When I showed up at Republic Seven Corners for Sunday's airing of #2ndBrunch, I pictured a couple of scenes where I'm rubbing my nose in the background or bare-handedly wiping my face clean -- you know, proper things. Instead, I had the camera in my face a lot.
I figured I'd better give them something besides on-air panicking and a facial off-day, so I built a Bloody Mary mushroom cloud using three other menu items. The end result was a 2ndBrunch that left the hostesses themselves hot and bothered.
The finished product doesn't hit YouTube 'till tomorrow, and I think we can sleep safely knowing I won't awaken to Internet stardom on Saturday, but I'll always have this.
I promise I'm done after this one.
The Basics: If you want to drink after Republic, you won't have to wander far: Town Hall Brewery is across the street, and the Corner Bar and Bullwinkle's are within eyeshot. BEWARE! The parking ramp nearby is a trap: Three hours in that ramp had me $13 lighter, against $0 if you park on the street. Make an educated decision, people.
I REPEAT: I MADE THIS BLOODY MARY MYSELF. IF YOU GO UP TO THE BAR AND TRY TO ORDER IT, YOUR FACE WILL GET PUNCHED.
Republic has what you'd call "a boring exterior," but small Plexiglas panels make the renowned beer bar look nearly spiritual inside. Otherwise, a tame interior of brick walls and chalkboards keeps your attention at the bar. The sun doesn't push through too well, giving it a naturally dark and secretive ambiance.
I poked around the bar for an hour before the crew showed up, and got no fuss from the bartender for drinking water. I had a "practice Bloody Mary" in and one beer down when the crew got there.
The video comes out tomorrow, so you'll have to wait until then to see the skinanegans that ensured thereafter. Just know I got especially twitchy trying on a jacket eight sizes too small for me and was smothered by plush dead wrestlers. Also, I ordered half the brunch menu and piled it onto the top of a glass.
Let's outline this monstrosity piece-by-piece:
The bacon cheeseburger: It was marvelous, simply marvelous. I hadn't eaten a cheeseburger in over a month, and this felt like the first night in a brothel for a newly-released con man -- and I mean in the most perverted way possible. Smooth, juicy, cheddar, bacon: Doesn't that sound like a Perfect Burger, sans whistles? It tastes like it, too. It was a nirvanic little sub-meal, and it held my attention from start to finish. This never touched the Bloody Mary. It was uprooted after the photos and consumed in a euphoric fury (if that makes any sense).
The B.E.L.T.: I'm not so sure there was bacon on mine, but bacon was coming at me from every direction so there's no way to confirm or deny. The egg yolk made its way into everything and gave my structure a pleasing shine, but it was a well-buffed Le Car in the presence of that bacon cheese. Bad? Absolutely not. It paired well with the Mary, but nothing was topping that cheeseburger today.
The side of bacon: There was nothing fancy about it: No candy coating, no chicken-fried breading, no blanket of pepper. It was almost as if the cooks looked at the bacon and decided, "I bet this would taste good if we just cooked it like it is now." Well played, Republic. You don't understand how many restaurants have abandoned that concept.
The Bloody Mary itself: I had the bacon flavor both times, and you can absolutely taste bacon in that zippy concoction. Bacon chunks hid in the mixture, and would occasionally clog the straw. A triumphant suck would send the bacon bit up the pipe and into your throat with an eager burst of Mary behind it. I don't have a good comparison to this. Let me ask my wife if she's got one.
The Bloody bar at Republic is tame in presentation, with little cubes of meat and cheese with the usual greens. The Mary itself, though, is what makes it a must-do bargain at $5. You can stay under the top, or go over the top, and enjoy a Sunday afternoon here either way.
I, of course, would always recommend going over the top.