Over the weekend, I was invited to the St. Felix in Hollywood for a free Bloody Mary brunch. Ordinarily, I would have dismissed such a notion. After all, Bloody Marys consist of many of the things I hate most in the world in drink form. But something caught my eye and pulled me in: Bacon Vodka. I figured if anything was going to get me to try a veggie-based drink, bacon would be it. Some say it makes everything better, and this would be quite the test.
Apparently the Bloody Mary Bar at the St. Felix is a recent addition to their repertoire. For someone totally new to Bloody Marys, I was entirely overwhelmed. Luckily, I had my trusty fiancee and Fiona from Gourmet Pigs there to help me through the experience. There were a couple of signature Bloody Marys, but I decided to whip up my own with their Counter-esque make-your-own checklist.
I started out by picking “Up,” which apparently meant no ice. Then I chose Creole seasoning for the rim and the St. Felix house mix for the base. I wasn’t entirely sure what the mix would entail, but it sounded a whole lot better than V8. Next, I added lemon juice, lime juice, chili paste and A-1 to the mix. I opted to garnish with a lime and celery because I had never seen a Bloody Mary without celery, but also added a beef jerky strip to the garnishings. Finally, I chose the St. Felix Swine 99 Bacon Infused Vodka as my meaty kicker.
The result was a unique beast. The celery stalk was massive and served as a great stirrer, but not much else. The drink had a nice kick due to the chili paste, but also a strong citrus flavor from the juices I had picked. Unfortunately, though, the flavor that came through the most was tomato. Now I’ll admit to enjoying tomato in ketchup and marinara form, but in juice form not so much. Unfortunately, that was the strongest of the tastes. So strong, in fact, that I really couldn’t taste the bacon vodka. There wasn’t even really a smoky taste that goes hand in hand with bacon. The Creole seasoning was nice, but being on the rim of a straw drink it didn’t have much impact.
I also feel the need to say that although I loved the jerky, the $3 charge to have it in a Bloody Mary was quite a lot. I didn’t pay that price, but I also now know that I wouldn’t in the future. Interestingly, my table mates got both of the other bonus “meats” that were offered. One was bacon and the other was a spicy shrimp. Neither of these were really up to the price either.
To be honest, St. Felix might have the best Bloody Mary in the Los Angeles. Or even in the world. but I just don’t have anything to compare it to. Nor do I really want anything to compare it to. Sure, it’s hard to turn down free drinks, but give me a beer or a mimosa at brunch instead any day.
And as for the brunch, I ordered Felix’s Mac N Cheese. This was Velveeta-style shells in a white cheddar, gouda, bleu and parmesan cheese sauce with smoked bacon and peas. I got mine without the peas, because they are a huge waste of calories and the result was a pretty good attempt at mac and cheese. It certainly passed the “better than Kraft” contest and at least in this I could taste the bacon! In fact, the bacon was liberally dispersed through the mac in a good way.
The only real complaint I can make is that the sauce was just a bit too creamified. At times I felt like I was eating more of a soup than a pasta dish, but even so it was a tasty and cheesy soup.
So if you like Bloody Marys, I have no doubt that St. Felix can satisfy that craving. Seriously, with a menu like that I’m pretty sure every possible Bloody Mary can be concocted in the bar. As for me, I’ll just take a beer and mac and cheese and call it a day!