This post was originally published on March 23, 2015.
Back in 2011, Sam’s No. 3 appeared on Guy Fieri’s TV show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on the Food Network. As the episode is titled “Porktastic,” it features Sam’s No. 3’s Colorado pork green chili. Although Sam’s was never on my restaurant wishlist, I ended up going with my boyfriend and his brother recently. I made sure they had Bloody Marys before we decided to dine at the Sam’s No. 3 location in Aurora, Colorado.
The diner looks like just that– your typical diner– filled with colorful booths and a plethora of 80 year olds. I decided to order a Sam’s No. 3 Bloody Mary with some fixin’s, aka bacon and a bacon-wrapped jalapeno popper. This perceived genius creation cost me roughly $10, so I was hoping it would be awesome. It wasn’t. It was close to horrible. I rendered it nearly undrinkable (but… I was hungover, so I ended up drinking almost all it). For my breakfast, I decided to stick with my Guy Fieri guns and order one of the breakfast burritos doused in the pork green chili. I went with the Colorado Buffalo Burrito, which is made up of ground buffalo, fresh jalapeno, bacon, jack, cheddar, and avocado slices, along with a side of salsa. The burrito was tasty indeed, but I inhaled the entire thing in one sitting, which left me with a way-too-stuffed feeling for the rest of the day. All in all, I would recommend Sam’s No. 3 if you want a huge breakfast burrito, but, as you will read in my review below, I recommend staying far, far away from their Bloody Marys.
AT A GLANCE 13/20
Sam No. 3’s Bloody Mary looked quite deceiving from the start. It came garnished with a lime, pickle, celery, pepperoncini, a slice of bacon, and a bacon-wrapped jalapeno popper. I love bacon and jalapeno poppers, so I was really excited to try this Bloody Mary. The color of the cocktail was a light red and not very vibrant, which left me questioning how it would taste. I could see a few spices dispersed throughout the drink (also deceiving after actually taking a sip). The drink had a relatively clean appearance, though.
When I looked at the garnish on the Sam No. 3’s Bloody Mary, I was intrigued because it was quite attractive. Taste-wise though, the only thing good about the garnish was the bacon-wrapped jalapeno popper. It was delicious, crunchy, and hot, like you would expect any other jalapeno popper to be. The rest of the garnish ingredients were gross. The extra bacon I paid for was undercooked (nearly raw) and I spit it out after the first bite. It looked disgusting. Some of the other garnish ingredients were weird and tasted old (i.e. the pickle, olive, and pepperoncini). The jalapeno popper was a creative addition, but the rest of the garnish left me in a bad state of shock.
I ordered my Bloody Mary spicy, but it did not come out that way. Although you could see a few spices in the drink, you could barely taste any of them. There was quite an absence of spice– I felt like I was drinking watered down tomato juice and vodka sans spice the entire time. I was almost disturbed at the lack of spice this Bloody Mary had (especially because of the fact I ordered it spicy!). After I personally added some ground black pepper and garlic serrano hot sauce, the cocktail became a bit more bearable to drink.
TEXTURE & ACIDITY 10/20
Sam No. 3’s Bloody Mary was the most diluted Bloody Mary I have drank to date. As mentioned in the “Spice” category, the drink had to have merely been water, tomato juice, and vodka (i.e. the texture of a straight up liquid). And it was absolutely horrible. It was quite acidic and I got heartburn throughout its entirety, while when I got halfway through the drink, it was nearly clear. At this point, it was quite hard to drink and I don’t think I would have finished it if I wasn’t so hungover– it was simply just nourishment for my body.
You would think this Bloody Mary would have been unique when it first arrived at our table. Looks are deceiving. The only creative part of the Bloody Mary was the addition of the bacon-wrapped jalapeno pepper. Spices? Non-existent. Taste? Bad… Very bad. Some places just should not make Bloody Marys. Even though this is a diner, I would hope that, if you’re a bartender at any breakfast spot (or anywhere, actually), you know how to make a Bloody Mary. If you don’t, I recommend finding another line of work or simply working later in the evening at a bar (vodka and cranberry juice is a much simpler cocktail to craft, my friends).
FINAL SCORE 54/100
Check Sam’s No. 3 here. I only recommend visiting for a breakfast burrito because the Bloody Mary was the worst I have ever consumed to date. Sam’s No. 3 has locations in downtown Denver, Aurora, and Glendale.