Cucina Urbana, Bankers Hill
Last Saturday was a beautiful afternoon! I was attending the Bankers Hill Fall Festival as an Envy Ambassador, trying out the local fare. The last stop on my journey led me to Cucina Urbana. Located in Bankers Hill, San Diego, the restaurant is close to gorgeous Balboa Park and nestled in between Hillcrest and Downtown in a long-established neighborhood, with homes dating back to the late 19th century. The area has many new restaurants, bars and shops popping up.
Chatting with the awesome manager Kyle, I was sad to hear that they did not have brunch! As a passionate bloody mary blogger, I was jonesing for a bloody mary! When I told him, Kyle’s face lit up as he told me; “we have the most amazing bloody!” “Priscilla, make her a bloody mary; Cucina style,” he said. I was giddy and eager to try my hand-crafted bloody.
Priscilla started out by muddling the recently delivered Japanese cherry tomatoes from Specialty Produce. Muddling helps release the fresh flavors of the tomatoes and mix with the alcohol exceptionally well. This process took me back to cooking in my own kitchen, making pasta sauce from scratch and blending the tomatoes. Tomatoes taste airy and fresher-than-fresh through this process. Next, Cucina’s house-made hot sauce is added; Ivan’s hot sauce. Priscilla was not at liberty to tell me all the ingredients, as it is a secret, but it included garlic and Fresno chili peppers (a milder pepper than the jalapeno). Oregano, fresh lime juice, black pepper, and a house-made brine are added to the mix. The ingredients are blended together for a smooth, hand-crafted, original Italian bloody mary, that was orange in color.
The bloody mary, with all these ingredients blended together, was divine. Wholesome, salty, and airy it was like drinking a garden in a glass; truly epitomizing the farm to bar concept. I couldn’t have asked for anything more refreshing and cool, considering that it was 90 degrees outside. The Cucina bloody was not spicy, but the taste of the Fresno chili peppers is subtle and the black pepper rolled off the tongue. The bloody was then topped off with a Fresno chili pepper, basil leaf, yellow tomato, lime wheel, three olives and served in a glass rimmed with kosher salt.
There is nothing more exciting as a foodie and bloody mary connoisseur than finding a hidden gem like Cucina Urbana. That's why it is included in my list for top bloody marys in San Diego! A restaurant that does not have brunch or breakfast is the last place you’d think to find one of the very best bloody marys San Diego has to offer! If you’re looking for great Italian food, great service from the management to the bar staff, and a fresh, hand-crafted bloody mary, I recommend Cucina Urbana a thousand times over!