Posts Tagged ‘buffalo’

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

Taste of Siam

As I said in my last post, we were recently on vacation and for most of our 9 days off we stayed in the Buffalo area. We are *supposed* to be saving up for our big trip in the fall – IRELAND!! I have been to England several times, but never to Ireland, and this will be J’s first trip ever overseas!

I know what you must be thinking: “If it rains during every vacation that you take, why on Earth would you choose to go to someplace where you KNOW it’ll rain every day?!” This is why: In Europe I have amazingly good luck with the weather. Over 4 trips to England, I’ve spent about a month in the London area, and I can only remember 4 days where it rained, and when it did, it didn’t rain all day. That’s less rain than our trip TO THE DESERT 2 years ago, which was only a week long! In my other trips to the European main land, there was one day where it snowed a few flakes in Brussels, and one day it rained in Kiev, and that’s it! So I’m confident we are going to have amazing weather, and our road trips to the Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher will be full of spectacular lighting for photos, and we won’t be miserable. However, I’m not confident enough to leave the umbrella at home. ­čÖé

Anyway! We started our stay-cation with dinner at Taste of Siam. I was in the mood for Thai food, and they offer some other stir fry dishes that appealed to J, since he’s not a huge Thai fan, so it seemed like a good choice. I hadn’t been there before, but their social media photos had been looking delicious so I wanted to try a new place. I wasn’t expecting a bloody mary to be on the menu, but they had a series of Sake cocktails, including the Muay Thai Kick.

Muay Thai Kick!

Served in a Tom Collins glass, this cocktail, along with their others, was $5!!!! Score! I’ve gotten so used to paying $10+ for a bloody that this was super refreshing. Bartender Pheany prepared it with Sake, tomato juice, sriracha, Worcestershire, and lemon juice and it was sweet and wine like, from the Sake. Garnished with a salt and cayenne pepper rim, with a Thai pepper floating on top, it was super, super spicy.

It’ll kick you!

It was tasty but almost too sweet from the Sake. It could stand to be cut with something, but since I’m no cook/bartender I’m not sure what – fish sauce? Like Saigon Bangkok used in theirs, maybe? Some people might like the sweet taste, and I wouldn’t mind it, if it just hadn’t been so much. That said, I would definitely drink it again, especially for $5! Plus, the meal was fantastic and just what I wanted.

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!

Angelica Tea Room

Once upon a time in Buffalo, there were goth bars. The old school Continental closed, but Club Diablo filled that void, and I loved it. It was dark, had drinks with fun names like Jim Jones Kool-aid, played music I loved, and was full of the type of people I want to hang out with. I felt comfortable and accepted there, even though no one would go out of their way to call me “a goth”. And then it too closed, leaving a giant platform boot sized hole in “the scene”.

The former Club Diablo space remained empty for years. At one point it appeared to be set to reopen as Impact ultra lounge, but I don’t know if it ever did. Then a new sign appeared on the building – Angelica Tea Room. With no other information, one could only assume it was, indeed, going to be a tea room. Maybe some breakfast, or a lunch spot for downtown employees. I was game, I like tea. But surprise! It’s a bar!

Angelica Tea Room

The long narrow bar has been completely redone, and it leaves no trace of the old Diablo. From black walls to white, from devil and flame decorations to tropical wallpaper and fancy glassware. It feels classy, it feels English.

What is this brightness?!

Upon sitting down we were brought tea cups of complimentary house punch. While it is a bar, with a menu full of classic drinks (but no descriptions…our waitress was happy to explain what they all were, but I bet they will get tired of that eventually), they do actually have tea, and they offer a selection of tea sandwiches and snacks. I didn’t really look at the menu in detail, as J immediately noticed they had a Bloody Mary so my decision was already made.

Angelica Bloody Mary

Isn’t that pretty? The $10 cocktail featured a house made mix by Rachel (owner? manager?), who was sitting next to us at the bar, mixed up by bartender Jason. Garnished with basil, a cocktail onion, olive and piped cucumber, it had a good, fresh, tomato-y taste. It was very, very spicy, without any vinegar-y taste and Rachel asked if I thought it was too much. Not for me, but perhaps for some other weaklings it would be. It was easy to drink, with no real standout flavor – like horseradish, or pickle juice – to take away from the base of the cocktail. Seeing the cucumber, I was initially afraid the drink would taste of cukes, but thankfully it didn’t. And of course, if you want it to, you can always eat the garnish.

I was told that it’s called “piped cucumber”.

As a whole, I liked Angelica Tea Room. It had a good atmosphere with music that wasn’t overbearing, in a style I don’t hate (which, of course, could change). It felt comfortable, and I’d definitely return to explore more of the menu. J didn’t seem sold on it, but I’m not sure why. It’s classy and a little fancy, definitely not a dive bar, and different from all the other craft cocktail bars in the area. Different is good!

The bar!

One thing to note before you go, they don’t want their bar to be over crowded, so if there are no seats at the bar, you’ll have to wait. There are 2 top tables along the long side, and some larger tables in the back, but that’s it. We scored the last 2 seats at the bar and it was nice not to have people reaching over us the whole time ordering drinks, or bumping into me and invading my personal space. But some may find that having to wait for a seat to open up to be allowed in to be strange and off-putting. Personally, I liked it, and perhaps that’s why I found it to be comfortable.

Dinosaur BBQ

For years and years the people of New York have raved about Dinosaur BBQ. Visitors to the cities along the interstate brought stories of the wonderful amazing Dinosaur BBQ, yet Buffalo, NY’s 2nd largest city, did not have a Dino. To experience the Dino, you had to get on the road, and stop at the closest Dino location in Rochester. People made special detours to eat at a Dino. The Dinosaur BBQ myth became as big as actual dinosaurs!

I like BBQ but I’ve decided it’s not my favourite, and I am not a good judge of what is or isn’t “good BBQ”. I’ve had Dino in Rochester, yeah, it’s good, I guess. It’s BBQ! To me it’s all the same. So when Buffalo did finally get a Dinosaur BBQ location in 2014, I was not one of the crazy people lining up for hours to get that in my belly. Since opening, I have gone a few times, most recently for a Geeks Who Drink trivia night.

Buffalo’s Dino opened in the theater district, in a former Universal Pictures vault, where they stored films. The restaurant is decorated rustically, but also with an homage to the building’s former use, with movie posters and props. The biggest disappointment about Dinosaur BBQ is that they don’t serve you a giant rack of ribs while you wait in your foot powered, stone car.

But I digress! We had already eaten dinner, so we only had drinks while we played trivia, and of course I went for their Bloody Mary.

*Velociraptor screech*…*T-rex roar*

The drink is served in a smaller glass, with a smoky spiced rim, and your standard lemon and olive garnish. The rim was really the best part of this pretty standard bloody. Spiced with Frank’s hot sauce, it had the vinegar taste you’d expect, plus maybe a little pickle juice as well. There wasn’t anything really special about it, so I added their Wango Tango habanero BBQ sauce.

Like most of the Bloodies I’ve had at BBQ restaurants I always expect something more, so they all end up slightly disappointing. There wasn’t anything wrong with the drink, it just doesn’t go far enough. Stick a rib in there (I don’t even like ribs!), or add your BBQ sauce, or other smoky additions. Skewer up some other BBQ meats, bacon, anything to set it apart from your plain old Bloody Mary.

Ah well. 14 teams were playing that night, the 2 of us reached as high as 6th before 2 disastrous final rounds, and finished 11th. Boo!! J did win a bonus question free drink though! Hurrah!

Hot Mama’s Canteen

Several years ago when I started drinking Bloodies, I had my first at Essex Street Pub from Roxy, and it was at the top of my list throughout all the drinks I had in Las Vegas in those early days. My 2nd Buffalo Bloody came from Val at Rohall’s Corner. When I ordered my drink, she asked, what kind would you like?

Whaaaaaaaa? Different kinds? She told me how she could make it fruitier, or spicier, or meatier….I can no longer remember my choice, probably spicier, but all I know is that it came close to taking the #1 spot on the list, or at least sharing it. It was delicious. She used Headstone Heat hot sauce, which she also makes and bottles for sale. But then Val left Rohall’s to open up her own bar and restaurant – Hot Mama’s Canteen. Sweet! The only problem, Val is never bar tending anymore, so no more of her amazing Bloodies.

I’ve been to Hot Mama’s many times since they opened, always at night, and they had a huuuuge drink menu, from martinis, to hot drinks, and a whole page of different kinds of Bloodies. However I was never in the mood for one, plus I was scared because it wasn’t Val behind the pine.

We paid Hot Mama a visit this week, and they shrunk their cocktail menu down to one page, but they still include one Bloody type drink: The Deniro.

I must pause to mention, these may be the worst photos I’ve ever taken. I am embarrassed to have to post them. It is seriously dark inside, and trying to use my little led “flash” didn’t help. Ugh. The worst. But here it is.

Terrible photo, tasty drink!

Julia C was behind the bar, and I decided to give her a chance. The Deniro features bourbon instead of the usual vodka, with a splash of beef stock, and tomato juice. For $10 it features a capicola wrapped fire pickle, and you can add a 2nd garnish for an extra $2. I am no bourbon fan, despite J trying to turn me into one, but it lends a sweetness to the drink that is normally lacking. It has a light tomato taste, since it’s not juice heavy, and it finishes with a nice meaty aftertaste. It was a stroonng tasting drink, and that fire pickle was NO JOKE. I love spice, and it was delicious, but it definitely would be far too spicy for many.

Capicola wrapped Fire Pickle

It really was a different drink from your “classic” Bloody Mary, so it wouldn’t be fair to Julia to compare it to one of Val’s legendary cocktails. It was tasty and easy to drink. I would imagine if you want a more traditional Bloody, you could still order one despite there no longer being a full page Bloody menu. Hot Mama’s was having a Trivia Brunch for a while, I’m not sure if they still are, but it’s on my list to get to one day.

Photos from the fest

Better late than never!

Frankie Primo’s +39

It was Local Restaurant Week this week, so we had dinner at Bacchus, which we hadn’t been to in about 5 years, and we noticed Frankie Primo’s +39 across the street and realized we had never been there. I’m not even sure how long it’s been open. Having just eaten dinner, we headed over to have a few drinks.

We weren’t sure if they would serve their Bloody Mary on non-brunch days, but bartender Alycia C said no problem and whipped one up for me.

Bad photo of a good bloody

Using a house made mix, they jazz it up with Diavolo sauce from ETS (Elmwood Taco and Subs), olive juice, and cherry pepper olive juice. Garnished with lemon, lime and 3 blue cheese stuffed olives, I re-discovered that I still hate blue cheese, and olives. Ha!

Olives, bleeeeeh!

But the bloody itself, pretty pretty good! It had the perfect thickness, not too watery, not too thick and chewy. The ETS sauce and cherry pepper olive juice gave it a good spice level, without being overwhelming and it wasn’t full of vinegar. The tomato base had a good taste, but maybe a bit salty from all of the olive brine.

It was tasty, and I would definitely drink it again, some time in the future when we venture there for a meal. Their menu looks great, and they have a very nice looking patio for warm weather. Cheers!

The 2nd Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest!

After a successful first outing, Step Out Buffalo brought back the Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest for a 2nd year, this time moving from Shea’s Theater to Buffalo Riverworks. The concept was the same, 10 Buffalo bars prepare their best Bloody Mary for a thirsty crowd.

Once again, the event sold out in only a few days, and Jeff was left without a ticket. I managed to find one for him a few days before so J, Jeff and I headed out to try them all (even J decided to try them, to palate train.)

Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest 2.0

It was a nice day out, but it is still winter in Buffalo, and having to park in an overflow lot down the street, that meant coats. So suggestion #1 to Step Out Buffalo for any future winter events of any kind is: COAT CHECK! It forced everyone to make their way through an already crowded space in bulky coats and jackets, and it got hot and uncomfortable after a very short time inside.

But on to the drinks! The samples were smaller this year, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as by the end of the event last time, I got a bit tired of bloodies (sacrilege!) Tommyrotter Distillery provided the vodka again this year, and 10 different bars were in attendance, which was nice to see. My reviews will be pretty short again.

1. The Grange
Ingredients – Tomato, beet, carrot, celery, saline, horseradish, lemon, Worcestershire, tobacco, jalapeno.
Garnish – watermelon radish, pickle, pastrami

I wonder how long it took them to notice there was “tobacco” in the drink! haha!

With a spice rim, and a garnish of pickled jalapeno, meat chunk (actually pastrami), and sliced beet (actually watermelon radish), the drink had a distinct beet-y taste with a hint of smoke from the meat chunk. It was a tad salty, but a decent offering.

The Grange – Beet Box Bloody

2. Deep South Taco
Ingredients – Tomato juice, black pepper, celery salt, horseradish, Frank’s hot sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and lime juice, olive brine
Garnish – mini beef and weck taco, (savory churro bites)

Deep South Taco (I’m sorry these photos suck)

Deep South Taco had the best garnish of the day, with their savory churro bites, sprinkled with chili powder, and a beef on weck mini taco. I was glad to see most of the bars stepped up their garnish game this year. The drink was heavy on the horseradish flavor, and was quite good. It was very different (and better) than their bloody I had at the restaurant.

Wikipedia: A beef on weck (also known as beef on wick) is a sandwich found primarily in Western New York. It is made with roast beef on a kummelweck roll. The meat on the sandwich is traditionally served rare, thin cut, with the top bun getting a dip au jus and spread with horseradish.

Deep South Taco – Buffalo Traditional

3. Rusty Nickel Brewing
Ingredients – House Bloody Mary mix, Ms. Brown’s London Porter
Garnish – pepperoncini, pimento stuffed Queen olive, sweet gherkin pickle, pepperoni, candied bacon, Wisconsin cheddar.┬á

Rusty Nickel had great signage

I grabbed the drink, and my hands were immediately sticky, apparently from the mango habanero┬ápuree, but I didn’t taste it since I didn’t quite know what it was, and I try not to lick random sticky things. I’m not a huge mango fan, so it was good that there wasn’t overwhelming mango taste to this sample, but it did make it quite sweet. Not bad, but not my style for a Bloody. 2nd best garnish of the day.

Rusty Nickel Brewing – Mango Mary Hop Trot (we lost our sweet table spot, and had to resort to standing at the stage)

4. Lloyd Taco Factory/Truck
Ingredients – Vine ripened tomatoes 3 ways: roasted, pickled and fresh, red and green bell pepper, serrano chili, carrot, tomatillo, Lloyd rocket sauce spice blend
Garnish: pickled cherry tomato and onion pearl, (cilantro)

Nice day for a….RED WEDDING

With the cilantro garnish, I admit I was scared, as I am one of those genetic freaks who hate cilantro because it tastes like soap. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no cilantro taste in the drink, but a strong onion flavor instead. It was reminiscent of salsa, with good spice, and it tasted super fresh. It may have been my favorite of the day. Jeff hated it.

Lloyd’s Red Wedding

5. Sear
Ingredients – Fire roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper
Garnish – house-made salsa verde with parsley, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, salt and chorizo sausage


Sear had someone live blow-torching their chorizo sausage garnish – badass! The drink wasn’t equally badass though. It had a decent smoky taste, but it was fairly thick from using mass produced tomato juice, and the addition of what I thought was pesto, but apparently was salsa verde, gave it a flavor that was too much like pasta sauce. It was a tad oily from the garnish, so I didn’t want to finish it all. The chorizo was good though!

The SEARious Bloody Mary

6. Winfields Pub
Ingredients – Fresh squeezed tomato, Winfield’s bloody mary spices, house mango shrub, Krista’s Jerkalicious sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce
Garnish – Pickled beets, pickled mustard seed, mint

Winfield’s Pub

Another bloody with mango, this drink was, again, a sweet take on a typically savory drink. Watching them put the drink together, I thought there was cranberry jelly and shredded carrots in it, but apparently it was mango shrub, and pickled beets? I swear it was carrot. It had a good tomato flavor, but it wasn’t for me.

No photo because it was very hard to move around upstairs at this point, and the drink wasn’t particularly visually interesting.

7. Billy Club
Ingredients – Housemade roasted tomato juice, lemon and lime juice, housemade pickled jalapeno brine, Lea & Perrins, pepper, celery salt, Frank’s hot sauce
Garnish – Lemon, housemade pickle

Billy Club

We recently had dinner at Billy Club, and it’s one of the restaurants that I’d call….hipster pretentious. Not to say it wasn’t good, but it is a restaurant that serves lots of small plates, and in the spring will surely offer ramps – WHICH ARE NOT A MEAL – and it really bugs me. Ahem, I’m sorry, long story*. Ok I’m back now. Billy Club ran out of garnishes by the time we got upstairs to give them a try, but by the sound of it, we didn’t miss that much. The drink was very pepper-y and vinegar-y. It wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special.

A 2-fer – Billy Club “Pour Choices” on the left and Colter Bay “What the Weck” on the right

8. Colter Bay
Ingredients – Tomato, olive and pickle juice, beef consumet, horseradish, mustard, Worcestershire, caraway, celery salt, Tabasco, salt and pepper
Garnish – Crouton, horseradish pickle

Colter Bay

The What the Weck bloody had a fennel and salt rim, the ingredients in “weck”, which was a great addition to this drink. It had a super strong horseradish flavor, but it had a weird after taste, maybe the beef consumet? It had too much debris though, it would have been better with a bit less.

9. Pasion
Ingredients – Tomato juice, cucumbers, red pepper, basil, celery salt, Worcestershire, lime, pineapple red wine vinegar, green tabasco, classic tabasco, tapatio, horseradish, salt and pepper, jalapeno, bitters
Garnish – Mini cubanos


Pasion is probably my favorite restaurant in Buffalo right now. It’s a Latin American restaurant, and when we go there, we order so many small plates, we never end up wanting our entree. By the time we were ready to try their bloody, they had a crazy crowd. I doubled up on the above 2, while Jeff waited to get his and J’s sample from Pasion. They had gotten theirs by the time I joined the crowd, and they both said it was worth the wait – they thought it was the best. I was excited! The mini cubano slider was delicious. But with all that build up, the drink ended up being a let down for me. I couldn’t tell why, but seeing the ingredients list, it was probably the evil cucumber. It was a bit fruity, with some spice and a spice rim. It grew on me, the more I drank, but I was sad to conclude that it wasn’t my favorite.

La Sangre de Pasion

10. Sophia’s
Ingredients – Vegetable juice, Frank’s hot sauce, A1 sauce, Worcestershire, olive brine, celery salt, black pepper
Garnish – Lemon, celery, olive, pepperoncini, tabasco (?) onions, bacon

Do you really think they had tobacco onions?

Sophia’s was another one that had a big crowd, so we skipped it to try upstairs, and came back to it at the end. By the time we did so, they were out of bacon. Booo! With a spiced rim, and pretty standard garnishes, Sophia’s was the most classic drink at the Fest. Had we known, we should have started with this, and judged all the variations after, especially J since he was palate training. It was very tomato-y and had a very strong celery flavor.

Sammy’s Simple Bloody Mary

If you got tired of drinking (ha!) this year’s fest featured some fun distractions. 2 local craft party companies were set up – Studio Hue and Buffalo Collective – offering quick crafts for $5: DIY flasks and custom pint glasses respectively. If crafting wasn’t your thing, SPACE brought several pinball machines, all with free plays, and Fabubus mobile spa was set up outside. There were snack tables set up with cheese and fruit, food available for purchase from Riverworks, and a couple vendors including ADK Blood Mary Tonic, which we picked up to review at a later date.

There was no panel of judges this year – so I didn’t get to be one. Instead they opted for public voting on the Tattle app. Unfortunately, none of us could get it to acknowledge that we were, indeed, at the Fest, so we were unable to vote. My votes would have been Lloyd for best, Deep South Taco for best garnish and Rusty Nickel Brewing for most unique. The actual winners were Sophia’s for best, and Deep South Taco for best garnish and most unique.

With the fest held in a larger location, that also allowed for a larger crowd. We intended to go a little later, in hopes to avoid having to wait in long lines for our samples, as last year it thinned out a bit after the first hour. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and we were often stuck in immovable crowds, unable to get a sample, and unable to get to a different restaurant. Riverworks is oddly shaped, so while they tried to put the restaurants back to back to provide crowd movement, it didn’t quite work out. I don’t have a suggestion to make it better, though, either. We skipped Sophia’s our first time around the main floor and headed up stairs because by the looks of the balcony railing, it looked to be empty. Wrong. Upstairs it was worse, as it was an even smaller space, with the same number of restaurants set up – plus the photo “booth” and 2 craft areas (and VIP. Yes, there was a VIP area, but we did not choose that route this time. I’m not sure it would be beneficial, as you still have to wait in long lines to get your samples, and then get back upstairs to a more open area to sample in peace). The crowd didn’t thin out until about 3:30, and by then many of the restaurants had run out of garnishes, and you wouldn’t be getting their best.

All that said, we still had a great time, and enjoyed all the different offerings. By the end, we were a little bloody mary-ed out, so we finished the afternoon with mimosas!

I have more photos from the fest to share, but I’ve been writing this for 2 hours, and I need to get ready for pub trivia!

J, me, and Jeff – Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest 2017

*When we were in NYC for Hedwig and the Angry Inch and got stuck an extra night due to our flight being canceled our group had dinner at a restaurant in Brooklyn. There were 7 of us I believe, and we ordered the entire menu – mainly small plates, one of them being ramps. I didn’t know what ramps were at the time, but I quickly found out, they are not food. A plate with 5 pieces of, essentially, grass, is not a meal! It’s a garnish! It’s what you add to real food to season it! It makes me so angry! The other small plates were at least real food, but no where near enough to feed 7 people satisfactorily.

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