San Francisco is a brunch-lover's paradise (with the long lines to prove it), so it's no surprise that many of us enjoy kicking off a Sunday-morning repast with the tomatoey hangover helper known as the Bloody Mary. There are plenty of classic spots to snag one of these tasty treats in the city, from Zeitgeist to Zuni Cafe. (The Bold Italic even created a full rundown of the city's most beloved bloodies, along with diagrams of what's in 'em.) But given SF's concentration of mixology masters, the Bloody Mary recipe has remained somewhat sacrosanct: tomato juice, lemon, Worcestershire, horseradish. Experimentation? We'll save it for dinnertime, thanks.
Since we're on the subject of the Bloody Mary cocktail (well, I guess we sort of always are; it's something I've been tracking on here--where is it good, where is it bad?), I thought I'd mention a good one I had the other day . . . at Serpentine.
While it wasn't the most unusual or scintillating or utterly unique Bloody Mary I've had -- in fact it was none of those--it was simply, uncommonly solid. The kind of cocktail that gets its job done without being spastic or trying to attract too much attention to itself. Medium spicy with a horseradish emphasis, nice viscosity, some umami-ish depth, the cocktail was just plain satisfying and made with good quality ingredients. And I can go for that any day of the week . . .
Usually I try to avoid having to purchase any sort of food or drink at the airport. Besides being overpriced, the food--even simple things--tends to be so bad that it can take the joy out of being alive. This has happened to me recently with such comestibles as a sandwich from the La Brea bakery outlet in Los Angeles--if mustard had been slathered on a piece of particle board, I couldn't have told the difference.The same often goes for cocktails, which are always bad and made of artificial things. So if forced into drinking, I opt for a beer, even though it's not hard to tell that most airport bars have never cleaned their beer lines. But sometimes you've got to succumb . . .
I found myself at Zuni Cafe last Sunday. It was my first visit in months, and the first time on a weekend in even longer. Among other things Zuni is famous for (its chicken, its caesar salad, its shoestring fries, its oysters, its ricotta gnocchi, its espresso granita--jeez, that's a long list) is its Balsamic Bloody Mary.