Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DIY Happy Hour: Mulled Wine

posted by Katie

Last year, my mom and I made Hot Apple Pie drinks for Christmas. They were okay, but this year we decided to go in a different direction and try our hand at mulled wine.

Mulled wine is basically warmed sangria with a few extra spices thrown it. The following recipe is based off Ina Garten's recipe with a few minor changes (most notably, no star anise because we couldn't find any). Since the recipe calls for a whole bottle of wine and my family are pretty light drinkers, we had leftovers which we just put in the fridge and reheated in a saucepan a few days later. That worked nicely since the few extra days in the fridge strengthened the added flavors. Leftover mulled wine can also be enjoyed cold if that's more your style.

What You'll Need:

- 1 bottle of red wine (we used Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 4 cups of apple cider
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 3 oranges for garnish

Step One:

Combine wine, cider, honey, cinnamon, zest and juice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Step Two:

Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step Three:

While wine is simmering, cut oranges for garnishes.

Step Four:

Pour wine through a strainer to remove spices and zest.

Step Five:

Pour wine into glasses and add orange garnishes.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Typhoon

Posted by Kelly

Adam and I have wandered by Typhoon on NW 23rd many times and noticed their sign promoting happy hour from 4 to 6pm and recently decided to check it out. The portions were good, but the pad thai ($5) just wasn't Thai Ginger's. We also order the spring rolls ($2.95) which we liked and the calamari ($5) which was also good, but not the best in town. I was a little hungry still so we tried the Miang Kum ($2.95), which was very interesting combining lime, chewy ginger, crunchy things, on a spinach leaf that you just rolled up and popped in your mouth, but it was also very spicy! Typhoon also offfered beer and wine specials, I opted for a $4 glass of the house white, nothing great.

I've had better food there so maybe it was just an off night, but I don't think it will be on my list of happy hours to return to.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Portland: Dragonfish Asian Cafe

Posted by Kelly

So sushi is one of those foods that I begin to crave and it won't go away until I have some. Thankfully after about of month of suggesting sushi, I finally got some at Dragonfish Asian Cafe* happy hour on the corner of SW Park and Taylor.

Sofi, Grete and I arrived first, all initially walking left once going inside the doors and being told by the Dragonfish restaurant bartender that happy hour was across the lobby in the Dragonfish lounge. We decided he probably gets that a lot, poor guy.

First, we ordered drinks. Grete had beer, Sofi enjoyed a warm and delicious Peppermint Patty seasonal cocktail ($8), and I tried the $5 Lemongrass Lime Rickey made with lemongrass infused vodka and served on the rocks. I think Sofi made the best choice, but how can you really go wrong with hot chocolate and alcohol? The Lemongrass Lime Rickey was good, but weak and not very flavorful. Katie came just before happy hour ended at 6 and ordered some tea to warm herself up! It's been SO cold! (Though I'm sure Katie is colder in Boston)

The sushi was great, though I am still a Mio fan, perhaps out of habit after living in North Portland and having that be the closest sushi destination.

We ordered Inari ($1.95), a salmon nigiri ($3) and smelt, two orders of the smoked salmon roll, the spicy tuna roll, and the california roll, and one order of the crunchy crab roll. Two orders of potstickers also made the cut, with 4 of us and only 3 potstickers per order we obviously had to get two. Sofi also had miso soup ($2), which she said was good and for only $2, why not?

We orderd quite a bit off the happy hour menu, but discovered at the end that it's actually not an exceptional deal. The spicy tuna roll was $4 on happy hour, but you only get a half order (4 rolls) and on the regular menu a roll of 8 is $9. So by the time we ordered two orders, we really only saved $1. Still a savings, but not one that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. The california roll is a better deal being only $2.75 for 4, whereas it's $8 on the regular menu. If you are hungry for half a roll and miso soup or postickers, than the happy hour is a deal. Definitely a central spot to meet people on the Park blocks and the wait staff was very friendly, Grete and our waiter bonded over Virginia and Sofi definitely got a shoulder pat for making such exceptional sushi choices.

Of course I forgot my camera again so thank you Grete's iPhone for the pics!

* heads up, their online happy hour menu is not accurate

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DIY Happy Hour: Cranberry Margaritas

Posted by Katie

Margaritas are a happy hour honey favorite and my parents' drink of choice too. So when my mom found a recipe for Cranberry Margaritas in Sunset Magazine, she suggested that we try out the recipe when I was home for Thanksgiving.

Sunset's recipe is for blended margaritas which are unacceptable in most cases, so we had to do a bit of tweaking to make them the more superior on-the-rocks variety.

Ready to find out how to make these festive and yummy drinks?

What You'll Need:

- 3/4 cup of tequila
- 1/2 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 1 1/4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (6oz) of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
- ice

This will make 3-4 margaritas.

Step 1: Wash the cranberries.
Duh. But check out this photo where I was trying to go all Bakerella. I think I need more practice. Or maybe cuter backgrounds and a reeeeeally nice camera.

Step 2: Blend
cranberries, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 1/4 cups cranberry juice, and 3/4 cup lime juice
 How many drinks are you making? 4? Set aside 12 cranberries for garnish. Throw the rest of the cranberries into the blender with the sugar, cranberry juice and lime juice.

Step 3: Sugar rim time!
Pour some sugar onto a flat plate. Run the lime rind (that you didn't throw away yet, right?) around the rim of the glasses. Place the rims in the sugar and gently twist them to make sure the whole rim gets covered.

So pretty!

Step Four: Add tequila to cranberry mixture
Pour the tequila into the blended cranberry mixture. This recipe calls for 3/4 cup of tequila but we wouldn't judge if you wanted to up that a bit. Stir.

Step Five: Pour over ice
Place ice in cups and pour margarita mixture into the glasses. Careful of the rim!

Step Six:  Add a "Cointreau floater"
This was my dad's contribution. Use a spoon to gently "float" the Cointreau on top of the margarita mixture. Or you can just put the Cointreau in when you put the tequila in.

Step Seven: Garnish
Sunset says to use toothpicks but we didn't have any so my mom found some twigs in the backyard to serve as the skewers for the cranberries. (Don't worry, we washed them.) We decided they give these drinks a nice rustic look.

Slide the cranberries (3 is a good number) onto the toothpicks/twigs/whatever you can find, and place them on the edge of the glasses.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Boston: The Nutcracker, Cuffs and Post 390

posted by Katie

Let me start off by saying that if you don't know about Groupon yet, you should probably get acquainted with it asap.

Groupon is a website that uses "collective buying power" to provide its customers with great deals on everything from dinner at a local restaurant to massages at the hippest salon in town. Sounds great right? And it's super easy to use. Every day, Groupon posts a new deal. For example, today's deal in Boston was $15 for $35 worth of Indian Food at Kashmir. Each deal has a minimum amount of people who must buy the coupon in order for the deal to be on. So for today, 150 people had to buy the groupon before it went into effect. If your Groupon deal is on, then Groupon emails you instructions for how to redeem your coupon and you're done.

For Groupon's Boston deals, click here

And for Groupon's Portland site, click here

I first heard about Groupon from my friend Sara, who emailed me that Groupon was offering %50 off tickets to see the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker. So down for that...and luckily so was my roommate Shannon.

We bought that Groupon back in October, so by the time December rolled around, we were both really excited to go to the ballet (note our fancy outfits).

The Nutcracker is performed at the Boston Opera House which is just beautiful.

And Shannon and I were surprised to find out that we had really good seats.

Or so we thought...The couple behind us was noticeably tipsy and talked loudly throughout the First Act despite the fact that everyone around them (myself included) kept turning to flash them dirty looks every few minutes. When that was obviously not working, the guy next me politely asked them if they could stop talking until intermission. Well, that just set them off, and the tipsy man leaned over and loudly said "fuck you" while flipping the guy next to me the bird.

Um, hi. Are we at a football game or the ballet?!? Too bad bad the Opera House doesn't have an obnoxious fan hotline like they do at football stadiums...

Thankfully, the noisy couple did not return after intermission and other than that little distraction, I really enjoyed the Boston Ballet's take on the Nutcracker. I have only ever seen the San Francisco Ballet's version but I really like how the Boston Ballet incorporated so many of their students into the performance. I wish I had a video to show you of the little kid who played the black sheep in the pastoral scene. Beyond adorable.

Since we were all dressed up in our Nutcracker finery, Shannon and I decided to make a night of it and hit the town when the show was over.

happy hour honeys hint: if you're already out and about and don't have access to internet to look up where to go, hit up the concierge stand at a nearby hotel. Act like you're a paying guest and you'll be treated to all the free info you want!

The concierge at the Westin recommend that Shannon and I try the Back Bay Hotel (formerly Jurys Boston Hotel) if we were looking for a classy bar with good drinks and yummy appetizers. The Irish bar at Back Bay is called Cuffs and the place was packed with a late-20s-and-over crowd. Shannon and I were a bit disappointed to find that most of the drinks on the menu were at least $13, which seemed like a lot when all the menu items were $11+ too. We decided to split the flatbread margarita pizza for $11 and Shannon got a beer ($6) and I got a glass of Riesling ($9). The pizza was totally bland and to be honest, I'm always happier with a cocktail in hand rather than wine, so Cuffs was really not doing it for us.

The concierge had also recommend Post 390, which was right down the street, so we headed there next. Having only opened its doors in early October, Post is apparantly one of the new hotspots in town. Like Cuffs, it definitely had an older vibe (right when we walked in, I heard a women bragging about being a cougar...), and it was way more packed than Cuffs.

After wrangling at seat at the bar, Shannon and I both opted for a No. 39 ($11) with Milagro Silver Tequila, Cointreau, fresh grapefruit juice and house smoked sea salt.

Now, if you know Kel and me, or if you read our blog often, you know we are avid followers of the school of if you order it, you finish it. No matter how much it tastes like shampoo (shout out to Teardrop Lounge in Portland!).

Well, I just could not finish my No. 39. The smoked sea salt completely overpowered the other components of the drink and I could only get down about half of my drink before I decided it wasn't worth it.

But since the No. 39 was the only drink Shannon and I tried at Post, I can't write the place off completely. But if I do go back again, I will definitely be ordering something else!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Romo's Latin Quarter

Posted by Kelly

For years Romo's on SE Hawthorne was one of my grandparents favorite spots. I went there multiple times with them and always enjoyed their food, but unfortunately was too young to drink the margaritas. Romo's moved over to 7915 SE Stark about a year ago and was renamed Romo's Latin Quarter. We have attempted to stop in for lunch or dinner on multiple occasions but there has always been a "Closed" sign on the door. This is probably our fault due to our lack of research on Romo's limited dinner only hours (5-9pm, weekends til 10pm), closed Mondays. As a consequence of our lack of timing it has been a while since I've been Romo's so when they asked happy hour honeys to come by and let them know what we thought I was excited to finally go!

I showed up at 5pm with that nights happy hour accomplice Adam, just as Romo's was opening, to be sure to have the full hour to take advantage of the happy hour menu that ends at 6. I ordered a house margarita ($4.50) and Adam ordered the berry margarita ($5.50)...which happened to be strawberry that day, Adam's favorite! We sipped on these while enjoying complimentary chips and salsa, and deciding what we should share from the food menu. The margaritas are great, strong, and good sized, made with a secret recipe that they won't give away! I asked as we were leaving what they make them with, but the waitress wasn't about to give me any hints. They are more of a classic margarita than the one at Elephants made with fresh lime, lemon, and orange juice that I love, but they hit the spot in a different way and I would definitely recommend getting one (or two)!

The happy hour menu isn't very big and doesn't have some of my favorite things like chimichangas, fajita, or any kind of Romo's special which is kind of a bummer, but the basics are always good too. We decided to order the Green Chile Chicken Burrito ($4), the Chips and Guacamole ($3), a Shredded Beef Taco and a Chicken Taco ($1.50) to share....so basically one of every thing!

Our favorites were probably the guacamole and the green chile chicken burrito. The guac tasted fresh and the green sauce was spicy but not overwhelming.

Both tacos were good, but kind of dry and lacking any type of sauce or real flavor. I will probably return, but unless the happy hour is spruced up I'd probably skip it for something off their regular menu, except the margaritas. I'll gladly enjoy a couple of those!

Bonus: Romo's was offering a complimentary Chocolate Nutty Mousse Cake last week if you asked for...so of course we did. It was pretty delicious, but Adam ate most of it while I enjoyed another margarita. Be sure to check out Romo's website or twitter for the special they're offering that week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Southpark Seafood Grill and Wine Bar

Posted by Kelly

One great result of having friends that live in a different area of downtown is that I go to happy hours in a different part of town. Even though I do this anyway, it offers extra motivation! Last night Katie B, Sofi, Greg, and I went to happy hour at Southpark Seafood Grill and Wine Bar on the corner of SW Salmon and 9th just a few blocks from Sofi and Katie's apartment.

We met at 5:30 after Katie got off work and had enough time to order what we wanted during the happy hour which ends at 6pm. Of course we started with wine. Sofi, Katie and I arrived at different times and each ordered a glass of Sangria (red, $4) off the happy hour menu. Realizing we all wanted the same thing we ordered a carafe of the sangria next ($10). The sangria was great, especially the apples that had been soaking it. Yum!

For food we ordered a 1/2 dozen oysters ($9) and calamari ($4) off the happy hour menu, and the Southpark Burger ($10.75) which came with white cheddar and pomme frites and the Brick Oven Pizza of the Day ($11). The pizza involved lots of delicious things...I remember potatoes, goat cheese, and bacon maybe?

Sorry, my cheeseburger pic won't rotate!

There were two types of oysters, three of each. I liked one type, but the other I was not a fan of, but oysters aren't really my thing anyway. I would recommend them if you're an oyster fan though! Greg ordered the calamari and seemed to enjoy it, he also had two glasses of the house white.

Off the wine bar menu there was a greater selection of delicious dishes, their regular menu also looked impressive but slightly expensive due to the fresh seafood and local ingredients. We loved the burger, but how can you go wrong really? Between the sangria, oysters, burger, and complimentary bread (olive, delish!) we were too full to finish our pizza so we had it boxed to go. Bad news though, none of us remembered to grab it!

The menu features the highlights of the season and the seafood is delivered daily. You are sure to find a wine to match your meal off of the 130-bottle wine list. The list features wines from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece in addition to Pacific Northwest wines. Not a wine person? No worries, Southpark also offers local microbrews and premium liquor. The staff was pleasant, provided great service, and seemed very knowledgeable in regard to the menu and wine pairings.

Enjoy their happy hour daily from 3 to 6pm and their Wine Bar Menu every day after 3pm. If nothing else I think it's worth a stop for a glass of sangria!

Monday, November 30, 2009

DIY: Lemon Drop Martini

Posted by Kelly

Our days in the dorms resulted in many a horrible cocktail concoction...

Leslie and I in our dorm room Sophomore year
undoubtedly drinking room temperature vodka and juice

...so when we moved into our house in North Portland it was time to create something delicious! Lemon Drop Martini's became one of our go to cocktails throughout college when we were feeling classy and preparing for a great night, or when we just needed a tasty drink to take our minds off the pile of homework ahead of us.

Leslie and I, Junior year, sipping on tasty lemon drops!

The recipe is easy and sure to impress.

Lemon Drop Martini Recipe:
1 1/2 oz Vodka (Plain or Citrus)
1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Lemon Juice
Simple syrup to taste, about a spoonful

You will need:
Juicer (electric, old school, or we've used our hands, a spoon...whatever gets the juice out!)

Martini Shaker

Start by making simple syrup. This is easy, and you can make extra to put in a glass container and store in the refrigerator for future creations. I like to make the mixture using approximately 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. This way the syrup is thicker and I use less of it. Heat 1 cup water, add 1.5 to 2 cups of sugar and let the sugar dissolve completely. Allow it to cool and store the extra.

Next juice your lemons, quantity will depend on how many drinks you're making and how juicy your lemons are.

In your martini shaker, for 1 drink (double for 2), combine ice, 1 1/2 oz of vodka (for affordable plain vodka I prefer Monopolowa, for citrus anything goes, we've used Burnetts, Smirnoff, Absolut, Sky....use your favorite) 1 oz Triple Sec (also use your judgment, but some have more alcohol content than others, just saying) 1 oz lemon juice, and a spoonful of simple syrup.


Pour into sugared rim martini glass. Garnish with a small slice of lemon peel or a lemon twist.


Photos of a handful of other Lemon Drop Martini worthy occasions...

Leslie's 21st Birthday!

Jenna comes to visit!

A night out downtown!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boston: Daisy Buchanan's

posted by Katie

When we first moved to Boston, my roommate Shannon and I saw a lot of each other, but now that she's busy working two jobs and I have school, my internship, and work, we can sometimes go days without catching up or even seeing each other.

These last couple of weeks have been crazy, especially for Shannon, so we decided to take advantage of her Monday night off and meet up for happy hour after I was done with work.

One of our favorite places to go is Newbury Street, which I like to think of as a mix of NW 23rd St. in Portland and Santana Row in San Jose. Think tree-lined streets with restaurants, some cute and affordable stores, and then some super expensive ones too.

Daisy Buchanan's is located on the corner of Newbury and Fairfield and though I hear it's pretty poppin' on Thursdays and during the weekend, it was nearly empty when we got there around 6pm. The place definitely has a dive-y vibe complete with a funky smell, but hey, that's part of it's charm right?

The food at Daisy's is pretty cheap anyway so that makes the happy hour prices even better. Shannon and I decided to go with the bruschetta di pomadori ($2), the onion rings ($2) (which are quickly rising to the top of my list of favorite guilty pleasures...shoot), and the hamburger ($4.50). Since Shannon's a beer drinker, I decided to follow her lead. She ordered a bud ($4) and I went with a PBR ($3).

Shannon and I were expecting the bruschetta to be small pieces of baguette topped with some tomatoes and instead we got two huge slices of bread heaped with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Good, but I probably wouldn't order it again. The hamburger was tasty, and the onion rings, while a bit on the salty side, were nice and crispy.

I think my favorite part of our Daisy's experience, however, was our waitress. She reminded me of my friend Emi: cute and sweet, but a little spacey. When she came to get our dishes she asked how the food was and I answered that it was good. She replied "Oh really? I've never had it. But that's good. I'm glad you liked it." Um, okay....

Daisy's happy hour is one of the longest I've seen: 3:30-7pm Mon-Fri. Not fine dining but as long as you know that going in, you'll be fine.

Sip on This!: Literary Edition
(sorry, it's the English major in me)

I think it's safe to say that whoever named Daisy Buchanan's was most likely a fan of F. Scott's Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald relied heavily on his own life experiences to create his characters and Daisy Buchanan is believed to have been inspired by Fitzgerald's own youthful romance with Chicago heiress Ginevra King.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boston Restaurant: The Fireplace

posted by Katie
Last week was just one of those weeks. But we all know that fortunately there is a cure for such things and that is drinks and dessert at a classy restaurant.

Katie H. mentioned a few weeks ago that she had really good sangria at a place just up the road from her at Washington Square (yep, Boston has one of those too. Not a mall though.) While I may not be the best at remembering certain details (I think my roommate will kill me if she has to remind me one more time that she spent 1st semester sophomore year in Australia), any mention of good drinks goes on memory lockdown. The original plan had been to get drinks with a few people at Sunset Bar & Grill but when that fell through, a good sangria place sounded like the perfect substitute.

The Fireplace is a cozy little restaurant which, as you might have guessed, features a big fireplace that is right next to the bar. Katie and I also appreciated the big drapes around the door that keep the draft out, just like the ones at Mint (what I wouldn’t give for a Bella and bowl of sweet potato fries…).

Once we finally got a seat on the bar (more on that later), we decided to each get a drink and a dessert. Katie’s my kind of girl, no wimpy sharing one dessert for the two of us. Love it.

To drink, Katie ordered the Mulled Wine ($9) which was served hot in wine glass with a cinnamon stick. I went for the Honeyed Capirinha ($9) with Leblond Cachaca (Brazilian rum), raw local honey, and freshly muddled limes. Katie’s wine was delicious and the warmth and spice of the drink made it a perfect choice for a chilly night. My drink was good too, but definitely more of a refreshing summer drink. Going with the mulled wine (or sangria) next time for sure.

All of the desserts on the menu looked good, but we agreed to try the more seasonal choices to keep with the fall spirit. Katie ordered the Cranberry Pear Crisp ($8) with brown sugar oat crumble & cinnamon ice cream. We both liked it best when the ice cream got a little meltier and mixed with the fruit filling. I went with the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie ($8) with pumpkin seed brittle & pomegranate sauce. It actually came with two little whoopee pies and was absolutely scrumptious. The crunch of the pumpkin seed brittle was the perfect complement to the creamy filling and luxurious pumpkin cake.

The only downside of The Fireplace was the iffy service. Katie and I arrived around 10pm, but were told by the hostess that the tables were reserved for dinner service only. That’s understandable, but the restaurant was closing in an hour, there were multiple tables open and we were there for dessert, not just drinks. After standing by the door for a good 15 minutes, and awkwardly being approached by the hostess again because she did not recognize us from 5 minutes earlier…, the hostess finally decided she could seat us but we’d have to order our drinks ourselves from the bar. Luckily, by that point, a couple was leaving the bar so we had a place to sit. We also weren’t too sure about the bartender. I think we might have had a bit of a Kelly on our hands but maybe he had been having one of those weeks too so I’ll hold off on judgment for now…

Friday, November 20, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Red Star Tavern

Posted by Kelly

If you are downtown doing holiday shopping and looking for an affordable bit to eat and maybe a post-shop drink, head over to Red Star Tavern on the corner of SW 5th and Alder. Rachel and I barely racked up a $25 bill after both having three glasses of the red wine happy hour special ($3) each, the chicken tacos, and the nacho fries. Pretty great deal!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Clyde Common

Posted by Kelly

Clyde Common, which opened in 2007 by Nate Tilden and Matt Piacentini who were aiming for a European style tavern, has been on my "Happy Hour To Do" list for quite a while and last Friday night I finally got to try it out with Katie B, Sofi, and Grete. We met at 5:30pm just in time to enjoy their happy hour which ends at 6pm.

The bar was packed, so we were happily seated at one of the long community style tables which are spread out across the main floor. Upstairs are individual tables, but the group setting offers a unique and potentially entertaining experience. The four of us sat at the end of a table, unfortunately next to a lovely couple that were engaged in their own conversation. The restaurant's floor to ceiling windows and candle lit tables create nice ambiance, while the open kitchen offers a sneak peak into the kitchen activities.

First we ordered $5 drinks off the happy hour menu. I chose a Charley Horse, made with Monopolowa vodka, orange juice, Averna Amaro, and raw ginger syrup, served up. Initially I couldn't decide if I liked it, but as I sipped the flavor grew on me and I ended up really loving the raw ginger. Katie and Sofi both ordered The Dissident, a Becherovka, house-made tonic water, and lime drink served over ice. The Becherovka gave the drink a very herbal, clove-like flavor. Both drinks ended up reminding me of the holidays, which I love! Grete ordered a beer that I cannot pronounce the name of, but is featured in the photograph below. I need to sharpen up on my beer knowledge!

Off the happy hour food menu, Sofi and I split the hamburger sandwich ($6, added cheddar cheese $1) and the grilled onion, goat cheese, pesto pressed sandwich ($6). Grete and Katie each got the hamburger as well, though Grete ordered bacon and blue cheese on hers, good call! Since the hamburgers come solo we also ordered french fries with harissa ($3) for the table. The hamburger was served with a unique tart, jam spread that at first we were all quite opposed to, but after trying it on a couple bits we realized Chef Jason Barwikowski knows what he's doing. According to the Clyde Common website, Chef Jason draws inspiration from domestic and foreign cooking traditions, while also turning to farmers and ranchers who provide the restaurant with local ingredients. I assumed he developed this hamburger jam spread, but it may have been sous-chefs Chris DiMinno or Erin Williams who assist with menu development and management.

Enjoy Clyde Common happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6pm and Monday through Saturday from 11 to close. There is a $3 minimum beverage order per person, but they have an extensive wine, beer, and liquor list to help your with this request.

Sip on This!
According to Becherovka's website, Becherovka is an original Czech liquor. It is produced in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) in the West Bohemia. As an herbal bitters it is flavored with aniseed, cinnamon, and approximately 32 other herbs, though it's full recipe is still kept secret and only two people in the world know the right ingredients and herbs used in production. Traditionally the liquor was often used to aid in digestion, in addition to being used as a home remedy for arthritis and as an emetic. Its lovers prefer to enjoy it pure and ice cold, but thanks to the dynamic growth in popularity of mixed drinks it can be also found in various cocktails, the most popular of which is called a Beton where it is mixed with tonic water. Its alcohol content is 38% ABV (76 proof).

Boston: Grendel's Den

posted by Katie
photos by Nico

The few times I’ve talked happy hour with people in Boston, Grendel’s Den in Cambridge always comes up as a recommendation. Last week, for some reason, my Wednesday night class was switched to Tuesday night, so Katie H., Nico and I took advantage of the situation and headed out for Grendel’s 9-11:30pm late night happy hour.

As per the law, there are no discounted drinks at Grendel’s but all the food is half-off. That’s right, ALL the food. We’re not talkin some whimpy little appetizer menu, we’re talkin the whole thing.

Grendel’s menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, heartier entrees and, of course, the obligatory appetizer menu. Katie H. had already eaten but Nico and I were hungry so he went for the California Burger with jack cheese and guacamole ($3.35) and I tried the Barley Risotto with butternut squash, arugula, rosemary, parmesan & feta cheese ($3.35). The risotto was a special and they took some liberties with it, adding peas (which I like) and mushrooms (which Nico took care of), but the peas at least were a welcome addition and the risotto itself was very creamy and delicious, pretty much the perfect fall dinner.

Since we were celebrating the fact that our class was over and done with earlier in the week than usual, we decided to have some drinks too. Katie H. went with a Hurricane ($5.50) and Nico ordered the French 47 ($6.50), which is named after a hard-hitting WWI artillery piece and consists of Beefeater Gin, lemon, simple syrup & a float of champagne. Fancy. I decided to go with the Cucumber Lime Vesper ($8) which seemed a little over-priced until it came with its own miniature shaker which allowed me to refill my martini glass two times after the waiter’s initial pour. Nice.

Around the time Nico and I were finishing up with our meals, Bryan joined us and he decided to try the spicy shrimp appetizer ($4), and really, they’re not kidding around when it comes to the kick those puppies have. Luckily, Bryan had his pitcher of Grendel’s delicious sangria ($10) to help cool things down. Never one to turn down the opportunity to try more food, I convinced everyone that we should get an appetizer for the rest of us too so Bryan wouldn’t feel alone eating his shrimp. We decided on the Spinach, Artichoke and Snow Crab Dip for ($3.50). Maybe I was fuller from the risotto than I thought, but the dip was way too rich for me. All cheese and not much spinach or artichoke (which I think is the best part).

We all agreed we need to go back to Grendel’s soon not only for the cheap and (mostly) delicious food, but also for the laid back atmosphere, the novelty of being out and about in Cambridge and, in Nico's words, the "particularly enjoyable" sangria. Plus, after a good hour of running around the Harvard area looking for our bus, we finally figured out where to pick it up. Definitely a “know we’ll know for next time” experience….

Grendel's Half-Price hours are from 5-7:30pm every evening and from 9-11:30 pm Sun-Thurs. You must purchase a minimum of $3 per person to qualify for half price food. And be sure to get there earlier rather than later; the bar is small and tends to fill up quickly when there's half-price food going on.

Sip on This!

The sign outside of Grendel's says "Est. 1271". They explain on their site that "people frequently wonder why this seemingly impossible date is posted. The truth is that we were established in 1971, and there was an error in printing. We decided to run with it, since the medieval date actually evokes the period during which "Beowulf" was written, the classic of early modern English literature from which our name was taken. Beowulf is a hero who slays an ogre named Grendel, who terrorized a great mead hall. We figured, Grendel may have been an hideous ogre, but he knew a good mead hall when he saw one."