Sunday, January 31, 2010

Portland: Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro

Posted by Kelly

As recent college graduates who are struggling to make (and wisely spend) money, getting something for free, no matter how significant, is always exciting and we immediately jump on the opportunity. Two weeks ago Katie B and I were emailed by Portland Spa and Boutique about a "Party" at the spa with free spray tanning, free B-12 shots, and other great deals. Of course we RSVP'd ASAP with a "yes please and thank you." Since we were saving so much money we felt we had to make a night of it and try a new happy hour first.

Katie B, Sofi, Megan and I decided to try Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro (0315 SW Montgomery St), just a block down from Portland Spa and Boutique on the waterfront. We sat at a table by the window and ordered drinks while looking over the happy hour menu.

The other three ordered two house whites and a house red ($5 each), but it had been a while since I had a cocktail, and although it was not discounted, I ordered "The Daisy Duke" ($8.50). Their wine was good, but I didn't regret my cocktail splurge. I love blood orange vodka and it was served up with passion fruit puree, cranberry juice, lime juice, and a splash of sparking wine. Really great, and pretty!

The food menu was not getting us too excited, but we were hungry and had to make some choices. We decided on the mini sirloin burgers (2 for $6) and since there were 4 of us we got 2 orders. Later we realized that we could have ordered 4 for $12 off the regular menu but gotten a variety of meats (lamb, sirloin, etc) with different sauces, i.e. spent the same amount of money for something better off the regular menu. This means two things, 1.) not a great happy hour deal and 2.) that the waiter slightly failed us by not pointing this option out when we ordered. They were good, but not so good that I forgot about the lack of deal I was getting.

The happy hour cheese plate (for 2-3 people) with cheese, salami, olives, and bread should really be called the happy hour bread plate with some other stuff...the cheese and salami portions were pretty small relative to the large basket of bread and the $12 price.

Finally, off the happy hour menu we chose the spinach artichoke dip ($4) and in need of some greens ordered the house salad ($7) from the regular menu. The salad was good, with pine nuts, olives, cheese and a balsamic vinegar dressing, though slightly pricey.

Right when we were feeling gypped the waiter informed us that Thursday was wine tasting night and that there were three wines we could taste for free. The night's theme was "Blends" so all wine's were mixed/blends. One white, The Climber from Clif Bar Winery in California, and two reds, The Jack from Saviah Cellars in Washington and Red Wine from Purple Hands Winery in Oregon.

Like I said, no matter how small, something free is exciting. We had our tastes and headed over to the spa content from our meal, in awe of the view of the beautiful city we live in, but not converted to Thirst regulars. I am glad I finally checked it off my list. The menu is limited and good, but I felt the happy hour was overpriced, or at least more than I can afford, compared to some of the wonderful reasonably priced restaurants and happy hours scattered all over Portland. I do recommend keeping an eye on their head chef Leslie Palmer though, she came out from New York, teaches classes on wine and cheese pairing and I keep hearing her name...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Attn: Victoria's Secret

I wanted to order these from Victoria's Secret for me and Kel...

but I didn't discover them until today and now they only have extra-smalls in

but here's the link for you teeny-tinys: i heart happy hour undies

Monday, January 18, 2010

Redwood City: Little Madfish

posted by Katie

I was able to go home for about three weeks for Christmas break which was wonderful because it was starting to snow here in Boston before I left and I was just not really ok with that. (Probably had something to do with my inability to walk more than a block without slipping on ice...or frozen puke, yay Allston!)

Anyway, Nick had been wanting to check out Little Madfish's sushi happy hour so we managed to sneak it on my last night in town.

Happy hour is from 3-5pm Mon-Thurs and 9:30-11:30pm Fri & Sat. There are some appetizer specials and about half of their rolls are 50% off. Sake is also half price.

Apparently Nick and I really love fried food (yeah, I guess we actually already knew that) because we ended up with tempera ($5), gyoza ($3), crunch california roll ($3), little mad roll (crab, asparagus, avocado, and prawns, $4.40), and the spicy tuna tempura roll ($3.25).

The spicy tuna tempura was my favorite and Nick really liked the little mad roll. We both agreed that we probably could have done without the gyoza but everything else was pretty delicious.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Portland: Pope House Bourbon Lounge

Posted by Kelly

Adam's and my friend from high school was living in Northwest for the summer (of 09) while interning at Nike and in his short time here became a regular at the newly opened Pope House Bourbon Lounge (replacing what was once the Brazen Bean). Somehow we never made it there with him until a month ago when he was in town visiting. We tried quite a few drinks, including a shot of their house "moonshine"...never again. We also had the fritters and jambalaya. Both tasty. We had been meaning to go back but didn't make it until last Saturday when we met friends, Jason and Jen, for drinks. As we shared our recent puppy stories and talked about the latest episodes of LOST we snacked on a Plate o' Fries ($4) with chili and cheese, and the Bourbon Balls ($2 ea./3 for $5) which are pretty awesome chocolate covered bourbon truffles (do it!).

FINALLY, Adam and I made it to happy hour tonight which lasts every day 4 to 7pm and all day Sunday. This is great since by the time Adam gets home from work and we muster the energy to get dinner, their happy hour is still happening. We walked, briskly, to the Pope House at 6:50pm and ordered the Country Fritters, with ham and cheese ($4) and a Pulled Pork Quesadilla with bourbon BBQ sauce ($5). Love the fritters.

I wasn't sure I would like the quesadilla because I, unlike Adam, is not a huge BBQ sauce fan, but it was good. I'm glad we were sharing though because I would not have wanted it all to myself.

For drinks we ordered off the happy hour drink menu which offers wine ($4), beer ($3), and a variety of house cocktails ($5). I ordered the Kentucky Bramble since I've been into gin recently, but the mix of gin, rasberry liquor and lime juice wasn't my favorite. Adam had the Slush, which is frozen bourbon, orange juice, lemonade, and tea. This is pretty tasty so it's worth a try if you're like me and don't typically like bourbon, at all.

We enjoyed our food and drinks while watching basketball on the TVs mounted throughout the bar. This restaurant is in an old house so it has a cozy feel, laid back staff and atmosphere, and a pretty good selection of food and drinks. Not a very healthy menu, mostly consists of fried foods or things covered in cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce, but sometimes that's just what one needs. I'm sure Adam will be back for the Frito Pie ($4), Fritos topped with chili, cheddar, sour cream, onions, and jalapenos.

Oh and I'm pretty sure I heard rumor of a Kentucky Derby party at the Pope House so start looking for your derby hat!

Portland: clarklewis and Jade Lounge

Posted by Kelly

So it has been a long and emotional week for many. The earthquake in Haiti, stressful days at work and a second round of sickness have definitely taken a toll. Katie B and I decided we needed a happy hour, or two, to reflect on our weeks and plan some future adventures.

Our first stop was clarklewis on the corner of SE Water and Taylor. This restaurant has a great vibe and their happy hour is an affordable way to enjoy the food and atmosphere. Katie and I shared the burger ($6), greens ($3), cheese and tarte apple plate ($3), and olives ($1).

The olives arrived first. For $1 they hit the "I saw that olive in that lady's martini and I want to eat it" spot.

(it was full, we ate a few before remembering to take pics)

Next came the greens and cheese plate. The salad was just that, greens, so don't plan on any other veggies, but the dressing was great and it felt light and healthy. The cheese plate was slightly disappointing, as I feel they usually are, due to the typically small portion of cheese. Probably it was the perfect amount, we just really love cheese and would have liked more.

So far we were very pleased with our choices. Then we were brought our burger, which low and behold comes with greens. I know it's only $3, but we would have appreciated it if our waitress had informed us of this so we could have chosen something other than the $3 greens to accompany the rest of our selections. The burger was satisfying though. Simple, with a large beef patty, pickled onions, and greens.

Feeling pretty mellow, and still fighting off a cold, we both ordered the happy hour glass of Pinot Gris ($4.50 each).

Deciding it was definitely a two happy hour night, we went to Jade Lounge, attached to an italian restaurant, il Piatto on SE Ankeny and 23rd. The slightly dark restaurant, lit mostly by hanging green lanterns, offers $3 appetizers all night Tuesdays and Thursday. Still in the mood for wine we ordered the Pinot Grigio (house white, $6). Full from our first happy hour, but in the mood to try something at this new place, we ordered the vegetable tempura. Since it was attached to il Piatto, an italian restaurant, I had just assumed it would have similar foods. Instead the $3 appetizer menu was full of Asian food including tempura, salad wraps, spring rolls, etc. The tempura was good and the water came in cool tall pint glasses. Kinda random and kinda heavy, but we liked them. I would like to return with an emptier stomach to try more, and I will definitely be heading next door for happy hour as well. Check out their menu online. Looks great!

Portland Restaurant: Cricket Cafe

Posted by Kelly

Sofi and I have decided, in an attempt to grow up, that we would like to love bloody marys. Problem is, we don't even like them. We don't like the tomato juice, or the sometimes overwhelming spice. Actually I think the only part we do like is the array of veggies on top, especially the olives. Regardless we've made it our mission (or at least one of them) to learn to like them.

Attempt #1: Cricket Cafe, 3159 SE Belmont Street

Breakfast or lunch was available when we arrived at 1pm. About half of us ordered breakfast and half ordered lunch...I would say that the breakfast looked the best, though my veggie wrap was pretty delicious!

The "Liquid Meals" drink menu was pretty great. We ordered grapefruit juice mimosas, a Moscow mule (so tasty, highly recommend!), a sidecar with some triple sec flare, and yes, a bloody mary. We had about 6 to choose from and decided on sharing their standard bloody mary, the Gary ($6.95), but asked for plain vodka instead of their house infused jalapeno vodka.

I'm not sure if they forgot to do plain vodka or if their mix is generally spicy but it was hot! We only managed do drink half of it, but we did eat all the veggies! I would recommend this place for breakfast for sure and suggest you check it out if you're a bloody mary enthusiast. There are quite a few variations...

Friday, January 1, 2010

DIY New Years Edition: Stoli Doli

Posted by Kelly

Recently reunited in Bakersfield, we found the most happenin' place in Bakersfield to be my Uncle Gordon's kitchen which involved martinis, beer pong, flip cup, hot tubing and late night mac n cheese.

We started the night with an easy favorite, the Stoli Doli. I first experienced these in Haddenfield, New Jersey two years ago when visiting the same uncle at his previous home. The recipe is simple, even for a large group.

What You'll Need:

2 Pineapples (Dole)
- 1 half gallon of vodka (Stoli)
- 1 large glass jar/drink dispenser

Really the brand of the pineapples or the vodka is personal preference, but you can see where the name "Stoli Doli" comes from.

Step One:

Cut the skin off the pineapples and put on side to cut the pineapples into slices. Remove the core and put into the glass drink dispenser.

Step Two:

Pour the half gallon of vodka into the drink dispenser.

Step Three:

Allow pineapples and vodka to soak for 2 days.

Shake and enjoy!

Next we enjoyed a Lemon Drop Martini, one of our favorites, but this time it was fancied up with Adam's heart shaped lemon peel garnish!

Happy New Year!
Looking forward to all the food, drinks, and recipes to try in 2010!