Category Archives: Food

Bloody Mary, Frasca

We would be lying if we said Frasca in Roscoe Village was our first choice.

What actually happened was, we cabbed and bused it up to endgrain a while back (we’re a bit behind in more ways than one), only to find out it had been shuttered. We’ll never know the magic that is a bloody mary with a cheesy biscuit garnish. Maybe one day Red Lobster will create its own?

But Frasca’s brunch and bloody aren’t second best by any means. This wine and pizza bar brings its Italian genius to brunch.


Do you love the bloody at Dunlay’s on Clark or Dunlay’s on the Square? How about Smoke Daddy? Chances are, you’ll love this one, too. The 4 Star Restaurant Group owns these joints and uses Smoke Daddy’s tasty Smokin Mary Mix for all their bloodies. The result? A well-balanced spicy bloody mary that never lets you down (just don’t order it with cucumber vodka. Trust us). Each restaurant’s bloody varies by garnish. At Frasca, you get a deconstructed caprese salad with cherry tomato, basil, mozzarella ball, plus prosciutto and olive. Add a piece of bacon for one buck extra, if you dare.


Pizza for breakfast? OK! The Breakfast Pizza comes topped with bacon, sausage, cheese and three eggs over easy. Savory and rich, and the crust is perfectly chewy yet crisp. We also had the Italian Farmhouse Breakfast, which is two eggs baked in a crock with speck and tomato sauce which is lapped up and eaten on crusty bread. Why is it that tomato sauce makes everything better?


While we weren’t planning to dine at Frasca, we certainly we’re disappointed. Solid bloody mary. Humble Italian food at its best.

Frasca Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:        3.25

Spicy:      3

Treats:       3.25

Creativity: 3

Overall:      3.125

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Johnny’s Famous BLT Mary, Hash House A Go Go

After the Thrillist article with our picks for the most ridiculously garnished bloody marys, we decided there’s still work to do.

We needed to put our money where are mouths are and check out the rest of the bloodies for ourselves. And that’s how we waded through a drunken sea of green to try Hash House A Go Go on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

As it turns out, Johnny’s Famous BLT Mary isn’t a brunch cocktail. It’s a drinkable brunch appetizer. Crisp, spicy bacon atop lettuce and tomato, accompanied with a piece of white toast and a mayonnaise packet. Oh, and there’s a bloody mary underneath all of that.


You can get distracted and forget the bloody mary tastes pretty good. A well-seasoned tomato base that leans heavily on pickle and horseradish flavors and is complemented by spicy bacon. The issue we had with this bloody is that it’s too literal with the mayonnaise packet. Condiments belong in the bloody not in a packet. And, let’s be real. Isn’t mayonnaise gross on its own?


Hash House A Go Go has more down-to-earth bloodies like this HH Stone Bloody Mary that comes with, you guessed it, Stone Pale Ale. A refreshing, more relaxed bloody mary alternative. Plus, a regular bloody with our old pal vodka.

The theme at this spot, which has locations in other cities like San Diego and Las Vegas, is Twisted Farm food, including Indiana Favorites like meatloaf, fried pork tenderloin, biscuits and gravy and mashed potatoes. All in insanely huge portions. Now, one of us grew up in Southern Indiana and is pretty sure she didn’t eat like this. At least all the time. Prepare to leave very full unless you take half of your meal with you.



The House Hashes were a popular choice at the table with rosemary biscuits being a highlight. Not ordered but marveled were the flapjacks, which were bigger than the plate they arrived on. And if we said we weren’t curious about the pork tenderloin, we’d be lying. Has anyone tried it? We can imagine it tastes a little like home.

We still feel confident that this bloody deserves its spot on our ridiculous garnish list. Everything at Hash House A Go Go was tasty, yet a little over the top.

Johnny’s Famous BLT Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:       3

Spicy:   3

Treats:  3

Creativity: 3.5

Overall:      3.125


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Bloody Norseman, 2 Sparrows

It’s been a while since we posted. Ohhhh, life. We won’t get too into the weeds, but let’s just say that we both could use a serious drink. Or three.

Which, luckily, is our main reason for this post. We’ve been wanting to try 2 Sparrows for over a year. We’ve heard rave reviews for their bloody mary, errr Norseman. One friend even calls it her favorite. We decided it would be the perfect locale for a mini-reunion with a favorite gal pal.

Well, what’s the deal with the Bloody Norseman? It’s made with North Shore Aquavit. What’s that, you ask? We had to wiki. Come to find out, aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit flavored with spices like caraway, cardamom, cumin and anise. We had a ridiculously hard time identifying flavors in the housemade bloody mix. Upon investigation, we learned, in addition to tomato juice, it includes cilantro, celery, onion, Worcestershire sauce, Frank’s Red Hot and lime.


We were split on this one. To be honest, neither of us loved it. We’ll remain nameless, but one of us actually blurted out “it tastes like soup,” and found it hard to drink. The other half of the duo found it unique in flavor and gave it points for audacity, but still wasn’t a huge fan. The one thing we agreed upon: the beefy jerky was delicious.

As was the brunch. We about died when we tried this adult version of a Pop-Tart. Amazing. It had a flaky, slightly sugary crust with a blackberry and orange filling. Pinky swear you’ll get this as a starter or side.


The mains proved to be an audacious and successful mix of flavors. A little sweet with savory. Tangy with the mild. The star of the show was the chile relleno. So many tasty things happening here. The spice of the pepper was balanced by the cream cheese and sweetness of the dried cranberries and almonds and then topped with chipotle spice again. We wouldn’t have guessed this dish would work but it sure did.




Bloody Norseman: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 2

Spice: 2.5

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall: 2.75

Have you been to 2 Sparrows? What were your thoughts on the Bloody Norseman and brunch?

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
2 Sparrows
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Lincoln Park
* Street Address
553 West Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614
* Phone
(773) 234-2320
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Chile Verde and Chile Rojo, Flo

If you’re going to turn another year older, you might as well do it with a bloody mary in hand. That’s how we see it.

We recently visited Flo in West Town for a friend’s birthday. Since it wasn’t our first rodeo, we knew the wait can be long (especially for a large group like ours) with little space to hang out and wait for your table. Annddd they don’t accept reservations for brunch. Luckily, there’s a self-serve coffee station where you can warm up and caffeinate prior to being seated.

Once you snag a seat and glance over the impressive brunch cocktail menu, you’ll see there’s a plethora from which to choose. Eight different mimosas, three bloody marys and a long list of inventive cocktails. (BTW we’re totally getting the Mole Margarita next time: Tequila, chocolate wine and red chili. Wuuut.) But you know, the business at hand. First, you pick your bloody favorite base: Cholula, Chile Verde or Chili Rojo. Then, you pick your poison—tequila, vodka or housemade bacon bourbon.


To be honest, we were skeptical to order the Chile Verde bloody mary. It was thick and soupy last time we tried it. Flo must have revamped the recipe because this bloody, made with tequila, was lighter and tangy. Also muy spicy, albeit a little watery. The twist on this one is green chile, jalapeño, and dare we say, a little lime? After tasting, two other party peeps ordered this gem. Delicious, different, though not overtly remarkable.

The Chile Rojo bloody mary is made with the New Mexico red chile, which gives it a chipotle-like taste. We highly recommend ordering this one with the bacon bourbon, which gives the spicy tomato flavor a smoky, oaky finish. The mix is hearty and flavorful. A pretty sturdy go-to, in our books. 



The food. We’re not exaggerating when we say that everyone at the table cleaned their plates. If you follow this blog, you’re not surprised by this. We’re suckers for anything Mexican/Southwest inspired. The Huevos Rancheros and Huevos Verdes were hits among the table, as were the Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas.

Chili Verde with tequila: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 3

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.25

Chili Rojo with bacon bourbon: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.5

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 3

Creativity: 3

Overall: 3.25

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Flo Restaurant
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
West Town
* Street Address
1434 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642
* Phone
(312) 243-0477
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The Texan, Central Standard

Everything is bigger in Texas. But of course, this is Chicago.

Admittedly, we weren’t itching to try The Texan at Central Standard. Out of principle. It seems too many places are creating crazy concoctions and garnishes when, for us, all it takes is a simple, natural tasting bloody to hit the mark. Alas, our curiosity got the best of us.


We were pleasantly surprised. The bloody was really well seasoned. Briny, smoky and just the right amount of spice. And the taste was super FRESH. Whatever Central Standard is doing, they’re doing it and doing it well. (see what we did there?)


Check that garnish. Let us sum it up for you: Bison slider. Could it have been warmer? Yes. But the cheddar and BBQ combo won us over. See also: grilled shrimp, asparagus, and a skewer of cheese and charcuterie.

Is it worth $18? Maybe. If you consider $10 is the going rate for a bloody and you get an appetizer and a Miller High Life pony with this one. We were just as happy with The Higher Standard (below) which is the same, minus the slider, shrimp and High Life.


One of us ordered the Skinny Benny. It was good but probably too skinny. The homemade hot sauce and home fries were legit but the rest of the dish didn’t taste cohesive.


On the other hand, Chicks in a Blanket more than made up for it in both calories and taste. Who knew that chicken tenders and pancakes could have a much tastier texture than chicken and waffles? Plus, the side of fruit makes you feel skinny again. Win all around.


It’s been a bit of a hiatus, but we’re glad to be back. After all, it’s the holidays, prime eating and imbibing season. Cheers.

The Texan, Central Standard: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 4

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.75

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Bloody Mary, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

Call us crazy. It’s not like it’d be the first time. Who goes to Mindy’s Hot Chocolate in Bucktown and NOT order a hot chocolate?

It’s like going to In ‘N Out without ordering a burger. Or buying a dress from the Levi’s Store.

Well, we didn’t. We’re more savory than sweet anyway. Close second: watching a Chicago food tour group slurp down theirs. Less calories.

We did order a frenzy of other good food and drinks. And of course, our favorite brunch beverage. Duh, bloody mary.



The menu wasn’t super revelatory about what’s in the house bloody. Only that it’s “Andy’s handcrafted bloody mary mix.” We imagine the staples are included: horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. It was slightly watery, but still quite above average. You can taste the handcrafted part—the ingredients and garnishes were discerningly fresh. And speaking of garnishes, the blue-cheese stuffed olive was money. Cash money.

Now the food. Because we adore brunch fare with a Mexican flair, we had to try Angel’s Brunch Stew. It was like a lighter version of chilaquiles with a tomato broth, lightly scrambled farm egg and chiles, topped with avocados and crunchy tortilla strips. Slightly spicy and totally savory. It was filling without feeling heavy.



The hash was made with pork belly, locally sourced broccoli, creme fraiche, gruyere and a perfectly poached egg. You’d think this be superbly rich or heavy, but the lightness of poached egg and veggies create nicely balanced flavors and textures.

We already got it out the way that we didn’t order hot chocolate. HOWEVER, we did order dessert in the form of cookies and more brunch cocktails. Cookies, which didn’t even last long enough to be photographed. Notice the crumbs? Let’s just say they were delicious and leave it at that. The bellini of the day was Concord Grape, which tasted like an adult version of Welch’s grape juice. No one here is complaining.


We always coordinate our drinks to match our tops. Like that?

Anyway, get thee to Hot Chocolate for a stand-up bloody mary and delightfully balanced, locally sourced brunch. Learn from our mistakes and get a damn hot chocolate, will you?

Bloody Mary, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.5

Spice: 3

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 2.5

Overall: 3.125

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Mindy’s HotChocolate
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
West Town
* Street Address
1747 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
* Phone
(773) 489-1747
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Bloody Mary, The Peasantry

We’re perplexed when someone asks where to brunch in Lakeview or Lincoln Park.

We have nothing against the neighborhoods, to say the least. Hell, one of the ladies of this blog spent three years living on the north side, nestled right up to Boystown and Wrigleyville. We’re just not up with what’s delicious and fun there these days.

The Peasantry is a north side joint that’s been getting a lot of buzz and one we’ve been stoked to try. Its focus is elevated street food, sourcing ingredients locally, using prime cuts, and making accoutrements in-house.


So the bloody mary. The flavors are definitely unique. We couldn’t put our fingers on what’s in the mix. It’s slightly sweet and sour.  Sip. Discuss. Repeat. And Repeat. We still couldn’t figure it out. Kimchi? Maybe. The server wasn’t sure. Possibly paprika.

The menu said the bloody came with “blue-cheese stuffed peppadew and pork sausage,” so we were surprised when it arrived garnished with shrimp and corn on the cob. Summer edition, we suppose. We appreciate the uniqueness, but would have loved it to be more on the spicy than sweet side.

Speaking of unique, the brunch menu certainly is. Point in case, braised octopus hash that comes bacon lardons, chorizo, roasted fingerling potatoes, onions, bell peppers, hard boiled eggs, spicy maple glaze & peppadew aioli. Wut. One of us had to try this interesting flavor combo.


One thing cool about the menu is that each dinner and lunch option comes with a beer and wine pairing recommendation. Certainly takes the guesswork out.


The best part of the pork belly sandwich, hands down, is the brussels sprout slaw. If only it could have come with a side of it.


“Look, the sausage is taking a nap!” (Get it? The bread is a bed and the egg is the blanket).  The brunch dog is a favorite served at sister restaurant Franks ‘n Dawgs. Anyone been there? BTW they serve a bacon mac ‘n cheese dog.

The food was good, but like many other trendy brunch spots these days, it’s rich.


Also enjoyed. Fitting too: one of us is an Amber, the other is a (Honey) Badger. No one is from Wisconsin.

The Peasantry Bloody Mary: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3

Spice: 2.5

Treats: 3

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3

Help keep us hip: what are your favorite brunch spots in Lakeview and Lincoln Park?

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Bloody Mary, Carriage House

Patio weather makes us blissfully lose our minds in this city.

When it debuts around April or May, our love of sipping beer outdoors makes us ignore the risk of frostbite. And when it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity, we equate sweating and swampiness as par for the course.

Well, we indeed lost our minds when presented the opportunity to brunch al fresco at Carriage House a few weeks ago. Who could blame us? This place’s outdoor space is  gorgeous with a touch of rustic and chock full of Southern hospitality.


We arrived fairly early, so we snagged a table outdoors IN THE SHADE. Warm with a slight breeze. Dreams do come true.

Now the drink of the hour, the bloody mary. While it didn’t inspire a frenzy of “oohs” and “ahhs,” it hit the spot. Slightly spicy and pickly on the palate. It’s the kind of bloody you could drink over and over. The only fault we could find is its Miller High Life pony doesn’t come standard. It was a $2 add on. What’s up with that? What’s up with that? You don’t pay for the beer back at most joints. Alas, not a deal breaker.

Bonus points for serving French Press coffee though. Hashtag delicious.


The brunch menu reminded us of Grandma’s cooking. If your Grandma had been a chef and/or had the wits to add ingredients like truffles, tarragon and gouda to her southern favorites. The menu was on the heavy side. But damn, everything sounded good.

After debating between several dishes, we chose the chicken & biscuit and the aptly named mushrooms.



The chicken & biscuit is a carbalicious dish your Grandma would indeed fix you and then make you clean your plate. The biscuit was homemade perfection, but the dish as a whole felt heavy, especially when the shade vanished and the sun took its place. Biscuit sweats. They exist.

Now, the mushrooms. The mushrooms. Combined with the chicory, savory grits, nameless cheese and truffle vinaigrette, it had a delightfully nutty and light flavor. Or perhaps we are suckers for anything involving grits.

Carriage House Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:       3.5

Spicy:   3

Treats:  3

Creativity: 3

Overall:      3.125

When you brunch at Carriage House, do try to do so outdoors. But be careful not to lose your mind.

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Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Carriage House
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
West Town
* Street Address
1700 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622
* Phone
(773) 384-9700
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Bloody Mary, Trenchermen

Hello, fellow bloody mary fans! We hope everyone’s summer is off to a stellar start.

We’ve taken a hiatus from the blog as we’ve been busy working and galavanting to weddings and South America. But because we haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean we haven’t been brunching!

A little while back, we ventured to Trenchermen, which has generated buzz since it opened a few months ago. It’s located at North and Damen in the space that was formerly occupied by Spring.

Because we’re in the business of beverages at Bloody Best, let’s start there. First off, get the coffee. It’s Stumpdown and it’s brewed by the pour over method. Do that.

Next, get yourself a bloody mary. It’s a solid one. The jury is still out as to what exactly pok pok is, but we heard it’s fish sauce (can anyone confirm or deny?). If that’s the case, it’s no surprise there’s a slightly savory calm to the spicy sriracha. And everything is better with sriracha.


Honestly, we may have been more impressed by the Better than Advil. It’s like nothing we’ve sipped before—floral and refreshing, thanks to cucumber and another mystery ingredient, jardinere. According to our friend Wikipedia, jardinere is a dish “that is cooked or served with a mixture of spring vegetables, such as peas, carrots, and green beans.” Whatever it is, we likey.


Fun fact: Trenchermen actually means “a hearty eater.”  The brunch menu is certainly hearty fare built for a hearty eater.




The standout was grits, which we ordered for the table to share. It was savory with a citrusy finish and a perfectly softly poached egg. We also ordered the croque madame, which unfortunately ran out. It was replaced by a duck pastrami with homemade giardinara and topped with a fried farm egg.

Given the creative brunch libations, we’re intrigued by the other cocktails on the menu. Has anyone imbibed or dined at the Trenchermen? Holla at your girls.

Trenchermen Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:       3.5

Spicy:   3

Treats:   3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall:      3.25

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
West Town
* Street Address
2039 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
* Phone
(773) 661-1540
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Hair of the Goat Bloody Mary, Little Goat Diner

We’ve been deliriously anxious to review Little Goat Diner since it opened last December. And now we’re high fiving ourselves because it finally happened and it was so effing delicious.


If you live in Chicago you’re already in the know, but if not: Little Goat Diner is another delicious venture from The Girl and the Goat‘s Stephanie Izard. Yeah, the Stephanie Izard who’s a badass Top Chef, cookbook author and the object of our serious girl crush.

Oh, speaking of girl crushes, for this culinary adventure, we brought along friend, writer and bon vivant, Bobbi of Fresh and Foodie. Because if anyone knows good food and good booze, it’s Bobbi. Her recipes have a boozy flair and her bloody mary palate is just as discerning as ours.


Before we start, let’s get real. This place is crazy popular, and the wait can be epic. But Little Goat has waiting mastered. Upon arrival, the host/hostess grabs your phone number and texts you a link to a site that monitors your wait time and spot on the list. You get a text when your table is ready. Pure genius! This means you can grab a stroll, coffee or drink while you wait. Why doesn’t every restaurant do this?

After the magical text, we were seated at a sunny table by the window, which was awesome because we’re nosy bitches who like to people watch. The decor is modern-meets-traditional diner with lots of natural lighting. We’re obsessed with the branding since we’re advertising geeks like that.

Let’s discuss the bloody mary since it’s the real reason you’re here. Three words: Zip, zing, fireworks. The “Hair of the Goat” bloody mary is smoky, spicy and full of pickled flavor. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind mash-up of cultural tastes that just works: pickled onion juice, kimchi, masala and miso. The generous size makes this bloody a superb value.


Bobbi took the words out of our mouths. We were too busy slurping down the bloody and saying “oh my god.”

It’s one of the best bloody marys I’ve had recently. And this one has a goat cheese olive, which I can get behind.

Amen, sister. If you’re a regular reader of Fresh and Foodie, you know Bobbi’s passion for all things whiskey and bourbon. She ordered her bloody with Maker’s Mark and the oakiness of the bourbon played quite nicely with the pickled flavors.

We don’t quite know where to start with the food. The chefs at Little Goat have a knack for combining unlikely savory flavors in a way that blows your mind and thrills your tastebuds. Quite possibly, this could be the best brunch in the city right now. Bold statement, we know. But every bite was beyond incredible. Each one made us want to thank the food gods that we live in Chicago.


Pardon the hyperbole, but each dish we ordered was a stand out. In fact, we’d describe the Parathas Burrito as a knock out. Savory, pickly and wildly flavorful, packed in a crisp naan burrito.


Step aside, Chicken and Waffles. You’ve been had. This Bull’s Eye French toast has to-die-for fried chicken that gives this dish its crispy, rich and slightly sweet edge.


Yeah, we’ve told you we’re not just not that into omelettes. But there is always an exception to the rule. The eggs are simply a canvas for the savory, crunchy tastes.

We’d be amiss if we didn’t mention that Little Goat has a sidecar called Little Goat Bread, winner of Time Out Chicago’s Eat Out Award for Best New Coffee Shop. Here, you can grab coffee, sandwiches, freshly baked bread, pickled items and adult beverages. Get yourself a Little Goat, which is a latte made with Sumptown Espresso and goat’s milk. Go figure.

We could gush on, but you should just go to Little Goat Diner yourself. You can high five us later.

Hair of the Goat Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:       5

Spicy:      4

Treats:      4

Creativity: 5

Overall:      4.5

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Little Goat
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Near West Side
* Street Address
820 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
* Phone
(312) 888-3455
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