Friday, August 28, 2015

5 in 5: Victoria Bar, Eb & Bean, The Green Room, Pollo Norte, and Broth Bar

I really, really want to devote a full post to each of these spots, but its been summer and work is busy and we just moved into our new house and blah blah, you understand.

Here's the drill: 5 spots, described in 5 words. (Plus a bit of info about the occasion because obvs you want more details.)

Victoria Bar (Not to be confused with Victory Bar)

The Occasion: Laid back dinner and drinks with the Bowlsby's.
The Five: Decent Southern dishes and cocktails.

Eb & Bean

The Occasion: I finally decided to give this place a try after rolling my eyes at the menu and the high prices.
The Five: Move over, Salt & Straw.

The Green Room

The Occasion: The second stop on a recent downtown pub crawl (Shift Drinks coverage coming soon).
The Five: Don't expect MWL's outstanding service.

Pollo Norte

The Occasion: Double date with some old college friends.
The Five: Cheap, tasty family-style dinner.

Broth Bar 

The Occasion: Blogger preview.
The Five: I just don't get it.*

*Neither did Portland Monthly or Portland Mercury. Check out Pomo's Q&A with Broth Bar's owner here and The Merc's snarky review here

Want to read more half-assed posts? Here's some other 5 in 5's:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Hamlet

What: Hamlet
Where: 232 NW 12th Ave
Honey's Heart: Hmmmm.... 

Katie and I try our best to keep up with the Portland food scene and often know of places and have them on our list for a few weeks before we're actually able to coordinate our schedules and get there. That was the case with Hamlet, the new project for Cathy Whims, Ryan Magarian, and Kurt Huffman.

After a Children's Cancer Association event, we stopped by Hamlet for a drink and snack to share. Hamlet has a great location in the Pearl next to an old favorite from our college days, Vault. Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend (whoa this post is old), the restaurant was fairly quiet and we took a seat at the bar.

We started with two cocktails- Melon vs. Meat made with gin, lemon juice, honeydew juice, orange bitters, and prosciutto, and Endless Midnight made with pisco, green chartreuse, blackberries, lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white.

It seemed interesting at first that the exact cocktail recipes were printed on the menu (we could steal these and make them at home!), but after being generally underwhelmed by our drinks, we decided maybe it wasn't such a risky move. The Melon vs. Meat was reminiscent of diluted honeydew water while the other shockingly had very little flavor at all despite its bevy of ingredients.

For food, we turned to the selection of pig. I love some ham, prosciutto, speck, I'm all for it, but after our spendy weekend in Vancouver, BC, we weren't looking to spend $16+ on some ham to share, so we went for the $8 ham and salted butter sandwich.

Not that it wasn't good, and sometimes the most basic combo is also the most satisfying, but we felt like we could have made this and picnicked in the park with some rosé for a fraction of the cost.

The warm (hot) olives ($5) were good, but not special enough to compensate for our otherwise disappointing stop by Hamlet. Sorry Cathy, we won't be back.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Donnie Vegas

What: Donnie Vegas
Where: 1203 NE Alberta 
When: Daily 4pm - Close
Honeys Heart: Roll the Dice!

Adam and I got bikes for my birthday and decided to put them to good use right away. I know, Adam got a bike for my birthday too, but don't worry, I'll be getting something for his birthday now that I know this is a thing. I'm a fan of riding to a rewarding destination so we biked to Donnie Vegas on NE Alberta for a drink and a hot dog.

Isn't my bike cute? Adam says I'm too matchy matchy with my white and teal bike, and black and teal helmet, but I'm okay with it. 

Lucky for us sweaty bikers, Donnie Vegas has an awesome back patio area where we started with a couple cocktails. Moscow Mule ($7) for me and a whiskey tea cocktail for Adam.

After settling in with our cocktails, we decided to try their $5 hot dogs. Adam chose the Dirty Hawaiian with teriyaki, pineapple, and scallions. The hot dogs aren't particularly special on their own, just a simple beef dog, but the toppings, price, and patio make it a nice, low key place mid-bike adventure.

I chose the Banh Mi Dog with hoisin, pickles, and cilantro. I preferred mine to Adam's but they were both good!

So you may be wondering how we ended up with four drinks on our table...

Well, a fun drink option at Donnie Vegas is to roll the dice for a $4 drink. I can't remember all six options but they included a tequila shot, pickle back, featured cocktails, and a few other options. Each is associated with a number and you get whatever it lands on. Risky, but for only $4 we were in. We both happened to get featured cocktails and ended up with another bourbon tea cocktail and a mojito. 

This would definitely be a great spot for a drink and hanging out with a group. Everyday they have happy hour including a drink special, $1 off drafts, and $2 plain dogs. Oh and they give fair warning on the site, that "Donnie changes the menu whenever he wants, ya dig", so don't be surprised if none of this is relevant.

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Oregon Brewers Festival- Picks & Pans

Now in it's 28th year, the Oregon Brewers Festival is a summer requirement for most Portland beer-lovers.

Yes, it's crowded and hot. The beer lines can be long and the bros are out in full force. But there's also lots and lots beer to drink, so really, why not join in?

With over 100 beers pouring at the festival, there's more than enough options. Here are our picks for the beers that are worth waiting around for and the beers that you shouldn't waste your precious tokens on. Oh- and it's Doug's policy to stay away from any beers that are available in the bottles, just FYI.

6 Must-Try Beers

Hamber from Melvin Brewing (Trailer 6)
This dry-hopped amber was Doug's favorite beer of the festival. It's the perfect balance of malty richness and hoppy bite. 

Hop Syndrome from Epic Brewing Co (Trailer 5)
A delicious, citrusy hop bomb. Wouldn't expect anything less from Epic.

Dump Truck Summer Bock from Bayern Brewing(Trailer 10)
This is what we want to be drinking all summer. Simple, but so good.

Lil' Raspy from Sixpoint Brewery (Trailer 4)
Sixpoint is not playing around with this refreshing, raspberry sour.

Evie Radshine from Hopworks Urban Brewery (Trailer 9)
Looking for a beer that doesn't feel too heavy for summer but still packs a good alcoholic punch? Evie Radshine's your girl.

Rainbows & Unicorns from Breakside Brewery (Trailer 2)
Sadly, this session IPA was gone by the time I made it to the fest on Thursday, but everyone in our group agreed that it was really, really good.

4 Beers to Avoid 

Vanilla Valley Pale Ale from OBC/Widmer (Trailer 2)
This one just wasn't doing it for us, especially with it's strange vanilla aftertaste.

1-Up Mushroom Ale from Old Town Brewing Co (Trailer 3)
Points for creativity- but man, this beer was weird and not in a good way. 

Gunnamatta from Yeastie Boys (IBG)
A pale ale with earl gray tea sounded interesting, but just didn't pan out.

Cold Pressed Pale Ale from Flying Fish Brewing Co (Trailer 7)
Do yourself a favor and avoid the long lines at this one. Good idea, poor execution.