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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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!

Breakfast of Champions…Belushi-esque at Boon Fly

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When in the wine country you may think all things are grapes and vines and great food. Not so fast my friend. There is a lot more to offer in the Wine Country. Sure, we have amazing culinary experiences like French Laundry and we have fine wine like Opus One. Me, I like to find extraordinary places at prices that won’t make me feel like I was shook down by Jimmy in Good Fellas. Like Gotts or Juanita Juanita in Sonoma or Cafe Citti. Simple places with great flavors and great overall experience. And then find ourselves at Boon Fly.

We had an industry conference in Napa in January 2013 and one of my very best friends Carie had found this place and she knew it would be a hit for me. We headed over to Boon Fly Cafe. This is located at the Carneros Inn which is an especially stunning resort that is like no other as they were old trailer like cottages that had been renovated into something that looks like high end resort found in Travel and Leisure. That description really doesn’t give it justice. Check this link out. http://www.thecarnerosinn.com/accommodations/cottages

Boon Fly serves up some amazing culinary delights (try the Eggs Benedict and have your mind blown) but for our purposes we focus on their spicy Bloody Mary with bacon and a side of soft warm sugary donuts that are served fresh in a metal pail. You cannot eat just one or sip on just one Bloody Mary. I always feel that savory and sweet is always a way to go in life. The spicy mix of the Mary, the salty fried bacon garnish and the sugary donut delights are exceptional (which reminded me of my childhood when we would go to the Apple Haus in Long Grove, IL). Hey, it may not be the best way to start your diet for the day but you are in Napa. It’s the exception to the rule.

The mix is well balanced. There are hints of jalapeno found in this Bloody Mary mix which is always a welcomed surprise. For the faint of heart the spice may be overwhelming but not for this spice thrill seeker. Goldie Locks found this one to be just right.

When you need a break from the vine and want something savory and sweet at a rustic foodie place…head to Boon Fly. http://www.thecarnerosinn.com/dining/boonfly-cafe