Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Portland Restaurant: Q Restaurant

What: Q Restaurant & Bar
Where: 828 SW 2nd Ave
When: Dinner daily, lunch on weekdays, and brunch on weekends
Honey's Heart: The Quiche

Veritable Quandary, a classic old Portland restaurant and favorite of downtown professionals and travelers alike, recently closed its doors after 45 years. The property that was home to VQ is being turned into a new Portland Courthouse (boring) and so the GM and chef were forced to start a new venture or, in some ways, replicate their previous one.


Q Restaurant, their new spot, does share much of the same vibe as VQ with dark wood, similar menu items, the bar separated from dining space, etc. It is missing VQ's beloved patio, but we have insider news that Q is working with businesses in the building with the hopes of utilizing the rooftop at some point in the future.


Anyway, here's the real question. Is it worth the trek downtown on a weekend morning?

We started our brunch at Q with grapefruit mimosas, which were some much needed hair of the dog for this gal who had indulged in wine, fireball shots, and vodka sodas the night prior.


Katie also ordered a black coffee with cream and sugar (which I shared with her...did I mention the state I was in?) and it was beautifully presented. Perhaps taking up a bit too much table space, but never-the-less an upscale coffee experience.


To amp up our citrus intake, we also enjoyed Grapefruit Slices ($5) with green tea simple syrup and mint. If you're looking for something super light and refreshing, this is a great starter dish to share. One for a group of four would probably be great.


For our savory brunch items, we opted for the quiche special ($16), which we learned Chef Annie only makes occasionally. It was definitely our favorite dish with sweetness from caramelized onions and hearty squash and cheese, and I think probably they should just make it all the time. I would be fairly disappointed if I went there for brunch and didn't get to have this!


We also shared the Chilaquiles ($15) which were tasty and beautifully presented. Our waiter had also recommended the Monte Cristo and I feel like that could have been a good direction for us - apparently it's the real deal.


On the sweet side, we shared the Pugliese French Toast ($14) with bananas, mascarpone, and candied walnuts and Cinnamon & Sugar Churros ($7) with dipping chocolate. Unfortunately, both slightly missed the mark on texture and flavor. The french toast felt bland and a bit dry to us, and the churros weren't quite crispy enough on the outside, leaving the whole bite with a pretty doughy consistency.



We should also mention that the service we received during our visit was impeccable, right down to the thoughtful tour of the kitchen that Q's GM Erin took us on.


So, will Q be around in 40 some years like its predecessor? Will people be up in arms when/if it closes? I'm not sure yet, but I think the new location combined with the strong references to its predecessor is nothing but a good thing. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Portland Restaurant: Han Oak

What: Han Oak
Where: 511 NE 24th Ave
Honeys Heart: Everything

Hiiii! Remember us? Your wildly inconsistent blogger friends?

Well, it's 2017 and that means this little blog is coming up on 9 years in existence. Yikes. We're old.

If there is one good thing about getting old, it's that we can now afford some classier dining experiences (when is the last time we even wrote about a happy hour?!) - including dinner at Han Oak.

Tucked behind The Ocean's micro-restaurant complex, Han Oak is a reservation-only, non-traditional Korean restaurant specializing in prix-fixe dinners.

The reservation process is slightly intense (read about it here), but thankfully Kelly, Adam, and I have Doug, planner extraordinaire, who coordinated a dinner reservation for us.

Dinners at Han Oak are $35 per person plus gratuity and whatever drinks and additional plates you have. Doug and I came away from our last hyped-up prix-fixe meal (looking at you, Nodoguro) feeling underwhelmed and still kind of hungry, but that was definitely not our experience at Han Oak. We were so stuffed but also so impressed with the food and drinks. Definitely worth the reservation hassle and the $35.


Here's what we had: 

1) Pork and Chive Dumplings ($9), served with black vinegar broth and ginger


These dumplings are not part of the prix-fixe meal but they are worth the extra cost. Trust me.

2) Korean Fried Cauliflower ($9), with spicy gochujang glaze and bread & butter daikon


The cauliflower was another delicious add-on, but since there are three other veggie dishes on the prix-fixe menu, you could skip this one, no problem. 

3) Napa Cabbage and Daikon Kimchi

4) Roasted Brussel Sprouts with miso and mustard


5) Crispy Sweet & Sour Potatoes with toasted sesame 

I love sweet potatoes and the sour kick that these had in addition to the natural sweetness made this my favorite veggie plate on the menu.

6) Winter Squash with togarashi, meyer lemon, and fried garlic


7) Kalgooksu- egg drop chicken broth with handcut wheat noodles and poached chicken


I didn't think this soup was as flavorful as the other dishes served, but the handcut wheat noodles had a great texture.

8) Smoked Hanger Steak


Both main dishes were served with wrappers of sorts (lettuce with the steak and rice noodle sheets with the pork belly) so you could create your own little hand-held bites. Our server encouraged us to experiment and combine ingredients from both main dishes, which was fun and very tasty.

9) Koji-marinated, slow-roasted Pork Belly with rice noodle sheets, pickled daikon, and scallion salad


I don't usually like pork belly but even I liked this.

To drink, Kel and I both had The Golden Age ($9), made with saffron soju, cocchi americano, mezcal, satsuma, meyer lemon, and gochujang foam.



The description sounds a bit ominous (soju AND mezcal), but the resulting drink was actually quite nice and lighter than I expected.

Han Oak also serves brunch and just announced that they will operate as a no-reservations noodle and dumpling house on Sunday and Monday nights from 5-10pm. Pretty sure we'll need to check that out.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Buzzed with the Happy Hour Honeys: Holiday Special!

In this episode, we discuss where to do your holiday drinking in Portland, address the serious issue of Portland's lack of pop-up holiday bars, and share some quality holiday drinking stories. Per usual, we suggest drinking some egg nog, toddy's, mulled wine (you get the idea) to get in the spirit while enjoying this episode.

 
A Visual Guide to the Holiday Special:

Our podcast drink: Smitten Kitchen's Fairytale in New York (aka Old Fashioneds with fancy holiday-y syrup).


Holiday Drinking in Portland

Holiday Ale Festival




Spanish Coffees and Egg Nog at Clyde Common





Holiday Pop-Ups

Sippin' Santa's Surf Shack



Balta on the Roof



Miracle on Ninth Street
 



Here's the article Katie didn't read very closely: saveur.com/miracle-holiday-pop-up-bar

Holiday Drinking Stories

College-y Christmas circa 2007


New Years in Bakersfield (note the sparkly Forever 21 skirts).



Stoli Dolis Recipe: 
Cut up pineapple, soak in vodka for at least 2 days, shake with ice, strain, drink!


Look how old these phones are!


Sake Bomb Party

Year one when we had sushi, sake, sochu, bad sweaters, and Korean drinking games. Normal.


Year two when we had pizza for economical reasons, but kept everything else. 


Why was Katie shaming the Kelly's??




A green table for year three.


And a red one for year four!


 Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holiday Ale Fest 2016- Picks & Pans

Our resident beer expert, Doug (aka Katie's husband) is once again sharing his picks and pans for this year's Holiday Ale Fest. Cheers! 

There is literally nothing that gets me into more of a cheerful spirit than the Holiday Ale Festival. The smell of chestnuts, seasonal ales, the random crowd ‘woos’ - it's what I look forward to most when December rolls around. 


Picks:

Deschutes Ginger Cookie Imperial Porter – Usually the festival is full of beers with really promising ideas and descriptions that don’t live up to their potential when actually tasted. This beer is exactly what it says: a porter that tastes like a ginger cookie. Cookie in a glass. Yes please.

Fort George All Seeing Eye – Similar to the Deschutes Ginger Cookie, this tastes like a pie in a glass and smells like fresh-roasted apples. It also is very sneaky in its 12% ABV, as we didn’t realize this until consulting the program later in the night.

Fremont Brewing S’mores Bonfire Ale – Katie and I love Fremont Brewing, especially its beer fresh from the tasting room in north Seattle- and this beer did not disappoint. It's infused with Theo Chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows, the latter you can really smell during the taste.

Pans:

No-Li #WhiteRazzMocha – Okay, I’ll never fault a beer for a dumb name (hashtagging a name is silly), but this beer is way too sweet. It's possible that if you’re into syrupy malty beers, this one is for you. But it's not balanced and we weren’t pleased.

Lagunitas Barrel Aged Imperial Pils with Ginger and Quenepa – This one was… strange. I get that it was supposed to be ‘sake-like’, but I found it just odd.

But, don’t take my word for it. Go out and grab some tastes yourself this weekend! Have a happy Holidays!