Bloody Mary Taste Test Part 1

Ever since my friends Rob and Helen took me out to my birthday brunch, I have been obsessed with Bloody Marys I hadn’t had one since I was 25 years old and didn’t realize how much I had missed them. Since then I’ve gone to a few different places for brunch and have wanted to try making my own.

The Fixins!

The Fixins!

I went to Tower Beer, Wine and Spirits to look for some bloody mary mixes. I bought  Stirrings, Tabasco, Zing Zang and of course a bottle of Absolut Peppar. Sunday morning I decided to do a little taste test of my own. Keep in mind, just because I didn’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s bad and I am certainly not bashing any of them.  It’s my mouth and my blog so it’s my opinion.

Tabasco brand Bloody Mary Mix + Absolut Peppar

Tabasco brand Bloody Mary Mix + Absolut Peppar

I started out with the Tabasco brand. It was good, and spicy but was missing something, I think perhaps it was missing the celery or maybe not enough horseradish not sure but it didn’t really do it for me. If I was served this in a restaurant I’d drink it, and it would be fine, but I wasn’t in love love love with it.

I then drank some water to “cleanse my palate” (ha).

Stirrings + Absolut Peppar

Stirrings + Absolut Peppar

Next up was the mix from Stirrings, and it pretty much tasted like cocktail sauce which I am NOT a fan of.  What the other lacked in celery this one made up for by the ton and I didn’t really taste any horseradish. To me it was really on the sweet side and I tend to like it on the spicy more tangy side.

I drank MORE water… palate cleansing again.

Zing Zang + Absolut Peppar

Zing Zang + Absolut Peppar

Finally I tried the Zing Zang, and it was love at first sip. This was what I had been waiting for, all my life.  My friend Helen told me about it and said it was good, and she was 100% correct. It is spicy, you can taste the celery and the horseradish but it isn’t crazy overpowering.  It’s just a great mix of spicy tangy flavors.

Zing Zangs + Abolute Peppar + a lil' Texas Pete's

Zing Zangs + Abolute Peppar + a lil’ Texas Pete’s

After I found the mix that I love, I decided to play with it to make it even spicier, this is where good ole Texas Pete comes into play.  I added some Zing Zang.

Absolut Peppar

Absolut Peppar

Next comes the Absolut Peppar.

Well Hello, Texas Pete!

Well Hello, Texas Pete!

Next Mr. Texas Pete (it’s all I had in the fridge).

Zing Zang + Absolut + Texas Pete + Ice

Zing Zang + Absolut + Texas Pete + Ice

Then I added more of the Zing Zang and mixed it up. I actually got the idea for the Wing Sauce from my favorite brunch place who serves the best bloody marys in town.  I won’t reveal the name here, because they may want to keep it a secret and I don’t want to be “that person”.

If anyone out there has any Bloody Mary recipes or mixes that they swear by, I’d love to hear about them.  I love trying new things and then there will be a part two!!!

PERFECTION!

PERFECTION!

Local Three’s Chef’s Table Dinner.

Friday the 29th was Chad’s 40th birthday. To celebrate I took him to the Local Three for the Chef’s Table dinner. This is our 3rd visit to Local Three and we have been blown away each time. This time was beyond our expectations, we knew it would be great since we’d get multiple courses and they would all be a surprise but we really had no idea how much effort they would be putting into pairing the perfect drink with each course and what thought actually went into each course for that matter. Everything was superb and we couldn’t have asked for better service or a better experience.

Before I continue, I’d like to give a big thanks to Sarah our favorite server, for such great service. Laura who did such a great job with wine pairings and explanation of all the dessert wines. Ben the chef who also made the experience exceptional by explaining everything about what we were eating and where it came from, and how it was prepared. Gary the pastry chef, and the sous chef, who’s name I didn’t get. Now on to the 10 incredible courses that we had during the chef’s table dinner:

Local Three

Thank you Ben, Sous Chef, Laura and Sarah (our favorite server)!

I will list the beverage first then the course:
Course #1:
Shooter McGavin4 Roses Bourbon and other goodness – It was sort of like an old fashioned but not exactly either way I am a bourbon fan, Chad isn’t but we both enjoyed it.

Shooter McGavin

Shooter McGavin


Cheddar, Bacon & Thyme Popcorn
Yes it’s as good as it sounds! This is the perfect starter! Big hunks of bacon and powdered cheddar and very tasty and perfect with the Shooter McGavin.
Cheddar, Bacon & Thyme Popcorn

Cheddar, Bacon & Thyme Popcorn


Course #2:
Mont Marcal – which is a light bubbly champagne-esque beverage from Spain.
Mont Marcal

Mont Marcal


Watermelon SaladBlue Cheese Mousse, Fennel, Almond, Saba.
When we heard that it was blue cheese mousse with fennel and watermelon we were skeptical, I love blue cheese but it didn’t seem to match, but this is why I’m not the chef. This mixture as odd as it sounds was absolutely PERFECT!
Watermelon Salad - Blue Cheese Mousse, Fennel, Almond, Saba.

Watermelon Salad – Blue Cheese Mousse, Fennel, Almond, Saba.


Course #3:
CEP Russian River Valley Rosé – this was a nice and crisp Rosé
CEP Rosé

CEP Rosé


Local Heirloom Tomato GazpachoSmoked Trout Cream, Summer Vegetable “Tartare”
I am not a fan of gazpacho mainly because I think soup should be hot. I’m not a stickler about most things, but soup needs to be hot. This gazpacho was fantastic, and seeing that it was 106º outside I was damn glad to be served a cold soup. I would probably return to Local Three just for this. It really is THAT good.
Local Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho - Smoked Trout Cream, Summer Vegetable "Tartare"

Local Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho – Smoked Trout Cream, Summer Vegetable “Tartare”


Course #4:
Mother Earth Sunny Haze Hefeweissen – I love Hefe beers, this one was quite good, Sarah our amazing server picked this one for us, as she knows my love of the Hefe, she said it was a lot like the Allagash Wit and she was right. This complimented the Scallop dish perfectly
Mother Earth's Sunny Haze Hefeweissen

Mother Earth’s Sunny Haze Hefeweissen


Pan Seared Diver Scallops“Creamed” Corn, Cherry Tomato, Arugula, Bacon Vinaigrette
Chad was over the MOON about getting scallops, these were cooked perfectly all of the flavors gelled together perfectly.
Pan Seared Diver Scallops - "Creamed" Corn, Cherry Tomato, Arugula, Bacon Vinaigrette

Pan Seared Diver Scallops – “Creamed” Corn, Cherry Tomato, Arugula, Bacon Vinaigrette


Course #5:
Cristom Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley Oregon – I love Pinot Noirs especially from Willamette Valley, it was not as light as usual and had a nice rich earthy flavor that went well with the Salmon.
Cristom Pinot Noir

Cristom Pinot Noir


Pan Roasted Wild Blueback SalmonMousserone Mushroom Risotto, Sun Sugar Tomato, Celery.
Chef Ben came out to explain how awesome this piece of Salmon really was, it was line caught and from an area which had just opened up to salmon fishing. The fish was so fresh tasting, and not fishy at all. I love salmon but I know that it can be a rather strong fish. This had such a great flavor and the risotto was such a perfect match of flavors bravo!
Pan Roasted Wild Blueback Salmon - Mousserone Mushroom Risotto, Sun Sugar Tomato, Celery.

Pan Roasted Wild Blueback Salmon – Mousserone Mushroom Risotto, Sun Sugar Tomato, Celery.


Course #6:
Domaine Pélaquié – Côtes du Rhône – Chad and I love Côtes du Rhône , and this one certainly did NOT disappoint.
Domaine Pélaquié - Côtes du Rhône

Domaine Pélaquié – Côtes du Rhône


Gum Creek Farms Porchetta Mike’s Sagne Pasta, Cannelini Beans, Bacon Sugo.
When this was served I had no idea what it was, but it sure looked good. It was served in the cutest little copper pot. Porchetta is thinly sliced pork, and this version had it with a specialty pasta white beans and bacon on it, nothing like pork served up with a little pork, right? At this point I was getting full…. Just so you know.
Gum Creek Farms Porchetta - Mike's Sagne Pasta, Cannelini Beans, Bacon Sugo.

Gum Creek Farms Porchetta – Mike’s Sagne Pasta, Cannelini Beans, Bacon Sugo.


Course #7:
Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon – Nice hearty and very earthy cabernet. Though I was full and it was hard to stuff anything else in.
Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon

Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon


Masami Ranch “10 Star” Wagyu FlatironGarlic Whipped Potato, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Crab Hollandaise
Despite being full, and it was hard to stuff anything else in, I managed to eat every morsel of this dish. The flat iron steak was cooked to perfection, nice and pink in the middle. I was a little worried about the crab hollandaise as I do not like crab. I couldn’t really taste crab, but there was something to it, and I have to say that it added a unique flavor – a GOOD unique flavor and I found it to be quite delicious.
Masami Ranch "10 Star" Wagyu Flatiron - Garlic Whipped Potato, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Crab Hollandaise

Masami Ranch “10 Star” Wagyu Flatiron – Garlic Whipped Potato, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Crab Hollandaise


Drinks!


Course #8:
Mango Kiwi Sorbet – this was a perfect little palate cleanser and dare I say break from the food action.
Mezzo

Mezzo – Kiwi Mango Sorbet


Course #9:
Ommegang – Rare Vos Too bad I was completely stuffed because I really couldn’t enjoy this beer like I know I would have, it’s a Belgian Pale Ale and as with all of the other Ommegang beers it’s awesome.
Ommegang - Rare Vos

Ommegang – Rare Vos


Cheese Plate:
Lamb Chopper, sheep’s milk, Cypress Grove Creamery, California – this cheese was nice and light and on the nutty side.
Cocoa Cardona, goat’s milk, Carr Valley Cheese Co., Wisconsin – this was kind of the same but a little firmer in texture.
Big Ed’s Farmstyle Gouda, cow’s milk, Saxon Homestead Creamery, Wisconsin – This had a great gouda flavor to it.
Great Hill Blue, cow’s milk, Great Hill Dairy, Massachusetts – I love love love a good blue cheese, and this was it. It was so blue that it burned my mouth. I was in LOVE.
Flatbread, Emily G’s Jam, Skip & Cookie’s Honey
Cheese Course

Cheese Course


Course #10:
Dessert – “Bring tha Thunda” AND THEY DID!
Dessert Wines:
Honig Wine – Honig Sauvignon Blanc – Napa Valley
Chalk Hill – Semillion
Banyuls – Grenache
Dessert Wines

Honig Wine, Chalk Hill & Banyuls

Dessert Wines

Honig Wine – 2011 Honig Sauvignon Blanc , Chalk Hill – Semillion and Banyuls – Grenache


I am not a fan of dessert wines, they are much much too sweet for me. Also I once drank to much tawny port and it made me sick and I really can’t handle them now. I do know that these were good, because I did sip at each of them, but keep in mind I had already had 7 tastes of either wine beer or bourbon. I didn’t need much more. The Chalk Hill was Chad’s favorite as it was very close to his 1863 Madiera Solera that I got him for our 1st Anniversary. The Banyuls Grenache was very much like Ruby Port. The Honig was a lot like a traditional Gewürztraminer.
Twix” Bar Shortbread, caramel, White Chocolate — THIS was my favorite by far, a homemade butter cookie, with SALTED caramel dipped in white chocolate. I really want another one.
Twix Bar

Homemade Twix Bar


Spring StrawberriesRicotta Cream Cake, Strawberry-Balsamic Jus – This cheesecake was soo light and fluffy and delicious, but I was busy with my “twix” bar.
Spring Strawberries - Ricotta Cream Cake, Strawberry-Balsamic Jus

Spring Strawberries – Ricotta Cream Cake, Strawberry-Balsamic Jus


White Chocolate Ice Cream Barkiwi sauce – This was very interesting, I really liked it, but again I was really busy with that twix bar. Chad loved his birthday garnish.
White Chocolate Ice Cream Bar - kiwi sauce

White Chocolate Ice Cream Bar – kiwi sauce


Chocolate Peanut butter cake – This was Chad’s favorite, it was amazing… but it wasn’t my twix bar.
Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut Butter Cake


Ice Cream with graham crackers – I ate quite a bit of this, as I love ice cream and graham cracker crust.
Ice Cream with graham crackers

Ice Cream with graham crackers


Dessert -- “Bring tha Thunda"

Dessert – “Bring tha Thunda”


My hat’s off to Gary who presented this treat to us!
Gary

Gary the pastry chef


I really am even more impressed with Local Three after this experience. We were treated so very well, the kitchen is immaculate and the service was awesome as usual. The chef’s table dinner runs about $150 per person that might seem steep to some, but look at they serve you. I would recommend sharing this experience for a special occasion, birthdays, anniversaries etc. I might just have to go back for fun, as it’s an ever-changing menu. I love what Local Three is doing with cooking with local ingredients when they can and choosing to work with sustainable and green farms with all of their food. Thank you again!
Chef Ben

Chef Ben and his cool hat!