The Bloody Mary Club: Bespoke Kitchen

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The Bloody Mary Club hit up Bespoke Kitchen a while ago, because we had to see the famous Mary’s Walk of Shame with our own eyes. Richa spotted a picture of it on Instagram and we just *knew* we had to check it out for ourselves.

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Mary’s Walk of Shame is a whopper of a cocktail and it was the absolute highlight of our meal. It’s a bloody mary topped with grilled cheese, maple bacon, pastrami, sausage, pork belly & pickles. The glass has a spicy salt rim.

The restaurant itself is very modern but in a charming way, not a clinical way. We made reservations but the place wasn’t very crowded, so I’m not sure if it was necessary. We ordered the biscuit bites (with fried chicken and gravy, naturally), shrimp & grits, short rib benedict, and Angie’s croast (which is a croissant french toast hybrid). Bespoke Kitchen is all about locally sourced ingredients and “New York style” food. Our food was okay, but the Bloody Mary was the highlight of the meal. Afterall, if I really wanted to eat a good shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy, I’d be looking for an actual soul food restaurant, not a hip West Village “New York style” restaurant.

But honestly, the Mary’s Walk of Shame is worth a trip to Bespoke Kitchen on its own. It was practically a meal in itself. We were so full from the process of drinking the first one that we didn’t have room for a second drink – that’s almost blasphemous as far as Saturday brunches are concerned! We all agreed that next time we would hit up Bespoke Kitchen for a cocktail before going somewhere else for brunch.

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Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary:
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Perfectly slurp-able
Spice: Not too salty – the toppings add all the salt you could want
Fixin’s: Grilled cheese, maple bacon, pastrami, sausage, pork belly, pickles & a salted spice rim
Overall Rating:  4.8 out of 5

Bespoke Kitchen is located at615 1/2 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014. http://www.thebespokekitchen.com/

The Bloody Mary Club: The East Pole Kitchen & Bar

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Most recently, the Bloody Mary Club went to The East Pole for brunch! New York weather has been a little indecisive this month, but the morning of brunch was lovely and we snagged a great table outdoors. The East Pole is a popular after-work destination for cocktails, so I was eager to try not one, but two Bloody Marys!

Left to Right: Peach Bellini, Spicy Maria, Bloody Mary

I got the Bloody Mary, which was vodka, “market tomato juice” and fresh horseradish, garnished with celery and an olive. It definitely tasted like fresh tomato juice, and it was a light and refreshing take on a Bloody Mary. Most of the items on East Pole’s menu were just like this – light, fresh, and well seasoned. We started with a pastry basket followed by Eggs Florentine, Avocado Toast topped with soft boiled eggs and hot sauce, and a cheeseburger with a side of “duck fat chips”which were really savory potato wedges. The Eggs Florentine was definitely my favorite. I’d skip the pastry basket and avocado toast next time and try something else.

Counter Clockwise: Eggs Florentine, Avocado Toast, The East Pole Cheeseburger

Richa got the Spicy Maria so we could  try both. This had a jalapeno-infused tequila mixed with the same tomato juice. This one had a weird aftertaste that we couldn’t quite put our finger on. There wasn’t much of a kick at all – we could hardly taste the jalapeno – and we were a little disappointed. Richa said she would definitely stick with the Bloody Mary next time. Iris’s Peach Bellini was good, but I would say it was pretty standard – not a bad choice, but nothing to write home about. Overall, I would say it was a pretty successful brunch – great weather, a beautiful venue, fresh and filling food that didn’t leave us groggy, and lovely company! We’ll definitely be back to try a different menu sometime!

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Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary:
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Pretty standard – just juice, no pulp or surprises
Spice: Not spicy or too salty, a very fresh and light drink
Fixin’s: Horseradish, Celery, Olive
Overall Rating:  4 out of 5

Spicy Maria:
Liquor Base: Jalapeno-Infused Tequila
Viscosity/Texture: Again, pretty standard – just juice, no pulp or surprises
Spice: Disappointingly bland
Fixin’s: Celery, Olive
Overall Rating:  1.5 out of 5

The East Pole Kitchen is located at 133 E. 65th Street, New York, NY 10065. It’s tucked away in a little alcove, so keep your eyes out or you might walk past it twice like I did! http://www.theeastpolenyc.com/

The Bloody Mary Club: PJ Clarke’s

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P.J. Clarke’s is a New York staple (although according to their website, there are also now locations in Washington, DC and Brazil!) with dark wood and red checked tablecloths. They’re renowned for their burgers and Bloody Marys. Any New York Bloody Mary list would be incomplete without a visit to P.J. Clarke’s, so I headed over to the one at Lincoln Center with some classmates for a late night snack last week. Who says Bloody Marys are only for brunch? In my book, it’s never too late for one.

IMG_2740The Original Clarke’s Bar Bloody Mary comes with olives, a wedge of lemon, lime, and a stalk of celery. The drink is very salty, so you’ll need a few glasses of water while you’re drinking. The glass is rimmed with some sort of vinegar & sugary syrup – this was the highlight of the drink. I would highly recommend ditching the straw to get the full experience. I would say this variation is a classic; you’ll never be disappointed because you’ll get a consistent drink every time. However, half the fun is trying new interpretations! If you’ve never had a Bloody Mary before, I think this is a good place to start to get a strong foundation. I would give this a solid 3/5, a perfect baseline to get acclimated to the world of Bloody Marys.

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Cheat Sheet:

Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Thin, but not watery
Spice: More salty than anything else, definitely not spicy
Fixin’s: Celery, Lemon & Lime Wedge, Vinegar-Sugar Rim
Overall Rating:  3 out of 5

The Lincoln Square P.J. Clarke’s is located at 44 West 63rd Street, New York, NY 10023 http://www.pjclarkes.com/lincoln-square/

 

The Bloody Mary Club: Delicatessen

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Delicatessen, known for its take on “International Comfort Food”, is located in the Lower East Side. Because they don’t take reservations for brunch, we went at 10:30am right as the restaurant was opening. (Shout out to Richa for showing up first two months in a row!) The decor is modern and sleek, and I think it would be a great place to people watch in the summer when all of the glass walls are open onto the sidewalk.

The Bloody Mary at Delicatessen is known as the “Stacked Mary,” and it is definitely stacked. There’s celery, olives, cucumber, pickled vegetables, a lemon wedge, a shrimp, and a bacon salt rimmed glass. This is the kind of Bloody Mary that I envision people drink while tailgating at football games and create at those make-your-own Bloody Mary bars that I keep hearing about.

The Stacked Mary

The vodka and Bloody Mary mixture was smooth, savory, and well seasoned. I happily crunched on the celery while waiting for our food to come out, and I dunked the shrimp into the drink halfway through to give it some flavor. While I didn’t eat the olives, I loved the “stacked” presentation of the drink and would have been disappointed if there were no olives.

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The Bloody Mary Club: Jacob’s Pickles

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Richa, Iris, and I met up for a Bloody Mary brunch for the first time since July! It’s been awfully hard for us to find time when everyone’s able to make it, but we decided what better time to get back on track than the New Year? Jacob’s Pickles has been on our list of places to go to for a very long time, because Iris has never been! It’s an Upper West Side staple of Southern inspired food – fried chicken, biscuits, grits, and of course, Bloody Marys! We showed up at 11:30 and there was already a two hour wait! It’s definitely worth the wait at least once, so we put our names down, and went to a coffee shop across the street to caffeinate and catch up. Jacob’s Pickles will text you when your table is ready.Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 11.10.47 PM

This is the Holy Grail of Bloody Marys. Just about everyone at the restaurant was ordering this, which Jacob’s Pickles calls the Bloody B.L.T. In it is Tito’s Vodka, thick cut bacon, a jalapeno pickled egg, and a leaf of lettuce. My advice is to eat the egg first, drop the bacon into the mason jar, and guzzle away from there! Iris agreed and says, “It’s packed with spices and easy on the eyes” which is true, this is one very attractive drink! The drink has just the right amount of Vodka, spice, and pulp. It’s not an extremely spicy drink, instead it’s a quite refreshing complement to the food. This is about as good as it gets, so I think it is officially the best Bloody Mary on our list!

If you’re not a Bloody Mary fan, the second most popular drink seems to be the Jam Jar, which is house-infused strawberry gin, lemonade, and slices of strawberries. It’s light, refreshing, and just tart enough. IMG_2520.JPG

The food itself was also divine! We got mushroom gravy smothered fried chicken on a biscuit, the honey chicken & pickles biscuit sandwich, fried green tomatoes, and, of course, fried pickles. The food portions were huge, so we weren’t able to finish everything, but trust me, there was nothing left in our mason jars!

If you’re someone with a hearty appetite at 9am, I would recommend trying to get there when it opens to beat the crowd. However, since the portions are pretty large and heavy, I think it’s more afternoon food. It’s perfect if you want to go to the Museum of Natural History first, or if the weather is nice, you could nap in Central Park first.

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Cheat Sheet:

Bloody B.L.T.
Liquor Base: Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Medium thickness, just enough pulp and spices for texture, but not thick enough to require chewing
Spice: Just enough to add flavor
Fixin’s: Bacon, Lettuce, and a Pickled Egg
Overall Rating:  5 out of 5

Jacob’s Pickles is located at 509 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10024. http://jacobspickles.com

 

The Bloody Mary Club: Jack’s Wife Freda

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It’s been a while since I posted about a Bloody Mary! Don’t fret, I still love them, but we have been too busy recently to meet up for brunch. Iris and I finally got it together and met at Jack’s Wife Freda on Carmine Street last weekend. The place is famous for its long wait, so we decided to beat the crowd, so we got there fifteen minutes after it opened, around 8:45. Surprisingly, we weren’t even close to the first people there, but there was no wait at all.

The food was delicious, and the restaurant had a really clean & chic decor. Jack’s Wife Freda is an American-Mediterranean bistro, so we ordered Green Shakshuka, Jack’s Breakfast, and an order of house-cured duck bacon. I had a Bloody Mary, and Iris ordered the Cantaloupe Mimosa.

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Photo Courtesy of Iris’ Instagram – thanks girl!

The Cantaloupe Mimosa was really fresh and subtle. Unfortunately, the Bloody Mary came with all of the right fixin’s but was disappointingly underwhelming. It was a little thin and watery, without any real flavor or kick. It didn’t even taste as good as the ones you make at home with pre-made mix.

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I think the restaurant is definitely worth the trip, but I would stick to coffee and juice.

Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary

Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Thin and watery
Spice: Not spicy at all
Fixin’s: Olives, Lemon, Lime & Celery
Overall Rating: 2  out of 5

Jack’s Wife Freda has two locations. The one we went to was located at 50 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014. http://www.jackswifefreda.com/

The Bloody Mary Club: Boulud Sud

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This month, we took on a New York staple – Daniel Boulud’s Boulud Sud. Located on a quiet street between Broadway and Central Park West, the entrance to the restaurant is quaint and unassuming. In fact, Iris had trouble finding it! The decor inside is very traditional and old-school. The service was awful, but the food and drinks were both delicious. Iris and I quickly ordered drinks while we waited for Richa to show up (only 30 minutes late this time!) Boulud Sud is very sneaky, because there is no Bloody Mary on their menu, so you have to ask for it specifically.

That makes today’s Bloody Mary post especially tricky, because without a menu to read from, we still have no idea what the name of this drink is or how the restaurant would describe it. All that I have to go off are my own tastebuds and what I could find on the Internet. Boulud Sud serves a “Provençal-style Mediterranean cuisine” and has created a Mediterranean-inspired Bloody Mary as well. There are thin strips of fresh basil in the drink, so be prepared to slurp and chew a little of your drink. I did not look like a lady, but what’s a little slurping among friends, right? The drink has a hint of curry instead of the traditional worcestershire and tabasco. Richa and I both really liked it. Iris usually doesn’t like curry, but even she agreed that the drink was delicious and not too overpowering. I personally would have liked a little more kick, whether it was a little spice or a little more curry. Until I can find out what this drink is called, I’ll refer to it as the Curry Mary.

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Can you see the little slivers of basil peeking out at you?

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The Bloody Mary Club – Cookshop NYC

The Bloody Mary Club

Richa and I went to Cookshop for a late brunch after we caught a matinee of Guards at the Taj (you have two more weeks to go see it – go!) Cookshop is operated by Marc Meyer, who runs two other restaurants in New York. The decor was lovely inside, very light and airy. It was raining, and a breeze came in through the front door. Neither of us had been before, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. The service was terrible, but the food was great. But let me tell you about the Bloody Marys – winner winner chicken dinner!

Left to Right: BLT Mary, Pickled Mary

Cookshop had five Bloody Marys on the menu. (Their menu online is outdated, be warned!) I ordered the Pickled Mary, which was vodka, pickle + tomato juice, topped with a pickle, pickled red onions, olives, lemon, and celery. There was a nice smoky salt rim. The pickle, tomato, and lemon combination is very acidic, but served as a nice counterbalance to the creaminess of eggs, cheese, and grits.

Richa ordered the BLT Mary – bacon infused vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix, topped with bacon, lettuce, and olives. The vodka was insanely smoky and bacon-y, and the BLT Mary was very spicy. Richa loves drinks with a bit of heat, so it was the perfect choice for her. Too bad there was a fly in her first drink! If the waitress had been attentive enough, I would have ordered a BLT Mary as my second drink. Alas, the waitress knew what was better for me and thought one drink was enough.

The drinks were a little watery and thin for our tastes, but the flavor was amazing. After we ate, Richa and I reminisced on all of the Ghosts of Marys Past, and we crowned the Cookshop Bloody Mary as our new favorite. The reign of the abck mary is over!

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Cheat Sheet:

Pickled Mary
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: A little watery
Spice: Not so much spicy as nicely acidic and vinegary
Fixin’s: Celery, pickles, pickled onions, olives, and a lemon wedge
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

BLT Mary
Liquor Base: Bacon Infused Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: A little watery
Spice: Absolutely amazing – not for the faint of heart
Fixin’s: Bacon, lettuce, olives
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Cookshop is located at 156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011. http://cookshopny.com/

The Bloody Mary Club: ABC Kitchen

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We had such a good time at ABC Cocina that we decided to hit up ABC Kitchen this month. The two restaurants are right next to each other and are only separated by a glass partition. ABC Kitchen is connected to ABC Home, and it had slightly more traditional decor than ABC Cocina did. Everything was clean and crisp, and we were served with shabby-chic china with rose patterns and mis-matched cutlery. I didn’t take any photos there, mainly because it was early and I forgot my camera as I dashed out the door Saturday morning, so I’ll keep this short and simple.

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(Photo from the ABC Kitchen website)

Richa had train-issues and wasn’t able to join us, but Iris and I happily split the buttermilk cheddar biscuits (deliciously overpriced, and you can ask for a side of jam). Iris’s mushroom and egg pizza was the star of the brunch, while the omelette I ordered was a well-executed but kind of boring entree. The egg was a perfect fluffy yellow, but the potatoes were bland and the presentation was lacking. If I go back, I’d order the pizza in a heartbeat. It’s really heavy and packed though, so I’d recommend splitting this and a lighter entree with a friend.

The Bloody Mary on ABC Kitchen’s menu is called the “abck bloody mary.” It contains housemade lemon vodka and was a little thicker and spicier than its “Sherry Mary” sister at ABC Cocina. It came in an identical glass, but with an added olive. I am not a fan of olives, so I always take them out of the drink, but this was just another sign of the slightly more traditional fare on the ABC Kitchen menu. Just when I thought I found a winner at ABC Cocina, I actually preferred the spicier and less sweet Mary here. The lemon vodka wasn’t as sour and overpowering as Oyamel’s “Bloody Maria”, so I was able to enjoy the drink from beginning to end! We’re going to Jacob’s Pickles next month, so stay tuned!

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Cheat Sheet:
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: A little thicker than at ABC Cocina – almost slightly pulpy, but not quite chewy. I rather liked it!
Spice: It had a very nice heat to it, you may want to take a sip of water in between sips.
Fixin’s: A lemon wedge and an olive
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

ABC Kitchen is located at 35 East 18th Street, New York, NY 10003. www.abchome.com/eat/abc-kitchen/

The Bloody Mary Club: ABC Cocina

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A Brief History of the Bloody Mary Club: Living in New York City is full of pros but there are a few cons – mainly it can take an hour to travel ten miles. Two of my best friends, Richa & Iris (hi guys!), live on the Other Islands – Staten Island and Long Island. While these ladies are such troopers for surviving a long commute to work every day, it is hard for us to find time to see each other. Last year, we committed to a monthly brunch, so that we’d see each other at least once a month.

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The Bloody Mary Club, from Left to Right: Richa, Jessica, Iris

You know it’s true love when your friends are willing to wake up at 9am in order to make it to brunch by noon. (Richa is usually late though.) Richa and Iris love Bloody Marys as much as I do, so our monthly brunches quickly turned into a running tally and ranking of all the different Bloody Marys that we’ve tried together. After half a year, I’ve finally decided to get it together and start documenting our drinks and our opinions. We all like our drinks slightly differently, so we often end up picking very different things. No complaints here, it makes it possible to try a bunch of cocktails. Onto the drinks!

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IMG_0763For April brunch, we went to Jean-George’s ABC Cocina. This is the newer sister to ABC Kitchen, which is right next door. It is a modern and trendy space that pays a lot of attention to the details. Everything was concrete and reclaimed wood and barnacles (trust me, it looked pretty great) and all in-line with the ABC Home aesthetic. We ordered WAY too much food, but somehow managed to eat it all. The highlights were the crispy fish tacos, the spring pea guacamole, and the churros. Next time I go back, that may be all I order, and no, I won’t be sharing with anyone! However, the pina coladas that we ordered were so disgusting that no one could take more than one sip. I’ve never sent something back before, but we really considered it this time.

The Bloody Mary was called a “Sherry Mary” which was a combination of sherry, tomato juice, mystery spices, and a lemon wedge. I saw a few people putting drops of the famous habanero hot sauce into the drink as well, but I found the Sherry Mary to be a great balance as is. Although I am not a huge fan of sherry, it added just the right amount of sweetness to offset the tart tomato juice. It was a great consistency – a tiny amount of tomato pulp, without feeling like you had to chew your drink (ew!) I got a drink at the bar while I waited for Richa and Iris to show up, and mine was so good that Richa immediately ordered one too! Richa said the Sherry Mary was: “The perfect combination of sherry and tomato; it was slightly spicy and slightly sweet.” Iris added that there was a good portion-size too. Overall, a real crowd-pleaser at our table. We are going to be a little predictable and try ABC Kitchen next month – stay tuned!

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Cheat Sheet:
Liquor Base: Sherry
Viscosity/Texture: The perfect thickness! Jean-Georges knows what he’s doing!
Spice: It was flavorful and spicy enough for me, but adventurous people would probably want an extra splash of habanero sauce.
Fixin’s: A lemon wedge
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ABC Cocina is located at 38 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003. www.abchome.com/eat/abc-cocina/