense, they are almost like a phone booth instead) where they can select the music they want to hear, their after dinner drink of choice and one of the amazing desserts.

I settled on a pumpkin spice coffee and this peanut butter cup treat:

Berns 2


I would not say that the food here is any better or worse than your typical high-end steak house, but I will say that they thing they have going for them most is the dining experience. Until we got to the tour and dessert room, I was not very impressed, but when I left, I felt like I had really enjoyed my laid-back, relaxed evening in an unforgettable setting.

I recommend you check this place out at least once, but don’t waste your time or money on the Bloody Mary. Save it for wine and/or dessert instead!


Last week, we were down in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area sampling Bloody Marys.

Our first stop, based on a lunch recommendation and not necessarily a beverage, was Z-Grille.

When we pulled up to the restaurant, I was a little skeptical. It is on the first floor of what appeared to be an office building; however, inside, the place was funky and eclectic, with a definite skater-culture vibe. Skateboards hang as decor and one of the main walls is essentially a skateboard ramp.

The menu is also a little eclectic, but excellent. I had the seafood salad and it was divine.

As for the Bloody Marys… when I inquired as to their Bloody, the waiter was kind enough to allow me to sample the mix. It was quite spicy and had a bit of a stronger texture than most–almost like a salsa.

Z Grille Bloody Mary

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Two olives, lime

Price: $?

I give them bonus points for the mason jar (love that!) and the salted rim. This drink was probably my favorite in the Tampa area.

Definitely check them out!



Earlier this year, we visited  Camp Bar in Shorewood in advance of their opening a second location in Wauwatosa. We enjoyed their Bloody Mary and eagerly anticipated the opening of the Tosa establishment.

It took us over two weeks to get in–each time we thought about heading to Camp Bar, we found it overflowing with folks eager to try out the newest place on North Avenue. While we were happy to see them doing brisk business, we didn’t want to squeeze in at the bar or bump elbows with our neighbors for our first experience there, so we stealthily waited until a Packers Bye Week and headed over to check it out.

There, we had our pick of tables, the chance to sample the Bloody Mary and the opportunity to speak to Brad, the manager for a bit.

Camp Bar Bloody Mary Wauwatosa

Yes, I can now confirm: East Tosa is getting another great Bloody Mary to join the ranks of Juniper 61, Red Dot and the like!

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes–a Rhinelander Shorty!

Fixin’s: Cheese, pickle, asparagus, olive, beefstick, pepperoni

Price: $8 (They also have a 22oz version for $10; they are $6.50 and $8 respectively on Sundays)

While chatting about Bloody Marys, Brad convinced me to try one of their Specialties as well. While their Bloodies are good, Brad admits their Old Fashioneds are really what they pride themselves on. Indeed, they have several special “Signature” versions on their menu.

I tried “The Stevie…” Ginger Brandy and Orange Bitters… out of this world! All old-fashioneds are $5 on Fridays, so you can guess what day I’ll be coming back next time!

Camp Bar


Yesterday was the annual “Milwaukee Largest Bloody Mary” event at Great Lakes Distillery.

This was the fifth year for this event, and the fifth year for me attending it as well. Each year, there are more and more people attending, which is a great sign.

This year, admission to the event was free and a donation of food to Hunger Task Force was encouraged (you received raffle tickets).

For $5,  you got to enjoy part of a 100 gallon Bloody Mary made with Rehorst  Vodka. You could add your own hot sauce, olives and lemon and/or lime. This year, they did not specify the mix (in the past, Jimmy Luv’s has been a partner) and Klement’s was not involved either, which was a change.

However, for $3 more, you got a trip to the garnish bar which included the following:

IMG_7660 IMG_7661


Of COURSE we went to the garnish bar! Here’s the finished product, which also included pickled grapes and a pickled egg (with beets!):IMG_7662

Needless to say, the Bloodies were flowing and they were awesome!

Attendees could also buy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches at the event and try gumbo and oysters.

In addition to the donations of food, all proceeds from the event benefit the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.

Yesterday, I played golf at University Ridge in Madison, Wisconsin.

Post-round, I enjoyed a Bloody Mary at their Clubhouse bar.

University Ridge

Mix:5 Peppers

Chaser: None offered

Fixin’s: Two olives, one pickle

Price: $5.69

This Bloody Mary was good and hit the spot, but it wasn’t anything special (although the 5 Peppers mix is quite spicy!). If you want a great Bloody in Madison, check out Bluephies.