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!

Boot Scootin’ Good-Nashville

Smokey Brisket Bloody Mary When you think of Nashville you think of great honky tonks, music and of course BBQ. What if you infused all of that into one place that serves it up in Bloody Mary. Welcome to The Judge’s Vinegarroon.

I visited Nashville in October 2013 and easily fell in love with this city and all of its music culture and culinary delights. If only I were a food blogger.

For this trip we jump away from the neon lights and Rocky Top tunes. In search for a dynamic Bloody Mary. This one is not in the heart of Nashville but worth the trip up from the heart of the city. This BBQ shack has a great atmosphere that shows an eclectic edge, lots of decor to soak in, filled with mouth watering smells that only a smokehouse bbq joint can provide. Beware, you will walk out as if you were cooking the ‘que in the back.

I saddled up to the bar and asked for their Bloody Mary as I had read it was one to try while in Nashville. Again, it is taking all the elements that makes this place great. It’s a smokey flavored tomato juice, slightly spicy and of course homemade. What makes it really great is the simple garnish. Brisket. They are well known for their brisket so why not marry it with the Blood Mary. It had a hint of Chipotle, lime, BBQ sauce and a whole lot of smokiness and was absolutely delicious. It is simple in presentation but gives you a meal and a snack in one.

The next best thing about this place….I was introduced to Moonshine. Nuff said.

Next time, I would go in the Spring or Summer. I’d like to sit on the patio and listen to some of the local tunes they feature here.

I am excited to return to the Music City in a few weeks to expand the tour for the Best Broadway Bloody Mary. Stay tuned…