Posts Tagged ‘brunch’

Bloody Mary Round Up

Good morning on this wonderful almost Solstice Monday. It’s time to review some Bloody Marys!

I had a panic moment when I was preparing to write this post. I haven’t had too many Bloodies over the last 6 months, I haven’t really been in the mood, and brunch hasn’t been happening as much as I thought it would when we got new “normal people” jobs. There’s an aspect of laziness, and still some scheduling issues where J’s work finishes up a hair too late for brunch. But I have had a few, so I went to locate my photos, and for 2 of the places the photos were gone. No problem, I use google photos for backup, they must be there. Nope, also gone. Ok, whelp, nothing I can do now, I’ll just have to go on without them. *sad face*

Hold up! Smart Past-me had already uploaded them to dropbox! Thank you, Smart Past-me!

Brownie’s Sports Bar has become a regular spot for us, as it’s in walking distance, and we like to play trivia there on Wednesday nights. They’ve dabbled in brunch in the past, but we had never made it. They started it up again, serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays and we found ourselves there one afternoon.

Brownie’s Sports Bar…mmmm….bacon!

Garnished with lemon, lime and bacon, this mason jar cocktail features a house made mix that is fairly thick, with a strong horseradish flavor.

Brownie’s has a solid menu, with unexpected dishes and specials you wouldn’t expect from a “sports bar”. Brunch is no different. And this Bloody is a solid, tasty offering for only FIVE DOLLARS! It’s definitely a deal and worth a visit. And if, like J, Bloody Marys aren’t your thing, they have bottomless mimosas, and a rotating craft beer menu.

Next up is a fairly new cafe called Craft Coffee House. This is not in an area we would typically find ourselves in, it’s kind of a rural spot between towns. The address says it’s Lockport, but….not LOCKPORT Lockport. However the parents recommended it, so we gave it a shot.

Craft Coffee House. It’s fine. This is fine.

As you can see, it’s very, very basic. The menu claims it’s made with smoked tomatoes, however I did not pick that flavor up at all. To me, it was just vodka in tomato juice. Very plain, no spice, although I can’t remember if I asked for it spicy or not (you order online from the table, so it’s likely there was no option to add spice.) I mean….It was fine. I guess. It’s not what I want from a Bloody, and it most definitely is not worth $8. It may look huge compared to my tiny cappuccino, but I assure you, it was not.

This past weekend brought Father’s Day and my mom’s birthday (today actually!), so I took them out for brunch to Graylynn Gin Bar and Bistro. I have posted about them before but it was not a real, true Bloody Mary that time. With a brunch visit, I was able to order their Red Snapper – a gin based Bloody Mary.

Mom got one too

Featuring London Dry Gin and Toma Bloody Mary mix, this was a solid cocktail, that you’d never know had gin instead of vodka. I know gin scares some people, and dry gin is maybe not what I’d call my favorite, but truly, you couldn’t tell. The Toma mix, which I don’t believe I’ve had before, had a good flavor, with a good thickness. Garnished with an olive and lime, it’s a simple drink, but unlike Craft Coffee House, one worth drinking.

And brunch was fantastic. As a table we ordered the full English breakfast, the breakfast butty, and avocado toasts, and the servings were large and delicious. Avocado toast can make me nervous, because it’s usually expensive and you might just get one piece of bread with a schmear of avocado. Not here, 2 large pieces of bread, a ton of avocado, and toppings (onion and tomato, I think. I am not sure, I had the full English). The butty was HUGE, like a sub, and my full English had the right amount of each thing. I definitely recommend it, and will be back. And again, if you go with a companion who doesn’t like Bloodies, they have other brunch offerings like mimosas, and a huge great looking cocktail menu (mostly gin based, as they are a gin bar, but they do have limited types of other spirits.)

Until next time, Happy Summer!

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!


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!

The Twilight Room

I’ve got 3 drinks to post about, and I’m going to go a bit out of order, starting from the most recent. We’ve had a busy few days, as we are on vacation! And you know what means…it’s cold and rainy!! We are currently on day 5 of 9 and the sun juuuuust started to peek out in the early evening. But despite temps in the 50s and daily rain, we’ve packed in a bunch of activities. J’s sister and her boyfriend came into town for Cinco de Mayo on Friday, and Saturday brought a Kentucky Derby party. But Sunday meant brunch.

Where’s the door?

We slept in a bit, and I didn’t think brunch was going to be an option but I saw The Twilight Room post about their first brunch offering since they opened a few months ago, and lucky for us they decided to make it an All Day Sunday Funday. We visited The Twilight Room over the winter for a co-worker’s going away dinner, and it is a great space. It’s designed as a prohibition speak easy, and you even enter the restaurant through a book case! Inside, it is all exposed brick, and big wooden beams, with some tables on the main floor with the bar, and more seating upstairs.

Upstairs seating at The Twilight Room

Did I mention it was an 80s brunch? It’s an 80s brunch, and I love 80s music, so I’m down with that! Along with their fancy cocktail list, for bunch they offer a bottomless mimosa for $10, a Bloody Caesar for $11, and a Bloody Mary for $12.

The bar

J has gotten into the habit of “pimping” the blog, and giving my card to our server or bartender. Fine with me, because I am too much of an introvert to do my own self promotion. Usually it doesn’t create much stir, but this time the owner Jason, the manager Ben, as well as our server/bartender Dennis came to speak with us about the drink, their current menu and where they are taking the brunch menu. But let’s start with the drink.

The Twilight Bloody

Served in a pint glass, the drink came garnished with celery, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, olive and lemon. I asked for it spicy and turns out they have 2 versions, since not everyone likes horseradish heat, and when Dennis brought it, he offered to bring more horseradish if I didn’t find it hot enough. Spiced with some sriracha as well, it had a good amount of heat, but it was still easy to drink. With pickle juice added for some tang, it was a tasty offering, and I’d definitely order it again.

The current brunch menu featured “small plates”, like the chicken and waffles which I ordered, and the french toast which J chose. The word “small” is misleading, as they were definitely large enough servings for a meal, but you could also order several and share, especially if you were with a larger group. They featured larger dishes like steak and eggs, and eggs benedict. But Ben showed us the expanded menu they are working on, including many of the current items, but also adding pastries and other baked goods (which would have been nice to add to our meal), and some of their regular menu items like salad as a lighter option, and burgers for someone who might not want breakfast foods. One of the items to come was a brulee oatmeal which sounds amazing.

Another view of upstairs

The chicken and waffles were great, with 3 plump pieces of fried chicken on 3 wedges of waffle, served with a boozy bourbon maple syrup. J’s french toast came with 2 large pieces covered in blackberry sauce and whipped cream. They toast was also coated with some corn flakes, which sounds odd, but added a great crunch to a dish that can sometimes just be mushy. Ben ended up talking us into pancake battered chicken sausages too – think corn dogs. They came with a terrific chipotle maple syrup that complimented them perfectly.

Working nights, I liked the idea to run the brunch menu the entire day, since it allows me a little more time to get up and out of the house. I like the feel of the place, and definitely look forward to returning to try the expanded menu, and of course, drink more bloody marys!

Super Sunday Brunch at Fat Bob’s

The Superbowl has come (and gone) and being from Buffalo, by default I have to hate the Patriots. So booo on that admittedly incredible comeback. In reality, I am not a football fan (Go Sabres!), but I am a brunch and bloody mary fan, and Fat Bob’s Smokehouse was having a Super Sunday Brunch with a “build your own bloody” special. Sign me up!

I have had Fat Bob’s standard bloody before, and having re-read my review to refresh my memory, it wasn’t fantastic. It was a good start, with a tasty house made mix, but lacked anything to make it special. Enter their BYOB menu.

Fat Bob’s BYOB menu

So many choices! Where does one even begin?

At the top I suppose. Priced at $6.50 to start, my assumption is that if you didn’t choose a vodka (or other liquor) for an additional dollar, you would get well vodka and not a Virgin Mary. I was overwhelmed with all the choices for additional flavors, and extras to add. With so many choices, J decided to create one for me as well.

Double Fisting!

My creation:

  • Ketel one
  • Fat Bob’s hot sauce
  • horseradish
  • home made bacon
  • jalapenos
  • pickle
  • pepperoni
  • cheese cube

My BYOB creation

Once again, their mix had a good tomato flavor, and adding in their hot sauce and horseradish turned what was formerly a bit of a let down into a great, SPICY, tasty drink. Usually I’m a fan of my bacon being super crispy, nearly burned, but when it’s house made and thick, I’ll accept limp bacon. It was delicious (I had some more from the buffet too). Sadly, unless I somehow missed it at the bottom of the glass, my pickle and pepperoni were forgotten, but I got the standard celery (which was listed as an add-on) lemon, and lime garnishes.


J’s creation:

  • Tito’s vodka
  • Fat Bob’s hot sauce
  • Cajun seasoning
  • crushed red pepper
  • A1 steak sauce
  • bitters
  • cayenne pepper
  • grilled cheese
  • shrimp skewer

Garnish game!

It’s really neat how the “same” drink can turn out so very different. This cocktail had a sweet taste to it, along with more citrus notes. It was spicy, but it was hard to tell if it was spicier than my creation, as my tongue was already burning. I didn’t feel like it was overwhelmingly Cajun, but perhaps the flavor got overpowered by the hot sauce and other additions. Topped with half a grilled cheese sandwich and 4 shrimp, it also had the standard lemon, lime and celery garnish.

Grilled cheese FTW!

For anyone who was overwhelmed by the BYOB choices, they still offered “classic” bloody marys with a variety of liquors to choose from.

I forced J to try both, as I continue to palate train him, and he didn’t hate them! Our waitress came by and saw me with both drinks though, and she was concerned that he didn’t like his. J told her I had a blog, and they were both for me, and then the catering manager came to talk to us, and they’re going to read this post, and man, that puts the pressure on to 1. write a post worth reading and 2. not be mean. Luckily, both drinks were tasty, and other than a few missing garnish choices, I have nothing bad to say 🙂

I honestly don’t know if Fat Bob’s offers brunch normally, but if they don’t, they should keep this BYOB menu available. I imagine it can get annoying for the bar tenders, but they have a good base mix to start from, and with all the choices on the list, a guest can create the perfect drink for them.

2 shots of my drinks from the Fat Bob’s Instagram, taken by Cory Watson. I was the first to get a grilled cheese.

Brunch at CRāVing

Sunday morning, we woke up fairly early (for night shift workers) after attending an Oktoberfest the afternoon before and going to bed early. Up early means brunch! It was a cool fall day, but nice enough to take a walk and get some food. I suggested we try Lloyd’s Taco Factory. We had their brunch before, when they were just serving out of their truck in partnership with Buffalo Proper, but now with a brick and mortar location they’ve started offering their own brunch. We made it to the restaurant only to find it closed! Now what? Time to cross the street and check out what CRāVing had to offer.

On their brunch cocktail menu, CRāVing was featuring a Traditional bloody mary for $8.50, but also offered Adam’s Bloody – Tomato, fennel, beets, horseradish root, celery, sriracha, worcestershire, lemon, lime and vodka for $10.50.

Adam's Bloody at CRāVing

Adam’s Bloody at CRāVing

Garnished with an olive and lemon slice, it didn’t look particularly fancy (especially after last weekend‘s bloody!) It was very watery, with a touch of horseradish tang. It had a good spice level, but none of the flavors were particularly strong. It didn’t have a strong tomato taste, and I couldn’t detect any fennel or celery flavor. It wasn’t mind blowing, but it was drinkable, and for whatever reason, it felt healthy!

J commented that I’m supposed to be making him taste my drinks, to palate train him, so he finally had his first taste of a bloody mary…and his last. LOL

Twelve Whiskey Barbecue

Last October we headed to Arizona for the Phoenix Taco Fest, and this year we decided to go down to Pittsburgh for their first Taco Fest at Hop Farm Brewing Company. Because who doesn’t like tacos? (Admittedly, I did not like tacos or Mexican food until the last 10 years. But you can forgive a child for not being an adventurous eater, right? Now, I’d say it’s probably my favorite style of food.)

I contacted a friend in Pittsburgh to let her know that we’d be in town, and she sent me a photo of a wonderful looking, massive bloody mary, and plans were made to meet at Twelve Whiskey Barbecue for brunch.

Jesus. Christ.

Jesus. Christ.


Look. At. That.

A different view of the magnificence.

A different view of the magnificence.

Presenting the Big Azz Bloody. Where do I even start with this thing? Well let’s start with the price. $15. $15!!! For all of that!!! That seems totally completely reasonable! Considering I didn’t need to order any food to go along with it (well I ordered 2 fried eggs because it was breakfast and all), it was a cheaper brunch than usual all things considered.

Served in a larger than normal mason jar, this thing was loaded with goodies. For the big stuff, there was a full grilled cheese cut into 4 triangles (as it should be!), a chicken finger, a slider, and waffle fries. For the little stuff, there were 2 slices of sausage, a pickle, olives, jalapeno slices, a celery stalk and cocktail onions.

A close up look.

A close up look.

I was really so overwhelmed by the garnishes, that I don’t have a lot to say about the drink itself. My immediate reaction to the first sip was that it was very tomato-y. There was a bit of spice to it, and it was definitely drinkable. (They also offer an ordinary bloody mary that I would imagine contains the same mix.) As expected, putting hot garnishes on a cold drink, they did not stay warm, but that’s ok, they were all good.

I am almost sad that the drink was such a meal, because I’d have liked to try some of the dishes on their brunch menu, but I just knew I would not need to be eating anything else with this massive cocktail. And as it turned out, by the time Taco Fest rolled around later that afternoon, I was still not hungry, so add that to the rain (because, of course), and long lines at the event, the fest wasn’t that exciting. :/ I managed to stuff some tacos into my face, and they were decent, but by then it really started to pour so we just couldn’t enjoy it. There is potential there, as every Taco Fest has potential, but it just didn’t do it for me this time around.


Vacation time again, and this time for real. We didn’t have ideas for anything super huge and exciting to do, but we figured we’d go to Boston to visit J’s sister, and then make our way to the Adirondacks since we had to cancel our trip there in June. So that was the plan of attack, but it turns out his sister was going to be in Berlin. Jealous! I want to be in Berlin! We stayed at her place anyway, took care of her cats (one giant, one tiny), and played tourist for a few days.

Our first day, we bought tickets for a whale watch and a visit to the New England Aquarium. The day was a little chilly for a speedy boat ride, and we were warned that the seas were pretty choppy. We got about a half hour into the ride, out of Boston Harbor, and the captain decided it was too rough and they were going to have to cancel the trip. *sadface* So we turned around and headed back to shore, refunds for all, no whales for anyone. The Aquarium was nice though, with a big penguin exhibit in the center, and lots of tanks of crazy ocean life.

One of my favorite South Park moments: Cartman singing Poker Face in Whale Whores episode

One of my favorite South Park moments: Cartman singing Poker Face in Whale Whores episode

We had no real plans for the evening, and after dinner we headed out to a Buffalo Bills Bar to watch the home opener. Now, I really don’t care at all about football but it was something to do. That specific bar was PACKED though, so we went around the corner to find a place, and stumbled upon The Fours (apparently America’s best sports bar). I wasn’t planning on having a bloody mary, but it presented itself in front of me, as a drink called the Flea Flicker, so I guess I had to!

The Fours Boston

The Flea Flicker

The Flea Flicker – Kettle One Vodka, Housemade Bloody Mary Mix, Guinness Floater, Spicy Salt Rim – $11. The drink had an olive garnish with a lemon and lime plopped in the drink. There was no real spice to it and the tomato flavor was not super evident, somehow. There was a smoky hint to it, and a little sweetness from the Guinness. It wasn’t bad, definitely drinkable, but it wasn’t great.

In prepping for the trip, of course I googled the best bloody marys in Boston, but nothing really jumped out as a “must have” drink. I was fine with not trying any during our visit, but in the end I did want to get brunch before leaving for Saranac Lake on Saturday, so I re-googled the list and settled on trying Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, near Harvard. It wasn’t far from where we were staying, easy to get to on the subway so we could get back to the car and hit the road, and had one of the more interesting ones on the list.

The Maria Basilico

The Maria Basilico

Russell House Tavern featured 4 different drinks on the menu, your standard house bloody, one made with mezcal, one with aquavit, and the one I chose: The Maria Basilico with Basil-Infused Vodka, Meletti Amaro, Cucumber, House Bloody Mary Mix for $11. At first taste the drink was super thick and pulpy, the mix had a lot of visible debris, and was almost chewable, but it became more tolerable after a good stir. It was very spicy, with hints of basil flavor and citrus, with maybe a tad of horseradish. Garnished with cucumbers, which I ignored, it was a decent drink, but it wasn’t as super out of the ordinary as I was expecting.

As a whole, from the internet lists of “best of Boston” and the 2 drinks I had, the city can surely step up their game. I was expecting all kinds of crazy offerings featuring lobster, or other seafood, for garnishes. J’s sister had another recommendation for a place, with a “menu” of vodkas, mixes, and garnishes to choose from that perhaps would have been a better choice but it was just too far away for our purposes this time. Guess we’ll have to visit again!

William Ks

I don’t feel that I have that much going on in life, but somehow I found myself too busy to be able to write up this bloody mary review from last week at William K’s in the Erie Basin Marina. Perhaps it’s the need to pick and do something with the bushels and bushels of peppers and tomatoes I’ve got growing in the garden. I’m drowning!

Last weekend was the Buffalo Maritime Festival at Canalside and the adjacent Naval Park, which was visited by the World’s Largest Rubber Duck! While it created a perfect storm of traffic in the area, I thought it was a good time to multi task and see the duck, and get some brunch and a bloody (and J could play pokemon).

The World's Largest Rubber Duck in Buffalo NY!

The World’s Largest Rubber Duck in Buffalo NY!

William K’s seems to be a recent addition to the Buffalo restaurant scene, and I had seen a posting from a brunch there on instagram a few months ago. Located in the Erie Basin Marina, it’s a bit farther down the point than we usually go, so we didn’t exactly know where it was when we first heard of it. The restaurant is right on the water, past Templeton Landing, at the point where the river meets the lake, with a perfect view of the newly re-lit light house.

The view!

The view!

William K’s offered a house bloody and a spicy bloody, which was my choice. Served in a pint glass for $8, it definitely had a good deal of spice. You could detect the addition of Frank’s hot sauce, but I don’t believe it was the only thing contributing to the spiciness. It was fairly thick, with visible pepper in the mix. Garnished with a lemon, lime and olive it was a very drinkable offering, though not particularly unique.

William K's bloody

William K’s bloody

J ordered his standard choice, of eggs, bacon and potato, while I went on a limb and tried the blueberry french toast (with ice cream on top!). If you were going for brunch at the harbor, looking at William K’s versus Templeton Landing, I’d definitely go with William K’s.

Your standard olive, lime and lemon garnish.

Your standard olive, lime and lemon garnish.

We’re going on vacation soon, spending a few days in Boston and a few in the Adirondacks. Hopefully I can find some good drinks to try!

Templeton Landing fails again

In case you missed it, or live under a rock, last week this little game based on a very obscure Japanese cartoon called Pokemon came out. And the internet exploded. LOL

I know nothing about Pokemon, as I was a bit older than the intended audience at the time it hit big in the United States. But I couldn’t help but get sucked into the game. It’s such a great concept!! You’re getting people out and about, including people that might not normally be super active. It’s active, it’s social, it leads you to discover things about your city that you’ve never noticed before. I love it. It’s made me get out of bed and walk 7 miles the last 3 days, where normally I sit on my phone in bed playing random games for hours, before moving the lazy party to the couch for the rest of the afternoon until I have to go to work. So kudos to Pokemon Go.

J couldn’t help but get sucked in as well, getting to level 12 in a little more than a day, so when I suggested brunch and a Pokemon date on Sunday, he was all for it. Plus, trying Templeton Landing again would take us to the Erie Basin Marina and Canalside, which is a Pokemon orgy.

Unlike last time, it was actually brunch at Templeton Landing this time, and we were able to order breakfast foods, with the advertised bottomless mimosa and colossal bloody mary.

I don't even care how terrible this photo is, I was just so mad this was all I got.

I don’t even care how terrible this photo is, I was just so mad this was all I got.

Someone please tell me what is colossal about that drink? What happened to the drinks full of fantastic fun garnishes from last year?? That is what I want! THAT is “colossal”! Instead I got a $10 bloody in a pint glass, with a few olives and citrus garnish. Ugh. Basically it was the same drink I got the first time we were there, full of thick tomato juice and Frank’s hot sauce. As soon as our waitress put the drink in front of me, I was epically let down. Ugh. It really ruined my time for a while. I definitely never need to go back.

At least the koi pond in front of Templeton was a Pokestop we could hit up every 5 minutes.

Landing at the Black Sheep

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.”

Buffalo Dandy's Templeton Landing bloody mary, off a create your own cart....

Buffalo Dandy’s Templeton Landing bloody mary, off a create your own cart….

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.

Not exactly what I was looking for

Not exactly what I was looking for

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!

Kimchi Bloody Mary at The Black Sheep

Kimchi Bloody Mary at The Black Sheep

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:

Bottled Caesars!?!?

Bottled Caesars!?!?

I’m a little scared, and a little intrigued.

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