Thursday, November 29, 2018

Portland Restaurant: Hey Love (and a quick throwback)

What: Hey Love and Elephants (again) 
Where: E Burnside 
When: 5pm - 2am
Honeys Heart: Decor and cocktails

In between Katie coaching dance, me trying to figure out this whole dating thing, and us kindly inviting Doug to join us when we go places he wants to try too, Katie and I still try to prioritize checking out new bars and restaurants just the two of us. Recently we decided it would be fun to do a "back in time" bar crawl where we started somewhere we might like to go now, as mature 30-something year olds, and travel back in time through the night to places we frequented in our 20's (aka only places in NW).

Our list included Elephants, a toast to The Gypsy (from Muu-Muu's), Vault, and Life of Riley. Disclaimer: we did not make it to all of these places.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling
Elephants circa 2014- those are the strongest drinks of all time

To begin, we checked out a recently opened restaurant/bar called Hey Love in the newly-built Jupiter Hotel addition. With its tropical vibe and elevated tiki-style drinks, it was a great start to the debauchery to follow.


Hey Love's description of itself: "a community meeting hall, an afternoon study spot, an exceptional cocktail lounge, a hidden garden, and a house party - all wrapped into one." And to be fair, we met there, studied the menu, drank cocktails, commented on the plant-life, and returned at 1am to a wedding party and a DJ playing old-timey jams without a dance floor. We liked the vibe. 


Our bartender, a friendly woman with bright red hair, big earrings, and a colorful top, offered a warm greeting and suggestions of her favorite cocktails. We started with the Companion Fare ($11) and one of two rum slushy options. The one below featured strawberry and some fresh citrus and while both slushies were delicious (obvs we had to try both), they aren't sustainable additions to our daily drink repertoire as they lean a little sweet.


Recognizing that we had plenty of drinking ahead of us, we decided to try some of the tropical-inspired comfort foods. The Macaroni & Cheese Pie ($7) was an obvious choice for us and was made even more satisfying with wagon wheel pasta and the accompanying sauce.


After another round of cocktails, we ordered the pork cheek sliders to be safe. Good, but I don't think about them like I think about the mac. 


We wrapped things up, saying again "oh my gosh, we just love this place" and requested a Lyft to Elephants.

You might remember our first ever Elephant's post in April of 2009 where we raved about their incredibly cheap happy hour, then in October of 2009 when I explained my preference in bartender (sorry bartender Kelly), then in 2010 when Katie and I were SO funny and Kelly and Steve chased us out of the restaurant, then in 2011 when we copied their three citrus margarita recipe (we'd seen it made a few times)... and that's probably not every time they were mentioned. Point is, this stop was a MUST.


On our way there, we debated whether or not we would stay if bartender Kelly wasn't bartending. We decided we'd skip it since it just wouldn't feel the same without his adoration of us. As we walked up to the door, Katie saw him through the glass and immediately goes, "oh shit." We walk in, a bit enthusiastically, and from behind the bar we hear "oh shit." Bartender Kelly shared our sentiment, and probably a little bit of fear, of where this night was going.

We had a couple real strong cocktails and for old times sake, I put the bar stools up.


We left here to have shots at Muu Muu's and toast to The Gypsy's old location, now home to a new building full of retail space and apartments. Then went to Low Brow for lemon drops and went in very drunk search of somewhere to dance. We failed. As you can imagine the night went downhill and we should let the past live fondly in our memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Portland Restaurant & Wine Bar: Park Avenue Fine Wines

Where: 626 SW Park Avenue, Portland 
When: Spatzle & Speck caters Tuesday - Saturday from 2 - 9pm (the shop has other hours)

First of all, if you find that you highly value our content and opinions (and if you really do, maybe reflect on that...), you should follow us on Instagram for more regular, but still mostly irregular, updates. You can find us at @happyhourhoneyspdx

It's been four months so I'm sure you're dying for an update. Good news: our throuple is going strong (the throuple being Katie, her husband Doug, and me). Don't get confused, it's not romantic, but it makes me feel better than referring to myself as their "third wheel" on many, many a date. 

Us at a rooftop movie this summer

Recently I joined Katie and Doug at The Color Purple at Portland Center Stage and we decided to check out Park Avenue Fine Wines prior. Karl Holl, chef of Spatzle & Speck cooks up delicious eats there Tuesday through Saturday, and we knew he wouldn't disappoint. I had been last winter before a writing class and was angling for a reason to return, plus Karl caters my cousin's member events at L'Angolo and Portland Monthly named him their chef of the year...


We started with a bottle of wine (not pictured) that was a good deal for the three of us and, as I recall, tasty. They have wine by the glass and featured wines, but you can also get any wine in the wine shop. We told our server what we were hoping to spend and let her make the call. 

For food, we started with Oregon bay shrimp ($9) with hazelnuts, sultana, and a rustic baguette, which I was a little hesitant on. I don't usually like bay shrimp or raisins and the combination wasn't necessarily calling to me, but as in all relationships, you compromise. And sometimes you find out you do like something! 


Their menu is fresh, seasonal, and often changing so this particular burrato/tomato combo isn't on there right now, but it was fresh and light. Also, everything was so pretty, it was just nice to have it arrive at the table.


Next up, a more predictable crowd pleaser, Tempura Vegetables ($14) with their garden ranch dip and dusted with smoke parmigiano reggiano. 


We ended with the 100 Layer Lasagna ($21) with wild mushrooms, ricotta, fonduta, winter truffles, and more parmigiano reggiano (do you see it there?). It was delicate and silky, and I'm glad we tried it. There are other pastas and vegetable dishes that I would try next time before having this again, but don't get me wrong, if anyone ever just set this in front of me, I would thank them. 


Overall a lovely fall evening that I would highly encourage you to replicate. It's fine, we like to be copied. Next up on the blog: Katie and I go from the present to the past and remember why we like the present.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Troutdale Restaurant: Sugarpine Drive-In

What: Sugerpine Drive-In
Where: 1208 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale, OR
Honeys Heart: Frosé & soft serve 

It's pretty much guaranteed that if you put pretty glasses of frosé, soft serve cones with sprinkles, and a pulled pork sandwich on the menu of your hipsterfied drive-thru, I will show up opening weekend. Even if your restaurant is located in Troutdale.


As part of Amanda's going away weekend (sob), we drove the 30 minutes out to Troutdale last Friday to check-out the recently opened Sugerpine Drive-In.



Located on the Sandy River right across the Troutdale Bride, Sugarpine boasts an impressive restaurant pedigree with owners Emily and Ryan coming from such Portland staples as Beast and Pok Pok.


We kicked things off with the made-for-Instagram Frozen Rosé Slushies ($8).


I mean, how pretty is that? The edible flower.. the cute striped paper straw... Someone knows what they're doing social media-wise. They were good too - not watery and tasteless like some frosé.


For dinner, Amanda and I split the Waffle Grilled Cheese ($10) with tomato, onion jam, and bacon and the Pulled Pork Sandwich ($10).


The grilled cheese was delicious, though significantly less photogenic than the frosé (you can't win 'em all!). Definitely add all the fixin's even though the price shoots up from $6 to $10. Amanda especially appreciated the potato bread bun which, in her opinion, is not used regularly enough here on the west coast.


We also liked the Pulled Pork. While it was nothing out of the ordinary, I enjoyed the addition of carrots to the slaw which gave the sandwich some nice crispness.

Of course, we weren't going to leave without some soft serve. I opted for a kids size Vanilla Sugar Cone with Birthday Cake Crumb ($3) and Amanda did the same but with Sprinkles.


While I'm not sure I would make the drive out to Sugerpine solely for a visit there, it will definitely warrant a stop if we're hitting up the adidas outlet or heading to or from Hood River.


I'll also note that we were a little surprised there was no burger on the menu. Seems like a must-have for an old-school drive-thru, but given the owners' chefly background, it wouldn't be surprising if the menu is changed up more frequently than the average diner. Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Weekend Getaway: Hood River Birthday Bash

Katie and I recently reminisced on my adult birthdays and decided that they have been mostly bad or sort of non-existent with exception of 2013 (dancing) and 2015 (champagne bar + karaoke). Outside of these, my birthday has been meh and my 30th was horrible. Have we mentioned recently all my life changes...?? Well, my birthday was collateral damage.

2013: Pre-dancing / Post-drinking

2015: Champagne Bar

2015: Taken at Voicebox by an Australian Couple 

So this year for my 31st, I needed to do something different and I needed my best friends there. Luckily they felt guilty for missing last year or they were just available this year, one of the two. Either way, my people (Katie, Doug, Jen, Michael, Alex, Mary, and me!) were together and it was so so so fun.

We decided on a weekend in Hood River, one night in, some kind of physical activity, one night out, and the ability to follow our hearts' desires. My favorite.

Friday
We arrived at the condo we rented through Vacasa, which was situated on the edge of downtown. While we waited for Jen and Michael to arrive, and since we were planning on dinner in, we ventured for a beer at the Big Horse Brew Pub. We posted up on the patio with the awkward guidance of the host and the waitress who accidentally spilled a few glasses of water on me. No worries, we relocated to another table, ordered beers (no pitchers because what we wanted was "too high of an alcohol percentage" - classic), and took in the sunshine.


Back at the condo, Jen and Katie set up cheese, more cheese, and treats (including the best cookies and macarons from Whole Foods and rosé jello squares) and Doug got to work on his pizzas (made with a homemade sourdough starter) while Mary and I took in the view. We really kicked things off by pouring some Aperol spritz's (our summer fav) and promptly started taking photo shoots.





After a delicious dinner and a walk around the neighborhood with drinks in hand - gotta love Hood River's open container law - we played Piccolo (previously mentioned in our Budapest podcast and visual guide). It is really a fun game and made even better with funny people. Mary was laughing so hard, at everything, which basically meant Katie and I were too. A personal favorite was when Michael had to sing everything he said...

Doug's Pizza Spread
Saturday
A lazy morning was just was the doctor - or my body - ordered. Jen and Michael made quiche and mimosas. YES. And we ventured to Ground just a couple blocks away for coffee.

Our breakfast was enjoyed with the backdrop of soccer followed by Jersey Shore and we gave each other pep talks about getting our swimsuits on. Because it's the Gorge, I had put in our very loose itinerary that we would go on a hike, but Katie and Doug reminded me that I like to be on the water more than I like to hike, so we rented paddle boards instead.


With our large to-go mimosa we walked to the Gorge Paddling Center where we all rented SUP's, except Doug who opted for a kayak. Our only mistake was not entrusting the mimosas to Doug. After fighting the wind, paddling out of the rocks, and my attempt and fail at taking my SUP out on the waves with the kite boarders (please note, no one was concerned enough for my safety to follow me), we had the best moment of our paddle boarding adventure. Laying down, we grabbed the straps at the end of our boards to create a trail of paddle boarders being led/dragged by our very own kayak leader, Doug. This is what he gets for being in the faster, more powerful mode of water transportation.


After another photo shoot, we wandered to a couple food carts on a dock overlooking the water. Over beers from Sandbar Cafe and Hawaiian food from The Local Grind, we listened to the best playlist and watched teens jump off the dock. A great find as a result of not over-planning our weekend. See the benefit of a "suggested itinerary"!



Our initial idea after lunch was naps and showers, but we wanted to watch the kite boarders and wind surfers and Michael wanted to start a trend of resting in the grass. Again, following our whims and having the best, most relaxing day. Oh, and another photo shoot.


Eventually we rotated through showers and were walking to pFriem Family Brewers before 7pm. I would say that's pretty solid for this crew. Anticipating an hour wait, Doug carried bocce ball and we got pFriem beers to-go to enjoy on the lawn. Mary made me a flower crown and Katie continued to try to capture photos for my someday inevitable dating profile. I'm still resisting.




After a delicious dinner, we were on our way to the bar that advertised "nightlife" but weren't quite at our best yet. Katie encouraged an impromptu stop at Camp 1805 and it was 100% the right choice. Shots all around (except Jen, she's pregnant...) followed by a round of cocktails, a sampler of booze for the boys, and more shots for me and Katie. It was here that Mary taught us about "soaking" which has proceeded to be my favorite new conversation starter with strangers. Just google "Mormon soaking" and you'll get the details. Or text me or Katie because that's our new favorite option we make available to our readers.



I basically had to force Katie out of her new favorite bar to go to Whiskey Tango, the aforementioned nightlife of Hood River. Jen and Michael took this opportunity to sneak to bed, and I give Jen incredible props for making it that long into the night six months pregnant. More shots, more drinks... now dancing! The assistant DJ, Israel, quickly became familiar with us and as most DJ bouncers do, promptly ignored our requests. No bother, we danced with cowboys and unexpected Jersey Shore types. Katie had the occasional dance off, Mary hooted and hollered at a cowboy, I danced with a man who's butt was at my knees (maybe he wasn't that short but it felt like it), and Doug and Alex were also there keeping drinks full and eyeing questionable folk.

At home we ate birthday cake, sat in the hot tub, laughed more. I'm guessing, it's all a blur.



Sunday
Time for the best weekend to come to an end. We ate more quiche, didn't drink any mimosas, and packed up the decorations. Resigned to the reality of nursing our hangovers on my couch, Mary and I took naps and partially watched Queer Eye.

We may have then gone on a walk, drank a bottle of rose at Enso, had dinner and a bottle of pinot gris at Bamboo Sushi, and had more wine and watched Ocean's 8 at Laurelhurst Theater, but Sunday's are scary and you have to make the most of birthday weekends.