Archive of ‘Buffalo’ category

Sidelines – A diamond in the rough

As has been recent tradition, Mid-June brought a week of vacation. We didn’t have real plans, just a few nights out of town. We spent a night on Seneca Lake so we could go see the goats at Lively Run Dairy and have some wine, and we planned 2 nights in Columbus Ohio at the Dog House – Brew Dog’s beer hotel. The rest of the time we just hung around town, relaxed, saw some music etc.

Now it’s been 2 weeks since we visited Sidelines Sports Bar while off of work, and I had all the good intentions in the world to post in a timely manner. I downloaded and edited my photos, I basically knew what I wanted to say, but then I suddenly had no time to write anything up.

I was all set to go when I woke up to no internet in the house. Cycled the power on the modem and router, all the usual stuff, and had to call the cable company in the end. Of course, they say nothing is wrong on their end, it must be my modem. So I drive out to their store to get one of theirs, I am told it should work right when I plug it in, except of course, it doesn’t. Another phone call, still nothing they can do on the phone, they gotta send out a guy. So this turns into 2 days without home internet, and 2 more days of not posting this review. (It turns out SOMEHOW my cable got disconnected AT THE POLE.)

Then it was my birthday, and finally nice weather where all I wanted to do was sit on the back porch. And my normal work hours. And, I won’t lie, Wizards Unite, the Harry Potter augmented reality game finally came out lol. I just had no time to sit in front of the computer and type. And while it is nice out today, I knew I HAD to write this review, so I’m outside on the back porch on the laptop, typing this up even though all I can see is my own reflection in the screen.

Sidelines! Sidelines is a typical “old fashioned” neighborhood sports bar in Buffalo. We had only been there once before when we were out early in the 2018-2019 hockey season and we wanted to find a place to watch the Sabres game. It’s a good enough place. They had a menu with the usual bar food – wings, fingers, fries etc. There was no hint that they served brunch, or that they had a BUILD YOUR OWN BLOODY MARY!

o.m.g.

I only found this out on accident when browsing #bloodymary on Instagram (I was epically bored) and they had a post with the above photo. I thought, no chance was this in Buffalo, but it totally was!! This is the kind of thing I’ve been waiting for in Buffalo. The kind of drink promised by Templeton Landing but not delivered. The kind of drink offered by Fat Bob’s once, but not since (that I know of).

It’s not a Build Your Own bar like I had in Arizona, where you are literally mixing yourself a drink, but it’s a list of ingredients that a professional bartender will put together for you. I like that better, because they have skillz. Take a look at what Sidelines was offering.

So many choices!

For a base price of $8, you can pick from a variety of vodkas and tequilas, choose your base and spice level, pick some add in flavors, and choose from a standard list of garnishes. Then if you want to go crazy bananas you can add in a variety of larger garnishes for an additional charge and create yourself a whole brunch meal.

I went with a medium base, because I was adding in Tabasco, horseradish and jalapeno juice and I didn’t want it to be tooooo overwhelming. I am not picky about my vodka but J always orders Tito’s so I just chose that. From the complimentary garnish list I picked pepperoni, bacon, pickle and lemon and lime wedges. To round out my meal in a glass I added a hard boiled egg, chicken won-ton, pizza log and chicken finger.

My Sidelines masterpiece

Arriving in all it’s glory with a spiced rim, the bacon was nice and crispy, the won-ton delicious and everything else A+. The chicken finger was doused in Frank’s hot sauce, which I didn’t expect, but it was fine if not a bit unnecessary (I did order actual breakfast as well). The drink itself was in a larger glass, not your typical pint glass, and had a good flavor.

Color me impressed. This is not the kind of drink, or brunch as a whole, that you would expect from a neighborhood sports bar. This is a definite Best of Buffalo recommendation from me, as you can be as simple or crazy as you want. If you don’t get enough meal in your glass, or like me, you are with a Bloody hater, they offered a nice brunch menu as well. My drink ended up being $18, but you can stick with the basics for $8 and still get a fantastic cocktail. For $24.50 you can get EVERYTHING. And I would imagine if you wanted to double up on a certain garnish, they’d do that too.

I believe brunch is only on Sunday, but don’t quote me on that, just go see them!!

Up next, Columbus Ohio!

Hot Mama’s – the Return of Val!

When I started my Bloody Mary journey several years ago, there was stiff competition for my favourite local Bloody between Roxy at Essex Street Pub and Val at Rohall’s Corner. But then Roxy “retired” from bar tending to become a nurse, and Val opened her own bar, but didn’t craft cocktails anymore. And while Val’s bar, Hot Mama’s Canteen, still had a good Bloody type drink available, it just wasn’t the same.

But wait! We’ve gone to Hot Mama’s a few times recently to see our friends’ band The Healing Committee play and Val has been there! While she wasn’t really tending bar, she was around and I asked if she could make me a drink I could properly review for the website, and she obliged.

Val’s Bloody!!

Like I mentioned in my previous post about Hot Mama’s, when asking Val for a drink, be prepared to be faced with a variety of options on how she should make it – classic, fruity, meaty etc. And again, I didn’t know what to choose! I let her make the choice, basically going with a spicy classic.

Be careful – if you’re not into spice, make sure you make that clear. Because it. is. spicy! Garnished with their famous Fire Pickle wrapped in capicola the drink is spiced up with 2 kinds of Val’s Headstone Heat Hot Sauce (Mexican Aftershock and All American Sauce) and habanero sea salt (made in house from ingredients that go into the hot sauces).

Capicola wrapped Fire Pickle

Also garnished with an olive and lemon slice, this drink is spicy yet fruity (from a secret ingredient!), sweet and bright, with a fresh tomato taste brought out by citrus, and a tad of Guinness to bring it all together. Made fresh, to order, from a homemade mix, it’s definitely worth checking out. But bring a straw. Hot Mama’s has gone straw-less, and while for basic drinks straws aren’t necessary, for a Bloody it’s kinda needed. Or you can buy one of their reusable stainless steel straws for an extra…$1.50ish…which is then yours to keep and reuse.

Also, if you’re into hot sauces, stop in and pick up any of the varieties of Headstone Heat sauces. In fact, a good day to do that would be June 12th, when you can check out The Healing Committee, be in a video, eat some tasty food and get some great drinks! See you there!

4th Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest

Happy New Year!!!

What?

It’s March?

When did that happen?

Where have I been, you ask? On the couch mostly. I know it’s been months since I last posted but I haven’t really had any drinks to share. J and I did go to brunch at the reopened Providence Social, and I did have a bloody, but it just really wasn’t worth posting about. Then I participated in “Dry January” – that whole thing where you don’t drink alcohol for a month after the holidays. And the February just went POOF in a cloud of smoke. So here we are, March, and March brings the annual Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest, now in it’s 4th year (3rd at Riverworks).

The stars aligned this year and fest veteran Jeff not only got tickets in time this year (thanks to his fiance Kelly) but did not skip town like last year. So the 4 of us made our way to Riverworks fashionably late in order to avoid any massive lines.

This year’s 10 bars again had some repeats (Rusty Nickel, Black Button, Burning Buffalo, Acropolis) and some newbies (Panorama on 7, Soho, Casa Azul, Garage Cafe, Terrace at Delaware Park, Frankie Primos +39), and only one of the n00bs had I tried before (Panorama on 7). So let’s dig in!

Panorama on 7
Ingredients: Tomato juice, lemon & lime juice, pineapple juice, olive juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, Frank’s hot sauce, horseradish, celery salt, black pepper, garlic powder
Garnish: Mini chicken and waffle slider, chipotle honey drizzle

Bloody Clucking Mary from Panorama on 7

The only restaurant new to the fest that I’d had before was Panorama on 7, but there was no chicken and waffle slider that time! This was the first drink we tried when we got to Riverworks, and it held up as the best throughout the rest of our sampling. It was spicy and tangy, with a great garnish, yet stayed “classic” in flavor. (They ended up winning Best Of this year.)

Rusty Nickel Brewing Co.
Ingredients: House Bloody mix, Maiti flavoring, pineapple juice, sweet jerk salsa puree, blend of hot sauces, RNBC “Tropical Slice O’ That” Beer
Garnish: Celery stick, lime wedge, chilled pineapple cube, sweet gerkin pickle, pickled cheery pepper, pepperjack cheese cube, coconut shrimp, pineapple glazed ham cube, dark sweet cherry, Paula’s toasted coconut donut

Mahalo Nani from Rusty Nickel Brewing

I gotta give Rusty Nickel credit. They’ve been at every fest at Riverworks (honestly, I can’t remember if they were at the 1st one at Shea’s) and they’ve given a different Bloody every year. This year was a sort of Hawaiian take, with pineapple and ham, along with other tropical flavors. The drink was very spicy but also sweet, with their “go above and beyond” garnish like previous years. That said, did I like it? Not really. It may be good to some people, but it was just too sweet for me.

Rusty Nickel always has a creative sign too

Black Button Distilling
Ingredients: Tomato Juice, cucumber, horseradish, habanero puree, Worcestershire, garlic, onion, lemon juice
Garnish: Cucumber chunks, halved grape tomatoes and fresh dill, tossed in a vinaigrette

An in focus photo would not make this any better.

This was my 3rd try of Black Button’s Bloody mix, and I still don’t like it. Had it in their tasting room, had it at last year’s fest, had it at this fest, and it still tastes too cucumber-y/dill-y for me. In case I haven’t mentioned it before (I have.) I HATE cucumbers, so nothing about this drink was appealing to me.

Garage Cafe
Ingredients: Tomato juice, celery juice, GCL Seasonings, sriracha
Garnish: Mini cinnamon roll, sausage, carrot, cheese, olive

The Garage Tune Up Bloody Mary

The first newbie of the day, The Garage is a cafe that opened up in an old mechanic’s shop on Hertel Ave last year. They are famous for their huge cinnamon rolls on the weekends, but I had yet to have one as we’ve only ever gone for late breakfasts during the week. This was my chance to taste test a mini cinnamon roll, and boy was it good. Sadly though, the drink was not great. It was pretty watery and mild in flavor. It acted as a kind of inoffensive palate cleanser between the horrendous cucumber monstrosity that came before it and the “nope” that came after.

Acropolis
Ingredients: Tomato juice, red & yellow pepper, cucumber, carrot, clam juice, olive juice, horseradish, crab meat, garlic, lemon pepper, celery salt
Garnish: House pickled celery and carrot, lemon, pepperoni, dusted with KTB’s seasoning rub

KTB’s Bucking Bloody

Given the many ingredients in this drink, it tasted like water with a bit of horseradish. Contrasting with their previous year’s drink, it’s like they went to the other side of the coin, from too strong, to nothing. Nope. Next.

Burning Buffalo
Ingredients: V8 juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, Tabasco, black pepper, celery salt, smoke
Garnish: Smoked gouda, tomato, salami, pickled celery

Burning Buffalo Bloody Mary

Defending champ Burning Buffalo put up the same drink as last year with a slightly different garnish. Like last year, and like what you’ll get ordering one at their restaurant, it’s a quality Bloody Mary with strong horseradish and a good amount of spice. However, mine seemed a bit too salty, like someone was a little heavy handed with the celery salt.

Soho
Ingredients: Tomato juice, celery salt, Italian black pepper, Frank’s hot sauce, Worcestershire, horseradish, jalapeno juice
Garnish: Spanish stuffed queen olive, kosher dill pickle

Soho Bloody

Certainly the most boring looking of the day, Soho’s offering was a pretty basic, standard, Bloody. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that interesting either. There was a hint of horseradish, but overall pretty plain. Their simple garnish was drowning in the drink, and I’m not sure mine had the stated pickle on my skewer with the olive.

Casa Azul
Ingredients: Charred fresh tomato, jalapeno, sweet Vidalia onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, Worcestershire, Casa habanero/garlic hot sauce
Garnish: Tajin rim, poblano chip mustache

Charred Mary

Casa Azul has great tacos. Casa Azul has great margaritas. Casa Azul’s Bloody Mary would make a great salsa. Because that’s basically what it was: a cocktail that was blended more than a salsa, but not enough to be a drink. The poblano chip mustache was a cute, creative piece of flair, but was pretty stale by the time we got around to their table. I liked the flavor, but like I said, it’d be better left chunky in a bowl with some fresh tortilla chips. (However, in a comment conversation on my Instagram, another fest attendee said their sample was too watery. Perhaps we got the bottom of the barrel after all the ingredients had settled? Would that make it better or worse?)

Terrace at Delaware Park
Ingredients: Tomato juice, Clamato juice, peperoncini juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Crystal hot sauce, Old Bay spice
Garnish: Old Bay spice, poached shrimp, pickled green beans, pickled jalapeno

Shrimp Cocktail

The Terrace at Delaware Park is a great space in the summer, inside the Marcy Casino on Hoyt Lake. We’ve visited for a few tap takeovers, but haven’t been there since they became a fully functioning restaurant. Their drink was thin and watery, but not terrible. It had a horseradish flavor that combined with something else to make it really truly taste like a shrimp cocktail, where other horseradish based Bloodies do not. I think mine only had shrimp and lemon for garnish, as there was no hint of anything green floating around in there.

Frankie Primo’s +39
Ingredients:

Garnish:

Drink: When we got upstairs at Riverworks to try the 4 remaining bars, Frankie Primo’s was out of drinks and had a growing line (I had flashbacks to the first fest at Riverworks, felt a tightening in my chest lol). While a few places were quickly pouring a new stock of drinks, or putting together extra garnishes, they were the only ones who were completely out of anything for people to try. They were also moving like molasses in preparing new drinks. So was it good?

Who knows, cuz like annoyed impatient Dumbledore here, we were not about to wait to find out.

We finished up with J’s typical bottle of champagne and glass of orange juice, since once again he did not partake in any Bloodies.

Besides the drinks, there were no DIY crafts this year, but instead they replaced it with some live entertainment. We missed the Bloody chugging contest (gross?!?) but they also had a Make Your Best Bloody contest where people who signed up had 5 minutes to use a host of provided ingredients to make their best cocktail. The trick was, you could only use one ingredient at a time, so no hoarding all the hot sauces or garnishes. You couldn’t take something else til you put back your previous item. I might have signed up to try had I known about it. Maybe next year.

Rusty Nickel always has garnish game.

Get ready, get set….

We had a good time, but mostly it was from hanging out together, and not because the drinks were particularly good. This was the first year where I didn’t drink the majority of what was offered. Previous years, unless something was really heinous (looking at you, cucumbers) I’d finish each drink. But this year I found myself tossing drink after drink. Have I lost my taste for Bloody Marys? (Admittedly, I have not been in the mood for them recently.) Were the drinks on offer that bad this year? Was there a quality control issue, and we were getting watered down drinks because the bars were trying to stretch their mix? I don’t know. I do know, and I’ll say it yet again, that Step Out Buffalo needs to resurrect their cheap Non-Bloody drinker ticket, because $45 for J not to drink any of the Bloodies is just too much, and honestly I might take next year off.

Jeff, Kelly, J and me 2019

Update: Cask and Cow

When we first visited Cask and Cow in Lewiston NY, they were still only “soft opened” and their menu hadn’t quite been set yet. I still had an excellent bloody mary though. Now, almost exactly a year later, J wanted to check out the food menu so we took a trip to see them, and see their new bloody mary.

Updated Cask and Cow bloody

Now featuring a cheeseburger slider, and bacon with citrus slices and olives, it’s still a great drink. Check them out!

Quick Hit: The Tabernacle

I can’t believe it’s the end of June already! Where did half the year go? With the long winter, and late spring, it feels like it should only be the beginning of May. But alas, here we are, June. And June means vacation. And vacation this year meant Las Vegas. But before we get to Las Vegas, I have a quick review of The Tabernacle at Sweet_ness 7.

The Tabernacle is a new addition to the back of Sweet_ness 7 cafe on Grant St in Buffalo. They bought the building behind the cafe and transformed it into a modern day chapel. And in great story you can read in full here, their line cook, WHO NEVER PAINTED BEFORE, took over and is solely responsible for all the painting in the space.

The Tabernacle

This space is truly incredible. To think the artist had never painted before, and he filled this entire space with wonderful paintings, it’s amazing!! I sense a career change!

Seriously…he never painted before…?!?!?

We visited later in the evening, after dinner, so we did not partake in any of their food menu, but I had to try the bloody.

Look at this space!!!

Garnished with 2 cherry tomatoes, olive, lemon and lime (they were out of celery), this drink did not have any ice, which was unusual. The house made mix was peppery and a bit sweet, with heat from horseradish. It’s a decent offering, worth checking out.

Tabernacle Bloody Mary

Coles

It’s been a while, again, but I just haven’t been ordering any bloodies lately. We haven’t really gone anywhere new, where there’s a bloody I haven’t tried. But we made it to Cole’s on Elmwood the other night for Geeks Who Drink trivia, and I used one of the bonus question drinks I won on their bloody.

I have had one before, years ago before the blog, and real late night when it was far too busy and full of college kids. Yuck, college kids! I can’t say it was very good. But I hear raves about their bloody, especially during brunch, so I tried it again.

Cole’s Bloody Mary

J always hands out my card to bartenders, to let them know about this site, but then they get all nervous. The bartender gave me my drink, and was antsy to find out what I thought. My initial thought was that it was a bit sweet. He tasted it, and thought it wasn’t very spicy, and I agreed so he took it back to add in more.

Garnished with lemon, lime and olives, the final product was still a bit sweet but it had a good amount of spice. It was a good classic flavor, exactly what you’re looking for in a bloody.

Cole’s also has awesome jalapeno popper wonton things. Check em out!

3rd Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest

Hello faithful readers, it’s been a while, but I have not forgotten about you (thank you, both of you – if you get the reference you’re awesome!) I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been busy doing something super fun, but that would be a lie. It’s simply winter, where it’s dark and cold and you just want to sit on the couch and catch up on tv. And you want to detox from the holiday season, which is mainly the reason that I hadn’t had a single bloody mary in 2018…until now! The Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest was upon us once again, at Buffalo Riverworks for the 2nd year in a row.

I tried to be proactive and buy tickets for Jeff and his girlfriend, since he misses out on tickets every year, and then he turns around and goes off to Mexico! So this year J and I were joined by an old friend and her boyfriend, and since last year was a bit of a massive cluster of packed be-coated bodies, I wanted to go a little later to try to avoid it all. Thankfully Step Out Buffalo provided a coat check this year, and perhaps because they offered a special noon early entry ticket, when we got there a bit after 1, there was a good amount of room to move around, no long waits for drinks, and we even snagged a table to use as a home base. Score! Once again 10 different bars were gathered to provide us their best – er, well 7 different bars. 3 were participants the year before, and of the remaining 7, 4 of those I’d had before. So although the returning bars offered a different drink this time, there really were only 3 cocktails that were completely new to me, which adds to my sad feeling that this year was a little underwhelming.

Black Button Distilling
Ingredients: Tomato juice, ground up pickles, horseradish, garlic, habanero peppers, Worcestershire, lemon juice, salt, pinch of sugar
Garnish: Black olives, Colby Jack cheese, tortilla chip

Black Button Distillery

I have no notes on this drink, basically because I still don’t care for their mix, and thus I have nothing to say.

This Little Pig
Ingredients: House roasted tomato confit, tomato juice, fresh squeezed lemon juice, celery salt, fresh ground black pepper, A1, Worcestershire, garlic concentrate, pickled dill bean juice, fresh horseradish, house smoked meatball
Garnish: Dilly green bean, bell pepper, bacon glazed with brown sugar and Frank’s Hot Sauce

This Little Pig (has a terrible blurry photo grr)

Gorgeous and delicious garnish (I’m a sucker for green beans), with a mini meatball hidden at the bottom of the cup, this was an early favourite and ended up being my choice for best of the day. It had a strong horseradish flavor, and a good amount of spice. My only complaint is that it was a taaaad too thick, with a lot of debris. A bit more blending would make it pretty perfect. I am not familiar with this restaurant, but this drink makes me intrigued.

Delicious, delicious bacon wrapped green beans from This Little Pig

Thin Man Brewery
Ingredients: House beef stock, lemon juice, house pickle juice, Worcestershire, celery salt, black pepper, sambal, tomato juice, Thin Man Black Francis stout, horseradish
Garnish: Maple and rosemary glazed fried pork belly, spicy pickled green bean, carrot, onion (however the girl at the booth said it was sriracha glazed pork belly and I believe her.)

Thin Man

The 2nd repeat of the day, I had tried Thin Man’s bloody last year while there watching the Kentucky Derby. It was rather mellow and a tad sweet from the addition of their stout. It wasn’t very spicy, but a decent offering, and a different choice if you are tired of bloodies that are overly harsh with pickle juice flavors.

Merge
Ingredients: Fire roasted tomato, onion, pepper, jalapeno, ghost pepper, carrot, cilantro, raisin puree, salt
Garnish: Pomegranate paprika salt, smoked carrot, tofu jerky, almond “ricotta” stuffed olive, beet pickled cauliflower

Merge

Merge is/was high on my list of top bloodies ever, and definitely best of Buffalo. However this offering was not what I had in the past, and I don’t know what they offer at the restaurant anymore. This drink was ok, but I certainly hope they still offer their classic version. This one was very sweet, which I realized later came from raisins…which I hate. Given all the peppers listed in the ingredients, it was not very hot. Merge is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, so the jerky was tofu, and was delicious. If you weren’t told it wasn’t meat, you wouldn’t know.

At this point, walking back to the table with my Merge drink, I was distracted by this:

Whaaaaat?

This my friends, is a Bloody Mary Donut…..you read that right, a Bloody Mary Donut. I don’t know what’s really on it besides bacon, but Fry Baby served up this creative and delicious piece of food art along with their plain, maple bacon and…another kind of donut. Is it tomato frosting? Maybe! Probably! Is it celery drizzle, not totally sure, could be citrus. But I do know it was tasty.

Breakfast is served! Merge bloody mary with bloody mary donut and plain donut from Fry Baby

Acropolis
Ingredients: Salt, pepper, celery salt, Worcestershire, Frank’s, sriracha, lemon juice, pickle juice, Weber’s horseradish mustard, horseradish and tomato juice
Garnish: Feta stuffed queen olive, pepperoncini, lemon and bacon

Acropolis

This was a strong flavored drink, and a bit too much. The spiced rim plus the flavors in the drink made it a bit too salty with an overwhelming celery flavor. It did have a full slice of bacon, which is always appreciated! With less salt, it would probably be a solid classic cocktail.

Rusty Nickel
Ingredients: Tomato paste, Worcestershire, lime juice, spice, extractives (is that a word? it was on their sign) of celery, pickle juice, pepper, celery salt, 3 different hot sauces, chipotle mix
Garnish: Chipotle lime seasoned pickle, Ru’s pierogi, custom chipotle lime meat stick from Get Linked, celery, lime, cheese cube, black olives

Rusty Nickel

Another repeat from last year, but with a completely different offering, they won the well deserved Best Garnish award. Ru’s Pierogi are delicious, and I believe this one was their stuffed banana pepper pierogi. I lost my cheese cube, but with all that other amazingness, who cares? The drink itself smelled spicy, like cayenne or taco mix, maybe chipotle. It tasted good, however maybe it was just mine, but it was a little chunky and it needed to be chewed. All it needs was a good straining and it would be a great offering.

Garnish game on point!

Colter Bay
Ingredients: Tomato, Mexican hot sauce, taco seasonings, cayenne, smoked paprika, cumin
Garnish: Taco Bell hot sauce packet, dorito rim

Colter Bay

Welp….no. I try to be nice in my reviews, even when I don’t like something, but this was awful. They offered a beef on weck cocktail last year, which had issues but was decent. This year they went with a Doritos Loco theme, and it failed miserably. I couldn’t figure out the terrible chemical taste until I read the sign and saw “Taco Bell hot sauce”…that’s exactly it. My cup lacked a dorito rim, which while it wouldn’t have improved the drink, still would have tasted fine on it’s own. We didn’t realize at the time, but you were supposed to also take a 2nd cup of a turquoise/green liquid shooter to drink after. No idea what it was, but nothing could improve this drink.

Burning Buffalo
Ingredients: V8 juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, Tabasco, black pepper, celery salt, smoke
Garnish: Fresh mozzarella, tomato, salami, pickled banana pepper

Burning Buffalo

Burning Buffalo was another recent favorite from last year, and their drink at the fest didn’t disappoint. They ended up winning Favorite Bloody, and I can’t begrudge them that. It was similar to This Little Pig’s, as it had a strong horseradish flavor. A solid choice for sure.

Billy Club
Ingredients: Tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, Lea and Perrins, Frank’s, sriracha, jalapeno brine, onion, salt, garlic salt
Garnish: Lemon and olive

Well, that looks boring Billy Club.

There was a small olive hiding at the bottom of this tiny sample. Boring. Come on now, even if you don’t go all in with pierogi and meat sticks, you can put in a little more effort than throwing an olive in a glass. Their drink last year also lacked garnish, though they supposedly ran out last year. If that’s the case, you should learn from your mistakes! The drink was a simple classic offering, with a good tomato flavor, not bad at all.

Rowhouse
Ingredients: Wood grilled roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, V8 juice, cold pressed bell peppers, carrots, celery, beets, fresh garlic, onion, black pepper, smoked paprika, celery salt, Broadway Market horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco
Garnish: Cheddar bacon puff, celery with herbed cream cheese and micro greens

Rowhouse

The staff of the Rowhouse table dressed up in a 1920s theme, with pin stripe suits and flapper dresses. I wish I could have given this drink a better shot, but I found it very hard to drink with the microgreens in it. The little puff was good, a bit smoky, and the drink seemed like it was ok. I just was tired of chewing chunky drinks. Rowhouse is a neat space on Delaware, surely we will get there for brunch sometime, and I’ll try the bloody again for a proper review.

Besides the 10 bars, Studio Hue was set up once again offering DIY coasters for $5, and several other vendors were around offering different hot sauces, bloody mary mixes, shrub, and gorgeous cookies:

Unfortunately, I don’t know who was selling these beautiful cookies.

If you got bored, there was an escape room mobile truck outside, and if you were really adventurous and willing to freeze your face off, you could try out Riverworks’ new grain elevator zip line. Personally, I’ll wait until summer for that!

Like I mentioned earlier, this year felt a bit underwhelming. I believe the price went up again, with no option for a cheaper “designated driver” ticket, and while the returning bars did offer different bloodies this year, there was nothing that seemed really new. The sample sizes seemed rather small, some just a few sips. The coat check and space was a vast improvement though, so A+ for that. We still had a good time, but something felt missing this year.

Maybe it’s because my friends wouldn’t get in the photo with us. 🙁

Me and J, Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest 2018

A 2 Brunch Weekend – Patina 250 and Blu Wolf Bistro

The need to use up the last of the year’s vacation days, and J having weekends off for 6 weeks led to taking a Saturday night off to spend together. That meant 2 days of brunches!

We decided to go to Rochester for the night, but before we left Buffalo, we had brunch number 1 at Patina 250 inside the Westin Hotel. They didn’t list a bloody mary on their brunch menu, and who does that?! With a full bar though, of course, they could make one.

Patina 250 bloody mary

Even though it looks like a pint glass, it wasn’t, and for $11 I felt cheated. It was fairly small and as you can see, not mixed very well. I forgot to ask for it spicy, but arrived with a good amount of heat. The main flavor of the drink was pepper, and a lot of it, with a decent amount of celery salt. It was fairly thick, but after getting it properly mixed up, it was pretty decent.

Simple lemon and olive garnish at Patina 250

We had a fun night out in Rochester, seeing some music and checking out a neat bar called The Spirit Room. The next morning we checked out of the hotel and made our way to Blu Wolf Bistro. I left J in charge of finding us a brunch spot and this was his pick. If it sounds familiar, it’s because they were one of the participants in the Rochester Bloody Mary fest. Their offering was the green bloody mary with the crawfish in it! I was a little scared that their normal brunch bloody would be similar but I didn’t need to fear.

Bloody from Blu Wolf Bistro!

Blu Wolf is a busy brunch place that offers buy one get one Bloody Mary and Mimosas (and you can mix the 2, but you have to pay for the more expensive one, no big deal.) Their menu had a ton of good looking dishes, but we both opted for one of the hangover bowls (it was appropriate ha!)

Nothing staring at me this time!

Their standard bloody mary had a nice horseradish flavor, but wasn’t overly spicy otherwise. And that’s ok, since the drinks are made from a big jug of mix to keep up with demand, and you have to cater to the non-spicy brunch crowd. You could probably ask for added spice, but I only had the one so I can’t say for sure. Garnished with a pickle, olive and lime, it was a good classic offering.

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Step Out Buffalo hosted a Makers and Shakers, Boozy Artisan Market yesterday, which featured unicorn mimosas and a bloody mary bar. It was a $5 entry fee, and then $10 for the drink, so after seeing the super long line I passed. The garnish offerings looked pretty decent, if running low, and I did see some shrimp around in other drinks so it may have been worth if if you loaded up on stuff. Maybe next time!

Roost

I’ve made it back from Ireland, and it was fantastic!!! We spent a week going from Dublin, up to Belfast and Giant’s Causeway, then down the Wild Atlantic Way to Galway. We got to see so much awesome scenery, and cute little pubs, and for me, a cool U2 exhibit in Dublin.

Countryside at Newgrange – Knowth passage tomb – Cliffs of Moher – Dark Hedges – Giant’s Causeway – Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Ireland is just a gorgeous country. As soon as you get out of the city it’s all farmland, with sheep and cows everywhere, and then little charming town after charming town. I loved it.

I was only able to have one bloody while there (when in Ireland, you drink Guinness!), at a fabulous place called 37 Dawson St in Dublin.

Irish Bloody!

It had a classic Bloody Mary flavor, with crushed ice on top. Solid. My other attempt at a bloody in Belfast was thwarted by laws that don’t allow alcohol to be served before noon. Boo!

But we’re not here to talk about Ireland, we’re here to catch up on a cocktail from before the big trip, at Roost in Buffalo.

Mural at Roost

We met up with a few friends for a double date at Roost a few weeks before the trip. It’s the end of summer, tomato time, and Roost was offering a special cocktail using their bounty of heirloom tomatoes. I didn’t realize it when I ordered it, but it was a fresh made drink, and not a standard bloody mary made with a house made mix.

At the bar at Roost

We watched the bartender throw tomatoes and ice in a blender and blend away. Talk about fresh! It was a frozen drink, spiced with Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, pepper and lemon, and garnished with a tomato wedge.

Fresh and frozen

Made with tequila, it was delicious! It wasn’t very spicy, but dear lord did it have a lovely refreshing fresh taste. Unfortunately Roost changes their menu every month, and since this was being made with the last of their tomatoes, it won’t be available again until next year.

But never fear! They make a standard bloody as well, which my friend ordered, and reported that it was delicious as well.

Standard bloody at Roost

Check it out at dinner, or their brunch, which I hear is fantastic.

Black Button Distilling and VUE

I have gotten behind again, and I’m about to leave for Ireland (!!), so I’m going to combine 2 drinks into one quick post. First up: Black Button Distilling.

Another pub trivia night brought us to Black Button Distilling, which is based in Rochester NY, but has an “outpost” tasting bar in Buffalo. Upon walking in, I immediately saw their bottled Bold Bloody Mary mix for sale.

BOLD Bloody Mary mix from Black Button Distilling

I wasn’t going to order one, because I didn’t much feel like drinking, but I got one anyway. Using their 20 plate vodka and Bold mix, which was created from the owner’s Grandma’s recipe, this $9 cocktail was a bit sweet with a hint of horseradish.

Black Button Distilling

Garnished with lemon and lime, it had a decent amount of spice to it, but it had a flavor I didn’t love. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I drank it anyway, and decided to look at the ingredient list on the jar, and it turns out there are cucumbers in it. That must have been it! I can’t say it stood out strongly as cucumber but it just gave it a general flavor I didn’t care for. I’m sure it would be tasty to someone without such an aversion to cucumbers as I have.

My Bloody with our buzzer. We did not do well.

If you don’t have time for a cocktail, you can stop in and pick up a jar for $10.

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Up next is VUE, the roof top bar at the just opened Curtiss Hotel. The Curtiss Hotel is in a gorgeous old building that sat vacant for years. Located downtown, the bar has great views of City Hall, the Statler, the Liberty Building among others.

Roof top view at Curtiss Hotel

VUE has 3 bars, and the nicest thing, is that there are roofed areas, that are still open and airy, so you can enjoy the lounge even if it was raining. There is a big fire pit as well as other heaters around for use throughout more of the year, though probably not once the snow starts flying.

We approached the bar looking for a cocktail menu, but they didn’t have one…here is a fancy new bar with no cocktail menu? I know it’s a relatively new lounge, but even the simplest menu of classic cocktails would be something. They’ve been open all summer! That was a bit of a turn off, but they say one is coming.

Since there was no menu, I wasn’t really in the mood for anything, so J just ordered me a bloody.

And here is a bad photo.

It’s hard to photograph a drink, at night, with a cell phone, on a light up bar.

I’m not sure how much it cost, but our order of one bloody and one Basil Hayden’s on the rocks was $27. The drink itself was fairly decent, garnished with 3 olives, and no fruit. It was quite spicy, and very pickle-y, almost too much so. Sipping it caused a bit of mouth puckering haha. There was a lot of debris, including pepper and horseradish, but not so much that it wasn’t enjoyable.

Definitely check out VUE, as it’s a great space to relax in, and get a bloody if you like, but I hope they come up with a cocktail menu soon so I can check out something else.

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I have one more review in the back log, which will have to wait until after Ireland. And hopefully when I return, I’ll have a bunch more to write up. Cheers!

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