Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Photo credit to Jim Mills from
With apologies to U-2, I had to title this weeks blog this way. It all started with weekend trips to Del Mar, to stay at a friend’s condo on the beach. We now have a Sunday ritual. We would walk down Highway 101, into the town of Solana Beach, and stop in for breakfast at T’s CafĂ©, but no breakfast was complete without one of their Bloody Marys. So on those weekends that we were not down in Del Mar (most weekends) we started walking around different areas of Lake Arrowhead, then returned to the alternating hosts’ house for breakfast and Bloody Marys. 

So what is the history of the Bloody Mary? It all started when Louis Perrin first served tomato juice as a beverage around 1917 (apparently he ran out of orange juice and needed a substitute). Tomato juice was considered a hangover cure in the early part of the 20th century. You drank tomato juice when you had a hangover, and it was good for you. This was right at the beginning of canned tomato juice (do I sense some marketing scheme?). Seems that works well on a Sunday morning, after a Saturday night of wine tasting (or drinking).

Fernand Petiot
The story goes that Fernand "Pete" Petiot, a French bartender at Harry's New York Bar in Paris (Harry’s New York Bar, originally was located in New York City then dismantled and rebuilt in Paris in 1911), invented the Bloody Mary in 1921 by mixing equal parts tomato juice and vodka. According to the legend, one of the bar's patrons came up with the name after noting that the drink reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary. After Prohibition, the drink travelled to Manhattan, along with Petiot, who got a job at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel.

Another story claims that actor George Jessel invented the drink around 1939, which is when Lucius Beebe first made reference to it in his popular gossip column "This New York" - the earliest known mention of the drink by that name in the United States. This account is further confused by reports that Fernand Petiot reinvented the Bloody Mary as the "Red Snapper" at the St. Regis Hotel in 1934. According to mixology lore, in 1934 the Russian Prince, Serge Obolensky, ordered a Bloody Mary at the King Cole Bar but requested that bartender, Fernand Petiot, spice up the drink a little. Petiot named the new creation a “Red Snapper”. The drink’s previous name, Bloody Mary, was dropped because it was deemed too vulgar for a bar located in one of the City’s most elegant hotels. This change never really took hold and even the King Cole Bar reverted back to using the drink’s original name.

King Cole Bar
Petiot’s original “reinvented” recipe: “Cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour”.

Now back to our Sunday Breakfast group. We’ve been working on creating the perfect Bloody Mary recipe. The first step was to find the right Vodka. We did a blind tasting, and the number one choice was Grey Goose, but number two was Kirkland brand (from Costco).  For the money, Kirkland has become our go to Vodka for Bloody Marys. No need to buy a high-end vodka, when you are going to mix in so many other flavors. Here is a rough recipe for our drink (we do like them spicy):

·                    1 ½ to 2 oz vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
·                    1 dash of garlic powder
·                    1 dash celery seed
·                    1 dash fresh ground black pepper
·                    1-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
·                    2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
·                    1/8 tsp. horseradish (again depends on your spice level)
·                    Fill glass with Mr & Mrs T’s  Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

Garnish with celery stalk.

A Bloody Mary is the perfect drink for a Sunday brunch, and it works great with certain breakfast dishes. A couple weeks ago, I decided to go Spanish with the breakfast, and made a Tortilla Espanola served with sofrito, avocado and sour cream. Add to that, some breakfast sausage, and homemade scones, and you’ve got a meal that goes with Bloody Marys.

Tortilla Espanola Ingredients
  • 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8 thick on a mandolin
  • 1 whole yellow onion – chopped into ¼” pieces
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2-3 cups of peanut oil for frying
  • Salt to taste (I like gray salt)
  • 1-2 cups diced ham
  • Olive oil
Sofrito Ingredients:
  • 1 – 16oz can of diced peeled seedless tomato
  • 1 whole yellow onion – chopped into ¼” pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  •  2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
Scones, Tortilla Espanola, Sausage
Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, deep stock pot, heat the peanut oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the pot. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn – you are not making potato chips.

Leave in pot until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow oil to drain. After cooling, you can put in a container in the refrigerator, then bring back to room temperature for easy assembly in the morning. 

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat. Pour in the potato onion mixture, and add ham. Mix together until everything is covered with egg. Pour 2 Tbsp of olive oil into a 12" non-stick frying pan and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot. When hot, pour the mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly browned. The inside of the mixture will not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side.  Place a large dinner plate (at least 12”) upside down over the frying pan, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to reshape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

Tortilla Espanola

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve with Sofrito.

To make the Sofrito, cook the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the bell pepper, and cook long and slow until the mixture almost turns to a mush, add the tomatoes and cook until all the liquid evaporates. This entire process is low and slow, and can cook for about 2 hours total
(so you may want to make this ahead of time and just reheat for breakfast).

We're always looking for new breakfast ideas, so if you have a favorite recipe, please feel free to share it here.

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