Monday, August 31, 2009

Santa Barbara: Sandbar

posted by Katie

Nick, Bears (aka Sarah) and I recently embarked on an impromptu road trip to LA in attempt to watch a filming of America's Best Dance Crew. That didn't quite work (damn you LA traffic) but we still spent a fun night in lala land hanging out with our friend Natalie and walking around Santa Monica.

The next day we headed down to Santa Barbara where Bears goes to school. It was a pretty hot day so after walking along State St. and down to the pier, we decided it would be a good idea to stop for happy hour drinks at Sandbar. Sandbar boasts a 2-for-the-price-of-1 drink special and 1/2 off appetizers from 4-8pm. Sounds like a pretty good deal until you find out that even though you get 2 margaritas for $6.50, it's really like you're only getting one cuz they make those things as weak as possible. And to add insult to injury, I'm pretty sure they make their house margs with margarita mix...gross.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: Pirate Cookin'

Posted by Katie

Nick and I first heard about Salvador Molly's on one of Nick's favorite shows "Man vs Food." Salvador Molly's is known for its "great balls of fire," which are habanero cheese fritters, but they also have a great happy hour.
Since neither of us (especially Nick) is a fan of super spicy food, we opted out of trying the great balls of fire and instead started with the bbq kalua pork sliders and the kyinga-kyinga chicken chicken strips (both $2 as is everything on the happy hour menu). Nick and I agreed that the pork sliders were the tastier of the two since the chicken didn't have much going on. We especially liked that the pork on the sliders was flavorful all by itself and didn't need to be doused with bbq sauce in order to be palatable.

For our main course, we decided to order off the regular menu. I've been on a bit of a fish taco kick lately so we tried out the baja fish tacos ($8.95) which were really good, probably thanks in part to the tangy Yucatan pickled onions that were piled on the top. I also convinced Nick that we should try the cheesy poofs ($4.25), which were described as crispy fritters of mashed potato, chipotle chile, and cheese. Probably a more accurate description would be oily fritters of mashed potato that are hollow on the inside. Not so appetizing despite their tempting name (or maybe that was just me).

I was still recovering from Kel and my night out (when we end up at Dirty, you know it's been one of those nights...) so I left the drink ordering to Nick. We were both intrigued by the idea of the "mojarita" which, as you might have guessed, is a combination of a mojito and a margarita. Sadly, the mojarita did not live up to our expectations. First, it was blended, which is a big no-no in my book. Second, it was surprisingly flavorless. There was definitely some mint happening but not much else. Even though we had two major strike-outs (cheesy poofs and mojarita), I would still recommend Salvador Molly's if not just for the $2 happy hour menu, tasty sliders, and fish tacos, then for the fun atmosphere that hits you as soon as you step inside. This place is cluttered like none other but the playful dining room setting definitely adds to the "pirate cookin" that's going on in the kitchen.

And one more thing to keep in mind: Salvador Molly's is technically Hillsboro, not expect a bit of a drive if you're headed in its direction.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Portland Happy Hour: The Original

Posted by Katie

As Kel mentioned in the last post, I just returned from a week-long but still way-too-short trip to Portland.

Kel and I decided to be nice and invite the boys to a happy hour, which we were sort of forced to do since The Original was Adam's idea, but we did get to sample double the food...and the boys weren't bad company either so it turned out alright.

The Original calls itself a "dinerant" which from what I can gather means that they serve tempting yet completely bad-for-you food in a fancified diner setting. The boys could not pass up the chance to try The Original's claim to fame: the voodoo donut burger, which as you might suspect is simply a burger with two Voodoo glazed donuts instead of a bun. Definitely an interesting idea but we all agreed that its appeal is mainly in the novelty of the experience and not so much in the taste, and so while we wouldn't order it again, at $4 it's a toss up whether it's worth it to try it or not.

Along with the donut burger, we also tried the regular old plain burger with fries ($5), the chicken sandwich ($5), the pigs in a blanket ($5), and the hot dog special of the day ($3).

The burgers were good, but nothing too special and Kel and I were disappointed with the pigs in a blanket as the dough was flaky and really greasy rather than doughy like we expected. Nick gets points for ordering the hot dog of the day which was a hot dog with bacon served on a belgian waffle. He was actually the only one who had the privilege of being served that particular hot dog as, after he ordered it, the kitchen decided they took too long to make and changed the special. But we all agreed that hot dog, waffle, bacon and a little marrionberry syrup are pretty close to a perfect combination.

Of course, it's not happy hour without a drink and The Original offers a $4 "punch of the day" as well as $3 glasses of wine and $1 PBRs. The punch of the day was orange creamsicle which sounded good but really was just orange juice with vanilla vodka. Cute name but not the creativity we look for in a good happy hour drink.

We decided to end our meal with a homemade pop tart which was another highlight. We went with the pink-frosted strawberry pop tart which was flaky (in a good way this time) and filled with a liberal amount of strawberry jam.

I think Kel and I agreed that The Original is a great place for the guys to meet up since you can get a burger and a beer for only $6, but for us, we like to be able to order something besides a burger without having to worry that it will be so hit-or-miss.

Katie's Return to Portland Happy Hours: Southern Comfort

Posted by Kelly

Katie came to visit this last weekend to go to the Bite of Oregon, return to a couple of Portland happy hours, shop at Ether, eat some fro yo, but mostly to see me I like to think! So after a fun night on the town......and a couple days of recovery, we headed to a new happy hour together before having to take Katie to the airport.

Bernie's Southern Bistro, located on NE Alberta and 29th, specializes in southern cuisine and offers a great $3 happy hour menu. In addition to all the food being a mere $3, there are six drink specials for just $5 each. We started with Mojitos, then moved to Margaritas, which we preferred and probably would have continued with if we didn't have somewhere to go.

For food we decided to order four items, after all they're only $3 and it was Katie's last day. Of course we ordered their mac'n cheese and sweet potato fries. The mac was creamy, decadent, and delightful, while the sweet potato fries were crisp and spicy, not Mint's but still good!

To really get our southern fix, instead of ordering the po' boy, meatloaf sandwich, or fried dill pickles, we chose to order fried green tomatoes and hush puppies. The hush puppies were basically fried cornbread with a marmalade sauce and the fried green tomatoes were exactly what they sound like, and happened to be surprisingly enjoyable. Served with a creamy, spicy sauce they were my second favorite, coming in just after the mac.

If at the end of your meal you're itching for something more, perhaps some dessert, don't worry because there is a banana fosters on the happy hour menu to satisfy your sweet tooth. Though Katie and I just opted for a second order of mac'n cheese! We would definitely recommend checking out this affordable and delicious happy hour!

Portland Happy Hour: Jake's Famous Crawfish

Posted by Kelly

It is amazing how busy life gets after graduation and how few things seem to fit into everyone's schedules! My friend Dena and I lived together in North Portland when we were still students at the University of Portland, and though we only live blocks away from each other now it seems we rarely have a chance to hit up a happy hour.

A couple weeks ago we finally headed over to Jake's Famous Crawfish for a famous Portland happy hour. Owned by McCormick and Schmicks, Jake's has been a "famous" Portland landmark for over 100 years. Their regular menu includes a wide variety of delicious seafood dishes, the last time I went I was impressed by the large portions and great flavors, so I was disappointed to see how few seafood options were on their happy hour menu. Regardless, the food was cheap and the drinks were tasty. We started out with a drink ($8), the name involved "refreshing" and I can't remember the rest, but it had vodka, fresh lime, soda, and fresh green grapes and it was refreshing in the 95 degree heat!

After sipping our drinks, and deciding we weren't in the mood for their yeah, famous, half pound happy hour burger for $2.95 we decided to order the sweet potato fries, blackened chicken quesadilla, and the chicken sliders. Their food prices range from $1.95 to $3.95 and portions are generous so you are sure to find something satisfying that is within any budget!

I'm not sure I would order the sliders again. For me they were a little too fried, spicy, and saucy, though the flavors were good. The sweet potato fries were okay, but once you've had Mint's nothing seems to really compare. I would definitely recommend the quesadilla and our table neighbors had sushi and the humus plate which looked good as well, sorry I couldn't snap a shot! I wasn't too impressed with this happy hour, when I return I think I'll head to the restaurant and order a huge plate of seafood!