This past Sunday, to celebrate our girlfriend’s graduation from med school, we went to Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s at the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, CA for their Bloody Mary Brunch.  It’s very rare that I head down to OC, but this was well worth it!  The ambiance was nice, the food was delicious, and the unlimited Bloody Mary bar was…GENIUS!  With a variety of condiments, juices, raw vegetables, and a choice of tomato juice AND house-made gazpacho juice, the variety of Bloody Marys that you can make for yourself is endless!

First, order your Bloody Mary Brunch, then go to the Bloody Mary Bar.  The server will salt the glass rim (if you want), put in the ice cubes, and the vodka for you.  Then, you have a choice of tomato juice or house-made gazpacho juice, or heck, why not both?  Then, you can add fresh lemon juice, lime juice, or clam juice and then an array of peppercorn, salt, Worcestershire sauces, BBQ sauces, ginger juice, minced ginger, a variety of hot sauces (they  have Sirarcha!), hearts of palm, more tomato juice, and Slim Jim!  I highly recommend a touch of ginger juice.  Actually, before going, I saw fresh ginger on the website and that was the ingredient I was so excited to try!  I would have never thought that making Bloody Marys could be so much fun and so delicious!

The next station offers chipotle puree, horseradish, beef jerky, and lettuce covered bacon.

Then to add the final touches into your Bloody Mary, you have the options of asparagus, celery (of course), cucumber, yellow and red peppers, stuffed olives, baby radish, fresh basil and a few other fresh herbs.

My first Bloody Mary.  I mixed both the tomato juice and gazpacho juice – I did not stir it up on purpose so that you can see both.  Since I wanted to save some room for our yummy brunch, I kept the garnishes to a minimum – stuffed olives and a stick of cucumber.  Everyone tried mine and enjoyed the refreshing ginger juice…Don’t forget to add some freshly cracked peppercorn!

For my second glass, I didn’t get the salt rim (I was sipping it out from the straw anyway) and decided to grab the remains (with a bamboo pick) of pieces of bacon from the lettuce wrapped bacon.  So yummy!  I really enjoyed the ginger juice, so I kept that as well, and just changed up the hot sauces.

Brunch was delicious!  I started with the Duo of Ahi Tuna with a mango-miso dressing, avacado mousse, minced olives, cilantro, corn chips and a strip of honey.

For the main course, I opted for the Kobe Style Beef Sliders with truffle mayo and house made pickles.  I drool as I think of them!

A few of my friends ordered the Grilled Top Sirloin Steak with a sunny side up egg, bearnaise, and a side of sweet potato fries.

For deserts, we shared the Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with dulce de leche ice cream, cardamom whipped cream, and raspberries…aaaand

…the Trio of Creme Brulee – Classic Vanilla, Espresso Caramel, and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

This was such a FABULOUS brunch!  We enjoyed it for 3+ hours!  It’s definitely a great place for a relaxing Sunday brunch to really enjoy the food, Bloody Marys, an the company you’re with.