Another year and another successful Fresh Toast event is in the books. And before we announce the winning teams from our Bloody Mary battle, we wanted to send a few shout outs to some of our favorite tastes.
First up, “A” Market’s gang led by Chef Shelly Register made some decadent Bacon Gougeres. If a single bite could encompass the indulgence of the day’s brunch, it would be these warm, baked puffs doused in rich cream. It took us down as the final bite of our meal. Not far behind were the mini treasures found at The Crema Cafe’s station: Chocolate Pretzel Croissants. Their rolling rack was picked dry half-way though the event. Good thing they were also serving some savory breakfast crepes.
While we know this is more Bloody territory, one of the more refreshing tastes encountered at Newport Dunes came in the form of a garnish. A&O Kitchen + Bar’s entry was finished with fish/tuna/poke/whatever you want to call it. Crunchy, creamy and bright, it was a cool contrast to everything else consumed that morning. We may have gone back for
Another contender for our favorite bites came from the guys over at The Cannery. Their Duck Mole Chilaquiles kept our sweet tooth in check. Kudos to them for being the only duck offering. We’re ready for that interview when you are, chef.
Rounding out our bevy of brunch bites, the bustling team known as Saint Marc brought it with Lemon Ricotta Beignets wrapped in Tenderbelly Habanero Bacon. Sweet heat ensued. We required a chilled drink to recover from this unexpected amount of spice. Speaking of drinks, it’s about time we discussed those Bloody Marys. . . .
Our fearless team of judges tackled multiple rounds of Bloody Battle drinks (all featuring Reyka Vodka) to arrive at their decisions. Most Unique goes to Laguna Beach’s The Deck (see our current interview with them over here). Best Presentation is awarded to A&O Kitchen + Bar’s Sesame Shoyu Bloody— their close-up is found earlier in our post.
The favorite among the judges was from Ecco Pizzeria & Bar! Your intense brew was quite the memorable sip. No wonder you named it Blood, Sweat and Tears.
On the fan favorites side, Best Lookin’ goes to 90 Pacifica. They went all out with a five-day avocado oil-infused Reyka Bloody Mary with organic smoked sea salt, topped with a bourbon BBQ pork slider and a bedeviled egg! Voted Most Unique is the green concoction brewing by Saint Marc known as Ghost of Bloody Mary.
And the final winner of our Bloody Battle from OC Weekly’s Fresh Toast 2017 goes to . . . .
Backyard Mary!! We hope to see you next year to defend your title. Thank you to Reyka Vodka for being our presenting sponsor. Thanks to all who came and chowed down with us. See you next year!
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.