Mountain View

Franken”stein” isn’t as Scary as this Bloody Mary $$$-Stein’s Beer Garden in Mountain View, CA

A new Beer Garden has debuted in Mountain View and attracts all sorts of tech industry people to the new popular hot spot. A modern looking revamp was made to what was likely an old and tired Asian restaurant. Asian restaurants previously occupied many o’ spaces in Mountain View until the tech boom returned. Now, Mountain View is getting well deserved and welcomed a face lift. Which I would speculate is due to the rise in commercial rents as we see many new, more attractive bars and restaurants popping up.

http://steinsbeergarden.com/

Now, I know what you are saying. You went to a Beer Garden for a Bloody Mary? Stay with me. I am an expert. Beer and Bloodies are family members. They complement each other. Sometimes a Beer is a side car to a Bloody or a Beer takes over when your Bloody has salted you up too much.

My buddy just moved up from So Cal last Spring and we were in search of new places to try out and it was a beautiful Spring sunshine day. So, why not pop in a Beer Garden on a Sunday. It just so happens that this Gastro Pub meets Micro Brews also features a signature Bloody Mary on Sunday’s. Well, well, well.

It’s a nice space with a very large screen TV, I mean ginormous. The rectangular bar is inviting and there are plenty of hi tops and long communal tables to sit at to enjoy your favorite cold beverage. Not to mention there is a large outdoor seating area long tables and benches with some covered areas to escape the Sun and an outdoor fireplace when the NorCal nights get brisk.  Now, if you are not a Beer nut, as many people are these days, you are still going to find good amount of drink choices here as they have a selection of specialty drinks. The Backyard Cooler is mighty fine on a hot day.

The Bloody Mary creation station is set up at the bar for the Bartender to utilize. The display is simple yet is visually appealing as they pickle all of their own fresh veggies: small Carrots with stem, Cauliflower, Onions, Okra, Green Beans and Olives. These were fresh and delicious for that Tomato juice to absorb. The Mary Mix is obviously made from scratch as I do not think you would go to this much trouble with the Veggies and buy a store bought mix. Layers of Pepper, Paprika, minced Garlic, Onion Powder, Garlic Salt and Celery Salt are detected. They do use Horseradish but sparingly. A squeeze of fresh Lime and Lemon, Salt on the rim and a Celery stalk round out this Ultimate Bloody Mary. No Bacon on this one. That is a nice reprieve as everyone is using Bacon to be en vogue.

It is definitely worth your while if you are in Silicon Valley but you better be pulling in the Tech Dollars as this price may make you holler when you swoller. Hang on to your eyeballs. Seventeen Washington’s a pop. No joke and yes, I almost choked on those Veggies. I wonder if I can write these costs off with this Blog as that one was simply obscene. Fine wines are worth that money and I have had my share of great ones in Sonoma and Napa. I just cannot abide by paying that kind of money for a Bloody Mary. I may have a passion for these but my pocket book does not agree with that. Come on, man!  I can stroll downtown to the diviest bar in town (Mervyn’s Lounge…find it. You will thank me) and get a Bloody Mary with a homemade spicy pickled Green Bean for $5 and enjoy some of the best people watching in Mountain View. Hell, I can get drunk off 4 of them for the price of this Gastro inflated cost and choose my own music on the juke box. And! If I smile enough, I usually get a Bar Chip from someone for a free drink and the Bartender usually over pours the Vodka. (Ok, over pouring Vodka does “ruin” a Bloody Mary but does enhance your Sunday Funday.)

Stein’s,  I like you but I am not going to return for your Bloody Mary. The Beer selections were great, your food looks awesome (have yet to try anything), the outdoor seating is inviting on a Sunny day but ain’t NO WAY I am gonna shell out that kind of dough for some Vodka, Tomato Juice and pickled Vegetables.  Some of your entrees cost that much. Come on, man! Glad I tried it once but I won’t be fooled again.

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Deceptive Name and Exterior: Francesca’s Mountain View, CA

My quest to find a better than average Bloody Mary in the Bay Area continued last weekend and brought me to a deceiving lil neighborhood bar. One that I had passed by for 10 years while working in Palo Alto. Francesca’s looks like and sounds like an Italian joint, right? Wrong. It is smack dab in between a couple of auto repair shops and is classified as a dive bar. Clearly, I am confused. It is also self proclaimed as the oldest bar in Mountain View. I had heard of folks referring to this place as a bar but never paid much attention until I found chatter online about their Bloody Mary. Then I knew that I had to find out what this place was all about.

It was the first day of Daylight Savings Time and you can imagine the aches to pain I had to suffer as I am sure some of you did as well. I ended up at this joint later in the day as I may have been over served the night before and this change in time was not assisting my debut of the day. When I arrived I did notice there was an awful lot of cars in the lot and loud music and voices. Certainly not typical of Silicon Valley bars and on a Sunday.

http://www.francescasbar.com/

As I walked into this dark place there was quite a crowd gathered that was rather loud and I would dare say  over served at an early point of the day. The Juke Box was loud and so was the band of older women. There are pool tables, dart boards etc are found in the back part which is lit with fluorescent lighting. It’s a small interior and, again, deceiving for sure.

I belly up to the only bar-stool left. Barkeep seemed like a friendly fella that everyone knew and vice versa. There weren’t any of the normal dot.com crowd in here. Local Mountain View natives. I ordered up the Bloody Mary and was asked if I were a Vegetarian. Oh, of course…oink oink is coming in the glass for sure. B-b-bacon. The Bloody Mary was delivered with a fresh piece of Bacon, two pieces of Pickled Green Beans, Olives, Celery and Pickled Asparagus. Who needs lunch, by golly! I could tell it was a house made mix and had a far amount of spice and went light on the Horseradish served in a Mason Jar. I would order another for sure. It wasn’t bland but not over done. The other cast members that came with were delightful as well.

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I started to soak in the scenery and smirked at the loud group of ladies who were obviously enjoying a Sunday out and about and the other folks were glued to Nascar. Quite eclectic. The atmosphere turned rowdier and it wasn’t even 3pm with the time change. As I was enjoying my Bloody I was taken aback by my snarky inner monologue as I was snapped back like a rubber band when the music that the loud group of “older” women consisted of Alanis Morissette (which they sang at the top of their lungs), Local H, Green Day and Filter. It was in that moment I realized that group of older women were likely the same age as I. Oh, the horror. Oh, the laugh I got when I realized that. I AM THAT AGE!

Then this Bloody Mary event turned into a drop a shot drinks. Flaming Dr. Pepper, Lunchbox and something I cannot recall and that could be the number of shots these patrons do. Oh, you thought I ordered these? No, I made new friends and was roped in as usual. Great people actually. I found out the place is being sold as the parents have passed and Mike is the son of Francesca. They intend to keep most of it the same but the oldest bar in Mountain View may have a change. I just asked that they do not change the Bloody Mary. Totally worth finding this place and finally trying it. It was not a bad Bloody Mary to have experienced nor it’s additional friends that followed! Should you find yourself wandering Mountain View on Old Middlefield and you find a few Auto Body Shops you better be sure to look for a lil place called Francesca’s and stop in and say hello to Mike et al.