Archives For Bloody Mary

Now this is a story all about how my Saturday got flipped-turned upside down. Royalty and the west coast are not involved but Philadelphia serves as one of the backdrops.

The plan was simple: take an early afternoon Amtrak to Philadelphia, attend the wedding of friend/former intern/past-contributor Jessie Holeva, enjoy the reception and catch a train back to Penn Station that would return me to New York well before either last call.

Things went awry from the get-go. What should’ve been a 20 minute commute on the subway to Penn took over double that thanks to weekend construction. I missed my 2:05 train and rebooked for 3:07. But I wasn’t fazed; I figured I’d use the time to run upstairs to our studio, use the restroom, take a deep breath and then head back downstairs.

Right before I did, I went to the men’s room one more time. Our private restroom by the studio appeared occupied so I used the bathroom that the entire floor has access to. Everything was fine until I flushed the toilet. They’re brand new and so the flusher is electric. But it malfunctioned and wouldn’t stop flushing.

Thankfully I bolted out of the stall before any damage was done to me, but that’s not to say that by the time the toilet shut off the restroom wasn’t filled with a few inches of sitting water. I took the appropriate measure of alerting our chief engineer, put myself back together and made it just in the nick of time to my departing train.

The ride down was smooth, pleasant and scenic. If you’re wondering, Amtrak does have Bloody Mary mix; the food cart offers the serviceable Mr. and Mrs. T’s.

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Upon arrival at the 30th Street Station I was pleased to find out that the convenience store sells greeting cards, a perfect look for the single bachelor en route to a wedding without one. A few minutes after checking out I met my Uber driver, who drove me 20 minutes north of Philly to Cabrini University.

This was my first time on campus and I have to say, I was impressed. It is scenic and close to the big city yet feels somewhat secluded and tucked away, which I enjoyed. The ceremony and reception were fantastic; it was great to reconnect with a few old friends and meet a few more new ones. Jessie looked stunning and of course I’m very happy for her and Justin who fun fact, once put me up for the night after I covered a Young The Giant/Grouplove show in the City of Brotherly Love (another story for another blog).

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The reception wrapped at 11 and so I grabbed another Uber to head back to 30th Street for my 12:05 am departure. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a closed bar inside the station and then just before I thought we were boarding… a delay.

A two-hour delay.

So where did I go? Following a failed attempt to drink a pint next door inside a Irish pub, I ordered another Uber en route to The Franklin Bar, a speakeasy downtown. There I met a patron from Long Island City who was keeping the bartender, her on-and-off again boyfriend, company. I ended up becoming friends with everyone in the place, stayed until last call and eventually Uber’d back to the station where I encountered almost no food options and… you guessed it, another delay.

My train back to New York eventually left after 3 am. I arrived at Penn Station at quarter to 5 am. Following two Uber drivers cancelling on me and a random guy throwing water on me, I hailed a cab.

And I yelled to the cabbie “Yo homes smell ya later!” I walked in to my bodega; I was finally there. Turkey on a whole wheat wrap; Philly can’t compare.

I started last week with an expired passport. I ended it in Sint Maarten celebrating the marriage of my buddy Mark and his lovely wife Sarah.

Obviously I knew about the wedding for a while and I was aware that my passport would lose its validity in February. The problem was that my passport actually had the wrong birthday on it (apparently a common mistake if you go to a post office for the application) and I waited until a week before the expiration to mail it in.

Our government was kind enough to mail it back with a new application. I called, discussed my options with an agent and eventually decided my best bet was to renew at the Passport Office in Manhattan, which typically turns around a new one in 24 hours. Yes, you read that correctly.

And so last Friday morning I boarded a non-stop flight to the island. I proceeded to eat, drink, swim and dance with old and new friends. It was a nice escape; my first destination wedding and hopefully not my last.

The four most common reactions to my Instagram posts from the weekend:

1.) “Your photos looked awesome!”
Thanks – definitely not too difficult when you’re on an island in the Caribbean.


2.) “Were those planes really flying that close to the beach?”
They sure were. That’s Maho Beach, recommended to me by multiple people. Me and two other friends took a cab there for a few drinks and to watch the planes land. Quite a sight!

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3.) “I can’t get over you watching the Yankees at the beach.”
I mean, this shouldn’t surprise you.

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4.) “Do you always drink Bloody Marys?”
Yes – they were even referred to on the trip by one person as my “accessory.”

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I mean, worse things could be associated with me.

I don’t need many excuses to book a weekend trip when the destination is a city I’ve never visited before. This proves exceptionally true if the city lies within a state that I haven’t been to.

Wait and a buddy is throwing his bachelor party there? Click. Click. Booked.

I took a long weekend ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (which I’ll be working; usually the norm) to fly west to Denver, Colorado. I did not try a Coors; I did receive a first-class tour of the Breckenridge Brewery though in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. The town is apparently a hot spot for skiing as well but I wouldn’t know; I didn’t ski.


I did try many of the great beers that Breckenridge has to offer. The Agave Wheat, made with all natural agave syrup, was my favorite. It’s lighter as far as craft brews go so it’s a solid choice when you’re thinking of having a few (enjoy responsibly, of course). The Vanilla Porter was heavier but tastier. And the Mango Mosaic Pale Ale had a nice well, twist to it.

My Friday night capped off with dinner at the brewery’s adjacent restaurant before a couple of Ubers took the party back to downtown Denver. I stayed at the Magnolia, a nice boutique hotel that is within walking distance to most of the hip spots in the area – including Fluid, a new coffee bar that opened up right outside and served up a solid pour to kick off my Saturday morning ahead of a 3 mile run.

Thankfully during my less-than-48 hour trip I learned that there are a number of different neighborhoods in Denver worth exploring. Situated south of the Capitol Building in the Capitol Hill section of town is an awesome vegan restaurant called City O’ City. Google describes it as “bohemian,” I would use “earthy” along with “delicious.” The cafe has a couple of great characteristics, one being that its brunch menu can be ordered with or without meat and dairy. For example if I were to bring my parents we could all order the city breakfast; they would just order their eggs normally while I’d ask for scrambled tofu instead.

None of the furniture or mugs match, which adds a certain type of homeliness to the ambiance. Our server was more than patient as I weighed my many food options; I had never been able to choose between so many vegan brunch dishes! I went with the tempeh bacon hash, and the Bloody Marys and coffees I drank paired wonderfully with it.

Oh, I should also mention that I rolled down there with Scott Patrick! I usually see Scott when he visits the city so it was nice to catch up in his neck of the woods.

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I rejoined the bachelor party at a restaurant downtown called Baur’s. Most guys went with brunch items and I of course skipped right to the Baur’s signature Bloody Mary, a homemade mix garnished with fresh mozzarella, bacon and olives… for the win!

In between my stop at Baur’s and Blake Street Tavern to watch the first half of the Syracuse/Boston College game, I did stop inside a dispensary. I left thinking how well-done the whole operation is, from the moment you step in through check-out. The staff is thorough and helpful; the environment is clean and welcoming.

And following a Saturday night that included copious amounts of pizza, beer and playoff football, I left Denver thinking those same thoughts about the city and the people who live there.

A goal for 2016 is to continue something I’ve been trying since 2014 – exploring, creating and experiencing more while finding ways to push myself out of my comfort zone. Specific to this year though, I’m making a conscious effort to share those moments on my social networks whenever possible. So on Sunday morning, when I awoke at the crack of dawn and decided to come to the studio and get some work done, I also made time to enjoy the view.


That is a bank which I pass on my daily/nightly commute and I JUST noticed the lighting. I found myself looking around a bit more on this particular commute, and when I arrived at 33rd and 7th, I saw a lighting configuration of the Empire State Building that was a bit different than normal.


NAH BRAH. As I completed my work, the sun rose and it was spectacular.


After finishing some taping for Monday, I hit the gym for a quick run and then – in the spirit of experiencing more – tried something new.


As perhaps you can imagine, I’m planning a return trip. Also, the quinoa chips were fantastic. But alas, there was cooking to be completed (which you saw on my Snap story; add me: ralphieaversa). I knocked out a Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip and packed up the Bloody Mary bar before heading to John Foxx’s apartment, where I gave birth to a food baby.


Sunday was indeed the real MVP.