Lazy Dog Cafe. Bloody Mary Times Two.
I may be on some strange dog kick right now. Last week it was Dogz Bar & Grill; this week it's Lazy Dog Cafe. A quick Google search shows that I have exhausted all the dog-themed restaurants in close proximity, though a "Crooked Duck" and a "Blackbird Cafe" are not far. Bird theme anyone?
I try not to expect too much from these family-friendly chain restaurants. Measured shots, bottled bloody mary mix and an overall lack of creative bartending tend to leave me rather disappointed. If I ever have a craving for bottomless french fries and a "Sand in your Shorts," I know Red Robin will take care of me. And if I'm looking for a 1,000 calorie personal pizza with a beer flight, I can always count on BJs. But for bloody marys, those type of birthday song singing, uniform-wearing, balloon-clad restaurants just don't cut it. Until I found Lazy Dog.
Lazy Dog Cafe serves up New American-style food with a few Asian style dishes at 14 locations in Southern California. Think Wild Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Bacon Butter alongside Hawaiian Fried Rice. Or in my case, ranchero sauce soaked Chilaquiles and a big plate of Chickens (yes, plural) and Biscuit. The menu also offers two different bloody marys, so of course, I ordered two. :)
The "Clean Mary" is described as "Rain Organic Cucumber Vodka, tomato juice, hand-muddled cucumber, fresh squeezed lemon juice, jalapeno & Black Sea salt rim." And just about everything about this bloody mary screams fresh. I'll put it this way: if cleansing spa retreats existed for drunks, this bloody mary would be your chakra balancing savior. Cucumber vodka combined with hand-muddled cucumber slices provide a refreshing burst of melon-like flavor, and the addition of raw jalapeno slices, instead of the usual hot sauce, adds just the tiniest amount of heat without any unnecessary heaviness. Also, it's 104 calories.
But sometimes, you just want a down and dirty, salty, savory, traditional bloody mary. And that's where bloody mary #2 comes in. The "Hair of the Dog Bloody Mary" is described as "vodka, tomato juice, black pepper, fresh lime & horseradish, garnished with olives, pickled green beans & celery." This is exactly what you're expecting from a spicy bloody mary. Lots of horseradish, a heavy dose of Worcestershire and a more prominent tomato flavor make this cocktail the perfect hangover medicine. A heavily salted rim helps replace the lost sodium from a long night of drinking, and the veggie garnish provides a nice snack before brunch.
Now if you're thinking about ordering both bloody marys (and I know you are), start with the Clean Mary. The intricate flavors and freshness of the Clean Mary will get completely lost once you sip that horseradish-heavy Hair of the Dog.
3.5 Celery Stalks