Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

We recently visited Harvest by the Patio in downtown San Diego for Saturday morning brunch and bloodies.

This was our first time at Harvest and we were overwhelmed with the dining options! We deliberated greatly before settling on the Olympia Bowl.

Harvest Patio (2)

We were highly satisfied with our decision, which also turned out to be food porn.

The beverages decision was simple. Once we saw the “Cedar Mary” on the menu, we jumped. Even at $20, we knew it was something special we had to try.

Harvest Patio (1)

After reconciling the $20 cost against providing our loyal readers with an amazing review, imagine our surprise when this is what showed up at our table:

Harvest Patio (3).JPG

Now, we will admit this drink was very good, but as we’re imbibing we’re wondering about the cedar planks and how this can possibly be worth $20.

Lo and behold… it wasn’t. They didn’t actually serve us the right drink! We didn’t find out until the bill came, when we were charged just $8, for what must be their standard, everyday Bloody.

Those disappointing stats:

Spice: Just the right amount of spice, salted rim.

Mix: Housemade

Chaser: None Offered

Fixin’s: Bacon, Cherry Tomato, Shishito Pepper

Price: $8

While the food here was delicious and the standard Bloody Mary was enjoyable, I will say that the service was severely lacking. The place was not busy considering it was a Saturday around 1pm, but we still found ourselves having to get up to ask our bartender to find our waitress, put our order in, bring us more water, the check, etc.

Had the service been better, we might’ve taken the time to inquire early on as to whether we had received the right drink, or brought it up at least when we received the bill; however, we ended up being pressed for time and decided that it was their loss on upselling us to their specialty beverage and having that reviewed.

Again, delicious food; bad day for service and a disappointment on the Bloody Mary end. Maybe next time we’re in San Diego, we’ll give them another shot to get it right!

On a recent trip to San Diego, California, we made our way to the beach on Coronado. Following a romp in the sun, we checked out Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge  on Good Friday for a bite to eat and, of course, a Bloody Mary.

First, a word about the poke tacos… San Diego, or Southern California in general, is kind of known for its fish tacos… Many places serve them and it’s really hard to find bad ones there. However, here at Leroy’s, they are poke tacos instead… made with Ahi Tuna, Napa slaw, spicy creme and served in a crispy wonton shell, these tacos still give you that beachy vibe with an Asian flare.

Delicious. 10/10, would recommend. Also, a perfect meal on Good Friday when Catholics should be abstaining from meat.

But then… the Bloody Mary. It’s not just a regular Bloody Mary served at Leroy’s, but a BACON Bloody Mary.

The stats:

Spice: Just the right amount of spice, salted rim.

Mix: Housemade with Bacon-Infused Tito’s Vodka

Chaser: None Offered

Fixin’s: Lemon, Lime, Cucumber, Celery, Candied Bacon

Price: $12.50

So, again, Poke Tacos…a good Good Friday choice… a Bacon Bloody Mary presented a great conundrum. After much internal deliberation, we decided that, even in the name of Bloody Mary research, we could not eat the candied bacon; however, we did make an exception for the beverage itself even though the vodka was “bacon-infused.”

The drink was pretty good, although admittedly, probably not worth the price, and you couldn’t beat the resort-town, beachy vibe. We also bet the bacon was delicious, but you’ll have to visit and let us know for yourself!


Recently we found ourselves in San Diego, home of many great bloodies that we’ve previously reviewed. On this particular trip, we revisited two of our favorites: Cafe 21 (where we weren’t able to imbibe, but enjoyed our breakfast) as well as the Bier Garden of Encinitas (where we tried a different one of their Bloody options, review updated).

Other than that, we really didn’t have much time to seek out anywhere new, but we did have some time to kill at the airport on our way home. That’s when we stopped at Banker’s Hill Restaurant and Bar in our terminal.

While the actual restaurant itself looks cool, the watered-down airport version was crowded and left much to be desired, particularly when it came to the average-at-best bloody mary:

Banker's Hill


Mix: Unsure


Fixin’s: Olive, celery

Price: $?

We barely sipped half of the drink and boarded our flight home with a somewhat spicy but non-memorable taste in our mouths.

Next time, we’ll stick with our known entities, purposely seek out some more great Bloody places, and/ or give the actual Banker’s Hill restaurant itself a do-over.


Between going “out for bloodies” and my travel schedule, it is usually hard for me to find time to make Bloody Marys at home, but Ballast Point Brewing is certainly trying to change that!

Ballast Point Bloody Mary Can


Known for its craft brew, Ballast Point Brewing out of San Diego, California, also has branched into mixers and spirits.

Its famous Ballast Point Bloody Mary Mix (available in Mild or Spicy)– a signature blend of ripe tomatoes, spicy peppers, exotic spices and amber ale–for example, has been a popular seller.

They’ve since taken their cocktail game one step further, canning the mix along with Fugu Vodka for the quintessential Bloody. Yes, you read that right…. A Bloody Mary in a can!

As the description on their site says, “Like the venomous namesake fish this Fugu Bloody Mary packs a sting. We’ve combined our signature Fugu Vodka with our award-winning Bloody Mary mix, featuring ripe tomatoes, exotic spices and a heavy dose of pepper, to make a spicy cocktail that is dangerously drinkable.”

We had never had the good fortune to try their mix on its own; however, the company was nice enough to send a four-pack of cans our way to for us to taste test.

We were intrigued. One can poured perfectly premixed into a pint glass, along with some ice cubes and we added our own garnishes:

Ballast Point Bloody Mary

While the mix had a nice consistency and the vodka-mix ratio was spot on, the one thing that struck us was how spicy this beverage was. We usually love a kick to our drinks, but this one (not even labeled a spicy variety) was a little tough to take. It left our lips stinging!


Still, it’s a taste that we could probably get used to (or maybe water down a bit) and the convenience factor definitely is intriguing to us! Bloodies on the go!

If you find Ballast Point mix, or the Bloodies in cans, we definitely recommend giving it a try!


As you probably recall, we’ve had fantastic luck with Bloody Marys in San Diego, so we  were excited to return yet again.

After yet another repeat visit to Café 21 (our fave!), we found ourselves at the Social Tap.


Social Tap Bloody Mary San Diego

Mix: Seasoned House Tomato Juice with Pancetta or Dill infused Belvedere Vodka

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Lime, baby corn and gherkin pickle

Price: $13


Pancetta, for the uninitiated, is by Wikipedia definition, “Italian bacon made of pork belly meat that is salt cured and spiced with black pepper and sometimes other spices.” We felt like we could probably find dill-infused vodka pretty easily back home, but we’ve never heard of pancetta-infused, so we thought we ought to try that one (of course we’ve had bacon-infused, but this is just a step above!).

We love housemade thick mixes and this one had a lot of flavor. We aren’t sure if that was coming from the pancetta vodka, the mix, or the combination, but we enjoyed it all just the same.

This was a great drink, but due to the overindexing of great Bloody Marys in San Diego, we wouldn’t send you here just to try this one. If you happen to find yourself at the Social Tap (and chances are you might if you’re there to take in a baseball game since it is located in the Gaslamp District, quite close to Petco Park), by all means order it, but there are plenty of other spots that are must-trys.

We did, however, switch to their Mule list. They’ve got four unique varieties of the Moscow Mule at the Social Tap. We tried their Maui Mule and it was fantastic–highly recommend! Of course, they also have an extensive list of beer and wine to choose from, too, making this a nice spot to stop with a group before or after a baseball game.

Last time we were in San Diego, we had amazing luck with Bloody Marys in San Diego, so we  were excited to return.

After a repeat visit to Café 21 (our fave!), we branched out and found ourselves on Coronado Island at the beach in front of the amazing Hotel del Coronado.

It was pretty warm out so we wandered inside to the Babcock & Story Bar to cool off….with one of their bloodies.

Hotel Del Coronado Bloody Mary Babcock

Mix: Housemade with Ketel One Vodka

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Lemon, Lime, Two Olives and Two Beans

Price: $15

The verdict? This Bloody Mary was pretty simple, but very tasty. We enjoyed the salted rim and the setting definitely did not stink.

If you’re ever in the San Diego area, it’s worth a drive or ferry ride to visit Coronado Island. The quaint beachy community has many fun shops and restaurants and an awesome vibe.


And last but certainly not least on the trip to San Diego…Cafe 21.

Oh my gosh… I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, another Bloody Mary MENU here. Decisions, decisions. Since I’ve had a green Bloody Mary before and the others looked kinda tame, I went for the Ol’ Yello’ Mary.


However, I didn’t realize how big the “Grilled Multi-Cheese Sandwich Skewer” would be when I ordered it.

After I ordered my drink, I asked the bartender what he would recommend for dinner. He talked me into the Turkey Burger and I put that order in. Then the drink arrived.

Needless to say, by the time my actual meal arrived, I was pretty full. The bartender came back to check on me, my burger virtually untouched.

“You don’t like your burger?” he questioned.

“Oh no, it’s delicious! I’m just really full…”

The bartender began apologizing effusively, saying he should have let me know how much was on the Bloody Mary, or steered me in a different direction after I ordered it. I told him it was not his fault at all. I was just content. A delicious Bloody Mary and a great dinner.

But he wouldn’t have any of it, insisting on taking money off of my check for it. I was floored. Again-is everyone nice in San Diego?

Cafe 21

Mix: Homemade with YELLOW Heirloom Tomato Mix and fresh horseradish

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Veggies galore (cucumber, radish, olive, pepper, carrot, etc.) and a “Grilled Multi-Cheese Sandwich Skewer” which was more like a full sandwich if you ask me!

Price: $15

My favorite Bloody Mary in San Diego! Thrillist ranked Small Bar, which I did not go to and Great Maple before this one, but for me, this was the best, followed by Bier Garden on Encinitas; however, it would seem that you cannot go wrong when ordering a Bloody in San Diego!

UPDATE: 9/30/15:

We found ourselves back in San Diego and made a beeline for Cafe 21 (seriously, our hotel room wasn’t ready yet so we headed straight there from the airport). This time, we  tried the California Greenin’ and it did not disappoint:

Cafe 21 Bloody Mary

We also squeezed in another visit to try the Prawn Star…This one was still good, but was our least favorite, most likely because it felt like we were being watched:

Cafe 21 Prawn Star Bloody Mary

All kidding aside, their house red mix was flavorful, but we preferred the yellow mix the best. We also saw another patron order a “regular” bloody mary while we were there and that one looked divine. If you’re going to try a red mix bloody at Cafe 21 and aren’t a huge fan of prawns, that one looks like a winner as well. Cheers!

Still in San Diego, the next stop was the Bier Garden of Encinitasanother place with a Bloody Mary Menu.

They make their own house flavor-infused vodkas (horseradish-infused, basil, rosemary & garlic-infused, bacon and cheddar-infused, etc.)  AND they are all served with a chaser, something that I’ve found is rare outside of the Midwest.

In talking with the friendly bartender (is everyone in San Diego friendly?), I was told that someone on staff is from Wisconsin and had developed some of these recipes. Ah, that explains it.


I am a fan of all things Mediterranean, so I chose the Seasonal on this trip, but surprise, it was made with RUM!

Bier Garden Encinitas Bloody Mary

Mix: Homemade with roasted red bell pepper-infused RUM.

Chaser: Yes!

Fixin’s: Shrimp, Goat Cheese, Pickled Asparagus, Tomato, Onion, Cucumber, Lemon, Lime, Olive, Celery, Pickle

Price: $12

This was the early front runner for my favorite, but there was one more stop… Cafe 21. Stay tuned!


8/10/16 Update:

Two years later, we returned to Biergarden of Encinitas around the same time of the year and found the seasonal Bloody Mary to be the same, so we decided to try another one for the sake of review. We asked the bartender what his favorite was and he recommended the Spicy.

Bier Garden of Encinitas

Holy cow! He wasn’t kidding… this was delicious but definitely lived up to its name. So spicy we could barely finish it! Of the two we tried,  the Seasonal Mediterranean was definitely the best. We’ll just have to keep visiting until we’ve tried them all!

In my last post, I mentioned that I was visiting San Diego and working off a previously established area Bloody Mary Bucketlist of sorts provided by Thrillist.

My next stop was Great Maple.

Let me first just say I was bummed that when I went there I was only planning on having a drink (i.e. I had already had a meal) because their menu looked great and the food looked even better.

Here, I discovered not just a great Bloody Mary, but a whole Bloody Mary MENU (something kind of common for San Diego I would come to find out).  I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed. So many Bloodies, so little time!



I asked the bartender for her recommendation and she said that the Pickle Bloody Mary was a favorite, so that’s the one I went for:

Great Maple


Mix: Titos Vodka with homemade mix

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: One gigantic pickle

Price: $10

This Bloody Mary was great, but I wish I had the change to try some of the others. Had I been hungry, Johnny’s Hangover Mary, which comes with, basically, a loaf of bread on top. 🙂

Recently, I found myself in San Diego. Before I travel anywhere–for business or pleasure–I make sure I research good Bloody Marys in the area.

Fortunately, I found this guide from Thrillist. I quickly mapped where these locations were in relation to the places I would be going and was happy to discover that four of the six were close by. Game on!

The first stop was Island Prime/C-Level Lounge.

I hadn’t been to San Diego in 10 years and I was really glad I came here right away. This restaurant has an amazing view of the city.

Their seafood tacos were amazing and their bartender was extremely friendly, even giving me a dessert on the house.




C-Level Island Prime Bloody Mary

But what I enjoyed the most about my visit was the seafood Bloody Mary. Made with Svedka and a house-made spicy mix, the giant glass is garnished with olives, onion, lime, peperoncinis, a giant shrimp, and a crab claw.

A drink that comes with a seafood fork? Yes, please!

Mix: Svedka & house-made spicy mix


Fixin’s: Olives, Celery, Lime, Pepperoncinis, Shrimp and Crab Claw

Price: $?