Friday, February 27, 2009

Portland Restaurant: Little Red Bike Cafe

Ok, so I'm not sure how Kel and I have had this blog for so long and not written about Little Red Bike Cafe, but it is about time that we share our love. I discovered LRBC as a sophomore shortly after they opened their doors. I'm pretty sure there was a few months there where I was at the cafe weekly at least and it's been fun to watch their business grow.

The first thing I ever ate at LRBC was their truffled grilled cheese with apple butter. It is heavenly and I still order it about 90% of the time. You have to ask specifically for the apple butter now but just do it...soooo worth it.

While I find it hard to stray from my favorite, my dining companions usually share and let me tell you, there is nothing at LRBC that is not delicious. Today Kel opted for the bagel with a side of fruit but another one of our favorites is the honeyed yogurt. LRBC is also known for their tasty egg sandwiches like the zoo bomb and the berry milkshake is about as good as it gets.

If all this weren't enough, LRBC also provides a discount for bicyclisits, has a bike thru window (open during the warmer months), weekly and weekend specials, and a blog that details not only the cafe's latest creations but also delicious recipes and anecdotes from the cafe's owners Ali and Evan (who just happen to be the cutest married couple ever).

LRBC is everything that I love about Portland all wrapped into one: delicious food, friendly people, creative thinking, and a certain special something that you only find when people are doing what they love.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: 23 Hoyt

It has been WAY too long since Katie and I blogged, or more importantly, experienced a good happy hour! For some reason second semester senior year is proving busy and I am not okay with it! Tonight, after Katie choreographed a terrific dance and I spent the day painting my grandparents house, we headed down to NW 23rd and Hoyt for happy hour at 23 Hoyt.

When we walked in the front door, we had our choice of seating anywhere to the left. The restaurant is fairly large but this is the only place their happy hour seating is, so once that section of the restaurant filled up, some parties were forced to wait. Kind of a strange set up, but the atmosphere was unique. Tall ceilings, candlelight tables, trees in the room, bench seats, upstairs tables. Initially we felt under-dressed, me in my zip-up and Katie in her sneakers, but as the night went on, some people were more dressed up and others more casual so we decided our outfits were acceptable.

Their happy hour menu had $1 to $5 food specials and some $5 drink specials. We both ordered Pomegranate Cosmos, the only vodka drink, but the tequila, cranberry, lime drink was tempting as well. As we pondered the menu, we thought about getting the burger and Pomme Frites since they were two of the only things we really knew on the menu, but we decided to ask the waiter for his suggestions. He suggested the fries and the burger so that basically decided it. We ended up ordering goat cheese with port soaked prunes ($3), and cheeseburgers ($5). We were excited to learn that the burgers included fries because usually the fries are separate on the happy hour menu. Good deal!

The food, the drinks, and the atmosphere were all great. But perhaps the best part of happy hour at 23 Hoyt was the woman who sat next to us. White hair, British accent, pearls, sassy as all get out...our kind of lady. This was especially confirmed when upon receiving a small number of bread with her goat cheese (as did we) she exclaimed "well, we'll certainly be needing more toasties." Exactly. She also mentioned to her somewhat plump dining partner "well, of course you're getting the hamburger." Mean. But again, correct.

We would definitely recommend this happy hour if you're looking for something with a great location on NW 23rd.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Gilt Club

Gilt Club is one of those places that I drive by all the time and have wanted to go to forever but it has just never worked out...until last Friday.

Our friend Katie B. had a $50 gift certificate that she generously offered to share with Kelly, Dena, Leslie and me as well as fellow happy hour enthusiasts Sophie and Valerie. The restaurant space was smaller than it looks from the outside but the dim lighting and comfy over-sized red booths gave the place a swanky feel. While most of the patrons were dressed pretty casually, the menu was definitely created with sophisticated tastes in mind.

We started off by ordering a round of drinks. Sophie and Katie B. opted for the $5-a-glass happy hour wine selection, Kelly and I went for the $5 happy hour Fresh Appletini, Leslie and Valerie chose the Sauvie Island Blackberry Press for $6.50 and Dena got the $8 Glitter Pants (which came complete with rock candy garnish...nice).

We were all hungry so when it came time to order food, we decided to splurge. We each got a mini burger with caramelized onions, Nueskes bacon, gruyére cheese, secret sauce, and house made slaw and frites for $5. The waitress claimed that there was about 3 bites in each burger but we all agreed that they were bigger than that, and with the amount of fries the burger came with, the burgers were more filling than we anticipated.

We didn't stop with the burgers though. We also ordered one pizza of the day, 2 baked goat cheeses with seasonal fruit compote and crostini, one Manchego fritters with a roasted red pepper sauce, one Caesar salad with creamy lemon garlic dressing and baguette croutons, and one apple and pear salad with chicory, beet purée and goat cheese vinaigrette, all $5 each. Everything was really good with the Manchego fritters being the surprise favorite.

Since we were on a roll, we ordered another round of drinks and this time, while Kelly and I stayed with the appletinis, Leslie and Dena went with the $5 happy hour Moscow Mules. Not only were they served in the traditional copper cup, they were also delicious. Good call Dena.

We had a great time happy-houring with Katie B, Sophie and Valerie so hopefully we'll all be able to get together again soon!