Bacon

Oh, Boca! It’s Kapow!

As a newbie to the blogging world I am always thrilled when I have folks like what I have posted, like my tweets and like me period. Yes, my narcissistic side is stroked indeed. So, I was headed to Boca Raton for a work trip and I was interested in learning if there were any great spots to pop into for a great Bloody Mary. Shocking, I Know! So I was stuck on an awful flight from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines. Can I just warn you…NEVER EVER go on this. Oh, I cannot believe what I experienced. I really thought chickens would run down the aisle at one point and we would have to get out and push. For which I am sure I would have to pay for as everything is charged for. I bet if we went down in a crash there would be a request to slide my credit card for the Oxygen Mask and the Flotation Device.

I was pleasantly surprised to have gotten multiple Tweets when I landed from folks I have never meet! @VaughanLazar @JenninBoca @KapowNoodleBar each reached out to me and recommended Kapow Noodle Bar in Mizner Park. This isn’t just a Noodle Bar for sure. It is Asian Fusion with a Southern flair. Now, I cannot tell you about the food as I had a client meeting at Rack’s (Which was epic…Hamachi Heaven) but I couldn’t pass up the new friend recommendations for the Kapow Bloody Mary.

It was a very humid day and about 80 something outside. Which was fine by me as I had just left Dallas which was 20 something at 5am. I welcomed the warmth. Kapow offered outdoor seating for which I took advantage of. A nice blanket of  warmth fell upon me as I sat down. Music was good and it was early enough in the afternoon that it wasn’t crazy busy but not dead either. As I imagine folks have lunch various times of the day here.

It was a hip Asian fusion decor kind of joint and all of the food looked great. It actually had an LA vibe to it. Something I would find in Santa Monica. There is a HUGE mural on the wall that captures my attention across the way as I bellied up to the bar that immediately catches my eye as the giant Geisha gal is staring at me.

Kapow Bloody Mary and Geisha Drinking It

Kapow Bloody Mary and Geisha Drinking It

I order up the Bloody Mary and was quickly asked if I was a vegetarian. Ahh, that means Bacon is on the way. Now, this place was voted best BYOBMB on Sunday’s and many folks have recognized it for this. So, I will miss out on this but try their house Bloody Mary. Which is not disappointing. First of all, it has Bacon. Second it is simple flavors. They use Zing Zang to build on. Which is becoming a favorite of mine. Siracha is used to build the spice (shocking I know at an Asian place), Parsley was added, Cucumber, a slice of Jalapeno and an Olive. This was a simple straightforward and great end to the day. The sun was shining, the music was good, it was outdoors and I made new cyber-friends. I cannot complain. (PS: Their Tequila Mockingbird looked really great, too.)  Friendly vibe, great service, good atmosphere. If I lived here I know that I would be a regular for sure. I love Asian Fusion, love a good Bloody Mary Bar and love the warmth of the Sun. Thumbs up all around.

The next stop was the beaches of Deerfield which is where this entry will stop. I cannot report back what I was witness to there. It is my own viewpoint and one I will keep to myself. Let’s just say that it is nothing like any beach I have EVER been to in the US.  Every cliche is found here. It was fabulous.

Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach

 

 

 

 

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Broadway Has More to Offer in Long Beach: The Attic

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http://www.theatticonbroadway.com/

 

The Southern vibe continues onto a different kind of South. Southern California is my playground and Long Beach/Seal Beach is my adopted hometown. I have been longing to try this way cool place on Broadway called The Attic. It’s a converted old Craftsman style house that emulates a Southern vibe from the look and feel to the menu of delicious Southern treats like Fried Green Tomatoes, Biscuits the size of a Mini Cooper, Shrimp Etoufee and gorgeous looking Gumbo that will trick you into thinking you are in the heart of New Orleans. And the menu provides you with a few twists like ginormous and juicy Bison Burgers.  You gotta check the food out as it is a truly awesome line up.

It was a typical SoCal Saturday that was sunny and warm which angers most of my friends any East of the Mississippi. I was treating my Mom to breakfast so we could have some Mother Daughter time and make an excuse to have a Day Drinking Saturday together. We opted to sit on the patio at The Attic and it truly felt like you are relaxing at someone’s house. Mix and match tables adorn the patio are strewn throughout and a large outdoor padded bench with small tables line the front side of the house with French style art tables and umbrellas. The inside of the house is cozy and warm with wood floors, chandeliers lit with Mason Jars and local art presented throughout. It feels like you are no longer in Long Beach.

The staff is supremely friendly and attentive and we are made to feel at home from start to finish. The aroma of the kitchen immediately impacts your hunger pangs. Now, we are here for the food but of course it a thrill seeking Bloody Mary adventure. We look around us and we can tell we are not the only fans of an Ultimate Bloody Mary as this place is well known for theirs. When seated, you are presented a Bloody Mary Menu. Yes, a menu. I like their style. You can choose one of their Ultimate Bloody Marys or you can choose your own path with menu and you can name it yourself. Let’s start off with their 5 signature Bloody Marys. The Attic satisfies any Bloody Mary enthusiast for sure.

The BBQ Bloody Mary: Homemade pepper Vodka, Chipotle, Tabasco, chefs BBQ sauce, rimmed of Montreal Seasoning and garnished with a Baby Back Rib and Bacon.

The Veggie: Basil infused Gin. (Not an option for me. Gin in a Bloody Mary? I am so not a fan. It is Vodka or go home). This is has V8, Lemon Pepper rim, Horseradish (another thumbs down for this drink), sea salt, pepper and topped with a pickled Green Bean, Asparagus and Okra. I’m digging the garnishes for this one.

The Basic: This one has their house mix. Which was a welcomed balance of spicy and savory. There weren’t any overwhelming flavors. You could tell there was some Southern influence with a creole seasoning of some sort. Worcestershire and hints of Lime and Tabasco. Your typical straight forward Mary.

The Baja: Here is a new twist and I am not sure that I would like to try this one. Jalapeno and Lime Tequila. I have heard of Bloody Marias before but have yet to try. I am a fan of Tequila and a Jalapeno and Lime infused one sounds great on its own or in a Margarita. Tabasco is substituted with Tapatio. Si, but of course! Tapatio is a SoCal must have sauce and a staple at any restaurant. This version is garnished with a Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Shrimp and served with a 4oz pour of Bavik Pilsner on the side. I’d be a fan of this one if the Tequila were Vodka.

The Meaty Man: Ahh, yes. Goldie Locks found the one that was just right for the day. Who doesn’t like a meaty man J This one was calling my name and is a winner all around. I had been trolling their Facebook page for months and this one is always pictured. Each time it looks ridiculous and yummy all at the same time. It’s the one where people respond with “I gotta get me one of those!” The Meaty Man is the brother to the BBQ Mary mentioned earlier. This round it is Bacon infused Vodka. It comes with a Celery Salt rim, their house mix that is jazzed up with a demi-sauce (that’s a new twist), Jalapeno Tabasco and garnished with a piece of Bacon and a Short Rib Slider. Yes, it is the Bloody Mary that requires a plate. When ordering this you do have to exert patience as it is truly made to order. This is challenging as there are Bloody Marys being delivered all around you.  When it arrives it is a spectacle and provokes an instant response of OMG giddy laughter. My Mother is not quite sure what to make of this meal, I mean drink. The slider is a good size. Not mini at all and is delicious. The slider is Pulled Pork smokey meat and sauce on a homemade bun is speared so it sits just above the drink. The freshly fried thick Bacon is hugging the side of the glass adding more flavor to the drink, Cornichons and topped with Slim Jim stuffed Olives. Yes, I did say Slim Jim stuffed Olive. Now, that’s a fun party.  The garnishes are devoured rather quickly post photo opp. I liked the hint of the demi-sauce and it is something I will try for my own mix.

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We had a side of Lunch with our Bloody Mary and the food was not of this world. It is some of the best food I have had and it rivals some of the great Southern food travels I have had in the past few months. No joke. I had the Ninny which was a Fried Green Tomato sandwich. Even writing this makes my mouth water. It was truly too much to eat and was divinely delicious. Not over fried, lightly breaded on thick Parmesan crusted toast and a secret sauce with candied Bacon bits. Yes, candied Bacon bits. Mom had the Biscuits and Gravy and Eggs. Both are considered sides but when the B&G dish was presented we disagreed with that assessment. I am not kidding. Three giant soft and dense hot biscuits are presented with an avalanche of beautiful, warm Sausage Gravy that has chunks (not bits) of Sausage. It was a meal in itself. And scrumdilliumptious. The food will leave you feeling well taken care of and planning your next visit back.

Now that the food is out of way, we are relaxed on the patio soaking in the sun. I am now intrigued by the BYOBM menu. It is lengthy and robust! Get ready folks.

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Choose your spirit: Vodka, Gin, Tequila or Whiskey. WTF? Whiskey? Holy shit*balls. That’s hardcore. I am off the brown booze after last weekend’s debauchery in Nashville but I vow I could never have these two worlds collide. Brown booze in a Mary. Hooey, you must be chasing the dragon from the night before to do that one.

Pick your rim: Sea Salt or Cajun. I choose Cajun. Spicy goodness to give a pep to your sip.

Mixes: They have their house mix, V8 or Clamato. Sheesh kabob! No Clamato, V8 is a cop out. Choose the house mix.

Hot sauce choices: Tabasco, Tapatio, Siracha, Wasabi, Chalula or Cimino’s (a local Pepper Sauce made in Long Beach.) Why choose one? Let’s go with everything but Wasabi and Siracha.

Spices: Choose your level of heat. Not too spicy. Spice me up. Burn my taste buds. I would have opted for the obligatory “burn my taste buds” but I do not know what level that really is being it is my first time here. Spice me up is fine for the first dance.

Here is where you can truly lose your wad and create a costly Bloody Mary. Here come the extras.

Each of the following is 50 cents extra:

Bitters
Soy Sauce
Olive Juice (I’d argue that this should be gratis)
Garlic Clove
Pickle Juice (Ok, I will pay for this and chose it. Never thought of adding Pickle juice. That’s going in the recipe now!)
Creole Mustard (Intriguing!)
Demi Glace (You bet!)
Horseradish (Not in my house)
Blue Cheese stuffed Olives (Be still my heart)
Slim Jim stuffed Olives (One round was enough)
Jalapeno stuffed Olives
Garlic Clove stuffed Olives

Too bad you cannot mix and match the Olives!

Garnishes Galore! The $1.00 Garnish List:

Bacon (Had my allotted amount of Bacon for the year already)
Salami (Umm, yeah!)
Pickled Green Bean (Really? A buck for a bean?)
Pickled Okra
Pickled Asparagus
Pepper Jack Cube

****Missing Cast Members: Pickled Cauliflower, pickled Carrots, Pickle and pickled Onions. I thought that was surprising but then again how many more choices can you add before it becomes too much for the customer to choose from and it puts a dent in someone’s retirement or college fund.

“Garnishing Your Wages” Add On’s for $2

Shrimp
Pickled Egg
Baby Back Rib (Justified!)
4oz Bavik Pilsner (Sidecar of Beer may be the best add on! This is three bones..not dos.)
Short Rib Slider

So, I am a little snarky on the above “add on” prices. This may be the ONLY, remotely negative thing I write about The Attic. I agree the pickled Egg, Baby Back Rib and Slider should be priced as they are. The $1 ones are on the edge of unreasonable. Salami I can see as slightly justified but the pickled veggies are out of bounds. However, it did not stop me from creating my own and adding these garnishes. You win Attic. You win. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create my own $12 Bloody Mary.

At the bottom of the menu you have the opportunity to name your creation. Pretty clever, I say! The menu would be a fun thing to create your own if you had friends over for a Brunch. Everyone can create their own order and as host you can make it for them and they can come up with crazy fun names for their branded Bloody Mary! I see Instagram memories! Facebook opportunities!

My creation came out and it was delicious. I skipped on the mega garnishes since it was post lunch. The pickled veggies were a must because pickled anything is amazing. The heat was not enough for me but I am a spic enthusiast. Next time, I will go for the “burn my taste buds” level.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. So what if I have a little disagreement of their garnish prices. It does not deter me from coming back every time I come home to SoCal.   It truly is THAT good, that inviting and that big of a MUST have experience.

The Attic, you had me at Hello. See you again soon!

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Mad Mary’s at Mad Donna’s-East Nashville

Welcome to East Nashville. Budget Travel Magazine as “Nashville’s version of New York’s East Village”. This is a historic, eclectic and kitschy neighborhood filled with old style southern homes called Antebellum style architecture. Sprinkled throughout the neighborhood are homes that have been converted into antique stores, galleries, bars, restaurants and various other businesses. It’s bright with color and has a great artsy feel to it. It has a personality all its own and you tend to forget that the neon lights of Broadway are only a 5 minute car ride away. It really is a hipster, hippie, artsy style ‘hood that I could easily see myself settling into.

Now, we had tied a few on the night before strolling from Honky Tonk to Honky Tonk the night before. Mouth to mouth resuscitation of a bottle of Whiskey kind of night if you get my drift. The cure all for us was a Southern brunch and some good Bloody Mary’s. Thanks to Yelp, the Food Network (Heat Seekers-they came for Habanero Mac & Cheese and ghost chili-pepper-infused Vodka of Doom. Yes, Vodka of Doom)  and the Nashville scene we were directed to Mad Donna’s. http://maddonnas.com/

This two story Antebellum provides the cozy comforts you seek when a little red eyed on a cold Sunday morning. (Ok, it was more like afternoon but I was still on Pacific Time.) This place had rave reviews and the crowd waiting here confirmed we were in good hands. We strolled up the tall staircase to the bar upstairs and found the BYOBMB. They offer the Bloody Mary’s cure all cousin the Mimosa in a variety of flavors from Pomegranate, Cranberry, Peach, Pineapple and Black Raspberry. All of which looked very delightful and refreshing.

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Now, onto the selections for your BYOBMB. There are were the usual suspects and then some that I have never heard of or tried before which tends to enable my OCD/ADD side and add far too many into one glass. Here is a small sample of the different hot sauces that were offered: Jalapeno Tabasco, Melina’s Scotch Bonnet Sauce, Melina’s Habanero Sauce, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, Texas Pete Garlic Hot Sauce, Siracha, Cholula, Nawlin’s Red Pepper Sauce, Nawlin’s Garlic Pepper Sauce and many more. The most unique one that was found was Frostbite Hot Sauce which is actually a clear liquid. Really strange. It’s called a white hot sauce that is water soluble. http://www.hotsauce.com/Frostbite-Hot-Sauce-p/1794.htm. There were half a dozen more but these were the ones I gravitated to. Very interesting! The fixing’s were pickle slices, cornichons, pickled peppers, celery and olives.

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The mix left something to be desired but since it is a BYOBM I didn’t expect it to be much of anything although the staff said their mix was really good on its own. I like the concoction I made and tried it with their Bacon Vodka. Admittedly, I was excited for the infused Bacon Vodka but its flavor was lost and nothing I could discern when I consumed my Blood Mary. For round two I did try the Basil infused Vodka. It was not an overwhelming flavor by any means but I could taste the hint of it. Certainly a complement to the flavors and if infused longer I would imagine it to be a great addition to a drink.

I did NOT try the Vodka of Doom! I did inquire about it and it lives up to its name as one gentleman tried to brave it and was brought to his knees whimpering for milk. I get the food challenges, spice challenges that are rampant these days but this was not to be messed with. It is GHOST CHILI INFUSED. Ghost chili=instant pain. I cannot even imagine. I like spice but do not need my senses blown out and my insides incinerated.

The service was a little lacking at the bar area. It could be due to the overwhelming flock of people congregating while waiting for a table. The BYOBMB certainly distracts you and keeps you occupied as you await and the food is well worth the wait! There is a limited Sunday menu but the choices are epic in portions. I indulged in the “Fancy Ham Sammich” which was AMAZING! It is Black Forest Ham slightly grilled with Swiss with Dijon mayo inside Parmesan encrusted fresh Tuscan bread (which was as thick as Texas toast) topped with a fried egg with a side of gooey, cheesy grits. You cut into the Sammich right through the middle of the runny egg and it’s deliciously messy, warm and amazing. The perfect answer to a night of out and day drinking on a chilly 18 degree afternoon.

My friend had The Big Don. And it lived up to the name….it was BIG! Grilled Provence Tuscan bread stuffed with eggs, bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato, and Dijon mayonnaise with a side of Rosemary potatoes. I will never have breakfast potatoes the same way again. It must have Rosemary.

The rustic interior of the place made you feel at home with local art adorned on the walls. The table service was a “180” from the bar service which made up for the whole experience. I would absolutely return to this place because of the food and the attractive old school setting of the establishment. I do know why people are mad for Mad Donna’s.

 

Seal Beach Bloody You Will Want to Hang With-The Hangout

They call it the Mayberry by the Sea. I call it my adopted home and a town I long to return to live.  It’s so small and quaint that it is hard not to fall in lover with. I get to come here once a month and visit my family. This sleepy beach town is nothing like the rest of the coastal cities from Santa Moncica to Newport. It’s a true community and completely laid back….except on St. Patrick’s Day…that  is another story!

Seal Beach is sandwiched between Long Beach and Sunset Beach.  The Hangout is a newer addition to the landscape that is Main Street. Businesses come and go and there are few staples that remain a part of the fabric that is Seal Beach. Irish Bars especially. Restaurants like O’Malley’s and Hennessey’s to the other side of the spectrum (Dive Bars) that are Clancy’s and Irisher are found within feet of each other. All equal in atmosphere and worthy of trying out. (And you will learn more about these staples of SB later on.)  Then you have our newest Gastro Pub/Brew Pub/BBQ delight, Beachwood BBQ. Want to die for BBQ in SoCal with a great selection beers? Get there early. Want a higher end dining experience that is complemented with a wood fire grilled Caesar Salad? Go to Walt’s Warf.

Seal Beach Pier

Seal Beach Pier

Want an ocean view restaurant that has a great variety of comfort food and a friendly staff that seems to know everyone in town AND serves a righteous Bloody Mary? Then come hangout at The Hangout. This place has it all. Comfortable atmosphere, family like service that has never wavered, great views and food that NEVER disappoints. Deviled eggs, pulled pork tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, Texas egg sandwich, smoked fish platter…ok. This post turned into a food blog. I digress. Try it out for yourself. No joke. You’ll be back again and again.

Now, on to the topic at hand. Tell us about the Bloody Mary already! Well,  there are a few. I can be found bellied up with the locals here on a Saturday morning after quiet run along the beach, after  watching the surfers and gazing upon the waves rolling in at the pier. Yes, after all that ..why not celebrate the start of the day! At The Hangout they have a few varieties of Bloody Mary’s to offer. It was the first place I was introduced to Bacon Salt. Now, I am spoiled and no other can compare. (Insert Sinead O’Connor music break…”Nothing Compares”) No, I am serious.  Ok, the choices.

Bacon Bloody at The Hangout

Bacon Bloody at The Hangout

Traditional: Nothing Fancy. Your typical standard Bloody. Perfect for your once in awhile Bloody Mary drinker. Come in on Sunday’s for their “Sunday Bloody Sunday” $4 drink special.
Jalapeno: This one I do have to say is good but be careful…I am a spice junkie but this is a “bam pow” kind of infused Vodka. Do not ask for a Spicy Mary when you order the Jalapeno as you may not enjoy this drink. Smoke may come out of your ears. Just saying. Jury is still out on this one as I think it overwhelms their mix. And their mix is good!!!!!!
Bacon: Yep, bacon. Why not? It’s all the rage. Bacon Salt rimmed glass with a freshly fried piece of bacon from the kitchen. Made with Bakon Vodka. (I was not a real fan of this Vodka when I bought it for my bar at home. However, they know how to balance it out as it can be one of those head shaking/deep gasp invoking reaction when you try this.
Surf N’ Turf: I have seen this a couple of ways. Lately, it is two hearty Tiger Prawns parked on the side of the glass with the traditional garnishes and a slice of bacon. Yes, bacon is back.

This is a place really is my favorite. You will love the atmosphere. You will love the staff. You will love the proximity to the beach. And above all….you will LOVE their Bloody Mary’s. And if you go on a weekend for breakfast with friends….please try their unique shot selections: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Pancakes and OJ and The Walk of Shame. Yes, they are shots. Eat, drink and be merry at this Seal Beach destination.

The Hangout Seal Beach

The Hangout Seal Beach

Space City: Out of this World Mary

The Energy Capital. The Space City. The Bayou City. Whichever name it is called it will soon be named a city that has a killer Bloody Mary. It can be found in a land where people carry buckets of beer so they do not have to go back to the bar and found wearing belt buckles bigger than a small dog and cowboy hats that are not an accessory but a part of your outfit like wearing shoes.

I have never been to Houston and it will be a long  time before I come back as this was a layover kind of situation. Land, meetings, lunch, meetings and out.  I found this in a fluke as I was driving by and saw this rustic exterior restaurant with a large outdoor bar/patio. So it was inviting. All I needed at this point was a nosh and place to sit and catch up on emails. Here we find Brick House Tavern. http://brickhousetavernandtap.com/

When I walk in I can tell you that I was jealous at 1st blush. It’s a large Sports Bar/Restaurant with an enormous amount of booth seating with individual TV’s, lounge chairs to sink into, large screens everywhere and the bar has an open feel where you can sit inside and outside.  This is something I would love on a Saturday or Sunday. A great sports venue. Which is lacking here in Silicon Valley. #jealous

I sit down and gaze upon the menu and what do these wee eyes see…..there was an Ultimate Bloody Mary on the menu. Giddy up! Kind of a secret menu item. This is a Guinness Bloody Mary Mix. The right balance of garlic, spice, a pull of Guinness, no horseradish and donned with some fun toppings. A deviled egg with bacon (Yes, please!!), celery, a piece of white cheddar, salami, olive and accompanied by a spiced pork rind rim. Yes, that is true and what a great add of flavor it brings! I filled up too much on this delight. The food here looks like an upgraded Pub Menu with a hint of culinary fanciness. I really liked the place and hope they continue their expansion as we need something more than Buffalo Wild Wings to go to.

Next time you are in Houston off the 249…….

Ultimate Southern Bloody Mary

Ultimate Southern Bloody Mary

I am somewhat bummed that I didn’t do more research for this area. As I think there are plenty of recipes to try all around town. Have you tried one in H-Town that you would recommend?

Viva Hash House A Go Go

Conventions and conferences. Mere reasons to write off a business trip and become consumed with a few hours of networking, smidge of learning and staying up all night acting like you have to do everything in Vegas before you leave. This is where you take clients out to the hot clubs and get table service, dine at beautiful restaurants and act like a glutton. All to entertain and give back to your customers and allow yourself to indulge.

The BLT HH Mary

The BLT HH Mary

I know there are many choices for  a great Bloody Mary in Vegas. I mean it should be a law of Vegas that you cannot serve a bad Bloody Mary. Like a Nevada Gaming Law. If you are going to keep me up all night and drink to excess I do require you to serve me a rejuvenating “hair of the dog” Bloody Mary.

I had popped into Gordon Ramsey’s new place at Caesar’s called Pub & Grille with a couple of co-workers and was delighted by their mix. Simple flavors but balanced with Worcestershire and fresh tomato juice and spices. Added bonus was the friendly service and comfortable atmosphere.  Go  check it out if you haven’t been there.

The real destination was to get over to Hash House A-Go-Go as I have seen it on several travel shows. They serve up a BLT Bloody Mary. Just as it sounds it is a slice of bacon, a slice of tomato, a piece of Romaine lettuce and  toast all served in the glass rimmed with bacon salt. A balanced mix accompanies this meal, I mean drink. Hints of jalapeno infused into the tomato juice. Not too much spice to knock your socks off. It was definitely balanced and well worth the search  inside The Quad. (It is NOT easy to find. It is hidden inside The Quad which is a really odd place. Really. Odd.)

The food here is pretty epic. Corned beef hash served in a monstrous skillet. Pancakes the size of a small child.  Chicken and waffles with a sprig of Rosemary. You have to go here to experience the food and be sure to check out the BLT Mary.

http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/

More from Vegas later on in the blog!

Seattle Soaring: Bitter Root

Going to Seattle after the NFC Championship Debacle.

12th Man. Sherman. A hangover still lingers from the 49ers losing.

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Not the best scenario to return to Seattle after an 18 month absence. I was really looking forward to this business trip 4 days before. Oh well, go Peyton!

This is a land in which I am so comfortable. I did quite a few projects here. Enjoyed the fact that Grunge started here. The echoes of Pearl Jam…”I seem to recognize your face” are here (my FAVORITE band)….I can hear “Pennyroyal Tea” playing and Mother Love Bone singing “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorn” in the background. Or remembering my happier times of my career up here: Space Needle rides, company events, Shorty’s, catching fish at the Pike Market, Dorito’s spilled everywhere with Stella’s in a hotel room, cab rides for beer because Seattle, too, has weird laws, going to the original Starbucks just because, taking ferries, exploring Capitol Hill, going to The Crocodile for the first time. Shelly and Jason at the Purple Wine Cafe of the big booth restaurants that make you feel like a midget…or falling in love every Summer when the nights are so long you forget what time it really is….I can go on and on about this place. Except, I have an issue with three seasons here but there is one season for which I am filled with nostalgia for:Summer. In the great words of Eddie Vedder….”Hearts and thoughts they fade away” and this always remind me of my two favorite friends…CDietz and JBernhardt.

I digress. Up to Emerald City I went and met a dreary cold day as I landed. Typical. I stopped off at Vivace for a non-alcoholic fuel option so I may warm up and have a splendid latte in Capitol Hill. Warm, velvety and delightful! Honestly, there is nothing to compare to when talking about Latte’s. Warm. Happy. Now, off to my meetings for the day.

I end up the day at what was coined as the Best Bloody Mary in Seattle in Ballard, WA. A part of the city in which I have never been before. It’s on the outskirts of the Needle heading away from Lake Union. This is an area of transition. Very industrial, harbor shipping etc. Then you get to this kind of secret, hipster area that meets an upcoming borough. I dig it at first blush.

I walk in to this place, that is at first blush,  I thought was a boutique on the outside as it is deceiving when you look at it. You walk in and there are simple tables like you have stepped into an upscale BBQ joint.  You can smell the BBQ smoker billowing throughout and gaze upon happy faces huddled inside. I keep walking straight back through this rectangular place and I find the bar area which seems like it is sloped downward by 45 degrees. Welcome to Bitter Root. http://www.bitterrootbbq.com/

I had found this establishment on “The Stranger” which is a local metro paper and it intrigued me. It was crowned as one of the best Bloody Mary’s in Seattle. I saddled up in a very stainless steel laden bar area. Good tunes playing. Especially pleased at the southern flare of music and happier when I hear Ray LaMontagne playing. A smile creeps across my face and I know I am in good hands.

I let the barkeep know I read about their infamous Bloody Mary and order one up. He smiled and asserted it was.

This place is a gastropub meets BBQ with a gourmet Bloody Mary. According to the review the Bloody Mary  is a “pureed house-smoked tomatoes mixed 50-50 with tomato juice, fresh lime juice, Worcestershire, grated horseradish, celery and kosher salt, black pepper, crushed-up dried thyme, Spanish paprika, and Tabasco. Add a six-hour-smoked-salt rim, then pickled okra, radish, cauliflower, jalapeño,” Add in a new treat that I have never had before. A candied piece of bacon that is cured or cooked in maple syrup. Oh-em-gee. WOW! It was more than a delight. It was epic. Simple components that compliment each other. The pickled garnishes are a great addition to this Mary. But……holy sh***balls…way over priced. WOW! That hurt the ol’ pocketbook. What are you thinking Grant and Hannah Carter? Is the markup on the bacon? $11 for a Bloody? WTF! This isn’t Vegas. It’s Ballard, my friends. Dial it down.  When that bill came it actually spoiled the experience. Maybe that is why it is called Bitter Root. It leaves a bitter taste. This really took away from what I wanted to walk away with in this search for a great Bloody Mary. Great Mary, bad price tag.