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Ah… What a beautiful Friday it was in California when we went to the Royal Cafe in Albany. A few friends, M, and I went to California last week to see our favorite band, The Phish from Vermont. We flew into San Francisco late Thursday evening and went out near Berkeley before we slept at our good old friend Zach’s house. Friday afternoon, he took us to a cute diner-like restaurant called the Royal Cafe. The inside of the restaurant was adorned with cute knick knacks from decades past, like vintage ovens, old-school clocks, and signs from the 1950s. We sat down and ordered drinks; many of us got the Royal Bloody Mary, while a few got watermelon mimosas. For breakfast, I had the Bene on Fire, which was super, super hot spice-wise. It delicious though and consisted of hot Italian sausage, grilled jalapenos, and tomatoes, among the traditional bene ingredients. The Royal Bloody Mary was tiny, but tasty, and you can learn more about it in my review below.

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AT A GLANCE 16/20

When the Royal Bloody Mary arrived at our table, it was served in a slim glass in clean fashion and garnished with a lemon wedge. It was a modern cocktail and spices were evenly scattered throughout, while the cocktail was a bright red colour. It was definitely one of the smaller Bloody Marys I have had recently.

GARNISH 13/20

Well… The garnish was solely a lemon wedge. I guess it went with the whole “modern and hip” look that the Royal Bloody had goin’ on, but I guess I was wanting a bit… more. For $6.50, I would hope the Bloody would be garnished with something green as well (an olive, pickle, or pepperoncini, please!). It wasn’t very creative, but I did squeeze some of the lemon juice into my Bloody, which tasted good.

SPICE 18/20

The spices in the Royal Bloody Mary were nice and complex; there were notes of lemon citrus as well (even before I added more lemon juice). The Bloody was heavy on pepper, which I like, and contained lots of horseradish. You could also clearly taste the salt. It was a nice balance between all of the spices and left a tangy aftertaste in my mouth.

TEXTURE AND ACIDITY 16/20

Texture-wise, the Royal Bloody was perfect and went down smoothly. The cocktail was acidic prior to adding the lemon juice and gave me subtle heartburn. There were citrus notes in the mix, so as mentioned in the “Spice” section, a tangy aftertaste presented itself– again hinging on the acidity of the cocktail.

UNIQUENESS 14/20

The Royal Bloody was not very unique, but I did like its modern feel. It wasn’t expensive, but it wasn’t cheap. I enjoyed the more citrusy notes of the cocktail than I have found in most Bloodys, although it got too intense heartburn-wise at times. I would coin the the Royal Bloody Mary by three words: SMALL, GOOD, AND SIMPLE!

FINAL SCORE 77/20

If you’re in the Albany area and want a simple Bloody with a homecooked meal, check out the Royal Cafe here. The Royal Cafe is located at:

811 San Pablo Ave., Albany, CA, 94706
**As a side note, please check out my page Rating Scale for Reviews to understand what the scores mean. For example, the Royal Bloody Mary scored a 77 out of 100. This would fall into the category from scores of 71-80, which entails “This is an average Bloody Mary. Tasty, drinkable, somewhat pleasing to the eye. Nothing too special, but I am not complaining.”

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