Florida

Where the Hell Have You Been?

Well, with any new hobby…..work interferes. Oddly enough, I took this hobby on as I could tag team it with my work travels. Yet, the blog was overshadowed with the accelerated and extraordinary amount of travel and an exhausted relationship with my laptop. I just couldn’t look at it more than I needed to. To the point I wanted to take up a pen and paper and post a pic of my review. I almost resorted to writing a review on napkin while consuming said Bloody Mary and posting that. It would have been easier. Less classy and professional but it would have been somewhat effective. We could have called it retro.

While I have neglected the blog I certainly have not neglected my responsibility to sample our favorite spicy drink. I have been posting on Twitter (@bloodymarytour) and on my Instagram account (@Longing4Beach).
Having these sites allow me to go back and select the ones you have missed out on and retrace my steps as I volleyed all around the country. Sadly, we have had some pukerific attempts in making a Bloody Mary. Putrid. In this day and age I find it religious and a travesty to see places make no attempt or a feeble attempt at making this legendary drink. If I wanted a Tomato Juice and Vodka I would have asked for it. I asked for a damn Bloody Mary. Let’s do it right!

So. Where to start? Well, don’t we all love the Happiest Place on Earth? Of course you do and at the holiday season it can be pretty spectacular. It was a warm afternoon in Orlando, FL where I escaped the confines of a conference to rush over to Downtown Disney for lunch with some of my fellow conferences refugees (friends). I guided my weary friends through the merry streets of Downtown Disney and ended up at Fulton’s Crab House. A floating restaurant that looked like it traversed the mighty Mississippi and parked in this man made lagoon in the land of Disney. It’s a lil hokey but it is Disney. You don’t question it. You just accept it. Anywhere else you would make mock of it. I was accepting of my paddle-boat dining once I saw the menu which was filled with many delights and, above all, Stone Crab Claws. Be still my heart. I know, I am here to write about the star cocktail but I must profess my love of Stone Crab Claws and my love for using my travel stipend to indulge in such wonderful delights. This a priceless thing to proclaim.

My eyes are then drawn to their signature Bloody Mary. These folks even offer you their full recipe with some slight secret modifications I am sure. At first glance it’s a standard Bloody with a high price tag. Of course, it should as it is their signature and it made with Absolut Peppar upgrade (umm, why is this such a novelty…it’s Absolut Peppar. Let’s face it. That should be the well Vodka and I do not prefer an infused Vodka in my Bloody Mary) and it came with Old Bay Spiced Shrimp as garnish and served in a Mason Jar. Let’s face it. Presentation is everything and this was spot on. Not over the top that you are scared to pick it up. Not lacking in luster with a sad Lime wedge and an Olive. Now, here is the recipe. Take a look for yourself:

Located at Downtown Disney Orlando, FL

Located at Downtown Disney Orlando, FL

 

FULTON’S SCRATCH BLOODY MARY
http://www.fultonscrabhouse.com/

From their site:

Stop in and enjoy a our version of everyone’s favorite cocktail!!

Canned Pear Tomatoes 1 Can
Worcestershire Sauce 1 oz
Horseradish .5 oz
Peppar Vodka 1 3/4 oz

Blend all ingredients in a blender mixed until pureed.
Add to large glass with vodka shake until mixed together.
Garnish with two peel and eat shrimp, cherry tomatoe, lime wedge and green olive.

Four ingredients? Really? I do not believe that is all that she wrote. There were celery seeds (which are fast becoming my must have in a Bloody Mary). It had hints of lime juice and a good layer of Old Bay spices. Gladly, the Horseradish was not overwhelming   The only thing missing, in my humble opinion, was a salted rim. Now, pair this up with a full pound of Stone Crab Claws to share with your conference refugees and it makes for one easy way to enjoy a conference. P.S. Don’t miss out on the Lobster Bisque.

The experience here was certainly enhanced by our charming and very attentive waiter. Shame on me as I cannot recall his name. The atmosphere and service was above and beyond.  I am sure it would be a beautiful place for dinner in a romantic setting. The interior is charming for sure and has a lot to soak in. The almost all windowed restaurant allows you to gaze out on the water and be at peace with a salty tomato concoction in hand. Oh, and the Lobster Grilled Cheese….fugggeeeeddddaaaboutit. I’ll pass out now thinking of that dish.

So, remember….. If you are a refugee at an Industry Conference…come find me and I will get you to freedom and a great Bloody Mary.

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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

 

 

 

 

“Another Day in Paradise..Another Day at Caddy’s on the Beach”

The west coast of Florida has some of the best beaches I have ever been to. The Gulf Coast sand is the softest and whitest sand you will find in the United States. I grew up in Chicago and we would make a retreat to the beaches of Florida every Spring Break when the Winter Blues were at their peak.

This is my first time to St. Pete’s Beach as we normally would frequent Clearwater (only less than an hour away), Cedar Key, Cocoa Beach or our ultimate destination: Destin. St. Pete’s has a mix of all Florida beaches and made me feel like I was a teen again traveling with my family.

I stayed at the Don Caesar’s or “The Don” as locals call it. It’s a giant Pink hotel that is a designated historic hotel built in 1928. This place has old world charm. You can sense what it was like in its hey-day. It’s exquisite but not over the top pretentious. Really, it is gorgeous at first blush and I had the pleasure of upgrading to a oceanfront view. I felt like I was a celebrity or the Queen of the World. Giddy as a schoolgirl.

However, the record comes to a screeching halt…..It was not the most favorable weather as a winter storm blew in and laid a chill across the beach with a heavy cloud layer. Not the best way to start the trip but it won’t stop the tourist.

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A great walk on the beach was in order first to explore the beaches and what there is to offer. The hotel offers a lot of water sports and I have my eye on the open ocean kayaking for the next day when the weather is to be more favorable. My motto for Florida is, “If you do not like the weather just wait as it will change.”  I head north up the beach and get a little exercise in and ultimately get “my toes in the water, ass in the sand.” I head on up to place that was well spoken of called “Caddy’s on the Beach” which is in Sunset Beach, FL.

http://www.caddysotb.com/

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This oceanfront place is the closest to the water and has a great outdoor seating area and enclosed patio with heaters. The latter was the better option on this chilly beach day.

The place is an eclectic joint that is typical of a beachfront bar/restaurant. Feels like a neighborhood friendly place that welcomes the tourists with open arms. Totally shabby chic and beachy. Hi tops, patio tables, plastic cups…which seems to be in mass in Florida. But I digress.

So, I take a spot along the plastic covered wall overlooking the waves rolling in on the beach and order up their Caddy Mary. According to the menu it is a basic run of the mill Mary that is Absolut, tomato juice, fresh lemons and limes and celery. My server said she was going to make her special Bloody Mary for me. Served in a plastic glass of course. However, there was a surprising blend of flavors. It is not as simple as indicated on the menu. One of the first things i noticed was the opportunity for me to bob for Spanish Olives in this drink. Seriously, there were at least half a dozen and really was a nice complement to the drink as it was obviously olivey. Then, you get the next layer of flavors which is obviously attributed to the special Caddy Sauce (I will tell you…I would buy this sauce by the case. I ended up adding more to the drink as it was that good!) The Caddy Sauce is a blend of Tomatoes, Onions, Bell Peppers, Jalapeno, Garlic, Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Natural Spices. Holy Cow as Harry Caray would say.

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The combo of this added layer of flavors and the olives bouncing around made this a winner winner chicken dinner. Which is a perfect reaction for this place is run by a former Casino Hotel Manager named Tony. Who I had a brief encounter with while gazing at the ocean and slugging down my Bloody Mary. A cross between Italian mob dude from Jersey meets Vegas Casino dude to laid back kind of beach guy. He seemed as complex as the Bloody Mary and house sauce I was enjoying. He was kind enough to send over a great breakfast item to me gratis. A mini Upside-down Pineapple Cake. Umm, I think I melted. Salty and Sweet is a perfect combo and not something the Doctor would recommend but I was not in a position to argue with this. WOW! And I am not a big sweets person. It was warm, soft and melted in your mouth. Yes, life sucked at that moment. 🙂

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This location is well worth a venture to. One I would go back to in a heart beat. Especially when the weather is more favorable as I imagine this would be a full day drinking place. The menu looked inviting too as there was lot of BBQ and off course the staple fried Florida seafood treats. And to get more of that awesome sauce.

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