Tag Archives: chilaquiles

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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Bristol Bloody Mary, The Bristol

Girls who also like to eat and drink bloodies. That’s basically our criteria for lady friends.

Our trip to The Bristol a little while back was result of  “Brunch Bunch,” a bi-monthly standing brunch date with pals who are former coworkers. If you recall, the two ladies of this blog were coworkers, not once, but twice.

While we often sort through crazy remixes and over-the-top skewers of meats, cheese and pickled anything, it’s often nice to encounter a bloody mary that doesn’t have to try too hard.


You can taste the handcrafted care that goes into the Bristol Bloody Mary. It’s spicy, thick and tomatoe-y (yeah, we made that a word), and finishes with a citrus tanginess. And for a spot that’s known for meats, the garnish is a simply good skewer of cheese, salami and olive. It’s the kind of bloody that’s not a showstopper but never underwhelms.

Get ready for a shocker: we ordered chilaquiles. Speaking of stealing the show, take notice of the tender, savory braised pork. Simple flavors work well together here with the fried egg, lime and cilantro. And a not a hot mess of soggy tortilla chips.



The other lady of this duo had the slightly healthier polenta with mushrooms and brussels sprouts. It was tasty, but in all honesty, there was so many regrets for not ordering the chilaquiles.

Moral of the story: thumbs up for this solid Bucktown bloody mary. Until next time, friends.

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

Taste: 3.25

Spicy: 3.5

Treats: 3.25

Creativity: 3

Overall: 3.25


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Serious Bloody Mary, Eleven City Diner

People always ask what’s our favorite bloody mary. This doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, we have a bloody mary blog.

Some of our go-to responses include Twisted Spoke, Little Goat and Au Cheval, which are all consistently awesome and delicious. The ones you could drink over and over. The ones that could convert the non-believer.

There’s another one that should be on this list. The Serious Bloody Mary at Eleven City Diner. We’ve had it too many times to count. For one of us, it’s a neighborhood go-to. It’s been there in desperate times of hangover need. Perhaps we’ve never reviewed it because DUH, WE ALREADY KNOW IT’S SUPER GOOD. But dammit, doesn’t deserve its time to shine?


As mentioned, the Serious Bloody Mary is seriously effing good. Tangy, spicy, peppery and generous with the celery salt. It has a heavy, yet not-too-heavy, tomato taste. They’ll try to sell you on premium vodka, but it’s thick enough you don’t need it. Unless you’re fancy. The garnish aims to please with a celery stick, lemon, olives, salami and swiss. Plus, a cute Eleven City flag.

Love it? You can buy the mix for around $7 and DIY at home.

The food at Eleven City aims to please as well. Menu options range from Jewish deli faves like bagels and lox to one of our faves, chilaquiles. We’re suckers for Mexican brunch fare, but these chilaquiles are done particularly well. They get slightly soggy as they should and  perfected when you add salsa, sour cream and a ton of Cholula. Other stand-outs are the matzo ball soup, Coco’s Eggs and the new breakfast sandwich.


We’ve never been to the newer Lincoln Park location, but we can imagine it has the same tasty menu and 50s crooner and big band music.

Serious Bloody Mary, Eleven City Diner: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4.25

Spicy: 4

Treats: 4.25

Creativity: 4

Overall: 4.125

Eleven City Diner is located at 1112 S. Wabash and 2301 N. Clark. 


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Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary, Green Door Tavern

We’ve lost track of how many people have commented, emailed, tweeted and told us in person to try the build-your-own bloody mary bar at Green Door Tavern.

So, alas, we did.

It certainly wasn’t our first rodeo at Green Door. Both of the ladies behind this blog used to work close to this fine drinking establishment and our good friends living in close proximity give us excuses to go back. Green Door is supposedly Chicago’s oldest running tavern, dating back to 1921. We’ve always liked Green Door for its chill vibe and no-nonsense clientele. It’s certainly a hidden (and non-fussy) gem in River North.

This was our first brunch here. Apparently there was a dress code that particular morning because all of our man friends randomly wore blazers.

Ladies and gents, the Blazer Brothers.


Now that we’ve distracted you with all of these good looking men, let’s chat about the bloody mary bar. The bar itself was impressive with its an endless feast of mixes, spices, hot sauces, juices and garnishes. Basically, you get a pint glass with ice and vodka and the rest is up to you. For starters, there were 4 mixes: Housemade bloody mix, Clamato, V8 and tomatillo. Plus, at least 30 hot sauces.


It’s hard (and maybe conceited) of us to review a bloody we made ourselves. So, we’ve decided to offer a few helpful hints instead.

Pro Tips for Bloody Mary Bars

  1. Make a game plan: Yeah, there are a lot of options. It’s best to do a quick scan of the ingredients and choose a few to start out.
  2. Hold your horses: So many options at your fingertips can be overwhelming. And it’s tempting to throw in everything you like at once. Don’t go crazy.
  3. Express yourself: Ok, go crazy. Now’s the time to get creative. Never tried celery bitters? Throw a few splashes in. Wonder how mustard tastes in a bloody? Go for it.
  4. Taste as you go: You’ve thrown in stuff left and right. Now, pause to sip in the fruits of your labor. Your bloody could probably use a little extra seasoning or spice.

Voila! Behold our creations. Pretty damn good, if we say so ourselves. Oh wait, we did.

So, next week, get thee to Green Door Tavern and get creative with your bloody brunch. Ok?



Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Green Door Tavern
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Near North Side / American New
* Street Address
678 N. Orleans St. (W. Huron St.), Chicago, IL 60654
* Phone
(312) 664-5496
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Bright-eyed Bloody Mary, Au Cheval

Modern takes on the greasy diner seem to be all the rage in Chicago. And what’s not to like, really? Point in case, West Loop neighbors Little Goat and Au Cheval.

Our visit to cozy Au Cheval was inspired by this tasty post from Chi Gal Lauren (who we met in real life at the Nellcote Oscars Party Sunday! Yay for Chicago bloggers).

We arrived shortly after the restaurant opened to secure seats. The place gets crowded. One of us was late due to CTA amnesia, so we ended up grabbing a seat at the bar. This was fine by us because it offered a front row seat to the bloody-mary slinging and brunch-food crafting.

The bloody? I mean, stop it. As we sipped, all we could manage were head nods and “mmhhmm”s. It’s that solid. It’s premature to start our Best Of list for 2013, but it’s safe to say that this one is already a strong contender.


The housemade mix is prepared with V8, horseradish and black pepper. This bloody is made with Tito’s Vodka and topped off with olives and housemade pickles, which add sweetness that carefully balances the spice.

And because we had a relatively open Sunday afternoon, we didn’t stop imbibing there. We ordered two more drinks from their “Bright-eyed Cocktail” list.


The Guilio is a drier, Italian version of a mimosa, made with prosecco, grapefruit juice and cocchi americano. The Painkiller: whoa. Was this the beach? It’s made with rum, orange, pineapple and Coco Lopez. Coconutty perfection. We’re sure there’s not a bad cocktail in this joint.

(Side note: Wouldn’t Coco Lopez be great as Elaine’s drag name? Things we decided.)

The food didn’t disappoint either. We ordered the omelette and the “small” chilaquiles.


We’ve come clean about neither of us being huge omelette fans. This one could make us converts. The omelette is light, fluffy, savory and the balance of spinach, blue cheese and carmelized onions had us swooning.

Chilaquiles is one of those dishes that is either really amazing or really disappointing. It mostly boils down to salsa and sogginess factors.

You can file this one under “amazing.” Best in the city, even. It came with the standard fare, tortilla chips, eggs, guac, salsa, sour cream and a generous portion of cilantro. But somehow the flavor combo works better than most and the chips were not too soggy. As large as this was, we’re curious to see the actual “large” portion.


Au Cheval means “with the horse” in French. Not coincidental, it’s dark, leathery and precisely the kind of place we’d want to tie up the horse and spend the afternoon (not a euphemism). A couple we met at the bar had actually tied up their child’s tractor while they were inside enjoying a Wittekerke. Come for the cocktails. Stay for the food and decor that tips its hat to a French bistro.

We’re so glad we came here. You should get here, too.

Bright-Eyed Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:        4.5

Spicy:      4

Treats:       3.5

Creativity: 4

Overall:      4

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Au Cheval
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Near West Side
* Street Address
800 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607
* Phone
(312) 929-4580
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