Build Your Own (BYOBMB)

An Upscale Garage: San Pedro Market-The Garage

Finally, there is a true BYOBMB in Silicon Valley. Welcome to the San Pedro Market.

Garage Bar San Pedro Square

Garage Bar San Pedro Square

San Jose has been lacking when it comes to destination places on the weekend. The San Pedro Market is a new addition to the downtown landscape. Are you looking for a foodie destination with a plethora of choices? This is where you will be satisfied. From Duck Carnitas Tacos, fashionable Beer choices (and I do not mean the designer ones), to sweets to satiate you to oysters and Asian delights. I am missing a few but this is my first time. I read that The Garage was a destination on a Sunday for their Bloody Mary Bar and live music. It has enough for you to explore here. I was really excited to stroll through and can only imagine how it would be on a warm Summer day.

The Garage is in the front corner of the plot of land and is a small bar in an open seating market. They tout some great brews and on a Sunday a BYOBMB filled with many garnishes and spicy sauces. They make their own mix which is infused with Cucumber bits which adds to a refreshing Tomato mix. The Bartender is friendly and guides you through the selections and solicits what kind of spice level you wish to enjoy. The garnishes are aplenty. The staples are a Celery stalk, a large Cucumber slice, Pearl Onion and a Grape Tomato. Now, onto your choices: Cornichon stuffed Olive, Bleu Cheese stuffed Olive, Thai Chili stuffed Olive, Garlic stuffed Olive, Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Chili spiced pickled Green Bean and pickled Asparagus. Pick your rim….Celery Salt or Salt Pepper Mix.

Plenty o' Garnishes

Plenty o’ Garnishes


Spice level? Pick you poison! Blair’s After Death, Dave’s Scorpion Pepper, Dave’s Ghost Pepper, Dave’s Insanity Sauce, something called Double E which I cannot find, there was a hot Pig sauce I cannot recall, Picka Pepper sauce, Slap Yo Mamma (my favorite!), Cholula, Worcestershire and a Hawaiian BBQ Sauce.

Spice Delight at the Garage

Spice Delight at The Garage

I opted for the traditional and asked for it to be kicked up a notch which brought me up the ladder to the Scorpion. Which at first, I reacted with “what is the big deal” and then the whiplash came around as I sipped on and I realized that small dose that was added was quite enough. Not too overwhelming but one of those that made you go “boom” as you drank on. Love me some spicy for sure. I really liked their addition of the diced Cucumber as it balances the drink/spice  and gives you an added flavor of freshness. I only wish it was one BYOBM I could control as I like to play with new flavors but this was a controlled environment. The price was also a drawback. $10? It was a well drink call. Still, I don’t see why there is such a markup. I get it. It is a lot of garnishes to pay for but still. I have seen prices much more reasonable all over the country but my backyard. Not all of us work for Apple or Google.

The Garage Bloody Mary

The Garage Bloody Mary

Overall, I would so recommend it even with the objection to price. You can get $4 Mimosas and have some fabulous food choices. And I love the fact there is live entertainment. I think this may be a new dawn in San Jose as, finally, there are some great food and drink choices downtown that have been absent for a long time. Maybe there is a change a coming.


A Bounty of Ingredients for a BYOBMB: Panama Joe’s Belmont Shore


Belmont Shores has a lot to offer and is a really neat neighborhood of Long Beach. There are lots of foodie options, bars to bounce back and forth to and fun little boutique shops. It’s an eclectic neighborhood that has a young, hip but not hipster feel to it. The main part of town is 2nd Street. Which is always jam packed. You will find great places to kick off you weekend at place like Acapulco Inn, Legends, Dogz and Panama Joe’s.


Panama Joe’s will get your weekend kicked off right and welcome you back the next morning to offer you the hair of the dog to level you out (or amp you up again). On Saturday’s and Sunday’s they open up early and serve up some hearty breakfast plates to soak up the booze that you filled up on the night before. They also offer bottomless Mimosa’s (it is timed, however) and a really rad BYOBMB. This is great way to spend a Sunday and watch Football for me. They have all of the NFL games shown and during commercial breaks (for the featured “sound on” game) they DJ music so you are not bored or annoyed. The place gets packed pretty fast and is filled with all types of fans from all over the country.

The BYOBMB is pretty extensive. These guys don’t mess around. It’s an overwhelming amount of ingredients and I am pretty sure I will miss a few or dozen in this post. To kickoff this experiment you order your choice of Vodka which is poured into a pony pitcher. It’s a healthy pour. Which Is great in limiting the amount of times you have to go back and recreate your concoction.

The bar is filled with various mixes, olives, sauces, pickled garnishes and a plethora of spices. The mixes are Sgt. Peters (not a big fan I have to say), Mr. & Mrs. T’s (always a good stand by to build on), Zing Zang (sassy and salty), Clamato (oh, heck no), plain ol’ tomato juice and their own mix. I always default to Mr. & Mrs. T’s to build on.

Then you have your sauces. Literally there is everything you can imagine. A1 Steak Sauce, Crystal, Tapatio, Chalula, 3 kinds of Tabasco, Frank’s Red Hot, Siracha, Melina’s Hot Sauce, Red Chili paste, Wasabi Mustard, Dijon Mustard and Horseradish. Then you can choose your garnishes. Celery, Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Garlic stuffed Olives, plain Olives, Red Chili stuffed Olive, Bleu Cheese stuffed Olive, pickled Okara, pickled mini Corn, pickled Asparagus, pickled Green Bean, chopped Green Onion, Pearl Onion, Lemon, Lime and crumbled Bleu Cheese. But wait…..there’s more! Now, you move to the spice selection. Costco size spice jars are lined up so you may choose your flavor(s). There is the obligatory Celery Salt, of course, but then it is the Iron Chef Kitchen of spices. Montreal Seasoning, Steak Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, Pepper, Fajita Seasoning, Red Pepper, Chipotle Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Salt, Onion Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Seasoned Salt and about 5 others I cannot recall. Not even joking. Oh and olive juice and Worschestire. I apologize if I have left any off the list.  That’s well over 50 choices for your pleasure. FIFTY!

This is a robust Bloody Mary bar for sure. Impressive. I make my way through and you would think I had never built my own Bloody Mary before. I think I tried to throw everything in the pony pitcher. There are two cast members that I was not so sure of though. The chopped Green Onion and the Bleu Cheese crumbles. They ended up in the pool and were good and odd at the same time.   The Green Onions are really for flavor and is a welcomed addition but end up clogging my straw most of the time. The Bleu Cheese is also for flavor and actually pairs well with the Mix.  I really think I did try to make a run for a 50 ingredient concoction. At one point, I did have to dial it down a bit. The result of the stroll all you can eat ingredient bar and the Mary was pretty tasty. I did overdo it with the spices but overall I would rate my BYOBM a four star rating out of five and the experience a five out of five. The staff is very friendly, the vibe of the PJs is that this place is a neighborhood meet up. Everyone knows each other and so do the Bartenders.

The regular food is darn tootin’ tasty. Their Fish Taco’s are AMAZING!

Head over to Panama Joe’s next time you are hung over in Long Beach or need a good place to watch NCAA or NFL Football or just want to start your day drinking right.

Broadway Has More to Offer in Long Beach: The Attic



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.


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.


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:

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

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!


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.

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.


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. 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.


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.


“In This Crazy Town” Nashville Revisited

Like Jason Aldean sings….

“It’s a crazy town, full of neon dreams
Everybody plays, everybody sings
Hollywood with a touch of twang
To be a star you gotta bang, bang, bang”

Read more: Jason Aldean – Crazy Town Lyrics | MetroLyrics

BYOBMB Past Perfect Bloody Mary

BYOBMB Past Perfect Bloody Mary

A whirlwind weekend in Nashville was one that was EPIC. I seriously cannot get enough of this town. 17 musical acts in 37 hours. (with only one repeat) at 11 different Honky Tonks with only 3 repeats. Hours of sleep? Let’s say its less than one of the previous numbers. And food you could die for. Jack’s BBQ…man…I won’t soon forget you!

Luckily, my travel buddy was 3 hours behind me so I could begin my Bloody Mary tour before she got to Nashville. (Not that she wouldn’t have joined in on the fun). After taking a Red Eye I surely needed a Bloody Mary to kick start the anticipated long day ahead! (*FYI….If you ever have an early layover in Atlanta-Hartsfield you need to be aware that there are laws against serving booze before 9am. That was not a type-o. 9am! So, I was in dire need of a Bloody as an airline Bloody does not count and I have been up for 21 hours).

It was a cold, snow flurry kind of morning. I checked into the Union Station hotel (which was also epic!) and headed to Past Perfect. This is an old joint that has a lot to look at. From Roman columns holding up what looks like the original bar to a large photo of Lincoln to a collection of infused vodkas. It is two stories and it is very deceiving when you walk up as it looks like it is closed but once inside it is infused with light and old wood, old time charm.  It’s located off the strip of Broadway in what is called the So-Bro district which has a lot of cool places to try. Including the Johnny Cash Museum. Be still my heart.

Now, I said infused Vodka. This place champions that effort. Check out all of their flavors!

Many Infused Choices

Many Infused Choices

I was met by Cooper the Barkeep. I bellied up to the bar with a few other folks who had red eyes like me but for different reasons. They didn’t fly all night from California. The bars close here at 3 am. They may still be up from the night before.

There is a modest BYOBMB (Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar) that is very unassuming. A small steel cart (I think Hot Dogs were in there once upon a time) contains a variety of ingredients from olives, pickles, hot peppers, pepperoncinis, celery, horseradish, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, Tapatio, Crystal Hot Sauce, Maggi Seasoning, Worcestershire, Siracha and their own homemade Bloody Mary mix to build on. You order your vodka and it comes in a Mason Jar…nice Southern touch. Then you have the big choice. Which flavored Vodka will you choose. My choices were Cucumber, Jalapeno and Habanero.  Cucumber interested me but more for a Gin drink. I went Jalapeno. I strolled up to the steel box that contains the fixin’s for a Bloody and marry up the flavors. (Except the God forsaken Horseradish). I have to say, the jalapeno gave a nice flavor and kick that was not overpowering and the addition of a new flavor, Maggi’s, is really nice. Maggi’s is a flavoring for soups normally and adds a nice beefy like or amino acids soy based flavor.  A new flavor to add to the recipe.



After I slug that one down, and feel right as rain again. I turn to Cooper and ask about the Habanero. He flashes a grin and lifts his eyebrows indicating it is hot. “Aint, gonna lie.” He said. Which of course intrigued me more. “Bartender, hit me.” Again, we repeat the process and this time there is a different reaction. Boldly, I look at Cooper and say, “Dude, it isn’t…Wha…whoa….oh, wait! It has a backspin..wowza!” He smiled and said, “I told you!” It is a sneak attack of hot but I like it and it mellows out as the drinking goes on. It is worth the try. It has that slightly smoky, hot slap sensation as you sip it but it does complement the Bloody Mary. However, it is NOT for the faint of heart. #trustme

I will say, this little eclectic place intrigued me with it’s reasonable Bloody Mary bar, good atmosphere and friendly service. This would be my neighborhood place to go to if I lived here. By the way, the food looked and smelled really good! Come on, it’s Nashville. It has to be good.

So-Bro Neighborhood

So-Bro Neighborhood

More from Nashville as we visited a few places to write about. Infused vodkas and Bloody Mary bars abound in the Neon City!