Vacation time again, and due to work issues coming up, it was another staycation. We managed to avoid the rain that usually plagues our vacations, and packed in a whole ton of events into 5 days off, including 2 brunches…well almost. It was fun but I am wiped out and I vowed not to leave the house today so I could have time to recover from having to be social for so many days in a row haha!
Saturday was the most event packed day, as tons of things were going on in Buffalo, and we were forced to narrow it down to just a few. But it was also the only weekend day that had some time in it for brunch, in between Art Alive at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and the grand opening party for 12 Gates Brewery, so I made reservations at Templeton Landing.
They advertised Toasty Saturdays from 11am to 3pm on their facebook page, with bottomless mimosas, and brunch specials, plus this, from last year:
“Templeton Landing’s Colossal Blood Mary’s! As the cart rolled up, we chose between regular or spicy flavor and proceeded to add additional ingredients of our choosing. Being a Bloody Mary novice, I deferred to their best judgment and opted for the standard celery stick, a piece of shrimp, some peppers for color, a stick of savory bacon before finally topping it off with a slider. That’s right. There was a full-on hamburger in my drink and it was fantastic! Hands down of the best Bloody Mary’s we’ve ever had.”
You can find a whole bunch of other photos of Templeton bloodys on google, plus a recent shout out about their Bloody from Step Out Buffalo, so needless to say, I’ve been excited to finally get one for myself (Templeton is seasonal, so this is really the first chance I’ve had to go).
Well we get there, and are seated on the patio. The restaurant is right on the waterfront, with a great view of the marina and it was the perfect day for being outside. But we get the menu, and it’s not brunch. It was not even 2pm yet, what happened to Toasty Saturday?? I ordered a bloody anyway, and J ordered a mimosa even though neither one was on their cocktail menu, and the mimosa was definitely not bottomless.
Served in a pint glass for $8.50, this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for when I picked Templeton Landing for brunch. It was basically pure tomato juice with some hot sauce in it. Boring old lemon, lime and olive garnish brought nothing special to the drink. No other visible additives, and very thick, it was also very salty, maybe from some kind of brine. It was an epic disappointment to say the least, but with that said, it also wasn’t the worst Bloody I’ve ever had. It wasn’t the thickest, and it wasn’t the least flavorful, it was just so plain, and so not what I wanted, it ruined the whole experience.
I ordered the turkey club, and it was fine but…not what I wanted!! I don’t know what the deal was with it not being brunch, and about the bloody being un-epic, but I’m willing to try again when I know FOR SURE that it’s brunch.
Sunday came around and we were supposed to get up and go to the Pride Parade, but we slept too late, which opened up a whole new possibility for brunch. Since Saturday’s was so disappointing I wanted to make sure I got to a good one, so I picked The Black Sheep.
The Black Sheep had recently been mentioned in another Step Out Buffalo article, about brunch cocktails, for their special off-menu Kimchi Bloody Mary so it was fresh in my mind. Luckily for me, they have since added it to their regular menu and I didn’t have to beg!
Served in a fairly small glass for $10 the Kimchi bloody is made from mix created by Buffalo Barrel + Brine, a new local pickle maker. Garnished with lime and a pickle slice, with a spiced rim, the mix was definitely pickle-y, but not overwhelmingly so. There was a lot of floating debris of some type (kimchi?), but it wasn’t super spicy – just a tickle. It was very fresh tasting, and very good, and as it turned out, there was a full pickle spear hiding in the drink!
J ordered a beer which ended up coming in a gigantic bottle, so I had to order another drink for myself, and I went with their regular bloody mary, also made with mix from Barrel + Brine (no photo because basically it looked the same). The regular bloody mary was $9, garnished with lime, the pickle slice, and this time celery. There was a TON of visible debris in the drink (it was clogging up my little straw), and it was much, much spicier than the Kimchi Mary. However there was also way WAY more pickle flavor – too much so. It was like drinking the brine right out of a pickle jar.
Some advice to pickle companies making Bloody Mary mix – turn it down a notch. Some pickle flavor in a bloody is a welcome addition, but that shouldn’t be the only flavor.
Both drinks were good, but I’d go with the Kimchi Mary all day long, perhaps with a bit more spice added to it. I do wish they were a bit larger though, for the price.
I ordered the breakfast pierogies, which was delicious, so Sunday’s brunch redeemed Saturday’s, but be prepared, The Black Sheep is a bit expensive (our brunch bill was more expensive than our fancy tapas at Aro de Tapas the night before, and that’s without the Game of Scones we ordered because the waitress forgot it, which just seems wrong.) (Also, Aro de Tapas = really really delicious.)
I let a friend of a friend in Toronto use my address to have a package shipped more cheaply, and to thank me when they picked it up, they brought me a 4 pack of these:
I’m a little scared, and a little intrigued.