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).