Rochester Bloody Mary Fest!

I can’t remember if I had mentioned it in previous posts, but Step Out Buffalo decided to ply their trade in Bloody Mary Fests down the thruway in Rochester. I’ve posted at least one drink I’ve had in Rochester, but despite having several friends there, and going to college half hour away, I have not spent all that much time in the next big city down the canal. When the Rochester fest was announced I bought tickets right away, put in for a vacation day, and made plans to have a great afternoon.

The fest was held in the Main Street Armory, which turned out to be SOB’s best venue yet – a big open space that could set up the bars with enough space to accommodate the crowd, with the other vendors in the middle. There was room to walk around and there weren’t big lines running into other big lines, which made for a much more pleasurable experience than Buffalo’s fest at Riverworks this year. 10 Rochester bars participated, and it was the same format as the Buffalo fests – one ticket per bar, and vote for the best overall, the best garnish, and most creative. They scrapped the fancy online voting they used in Buffalo for good old paper ballots in fishbowls, guaranteed to work (since I wasn’t able to get the online vote to work in Buffalo, this was a good change).

After tickets went on sale, SOB decided to offer designated driver/bloody mary hater tickets for $5 like they did for the first Buffalo fest, so I got one of those for J, leaving me with an extra regular ticket. I knew that someone I was friends with in Rochester liked bloody marys and finally I realized who it was. Nan! So I invited her to join us, and we had a great time.

So in the order in which we tasted them, I present the Rochester Bloody Mary Fest (all vodka once again provided by Tommyrotter Distillery):

1. The Revelry
Ingredients – Whole peeled tomato, celery & cucumber juice, hot sauce, curry tincture, Japanese seven spice, Sal De Gusano
Garnish – Sal De Gusano rim, Thyme, Basil

“Blood Runner” by The Revelry

The cucumber taste was immediately noticeable, so for me that’s usually a no go. That said, it wasn’t too bad. It was definitely the spiciest of the 10 offerings, and it had a good balance of salt to the other flavors. It may have been Nan’s favourite.

2. Orbs
Ingredients – Tomato juice, horseradish and worcestershire, thai basil, black pepper, celery salt, lemon, cayenne, Old Bay
Garnish – Chorizo meatball, pickled purple cauliflower, pepper jack cheese cube.

“Orbs Bloody Mary” by….Orbs.

If there was an award for prettiest Bloody Mary, Orbs would win. They just looked gorgeous. I liked the meatball, it had some spice to it, but the drink itself was primarily flavored with horseradish. It was quite strong, and the mix was very sweet.

3. Honeoye Boathouse Grill
Ingredients – Mr & Mrs T’s Mix, worcestershire sauce, A-1, lime, lemon pepper, celery salt, old timer’s horseradish
Garnish – Thai chili shrimp, fried ravioli, chicken cordon bleu ball, wild garlic boneless wing on one skewer. Shrimp, olive, pepperoni, pepperoncini, cheese and pickle on another skewer.

Holy Garnish for a fest!

“The Boat House Morning Antidote” by Honeoye Boathouse Grill

The Boat House definitely had the biggest garnish (but not the craziest, stay tuned) at the fest. J took the Thai shrimp on the skewer, and the plain shrimp in the drink and he said the Thai shrimp was delicious. We had eaten before we left Buffalo, so I wasn’t hungry, and add in all the drinks and I couldn’t finish my garnish. The drink was very sweet again, with a good tomato taste, and it was better than just plain Mr and Mrs T’s. Their sign mentioned 2 other garnishes, a Hawaiian Shrimp skewer with the Thai shrimp, blackened shrimp and pineapple, and an antipasto skewer with spinach artichoke crustini, but I don’t think they were serving either of them. Everyone had the skewer that we got.

4. Cub Room
Ingredients – Fresh horseradish, lemon and lime juice, red wine and cacao nib reduction, house steak sauce, house habanero hot sauce, celery salt, tumeric, Worcestershire, chipotle peppers, kosher salt, black pepper, tomato juice
Garnish – Bacon blue cheese and date meatball.

“Hair of the Wolf” by Cub Room (Apparently I forgot to photograph my sample)

Like Orbs, the Cub drink’s main flavor was from horseradish. It was a bit watery, and despite the long list of ingredients on their sign, it didn’t taste like much. I don’t know how that’s possible, now that I’m looking at the list, but it really didn’t have a strong flavor and I didn’t find it spicy. The meatball was a classic style meatball, and wasn’t bad.

5. Blu Wolf Bistro
Ingredients – Beef stock, green tomatoes, pork rub, tomatillo, garlic oil, hot sauce, cucumber, lime, green peppers, pineapple, jalapeno, roasted garlic, horseradish, baby spinach, cilantro, celery seed, black pepper, dark chili powder, cayenne, Worcestershire
Garnish – Wild boar, cream cheese jalapeno popper, CRAWFISH!!!

“The Celtic” by Blu Wolf Bistro

And the award for most horrifying Bloody Mary goes to *drum roll* Blu Wolf Bistro!!! IT’S STARING AT ME!! IT HAS 8 LEGS and CLAWS!!! Holy crap. I can handle peeled shrimp, but not ocean critters that still have their exoskeletons on (plus a friend once told me crawfish taste like garbage). I was never going to eat it, but had I wanted to, I wouldn’t even know where to start! As for the drink, it was the first green bloody of all the fests. It had a half spiced rim, and itself had a good amount of spice. It was a tad thick, and I can’t say I loved it. It was strong on the tomato flavor, where as my homemade green mix made mostly from tomatillos was tart and better in my opinion. This mixture might be better suited for a gazpacho.

6. Bitter Honey
Ingredients – Tomatillo, peach cordial, habanero, lime
Garnish – chili salt, habanero coin, dehydrated peach, lamb jerky

“Not So Bitter Bloody Mary” by Bitter Honey

Right after the first one, we had another green bloody mary. This one made entirely of tomatillo, I find it hard to consider it a bloody mary. It was delicious, but it tasted like lemonade. It was fruity and sweet, not at all savory even with the meat chunk. I couldn’t detect any spice to it, and maybe they ran out, but the only part of their listed garnish that we got was the lamb jerky. It was refreshing, and I had a 2nd one before we left to reset my mouth from all the tomato, but if I had ordered this expecting and really wanting a savory bloody mary, I’d be sad. It’s totally marketable, but just under some other name.

7. Roam Cafe
Ingredients – House made fresh tomato/veggie juice, fresh horseradish, celery salt, cracked black pepper, hot sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire
Garnish – Pork belly, pickled pepper, Hoisin cucumber

“Belly Up” by Roam Cafe

So even though this drink had an evil cucumber garnish, it was my favorite of the fest. They made the entire mix fresh from scratch with all local ingredients, and you could tell. It tasted nice and fresh with a good balance of flavors. It tasted a bit meaty, and it didn’t have a ton of spice, but it was a solid offering, and it was my vote for Best of Rochester.

8. Black Button Distilling
Ingredients – Original mix, tomato juice, cucumbers, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, horseradish, fresh garlic, Worcestershire powder, habanero puree, soybean oil, lemon juice, dried onion
Garnish – Pepperoni, cheese curd, olive

“Black Button’s Bold Bloody Mary”

Having just had Black Button’s mix at their Buffalo location, I don’t have much else to say about it. I still don’t love it, and I still can’t quite pin point why, except for the cucumber. If you want more, check out the full review.

9. Nosh
Ingredients – Yellow tomato puree, ground tortilla, onion, garlic, bay, corienader, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, salt, sugar, kimchee spice, Worcestershire, horseradish, olive brine, celery seed, dijon, sriracha
Garnish – Chorizo deviled egg

“Devil’s Dawn” by Nosh

I feel like I would have enjoyed this one more had I drank it earlier in the fest, as by the end you get pretty tired of drinking bloodies (yeah, I know!!). It was a thick orange color and featured a deviled egg that was nicely flavored, apparently with chorizo, but I thought it was from chili powder. The drink itself had a smoky flavor, as if from smoked paprika, but that wasn’t in the ingredients list either, ha! It wasn’t very spicy, but it had a decent flavor.

10. Hogan’s Hideaway
Ingredients – Smoked tomato puree, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, olive juice, salt, pepper, lime juice, dijon, Tabasco, smoked ice
Garnish – Smoked bacon crumble, smoked salt rim, kale chip

“Smokey Mary” by Hogan’s Hideaway

Sourced from all local ingredients, and smoked this one was a close 2nd on my favourite list from the fest. They use heirloom tomatoes, and while it smelled smoky, it didn’t translate into the drink too much. It was spiced from the horseradish, but I didn’t get much pepper spice from the Tabasco. It might have had too much salt, but it could have just been salt that fell into the drink from the rim. I would do without the kale, as the chip didn’t hold up and just got soggy, and then got in the way of my drinking.

The official winners were:
Most Creative:
3rd – Blu Wolf Bistro (my vote, I think)
2nd – Nosh
1st – Bitter Honey

Best Garnished:
3rd – Blu Wolf Bistro
2nd – ORBS Restaurant and Bar
1st – Honeoye Boathouse Grille (my vote)

Best Bloody Mary:
3rd – Orbs Restaurant and Bar
2nd – Black Button Distilling
1st – The Revelry
(My vote was for Roam)

As a whole, Rochester had a great bunch of bloodies to offer. I liked that it was an open space with room to move, but they didn’t have the “distractions” of the Buffalo fest, like the pinball or craft groups. They had a photo area with props, but no dedicated photographer taking photos there, just people using their phones. If SOB combines the larger space of Rochester, with the added fun of Buffalo, next year’s Buffalo fest could be the best yet!

Me, J and Nan 2017! (boy this photo has weird coloring that I couldn’t fix)

Until next time, Cheers!

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.

**

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.

**
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!

Recipe: Green Tomatillo Bloody Mary – 2 ways

I’ve been living in my house for 9 years next week, and one of the best things about owning a house with a nice yard is the ability to have a garden. Besides the “regular” veggies like tomatoes and peppers, I usually plant broccoli, green beans, onions, and cucumbers – even though they are evil and I hate them. Once in a while I plant tomatillos, the main ingredient in salsa verde and other Mexican cuisines. My first foray into tomatillos was an heirloom purple variety I had picked up while visiting friends in Toronto. At the time, no one local was selling started tomatillo plants, and I don’t have good luck with starting seeds on my own, so they were my only choice. They did well, but the fruits tended to fall off before completely ripening into purple, so anything made with them turned into a kind of yucky brown. But they tasted good! They reseeded on their own the following year, but after having so many, and little to do with them, I took a few years off from growing any. This year a local nursery was selling seedlings of the more common green variety so I picked a few up.

Tomatillos (and the last of the beets)

I still don’t know of many things to do with them aside from salsa verde, and a few recipes for soups and stews from Pinterest, but I’ve heard of people using them for Bloody Mary mixes, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. If you haven’t had tomatillos before, they have a bit of a tart taste, which should make for a delightful mix.

The internet provided me with some guidance, and I built my own recipe combining 3 (here, here and here). Some had cucumber (again, evil!), some had cilantro (also evil!), but the basic ideas were the same, and I decided to take 2 approaches – one roasted, and one “plain”.

Tomatillos!

Tomatillos have husks that begin to peel back when the fruit is ripe. Under the husks, the fruit has a stickiness to it, which you probably want to wash off (I did). I cut 5 tomatillos in half horizontally and combined them with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl to prepare them to grill. Then came the hard part – starting the charcoal. I don’t think I’ve used my grill since the last grilled bloody mary I made, and I always have trouble. I used the charcoal chimney and got it going pretty quickly. While the chimney did it’s thing, I focused on the non-grilled mix.

Lemon Drop cherry tomatoes

I prepped the rest of my ingredients, including lemon drop cherry tomatoes from the garden. It’s best to use yellow or green tomatoes in the mix, so your coloring doesn’t turn into that blah brown I spoke of before. When adding all my ingredients into the blender, I couldn’t find my horseradish. I know I had some, I’m POSITIVE I bought a jar for the last recipe, but it seems to have disappeared. D’oh! So off to the store I went, while the charcoal chimney did it’s work. Once I got my last ingredient, the mixing is easy, and it was time for some grilling.

Grilling veggies

Starting with the cut sides down, I roasted the tomatillos and jalapeno 5 minutes on each side. The tomatillos got pretty soft, so in the end I lost some of the “guts” of the smaller ones. Once time was up, I just threw them all straight from the grill into the blender with the rest of the ingredients and mixed them up.

Gorby and Boris enjoying some tomatillo bloody mary mix.

As you can see, the coloring between the roasted mix (in the Gorbachev shot glass) and the non-roasted mix (in the Boris Yeltsin glass) is a bit different, with Boris being more green. I taste tested them without any alcohol, since I had to go to work.

Non-roasted: Very tart with a good hit of horseradish, and nice tongue tingle from spice.
Roasted: Still tart, but with a sweetness to it brought out from the grilling. Given the rest of the recipe is the same, the spice level is comparable.

The non-roasted mix produced more, filling 2 medium size mason jars, while the roasted mix only produced slightly more than one jar, and it was less thick. I didn’t lose that much tomatillo to the grill, so I’m not totally sure why they were so different. Both mixes are fairly thick, and there are a lot of little seeds in tomatillos (and tomatoes of course), so they could stand to be strained, but that’s up to you (I will be straining it eventually).

In the garden

In the end, I prefer the roasted version. The non-roasted version is much more tart, and the grilling cuts that nicely. The grilled version is much more trouble to make, so if you’re short on time, or you’re like me and often fail in grilling, the non-roasted version is still tasty. You could probably roast the tomatillos under the oven broiler too, if you don’t have a grill.

Either way, it’s nice and refreshing and you can alter it however you like. If you like cucumbers or cilantro, go for it, but remember it’ll taste quite a bit different. Add more peppers or hot sauce if you love the heat, or leave them out completely. When you make your own mix, you can do whatever you want! Enjoy!

Tomatillo Bloody Mary – 2 ways

Ingredients

  • 5 tomatillos – husked and cut in half horizontally
  • 7oz yellow or green tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt/celery seeds (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp favorite hot sauce (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

For the roasted mix: Halve the tomatillos and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast with the halved jalapeno for 5 minutes per side.

For the roasted and regular mix: Combine all ingredients in a blender, and puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. If the mix is too thick, add more water, and/or strain through a fine mesh strainer. Chill mix before serving. *Remember* grilled items WILL BE HOT, so BE CAREFUL and let cool before blending.

Garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Grilled beets

Since the grill was going, I grilled the beets as well. Why not?

Cask and Cow

This week I was really excited, because we were going to Artpark in Lewiston to see Garbage and Blondie on the Rage and Rapture tour. I had first seen Garbage open for U2 on the Elevation tour in October 2001 (which is one of my top 5 concerts ever), and they were so impressive, I’ve been waiting all these years to see them again. I love Shirley Manson, I wouldn’t mind being her! And Blondie, she’s a legend, and while I may not be familiar with her catalog, her big songs are inescapable.

Lewiston’s Center Street is full of little shops and restaurants, including several new ones. Before (and after) the concert we stopped into the new Brickyard Brewing Company, next door to the original Brickyard restaurant. The restaurant is a BBQ restaurant, but the brewery has a completely different menu of gastropub style foods. We tried the fried gnoche (excellent!), fried green tomatoes, shrimp po boy, a fancy grilled cheese sandwich, and on our return visit, the bacon nan. Everything was delicious, and they offer a chicken and waffle dish that I must try at some point, I just wasn’t hungry enough for it that day. We tasted 9 of their beers, and were happy with all of them.

Upon walking back to my car to head home, I realized I was parked across the street from Cask and Cow, a new restaurant that I had “liked” on facebook, but had no idea where it was located. It is so new, it was actually their first day open! By this point it was midnight, so the kitchen was closed, but we relaxed at the bar with a few drinks. J gave his usual spiel, asking the bartender Sarah (spelled wrong!!! No Hs needed! 🙂 ) if she could make me a bloody. This got her nervous and she almost didn’t want to do it!

Cask and Cow’s Bloody Mary

Served in a pint glass rimmed with smoked paprika and kosher salt, the drink was garnished with lemon, lime and 3 olives. Sarah won points by asking if I preferred Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce, since I never want Frank’s! It was very spicy, with a strong tomato flavor, and it was a good classic Bloody Mary. After a few sips Sarah (god it’s so hard to type it that way!) realized she forgot her secret ingredient!! So she took it back!

Oh no she forgot the secret ingredient!

She added her secret and asked what I thought before she told what it was. It didn’t change it with any strong flavor, like say pickle juice or horseradish would, but it definitely cut the strength of the tomato flavor. What was the secret? A splash of pineapple juice. After knowing what it was, I could detect a slight sweetness to the drink, and the cut in the acidity of the tomato created a good balance of flavors.

We don’t get out to Lewiston too much, even though it’s not far away, but we’ll have to go back soon to try the menu at Cask and Cow, as well as the chicken and waffles at Brickyard Brewery. And the show?!? It was great! We were too far away for me to get really excited and into it, but Garbage looked and sounded great, and Blondie, at 72 years old (!!) still rocked it. It was my first time for an outdoor concert at Artpark (I graduated high school in the auditorium, as well as seeing concerts and plays inside, and selling my art at ARTsPARKed) and it was a great space, like a natural ampitheatre. I’d definitely go again for a band I want to see.

*update* Cask and Cow is now featuring a fancy Bloody Mary with a slider garnish. Guess that means I’ll have to go back!

Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant

It’s July, and that means baby goats at Lively Run Dairy! So we made ANOTHER trip out to Cayuga Lake to visit the goats, and taste some wines. (We skipped the 15 scoops of ice cream this time!) The goats were awesome, of course, and there was even a baby that had been born an hour before we got there!

Mama and her 1 HOUR old baby!

It was a wonderful time, and I highly recommend it….again…. 🙂

We visited 3 wineries, Thirsty Owl Winery, Hosmer Winery, and Buttonwood Winery. After our tasting at the last one, we opened up our picnic lunch on their covered porch, as it was raining, and they didn’t mind people hanging out even though they were closing. Another couple was enjoying some wine on the patio as well, and it turns out they own the Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant in Seneca Falls.

After finishing our meal, chatting with them, and finding out they offered a bloody mary we decided to stop by and try it out. Taylor was behind the bar at the restaurant, which has a great view of the lake out the back of the dining area. We told her owners Craig and his wife (I’m sorry I forgot your name!) promised she’d make me a good drink, and she took on the challenge.

Deerhead bloody mary!

Served in a stemless hurricane type glass, the drink had a spiced rim and was garnished with celery, lemon, cherry tomato and freshly cooked shrimp. It had a very tomato-y taste, and was very spicy! Taylor may have used a pepper vodka in it – I remember it being discussed but I’m not sure if it was used – and she added horseradish and lemon to compliment the shrimp. It was a tasty offering, from a menu that had many good looking drinks. If we lived closer, or didn’t have to drive anywhere, we’d drink the menu.

Garnish game!

Since we had just eaten our picnic sandwiches, we weren’t hungry and didn’t try any of their food but the menu had many creative looking dishes, as well as standard plates. I look forward to visiting it again in the future, on another trip to see the goats surely!

Nietzsche’s and a mix review

I’ve made it to the last of my back log of drinks!

First up – Nietzche’s. Nietzsche’s is a dive bar and music venue on Allen St in Buffalo. We are frequent visitors on Wednesday nights to hear our friend Kathryn Koch play her music, among other nights for music J likes to hear, as they have live music 365! Kathryn and I joke that we are friends because we hate the same things, but Bloody Marys are one thing we both agree on – they are delicious.

In all our visits to Nietzsche’s I never once thought to order a Bloody. Mostly because they are not the type of bar to make one, and I didn’t think they’d have the ingredients. However on this particular night, someone else at the bar asked for one, and I was amazed to see it was something they could make. That meant I had to have one too.

The other reason I never ordered one is the bartenders. Wednesday nights used to have Nancy behind the bar, and while we loved Nancy, she didn’t seem the type to do much more than pour beers and Jack and Cokes. Then one day Nancy wasn’t there anymore, and Dana took over. Dana is a great bartender, someone could be whipping up $12 craft cocktails full of things you’ve never heard of before, and she could be trusted to make me a good Bloody.

If you turn the lights off in Nietzsche’s it doesn’t get much darker

This pint glass drink, garnished with lemon and lime, was fantastic! She was out of some ingredients, so someone from the bar went across the street to get her some spices. The drink was spicy from Worchestershire, citrus-y, and garlic-y, and Kathryn agreed that it tasted the way a Bloody should taste. Dana said she needed dill, but too much might have ruined it a bit for me. It was a great and unexpected cocktail from a bar not particularly famous for mixed drinks.

**

We stayed in one night during vacation, and I decided to try the ADK Bloody Mary Tonic that I picked up at the Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest a few months ago. They offer a spicy and regular version, and I tried the spicy this time.

My awesome hand painted Bloody Mary glass!

I realize I did not take notes on the mix, as I thought I’d be able to remember how it was. I didn’t think it would take me this long to get around to writing about it. I’ll leave it at this – it is a decent offering for a jarred mix, but nothing super spectacular. I finally got to try my meat straws too (they work!) along with some bacon and spicy green bean garnish. I didn’t find it all that spicy, so when I had it again a few weeks later I jazzed it up with some other hot sauces from the fridge. Give it a try if you see it in a store.

Red Dove Tavern

On vacation 2 years ago we visited the Finger Lakes, and one of the places we stopped was Lively Run Dairy on Cayuga Lake. It is a goat dairy, and their tour which included a cheese tasting, and time to meet and play with the goats, was one of the best things I’ve ever done. This time on vacation, I wanted to go visit the goats again, so we drove out to the dairy and met up with our friend Jenn to have some cheese, and introduce her to the goats.

GOATS!!!!!!!!!

Oh. My. God. I love goats so much!! They only had 2 babies at the time we were there, who were 14 days old and 3 days old. They are expecting the majority of their babies to be born in July, so they should be expecting a return visit from me! All the goats were adorable and friendly, and I want to take them home!

Unfortunately, no farm animals other than chickens are allowed in my town, and I feel the goats would be sort of hard to hide when they end up jumping onto the garage roof for fun. I’ll have to settle for visiting, I guess 🙁

After the dairy, and before visiting some wineries, we needed to eat so we ventured to Cayuga Lake Creamery for some sandwiches and ice cream. The Creamery’s homemade ice cream is delicious, with about 30 produced at a time. It was hard to narrow down what we wanted to try, and noticed they offered a 5 flavor tasting dish for $10, so we decided to do that. We each got one so we could try as many flavors as possible, and then this happened….

Mistakes were made.

When it said “tasting” scoops, we didn’t think it would be 5 full size scoops!!! I was thinking melon baller sized scoops, or a little bigger. A few bites of each flavor, not this! We made a valiant effort, but all that ice cream defeated us. It made me sad, I hate wasting ice cream!

We journeyed back up Cayuga Lake to Geneva, by way of a few wineries and a local brewery, before getting some snacks at Red Dove Tavern.

Red Dove Bloody Mary

Garnished with a lime and olive, Red Dove uses a house made mix spiced with horseradish for heat. It was a tad sweet, with a good tomato flavor. Overall, a good outing, though for me it could have been a bit more spicy. Paired with their fried chick peas, we had a nice snack before saying good-bye to Jenn and heading back to Buffalo.

Until next time….GOATS!

Gaaaaahh!

Panorama on 7

Happy Pride Month!! I still have a back log of drinks to review, and I called in sick to work with a migraine so I figure now is a good as time as any to try to catch up. We just finished vacation, again (too soon!), and the Sunday of our vacation was Buffalo Pride. After visiting the party and getting some truck food, we took to the sky to look upon the party from above, at Panorama on 7 inside the Marriott Harborcenter Hotel next to Canalside.

Canalside, Buffalo

Panorama on 7 is full of windows, with a great view of downtown Buffalo from the comfortable plush seats in the lounge area, and from the dining tables on the other side of the room. They have a menu full of cocktails, wine, and bourbons, but they didn’t list a Bloody Mary. J asked the bartender, Kerem, if he had any Bloody skills, and it turns out he used to work at a St Regis, where each location had their own special recipe. If you remember correctly, we visited the King Cole Bar at St Regis in NYC a few years ago and the drink was one of the most overrated I’ve ever had. So I was hoping that this one would redeem St Regis a bit in my eyes.

The Panorama on 7 garnishes.

For $12, Kerem made me a nice and spicy Bloody in a large parfait glass. Garnished with lemon, lime, olive and bacon there was a lot of visible pepper floating around in the drink. It was very spicy without the spice coming from a vinegar based hot sauce. It had a strong tomato flavor, and it was a great traditional tasting Bloody Mary. No gimmicks needed here, but they did have blue cheese stuffed olives available for those interested.

Happy Pride everyone!

A bit later, a woman who appeared to be a bar manager maybe, made me another drink just for fun – A Fruity Pride margarita. Free drink? Yes please!

Fruity Pride Margarita

We’ve been here a few times but have not eaten a meal yet, though on our first visit we had their sponge candy cheesecake, which was delicious. Maybe next time we’ll be hungry!

Thin Man Brewery

I’m so behind! The Kentucky Derby was held during our vacation, and J looked for a party to take his sister and her boyfriend to. He was also looking for an excuse to wear his fancy linen suit! There were a few to choose from but we decided on visiting Thin Man Brewery.

Thin Man is one of the newest breweries to open in Buffalo, and it’s about to celebrate it’s first anniversary. Named after the first crash test dummy, invented in Buffalo (!), Thin Man features a nice pub menu as well as rotating selection of their beers in their 2 story location on Elmwood. There’s a nice patio too.

Kentucky Derby party at Thin Man!

It was not patio weather however (remember, we were on vacation) so we settled in to a table on the 2nd floor in front of their big “screen” projection, drank some mint julips and beer, and played this awesome game we were introduced to at Gypsy Parlor earlier in the week called Suspend. It’s like reverse Jenga, where you have to balance metal rods on a hook until someone runs out of pieces, and if it collapses, you get all the pieces. Trust me, it’s super fun.

It wasn’t until the end of the evening, after the race was run, where I saw someone at another table with a bloody mary. It didn’t even occur to me to ask if they had one! Well, guess that meant we had to stay for another round.

Thin Man beer and Bloody Mary

Garnished with the typical lemon, lime, and olive the drink also came with bacon nubs! Served hot and fresh, these squares of pork belly were nice and crisp, tasty, though I find big chunks of pork belly to be too fatty for me. Overall the drink was good but a bit heavy on the pickle flavor. It wasn’t very spicy, and it may have had a bit of horseradish in it but it was hard to tell. Not a terrible outing, but not mind blowing either.

Bacon nubs

We bet several horses, several ways, online – and lost EVERY SINGLE ONE! But my dress matched one of the TV announcer’s suit.

Derby attire

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