Bloody Mary

Smokin’ Good BBQ and Mary in D-Town!

We all know that Texas is known for its Barbecue. That is a given and this trip was a delightful culinary exploration for the Bloody Mary Tourist.  An industry event was held at the Dallas Convention Center and the Omni hotel this week which is what brought me back to Dallas. We had the pleasure of enjoying a delightful farm to table restaurant at the Omni called Texas Spice which served up some amazing Brisket, Corn Bread and oddly enough…the best Ahi Tartar Tacos I have ever had that had a Chili Oil and Cilantro Pesto drizzled on top. Drool worthy.

There was one destination on my list that I knew I had to get my taste buds to. Smoke. It is just a bit outside downtown but very worth of its drive.  I found it searching Yelp and it really intrigued me. They had me hooked at their Tim’s Homemade Mix which was spicy fire roasted Tomatoes and Chili’s mixed in a blend of spices with Olive juice and I can only speculate they added their smoky and spicy vinegar.

http://smokerestaurant.com/

 

It packed a punch for sure! It is a salt lick so just be prepared with a glass of water (or Beer) when you slug this down. And slug you will. WOW! The endorphins were sparked at first sip. It is not an overwhelming amount of spice but it will linger sip after sip and accelerates as you bite into the pickled spicy garnishes. A skewer is placed on your glass carrying a bread and butter Pickle slice, pickled Carrot and a roasted and pickled Jalapeno. The rimmed is rubbed with salts and chili spices.

 

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It really was one of the best I have had in a few weeks of travel and I would dare to say this modernized smokehouse is one I would love to be back to as it may be a top 10 Bloody Mary I have tried. I could only imagine what it was like paired with the Saturday and Sunday Brunch. You can agree that Brisket Hash sounds pretty damn delicious!

I myself partook in their All Natural Pulled Whole Hog Sandwich that is on a Brioche Bun and with a scoop of Blue Cheese Cole Slaw atop the meat. Pair it with their honey mustard spicy BBQ sauce and you will not be disappointed. I didn’t just stop there as I wanted to try all of their sauces that they make in house. Finger licking good!

 

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This is a must go to destination and one I will always run back to when in D-Town. Oh Mamma!

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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.

Ummmm…Yeah. Gotta Get to Chicago.

It is all making sense now as to why I am obsessed with Bloody Mary’s. I am originally from Chicago, a northern suburb brat to be exact. Bloody Mary’s were just a part of life in Illinois. And as far back as I can remember I was a fan of the Bloody Mary. Back in the day the Bloody Mary was a little simple as compared to the revolutionary recipes you see today and the expansion of garnishes. Bloodies and buddies have been a fabric of life and no other place in America gets it like the Windy City.

So, I woke up this morning to read a tweet from my new friends @BloodyBestChi who had posted the 10 most ridiculous Chicago Bloody Marys. And let me tell you, these ten knockouts make the rest of the country look weak. WEAK!  These maybe…no, they ARE the best I have seen. Not even kidding. Check em out!

http://www.thrillist.com/drink/chicago/chicago-s-10-most-ridiculous-bloody-marys-thrillist-chicago

So good that I want  to jump on a plane today and just Uber location to location. There are some that have a Chicago style hot dog as a garnish!  Want an Oyster as a garnish? How about smoked brisket and pulled pork? Chaser of Miller Hi Life? Slice of Pizza? They do not mess around in Chicago. Check it out for yourself. And be sure to check out more locations at http://www.bloodybest.com.

Check out the Sumo Mary at Sunda. “Good luck wrestling the city’s most ridiculous Bloody Mary. 32oz of Bloody mix and Absolut Chicago vodka (distilled Ditka sweat?) in a mason jar, boldly garnished with: Chinese broccoli, loompya stick, herb-roasted potatoes, Oshinko, tocino grilled cheese, baked snow crab hand roll, duck bao, braised pork belly, and three slices of bacon. Come for the vodka and tomato juice, stay for the Chinese buffet perched on top.”

Excuse me? ARE YOU KIDDING? I clearly need to get back home.

To Market, To Market, To Market We Go: The Market Bar SF

There are many choices in San Francisco and have yet to be explored. I had a meeting in the city and was down by the Ferry Building.  I was not in great proximity to Zeitgeist which is supposed to be the best in the city. I did find my way to the Market Bar.

http://marketbar.com/

The historic Ferry Building is a great place to stroll through and explore different foods. Market Bar is no exception. This is more upscale than this Dive Diva would normally partake in but it offered a relaxed atmosphere in which I could jam out on some work.

The spiced up Bloody Mary has some notes of great flavor at this American Brasserie. Smoked Sea Salt clings to the rim of the glass and adds extra flavor to the drink itself. There is a fair amount of Horseradish which is usually my Kryptonite but was not objectionable. They add their own spice concoction which is a Vinegar blend of peppery spices for which I am still dissecting. I think there is Worcestershire in it as well. The Spice Seeker in me was really intrigued. Secret recipe of course.

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Overall, the Bloody Mary was standard. I like some of the enhancements but really thought it would be a better presentation. Served in a shorty glass and garnished with a Lime. This is a destination location and thought it would be more remarkable I guess. They had some other interesting fusion cocktails that would entice me for Happy Hour but I would not make my way back for their Bloody Mary. Worth a try, not a second round.

Upcoming Cities. Need Your Recommendations for the Best Bloody Mary!

It’s a new month and the Tourist will be back on the road again (Humming Willie Nelson). I have a few spots picked out but need a little help from my friends! 

Las Vegas: I planned to try the Hard Rock for the Ultimate Bloody Mary at Mr. Lucky’s. I will be there for the kick off of March Madness so I see a lot of Bloody Mary’s in my future. What would you recommend as the best Bloody Mary in Las Vegas? (Please remember, I have already had Hash House A Go Go). It does not need to be on the Strip either but not too far off. 

Charleston: Husk was recommended for their multiple ingredient Bloody Mary sans garnishes. I also heard it maybe over priced. Where would I find the best Bloody Mary in Charleston. It’s my first time there so I am excited to take in the city! Downtown locations are preferred. 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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http://www.sharkeez.net/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.

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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.