Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Portland Happy Hour: Mint/820

Back in January when I first invested in my fake id we decided to make the most of it (for $120 you got to live it up). One of our many traditions became Wednesday night Happy Hour at Mint/820, despite their refusal to acknowledge our status as regulars. There are many wonderful reasons we frequent this place (especially now that we are ALL legal).

First, DELICIOUS drinks. Some of our favorites (all for $6) include the Bella, Gin Cooler, 816, O...well we could probably keep going, but those are our favorites. And after 3 we're really good to go. This "lets get tipsy Wednesday night at Mint" has really been a lifesaver. It really gets us through the week (homework can be a bitch)!

Our second reason for loving Mint is the Sweet Potato fries (or yam fries with mayonnaise dip). Whatever they are, they are delicious and we generally get two orders which usually prompts the waiter to ask "are you sure????" And, yes we are.

Tonight (august 27) was an especially interesting night at Mint. We arrived, ordered our drinks and our fries, the usge. But shortly after, unlike normal Wednesday nights, the waitress came over and told us a guy (Zach) at a table we couldn't even see would like to buy us a round. There were 5 of us, so that is $30 (but 4 of us have boyfriends so that was a bad investment). Anyway, we took our drinks and decided to thank this generous fellow. SO we asked the waitress to send him over, and instead his two friends, both named Jeff -for real- came to chat, then Matt showed up (what?). But Matt left and finally Zach arrived so we could thank him.

Ultimately we chatted it up for a little, acted friendly, thankful, etc. We told their friend Tommy, who was celebrating his 21st, Happy Birthday! (Our friend's birthday was yesterday so they were like bday buddies). Then the best part of the night: Zach warns to his friend (Matt?) "be careful, they're kind of mean" but actually we're not, I guess they just didn't understand our sarcasm. Furthermore, not only do we all have boyfriends, but Katie happens to be a lesbian when she's tipsy so basically strikeout city for those boys...So then Katie kissed me and we declared our relationship official, which Dena adamantly denied (homophobe city...but not really, more like drunk city), so we decided it was time to leave.

So it was a successful Wednesday Happy Hour. We'll have many more this semester and promise to only to tell you about the really interesting ones. Our love for Mint only seems to grow and we recommend it to anyone looking for some delicious drinks, food, and fun place to catch up with friends!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Portland Happy Hour: Casa Del Matador

If you're ever on NW 23rd between the hours of 4 and 6 the happy hour at Casa Del Matador is worth the walk to the north end of the street. If you're ever on 23rd two days in a row...go two days in a row. At least that's what I did recently.

The food is good, big portions, awesome drinks. It is a tequila bar so there are lots of Margarita options. We generally get the house Marg for $6.50, but we would also recommend the Mojito ($7.50). Really you can't go wrong with any of the drinks though.

As far as food, there are select items that are $4 and some that are $5. We like to order the nachos cause you get a lot for your $4. Last time we ordered the nachos, spring rolls, and chicken quesadilla. All $4 and all really good!

It is a great place to go with a big group, but if there's just two of you, one order of nachos will be plenty, or two orders of the other items.

But just keep in mind, hitting on the bus boys is not effective here. In fact, if you do you can count on being thirsty for the rest of the night. Oh, and also not a good place if you're feeling a bit self-conscious (chunky)...Lets just say they don't let the waitresses sample the food.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Portland Happy Hour: Por Que No?

Last night my family was in town so Katie and I took them to por que no?, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Portland. It is a small restaurant on N Mississippi (close to Fremont) with indoor and outdoor seating, and the most delicious food!

The 8 of us arrived and got in line to order before taking our seats. In the 100 degree weather we felt like we were having a very authentic experience. We all ordered margaritas (some ordered the originals, others ordered the pomegranate. Both equally delish...and strong) and tacos. Their tacos are small homemade corn tortillas with a variety of fillings and priced individually. Some of our favorites include the Pollo Verde (chicken with a green sauce-$2.75), Camarones (spicy shrimp with pineapple-$4), and Verduras (vegetable-$2.75). We also recommend their chips with guac and salsa, quesadillas, flautas, bryan's bowl. Actually there is really nothing we wouldn't recommend! So we all sat, sweated, and enjoyed our tasty tacos and drinks while watching parts of the olympics and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere on Mississippi.

We think the prices are pretty great even when it's not happy hour, but for those looking for a deal, food and drink specials run from 3pm-6pm everyday and from 3pm to close on Tuesdays. All tacos are $ .50 off, small margaritas go for $4.50 and larges for $7, and all bottled beers are $2.50.

We took a break to digest and cool down, but then decided we wanted to go out for a drink (well 6 of us at least), so my aunt recommended this small bar also on N Mississippi. She told us it had a great atmosphere, a "real" DJ ("you know with records"), and awesome infused liquor and a back patio. Sounded good, so we asked the name. She couldn't tell us due to the lack of signage, but said we should just look for neon signs and bar noises. Thanks to this description we now call it "the nothing bar", but others may know it as Moloko Plus (formerly the Mississippi Social Club).

We headed back to N Mississippi and were pleasantly surprised by this small bar which was busy even on a Thursday with a pretty young crowd. It did have a real DJ and a variety of infused vodkas, gins, and tequilas. We tried an infused cucumber martini and a citrus martini. The cucumber was much more mellow, and while the citrus wasn't terrible, it was a hard drink with a strong bitterness (perhaps with a citrus peel taste) and vodka burn to it. After getting our drinks at the bar we sat at a table on the patio. It did have a great atmosphere and we plan on returning (though we definitely want to look at their drink menu and try something different). So we don't really know which are the best drinks, prices, etc we'll go back and give a more informative update!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Portland Restaurants and Happy Hours: Thai Assortment

Thanks to my most recent assignment for the magazine, today was our Thai food extravaganza. Nine restaurants in 7 hours...not too shabby.

We started downtown at
Sawasdee Thai, one of the many food carts on 10th and Alder. We didn't sample anything but we were told that their specialty was spicy fried rice and pumpkin curry. (Little did we know that pumpkin curry is quite popular as far as specialties go.) We also came across a cute little dessert cart, Sugar Cube. We definitely need to remember it next time we have a craving for something sweet.

After Sawasdee, we decided it would be an easy walk to E-San Thai Cuisine on the corner of Second and Pine. Unfortunately we walked about 10 blocks before we were informed that we were heading in the wrong direction. By that time our parking meter was about to run out so I hurried back to the car while can Kelly hunted down E-San . We ordered egg rolls that we then enjoyed on the back of my car outside of our next destination, PeemKaew Thai in the Pearl.

We decided to eat lunch at PeemKaew and were happily surprised when we were presented with complimentary spring rolls to go with our pumpkin curry and drunken noodles, which also turned out to be on the house. Thanks Peem Kaew!

After that it was off to Beau Thai Restaurant on 21st (bowtie...tricky), Vege Thai on Hawthorne and Pok Pok on Division. At Pok Pok, they told us that their food is "southeast asian street food" and when I talked to the owner, he was careful to point out that they were not a Thai restaurant but that they should be included in my article on Thai restaurants. Confusing.

After we tackled SE Portland we had two hours until Siam Society would be open. We decided it would be worth the trip to drive a good 25 minutes out to Honey Jar Frozen Yogurt on NE Sandy Blvd just after 138th. You may be wondering why we went to a fro yo place, but they have quite a variety. They not only have fro yo, they have regular ice cream, sandwiches, bagels, croissants, donuts...and a variety of Thai food. Though we didn't actually try any we decided that some day we will (and when we do we'll let you know how it is), but it has a very affordable menu with every item between $6.95 and $7.95.

By then it was time for our final two stops on Alberta, Thai Noon and Siam Society. We planned to get to Siam Society for their happy hour right at 4pm when their website said they open but unfortunately their times changed and we had a half-an-hour to kill before they opened their doors. True to form, we found a great little place that we want to try sometime, a little crepe place called Tour de Crepes.

While our half-an-hour passed by relatively slowly, I have to say, it was worth the wait. The bartender was very knowledgeable and gave us a full rundown of the history of the building and chefs/owners. We ordered Thai Me Up's, thai iced teas with a "generous splash of Stoli vanilla." Not bad, but we could definitely taste the vodka. As far as food, at the recommendation of the bartender, we ordered the pulled pork spring rolls, the vegetarian spring rolls and the sweet potato fries. All were tasty but no sweet potato fries can ever take the place of Mint's (aka 820 on N Russel). The bartender was also kind enough to let us try the Hibiscus Mojito and their award-winning ginger and lime cosmo. We will definitely be back!

Siam Society Happy Hour Ring-Up
2 Thai Me Up's : $16
2 Pulled Pork Spring Rolls: $4
1 Vegetarian Spring Roll: $2
1 Sweet Potato Fries: $3. 50
Total: $25.50 or $12.75 each plus tip