The $18 Bloody Mary
I first beheld the $18 Bloody Mary at Mojeaux's on a friend's Facebook page. The photo was a bit blurry, so I couldn't quite make out the full assortment of garnishes on top. It looked like a slider was tilting off to one side amidst all the madness, and that's all I really needed to know. I had to witness this creation in person, with the same urge one feels to drive all the way to wilds of South Dakota to gawk at some dead men's faces carved into a granite cliff.
Mojeaux's is a the new Cajun-themed "drinkery" which recently replaced Corksoaker's next door to Lucky's and Little Woodrow's in the East End. I'd heard that Mojeaux's served something called "Zydeco brunch," so I gathered my crack team of brunchers—including one Cajun—and headed down last Sunday morning.
Mojeaux's doesn't open until 11 a.m. and the food it serves for brunch is confusing. There's no kitchen, so the entire brunch menu is served from chafing dishes on a makeshift buffet. It's not a help-yourself set-up, either. You are seated in Mojeaux's rather nice dining room filled with rather lovely tables and chairs and given a menu to order from. Then you get microwaved sausages and biscuits on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. (This photo is a lie.) Coffee came in a tiny Styrofoam cup with another wee Styrofoam cup of powdered creamer.
I would not recommend eating brunch at Mojeaux's. And by the time I finished eating, I was wary of ordering the Bloody Mary. But you don't drive all the way to the Black Hills and turn around before you see Mount Rushmore.
It took a good 10 minutes for the bartender to make my Bloody Mary, but the wait was worth it. The garnish went way beyond vegetables; a Jimmy Dean-looking sausage biscuit with cheese crowned the giant 20-ounce mug. Crowded into the glass alongside it were cubes of cheese, pearl onions, cherry tomatoes, banana peppers, pickled okra, a stalk of celery, a Slim Jim, and one rosy shrimp.
None of the garnishes would have mattered, however, had the drink itself been bland. It was not. The mix was just spicy enough to be interesting, but not so filled with horseradish or hot sauce that you needed a Kleenex for your runny nose and watering eyes. Was it worth $18? For the sheer novelty factor, yes—although I'd be loathe to pay $18 for the experience all over again. If you were on your way to the Dynamo stadium next door, I might recommend coming in for a restorative mimosa or Bloody Mary before the game.
My friends were even less convinced, especially the Cajun. "I feel like I'm in a nice restaurant," she said, eyeing the place, "but also at a trashy family member's house, eating in their garage," she finished, picking up her Stryofoam plate for emphasis and pointing out the distinct lack of Cajun-ness in the "Zydeco brunch" menu of biscuits and gravy, omelets, and eggs Benedict. The Jimmy Dean sausage biscuit atop the Bloody Mary was tough and unappetizing, roughly par for the course with the rest of our food that morning, although it didn't stop me from enjoying the cocktail or the company.
A few days later, I posted a link to a new Cajun seafood market, Mozelle's, to the Cajun's Facebook page. "I can't wait to take you here," I wrote.
"I just got emotional at my desk reading this," the Cajun quickly replied. "This could totally make up for whatever the hell Sunday was."