The Bloody to beat all Bloodies- in search of the best Bloody Mary
Oh boy, do I ever love a bloody mary. Better than coffee on a lazy, hot Sunday afternoon is a tall glass, glistening with condensation, rimmed with some seasoning or other, and looking like an entire garden's bounty has been pickled and artfully arranged on the top of my libation.
But I have yet to find a bar or restaurant that specializes in, or even takes extra care and pride in the bloody mary in LA, or even better, Westside LA (as it is a commonly accepted fact that a bloody mary tastes best between the hours of 10am to 1pm consumed within a mile or so from a large body of water).
So, in the interest of science, should we establish a criteria? Here are mine:
1. NO PREPACKAGED MIXES! My home recipe contains a minimum of 10 ingredients, and my bar's should too. Mrs T's might work for on the boat during a fishing vacation, but will not when I'm paying $9 at the bar or restaurant.
2. Garnishes. Lots. Lots of FRESH garnishes.
3. A choice of vodkas, extra points for homemade chile infusions and other creative ideas. While the taste of the vodka is masked somewhat, it still should never come from a squeezable bottle.
4. Easy access to add-ins, if needed. I like horseradish, my SO, not so much. Same goes for th Tabasco.
5. The rim. Celery Salt? Sure. Old Bay? Okay! Hot Salt? Yum. Just don't leave my poor rim bare.
6. The Glass. Tall. A pint glass is ideal.
Since I have yet to find an acceptable version, I'll open this up with the last one I had:
Venice Bistro, on the boardwalk. Good tomato flavor, nice spice. Comes with extra lime, which is nice, but nothing else besides an olive. No horseradish. No rim seasoning. And is served to me in a rocks glass. For 9 bucks. In a rocks glass. A 4 out of 10.
The Hungry Cat. www.thehungrycat.com
On the brunch menu:
traditional or spicy bloody mary
tradicional bloody maria
w/orendain reposado tequila
schnöckered bloody mary
plymouth gin & house-pickled vegetables
our traditional w/a shorty of beer
our traditional bloody mary rimmed with
maryland spice mix & served with an oyster
blue ice vodka, bloody mary mix & beef bouillon
Not in LA proper but if you are truly on a quest, it may be worth your while:
The bloody mary at Ramos House Cafe, mere steps from the San Juan Capistrano train depot, is their signature dish and IMHO is excellent. It has fresh garnishes galore, is super-tasty-spicy and is served in a tall glass (IIRC it's sort of a tulip-shaped thing). Enjoy it with the smoked duck hash !
I had an awfully good one at Little Dom's in Los Feliz. Not sure it meets ALL of your criteria,, but it not, it comes close.
I had a sip of the bloody Mary at Joe's on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It was the best I've tasted in my limited experience in LA. I'm not sure it fits all the criteria, though.
It had a nice flavor and a great spicy kick.
I've had two W LA bloody marys that I've enjoyed immensely. neither meet the full criteria, but here's the rundown:
1. The Firehouse (Rose & Main) - taste-wise, the best bloody mary I have ever had. Spicy but not too spicy, delicious horseradish and peppery bite, good tomato flavor. served in a tall glass, no rim, only olives as a garnish. But seriously, seriously delicious.
2. Enterprise Fish Company (Pier & Nielson Way) - spices not as distinct as firehouse, but very delicious nonetheless, tall glass, can't remember if there's a rim or not, but oh lordy, the garnishes - garnished with a TALL stalk of celery with various other items toothpicked to it - basically a full salad - olives, pickled, pearled onions, pepperoncini . . . etc.
Firehouse is $9, Enterprise is $7 if you go during happy hour (4-7 M-F, 8-10 Sun), $10 otherwise.
I, too, am picky about my bloodys, but these are two quality drinks.
The Blvd (which is the lobby restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel) serves an excellent Bloody Mary. I don't remember if it meets all of your criteria, but I thought it was great, and I'm sure they would accommodate your "special needs." :) Even better if you order the lobster eggs benedict to go with it....
I met a friend at the Hollywood Farmers Market one Sunday a few weeks back and after we stumbled into this little place tucked behind the market on the West side of Ivar, close to Sunset. It's a little compound housing an Urban Outfitters. Inside near the back on the left was a little place w/ a popcorn machine at the front counter. The place smelled a little too much of caramel corn so we sat outside. We had the MOST AMAZING bloody's I think I've ever had - house made with substance and great flavor. And the fries were divine - they use a little malt vinegar on them. Sorry I can't remember the name!
Went to 8 oz today for the bacon Bloody Mary. Deeeeee-lish!! My friend thought the pickle that came in it was weird (kind of a sweet/sour hybrid) but I loved it. Totally recommend it. Also had the devilied eggs, very very very yummy. Most of my friends thought their burger was "ehh" to "good-but not the best". Everyone loved the truffled potato skins. And the little corndogs are great-but beware of the "purple mustard". Stupid me thought it was just dyed for fun, so I put a big dallop on the dog, and almost died when it turned out to be horseradish mustard. (And I hate horseradish and anything spicy).
Keying on the large body of water criterion, and leaving metro LA, Sharkies on the Newport Beach pier Sunday mornings, make your own bloody bar. Bestest.
Tiki Tis on Sunset in Los Feliz has AMAZING Bloody Marys. The bar has weird hours though, so be sure to check their website before you drive over to the Eastside.
How about a Bloody Caesar for God's sake?? Ordering that in this town is like asking for a rod of plutonium. They sell the caesar mix at Ralphs, so it can't be that obscure. It's time people here caught on to this -- it tastes way better than a regular bloody IMO. Tangier, sweeter...
Am I the only transplanted Candian here??
As an aside, I think I found a winner in the "Weirdest Mix" category in San Diego this past weekend. Based on 1 part GUINESS (seriously) and 3 parts red and green SALSA from a mexican place next to the bar (no, seriously!), worchestershire and Skyy Vodka. Weird. Not bad, but weird.
Top that one!
AND THE WINNER IS....
Belmont Bloody Bar, by a frickin landslide.
if you can't find bloody perfection (which we couldn't), bloody well make it yourself! bonus points for a variety of glass rimming seasonings, olives stuffed with feta, bleu, garlic, chiptle, jalepeno, the kitchen sink; slim jims AND jerky, A1, clam juice (how do you like that, canadians?), peperoncini, garlic, salsa, green salsa, horseradish AND wasabi, sundried tomato, roasted red peppers, etc, etc, etc.
i don't even have some of these things in my home bloody bar. cool.