Tag Archives: Chicago

Roast Bloody, River Roast


Don’t panic, but it’s time to panic. Summer is slipping away right before our eyes.

Let’s not talk about it, but let’s. Here’s what. Your Sunday is planned for you. 

Go to the Jazz Brunch on Sunday at River Roast. Soak in some sun. Drink a bloody mary. Listen to some boom, scat, yeah. Eat some tasty brunch foods. Watch boats go by. Then, hang out all day at the new River Walk.


Horseradish kind of spicy, peppery and fresh, this bloody mary is the kind that begs to be drunk outdoors. In case you’re wondering, if you’re asked if you want a skewer in your bloody, the answer is always yes. Especially if it includes pickly, havarti dill, salami goodness.

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So the gist of this spot is roasted meats and veggies, carved tableside. That’s totally a brunch option, but they also have the standard brunch fare as well. We were craving meats though, so opted for the Blues Burger, which includes an egg on top. Burgers can be forgettable, but this is one you’d want to eat again because it’s perfectly seasoned and cooked. The omelette special on the other hand was good, but well, forgettable.

Well, you’re welcome. Your weekend brunch on the Chicago River is planned. Unless you hate these views.


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

Taste:        3.5

Spicy:      3

Treats:       3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall:      3.25

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Bloody Samurai, Kingsbury Street Cafe

We hope 2015 is fantastically in full swing for everyone.

While we are both are officially back to five-day work weeks, we reminisce about more leisurely days when we could brunch on a Thursday. That’s right, we started this fine year off with a bloody mary in hand at Kingsbury Street Cafe

Nestled in the western border of Lincoln Park, interestingly enough across the street from the bougie Whole Foods and next door to a topless dancing establishment, Kingsbury Street Cafe is modern, airy and filled with natural lighting (not dissimilar to Summer House Santa Monica). The spring-like ambiance and vicarious views of the meringues were encouraging to say the least.


Back to the business at hand: our first bloody mary of the year. There are several options on the menu in the way of tomatoey brunch cocktails, Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria, Bloody Lawrence and the Bloody Samurai. Excuse me, Bloody Samurai? A bloody made with sake instead of tried-and-true friends vodka or tequila.

We haven’t sampled many Asian-inspired bloody marys outside of Sunda, so we both had to give it a try. The mix itself was incredibly fresh, but truthfully, the sake was overpowering. The dryness of the wine didn’t leave room for any other flavors to shine.


Can we get a do-over? Regrets for attempting to branch out because everyone seems to like this one. We’ll give it another try with a more standard liquor next time. Not all was lost. There were several cubes of cheese in the garnish.

Well, good luck deciding what entree to order. Everything on the menu sounded incredible, and it didn’t help that we were starving. The brunch fare is quite the showstopper.


We settled on splitting the Salmon Hash with Poached Eggs and the Chilaquiles with Chorizo (surprise). The Salmon Hash was an incredibly savory mix of textures and flavors with salmon, peppers, leeks, tater totes, poached eggs and sour cream. Slightly rich, but unreal. We have a chilaquiles addiction, we know. This fix gave us just the rush we needed.


It’s hard to rate this one objectively. It wasn’t the best, but we don’t blame the mix or the bartender. It was the misguided use (and ordering) of sake. We’ll be back to give this one another shot.

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

Taste:        2.5

Spicy:      3

Treats:       3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall:      3


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Best Bloody Marys We Drank in 2014

2014 was a bloody good year indeed.

We brunched and imbibed at some of the city’s best bloody mary spots. Not to mention the fact that we were on Windy City Live (!!), attended two delicious bloody mary contests and partnered with Thrillist to find Chicago’s most ridiculous bloody marys and name the best bloody marys by Chicago neighborhood. This was perhaps our bloody best year yet.

Looking back at the delicious bloody marys we enjoyed, the struggle is real to pick our favorites. There are so many solid ones to pick from. However, three distinctly stood out to us.

3. Big Jones


This Andersonville spot brings a taste of the Big Easy to Chicago. And this includes their signature bloody mary, which we loved for its simplicity and flavor. This bloody mary a standout, thanks to its quality ingredients that include tomato juice (duh), lemon juice, Crystal hot sauce, housemade worcestershire and fresh horseradish. If this wasn’t reason enough to check out Big Jones, their complimentary beignets are. Read original post here.

2. Bub City



We learned about the deliciousness of Bub City at Chicago’s First Bloody Mary Competition and had to check it out for ourselves. Usually, bloody mary bars can be overwhelming. Not here. After ordering, you take your token to the bar, hand it to the bartender and begin by picking your rimmer and your poison (your choice of vodka, rye, bourbon and tequila). Then, choose your mix (we reco the house mix, which you can also buy) and round out with garnishes and a High Life pony.

While you pick the variations, this bloody mary proves to be incredible. It’s smoky and spicy, mostly in part to BBQ spices and cumin. Plus, we adore the garnishes bar, in particular the pimento-cheese-stuffed olives, roasted green peppers and shrimp. Original post here.

1. Sunda


When bloody marys have over-the-top garnishes, we don’t usually buy the hype. Sure, Sumo Mary topped our Thrillist list for most ridiculous bloody mary, but not for nothing. The flavor of the drink itself is pretty amazing. Chef Jess, its creator, let us in on the secret. In addition to cucumber and cilantro, this giant bloody includes a Vietnamese dipping sauce, garlic vinaigrette and yuzu, a Japanese fruit. Overall, it’s distinct, refreshingly flavorful and unmistakably Asian. Different from any other bloody mary we’ve ever had.

But the topic of all conversation: the meal on top. This garnish isn’t for the faint of heart, including: a baked Alaska crab roll, Chinese duck bao bun, piece of thick braised pork belly and grilled cheese with tochino (Filipino sausage), oshinko (Japanese pickled radish), roasted potatoes, shishito peppers, loompya (Filipino egg roll), Chinese broccoli and four piece of bacon. And at 64 oz. and $40, this bloody mary is made for sharing. Original post here.

Honorable mentions

2014 was filled with great bloody marys, and several deserve a shout out. Two notable honorable mentions include Dusek’s in Pilsen and Dove’s Luncheonette in Wicker Park. We love Dusek’s Beer & Board Bloody Mary because it’s insanely well balanced and heavy on the horseradish. It’s the kind of bloody mary we want to drink every weekend. And new to the scene this fall, Dove’s Luncheonette’s bloody mary is smoky, spicy and flavorful, much like the restaurant’s Mexican-inspired fare. Check it out and thank us.

Thanks for drinking along with us in 2014! Wishing you all a great New Year’s and a spectacular 2015 ahead. Cheers!

xoxo, Amber and Elaine

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Sumo Mary, Sunda

After months of hearing and talking about it, this actually happened.

The Sumo Mary, a massive bloody mary that requires bold feats of brunch wrestling strength. We first heard of it from fellow brunch enthusiast Gourmet Rambler. We listed it as Chicago’s most ridiculous bloody mary on Thrillist. We got acquainted with it on Windy City Live! It was time to get to Sunda and experience its magnitude for ourselves.

We’re gonna be completely honest for a second. Bloodies with crazy garnishes get lots of attention, but we don’t buy the hype. The gimmick often overshadows the flavor of actual cocktail.


This isn’t the case with the Sumo Mary. We were blown away by the taste. Hyperbole warning: it’s one of the best we’ve had this year. It’s 32 ounces of refreshment with generous cilantro and cucumber flavors. Plus, according to executive chef Jess Deguzman, it also includes a Vietnamese dipping sauce Nước chấm, a garlic vinaigrette and Japanese citrus fruit yuzu, giving this bloody mary its unique, distinctly Asian flavor.

Now for the reason we’re all here: the garnish. Chef Jess created this bloody masterpiece using ingredients he already had in the kitchen. Are you ready for this? It consists of a baked Alaska crab roll, Chinese duck bao bun, a piece of thick braised pork belly and grilled cheese with tochino (Filipino sausage). Then comes all the side items: oshinko (Japanese pickled radish), roasted potatoes, shishito peppers, loompya (Filipino egg roll), Chinese broccoli and four piece of bacon.

This bloody mary isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither is its price tag at $40. But when you think about it, it’s a good value when you consider you’re getting essentially two bloody marys and a meal. If this is too much bloody mary, you can also get a standard size and create your own garnish selection via their bloody mary cart.

To be honest, we were pretty stuffed after wrestling this bloody. That didn’t stop us from seeing what the rest of Sunda’s brunch menu had to offer.


Brunch is where “east meets west,” with offerings that range from Asian-inspired brunch dishes to sushi to dim sum. We tried the braised pork belly on rice patty, which is an Asian spin on an egg benedict. The pork was incredibly tender, smoky and savory, and the crispy rice was a surprisingly amazing alternative to traditional English muffin.


Sunda makes for the perfect spot for the group that likes to order and try a bit of everything. The classic crispy rice with spicy tuna and seared wagyu tartare were standouts that both came with a spicy jalapeno kick that’s enhanced with the crunch of the rice.

Come for the bloody, stay for the Sunda’s brunch. Don’t let the over-the-top garnish fool you, the Sumo Mary is the real deal. It’s a bloody mary we could drink again and again. And hope to.

Sumo Mary: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4.5

Spicy: 4

Treats: 5

Creativity: 4.5

Overall: 4.5

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Talking bloody marys on Windy City Live

Hey friends! Yesterday, we were lucky enough to appear on Windy City Live After Dark segment. We sat down with Val, Ryan and Ji and talked about the best and most ridiculously garnished bloody marys in Chicago. See us sip some bloody marys in action here. 

Windy City Live

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Photo credit: Windy City Live

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La Maria India and Margarita Carmesi, Las Palmas

If you could guess anything about us from browsing our corner of the internet, besides the fact we love bloody marys, is that we love brunch with a Mexican flair. If there’s a Mexican-inspired dish on the menu, at least one or both of us is ordering it. Yeah, we’re that cutesy couple that always orders the same thing at restaurants. Except, you know platonic.

Because one of us (ahem, Elaine) is particularly obsessed with brunching at Las Palmas as of late, we figured why not give it an official Bloody Best visit. Obviously, drinks were in order.


One of us ordered La Maria India (tall, skinny number above), Las Palmas’ version of a bloody mary, which includes a housemade chipotle mix and Kettle One vodka. The other ordered the Margarita Carmesi because it sounded like a bloody mary and margarita in one. It essentially is: house-made roasted tomato juice infused with jalapeño, lime juice and Milagro tequila.


Here’s the thing: both drinks were incredibly tasty with a refreshing tomato-lime flavor and a hint of spice. But they tasted almost exactly the same—except for the fact that margarita had a distinct tequila flavor. Perhaps the bartender was different that day or there was a mix up of sorts. Hey, we’re not complaining. They both were good. Just not what we were expecting.


You guessed it. We ordered the exact same dish off the menu, Huevos con Chorizo. Isn’t that cute? Sure glad we did too. Neither of us would have been up for sharing. It’s a flavorful dish made with house-made chorizo, scrambled eggs and a crunchy tortilla, topped with pico de gallo, black refried beans & queso fresco. Our advice: go ahead and add a little of that salsa that comes with the complimentary chips.

We’re looking forward to coming back in the springtime when we can sit on the back patio. Girls can dream about warm weather, right? At any rate, the bright and airy sun room with its eclectic art was pleasant enough.


La Maria India and Margarita Carmesi: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 2

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3

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Chicago’s 10 Most Ridiculous Bloody Marys on Thrillist

In case you haven’t seen our obsessive posts and tweets, we’re a little excited about our collaboration with Thrillist in which we name the top 10 most ridiculous bloody marys in Chicago. And by ridiculous, we mean some ridiculously awesome garnishes.

Read the article here: http://thrl.st/1fsffpA

Many thanks to everyone who has shared and liked the article! You guys are the best. Really. High fives and bloody marys for everyone.
If you don’t already, feel free to follow our shenanigans on Twitter or like Bloody Best on Facebook.
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#SearchforMary: Bloody Mike at Ditka’s

Chicago. The city we love. Sure, we write about our obsession with bloody marys and brunch, but at the core, it’s a love letter to our beloved Second City.

Perhaps our favorite part about our search for the best bloody mary is that it’s led us to explore different neighborhoods and meet new people. To say that people here are passionate about good food would be a vast understatement. Everyone is always quick to tell you about best brunches and bloody marys they’ve enjoyed.

On one of many such adventures, a brunch-hopping woman raved about the bloody mary at Ditka’s. We’ve been many places, but the Chicago steakhouse remains unchartered bloody mary territory. Nothing says classic Chicago quite like them. After all, our city was built around the stockyards, where the nickname “City of Broad Shoulders” was born.


So, we thought why not give Da Coach’s bloody mary a spin. The Saturday we visited was the day of the NHL Stadium Series, so Ditka’s was swarming with pre-gaming Hawks fans. Walking in, we spotted several fans drinking a Bloody Mike and instantly knew we were in good company.


The City of Broad Shoulders requires a bloody mary with equally broad shoulders, and the Bloody Mike is it. It’s thick and hardworking, made with Ditka’s Kickass Bloody Mary mix and Stoli Hot. The mix (which you can also buy) has a thick tomato taste that’s heavy on celery salt and it finishes with a little heat, thanks to the jalapeño of Stoli Hot.

In true Midwestern fashion, this bloody also comes with Iron Mike’s Ale as a beer back. (What doesn’t this guy do?) Often, beer backs seem superfluous, but this one was a nice palate cleanser between drinks. Da Coach doesn’t mess around with the garnish either—you get a skewer of shrimp, lemon, lime, tomato, pickle, tomato, pepperoncini. It’s a classic and unpretentious bloody mary, much like the Windy City.

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

Taste: 4

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 4

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.75

While people might  think of deep dish pizza and ketchup-less hot dogs when they think of Chicago, we’re much more than that. We’re an interesting mash-up of hardworking cultures, cuisine and inhabitants. And besides some super good bloody marys, that’s something we’ve discovered along the way.

This post was sponsored by Stoli. Opinions and photography are our own. Join Stoli in their coast-to-coast search for your favorite local flavors by following #SearchForMary. And if you can, be sure to check out the Stoli Bloody Mary truck making its next stop in Dallas (March 12 – 23)!

STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka and Flavored Premium Vodkas. 37.5%-40% Alc/Vol. (75-80 proof). Distilled from Russian Grain. Stoli Group USA, LLC, New York, NY ©2014 Spirits International, B.V.

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Best bloody marys we drank in 2013

The bloody mary is called the world’s most complex cocktail for a reason. So many possible ingredients. So many unique interpretations. And lots of brunch spots and bars in Chicago serve really great ones.

We should know. We drank a hell of a lot of bloody marys this year. Hey, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

But as you know, not all are created equal. Sure, we score our bloodies based on taste, spice, treats and creativity, but we chose our top picks on the few that made a lasting impression on our tastebuds. The ones that left the others in the dust after time. The ones we couldn’t stop raving about.

Without further ado, the top 3 bloody marys we drank in Chicago in 2013:

3. Bangers & Lace


While the Hawaiian bloody mary at Bangers & Lace originally only scored a 4, it made our top 3 best based on its originality. Pineapple in a bloody mary. That shouldn’t work, right? But it does. Smoky, spicy and sweet, and we drank nothing else like it all year. It’s not much to look at. Not even a garnish, aside from a few red pepper flakes. We didn’t miss it. Neither will you.

Read the original review

2. Au Cheval


We were almost distracted by the incredible brunch at Au Cheval. Little did we know we were dining at the future Time Out Chicago’s Best New Brunch at the time. And the bloody? We were in deep from the first moment. A strong contender for “best of” at first sip and we even said so at the time. The homemade mix includes V8, horseradish and pepper. Homemade pickles as garnish gave it a slightly sweet edge. Love at first sip.

Read the original review

1. Little Goat Diner


It’s hard to imagine anything at Little Goat not being amazing. Its bloody mary was no exception. Pickled onion juice, kimchi, masala, miso: a cultural mash-up of a cocktail. Topped simply and perfectly with a well crafted, goat cheese-stuffed green olive, pepper, and lime. If someone cracks the code on this recipe, we just might pay you for it. Simply the best, hands down.

Read the original review

Honorable mentions: Big Star and The Savoy

We nearly jumped for joy when we saw that Big Star was featuring bloody mary on New Year’s Day. (After all, one half of this duo practically keeps the place in business.) It was smoky, spicy and everything nice, made with jalapeño-infused vodka. If it had been an every weekend occasion, it would have made our top 3.

The Savoy’s Morning After Mary blew our minds and our rating scale. The bloody tasted amazing, and it’s not everyday one comes garnished with an oyster. The only reason  this one didn’t make the top 3 is that it fell victim to obsession and subsequent visits were inconsistent with that first glorious one.

Take a look back at our best of 2012.

Cheers to another great year! 

Have a favorite bloody mary that you drank in 2013? Send your recommendation along! After all, we have lots of ground to cover in 2014.

Thanks again for drinking along with us in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you a great 2014 and many amazing bloody marys and brunches in your future. Cheers.

xoxo, Amber and Elaine

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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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