Carls' Jr. Testing New Ice Cream Burger

5 More Frosty Food Fakers

A new but familiar face is coming to downtown, says CultureMap: Bibas Brooklyn Express will be replacing the recently shuttered El Rey at 233 Main. The Bibas name will be familiar to fans of the old Bibas Diner on West Gray and Bibas One's-A-Meal, both of which were run by Haritos Bibas. Not content to enjoy his retirement, the 78-year-old Bibas plans to keep Bibas Brooklyn Express open 24 hours a day and "make it look like Times Square" downtown.

Bibas might have a rough go of it downtown, though, as he himself admitted that downtown is "dead" these days. Little Napoli, in fact, just moved off Main Street (where it occupied the corner of Texas Avenue) and will be relocating to the old Mingalone space in Bayou Place.

Last but not least, longtime brunch favorite Dharma Cafe has closed, announced B4-U-Eat last week. "John Gurney and Susan Ralph have sold it and the new owners will change the name and menu," read the update in B4-U-Eat's weekly e-mail newsletter. "More to come."

Carl's Jr.'s Brrrger.
Carl's Jr.'s Brrrger.

Houston's Top Five Bloody Marys

By Katharine Shilcutt

Well, good morning, sunshine. You look like you could use a little hair of the dog. And a Bloody Mary is just the trick.

Unfortunately, it's often hard to find a suitable Bloody Mary in Houston. Too many restaurants skimp on the ingredients, subbing in watery tomato juice or flaccid celery sticks. Just as many skimp on the spice. And an increasing number of restaurants keep trying to jazz up what should be a straightforward, hearty cocktail meant for rejuvenation. I understand; the Bloody Mary has been called the world's most complex cocktail for a reason, and that reason is the fact that there are so many possible permutations of the beverage.

I don't want a sake-based Bloody Mary. I don't want a Bloody Mary filled with bacon. I just want a regular damn tomato-and-vodka cocktail with some salty, crunchy garnishes to take my mind off the gnawing pain in my head and a healthy kick to wake me up.

5. Shiloh Club
1321 Studewood

Like the No. 3 entry on the list, this neighborhood-y dive bar makes its own terrific in-house Bloody Mary mix. In addition, the Shiloh Club also makes its own pickled green beans with habanero peppers as a garnish. The combination of garnish and mix and a glug of well vodka makes for a wholly delicious yet unpretentious drink that kicks like a mule and doesn't hit you where it hurts — in the wallet.

4. Cadillac Bar
1802 Shepherd Dr.

It's hard to beat the Bloody Marys at the Cadillac Bar on Shepherd — because you make them yourself as part of the Cadillac's elaborate Sunday brunch buffet. The bartender pours some vodka over the rocks and hands you the glass. Then comes the most ornate do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar you've ever seen: several varieties of tomato juice cocktail, celery stalks, pickled okra, baby corn, olives, cocktail onions, pickled peppers, fresh peppers, bottled pepper sauces, Worcestershire, celery salt, lemon and limes, too. In fact, the only important ingredient missing from the lineup is horseradish. Horseradish isn't Tex-Mex, the bartender says. If you think horseradish is critical to a perfect Bloody Mary, you better bring your own.

3. Mugsy's
2239 Richmond

Mugsy's serves its Bloody Mary as a perfect blend of spicy and hot. The homemade mix doesn't go overboard on the tomato juice, and the hint of Worcester sauce gives it a meaty taste that many mixes regretfully forgo.

2. Danton's
4611 Montrose

This super-spicy cocktail is made from the restaurant's gumbo, strained and mixed with vodka in a glass rimmed with a spicy salt mixture and crowned the Bloody Danton. If that doesn't sound amazing to you, good. More for me. I need a little kick and a little cheekiness in my morning cocktails, and there's nothing kickier than peppery gumbo and vodka.

1. Flora & Muse
12860 Queensbury Ln. Ste. 143

The stately Bloody Mary at Flora & Muse isn't necessarily the kind of heavily garnished, Clamato-based cocktail that you gulp down as a hangover cure. This charming European-style bistro in Memorial's CityCentre development offers an elegant twist on the standard cocktail. Served in a long-stemmed glass chalice — the same curving sides to it as a Stella Artois glass, sans the gold rim — this Bloody Mary is subtly spiced and wholly invigorating on a Saturday morning, whether you're hungover or not.

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