Monday, September 20, 2010

Portland Happy Hour Hop: Andina, Fenouil, Irving Street Kitchen, Three Degrees

Posted by Kelly

After graduating from University of Portland many of my close friends left Portland and I can't begin to express how wonderful it has been to have Sofi, Katie and Megan here! Unfortunately the time came for Sofi to venture out of this beautiful city. For the last year neither of us had "office" jobs and consequently spent many hours in coffee shops and many nights at happy hours. This series in particular was Sofi's send off just before leaving Portland to go to Spain. We went to happy hour after happy hour until we met up with friends for a farewell night of food and drink.

First Stop: Andina
Where: 1314 NW Glisan St.
When: 4-6pm Daily

Sofi and I had been talking about going to Andina forever and this night would be our last opportunity so we had to make it our first stop. It was awesome and I have been meaning to go back. The bread came with three dipping sauces ranging in spice and sweetness. This was a unique alternative to butter or olive oil and balsalmic, and each dip had completely different flavors, but were equally good!

Unfortunatly this happy hour was actually a month ago so I can't remember the names of our drinks, but I'm fairly certain I enjoyed a mojito-esque (can't go wrong) drink and Sof ordered something involving gin...

Unlike me, Sofi is a big oyster fan. At Andina there are three different types of oysters and three different salsa like creations to pair them with. Though I skipped the oysters I did steal some of the salsas for my bread. They were once again, amazing. Amazing enough that I might have been tempted to try an oyster.

Finally for our main happy hour meal we ordered the octopus. I have never had octopus prepared this way and it was freaking delicious. I'm craving it now. It was perfectly cooked, not chewy, and served over mashed potatos. I would absolutely order this again!

Second Stop: Fenouil
Where: 900 NW 11th Ave
When: 4-6pm Daily

I met someone recently whose favorite restaurant is Fenouil so I suppose I need to go back and try their food. We just stopped in for drinks here, each enjoying a $9 concotion. I really wish these were $5 so I could have justified two!

Third Stop: Irving Street Kitchen
Where: 701 NW 13th Ave

At Irving Street Kitchen (in the former location of Bay 13) we also just enjoyed a beverage. We each went for a glass of white wine poured from a wine spout, much like how restaurants serve beer out of kegs, but for wine. Something I hadn't seen before, but I definitely liked the vibe it gave the bar area. This is another spot I need to revisit to check out food and other drink options. It seems like a neat place so I recommend stopping in, ignore the scary font on their sign though!

Final Stop: Three Degrees
Where: 1510 SW Harbor Way 
When: 4-7pm Daily

By this point we weren't taking pics anymore and I wasn't there in time to view the happy hour food menu, but what the girls had ordered looked alright and the wine we drank was at a happy hour price!

All of these happy hours were the perfect way for Sof to say good bye to Portland!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Portland Happy Hour Revisited: Heathman Restaurant & Bar

Posted by Kelly

What: Heathman Restaurant & Bar
Where: 1001 SW Broadway, at Salmon
Honeys Heart: Crab Cakes, Grapefruit Drop, Mac n'Cheese!

Katie and I have blogged about the Heathman's Marble Bar happy hour before, but I recently returned with my fam and was reminded of just how delicious this happy hour really is. Offering 50% off their normally priced bar menu for small plates the food is diverse and fairly priced for it's exceptional quality.

The drinks are what really rack up the bill. With no discounted cocktails, each one of these delicious Grapefruit Drops adds at least another $8 to your total. I also suggest you try a Lemon Drop, and if you're feeling adventurous try a refreshing pineapple summer cocktail made with jalepeno was SPICY. I would recommend asking for half jalepeno, half regular vodka to tone down the heat.

You really can't go wrong with this menu and there is something for everyone. The beet salad with spinach and blue cheese was awesome and the crab cakes are a must!

Adam ordered the deviled eggs which come with three of different varieties and the pita with three dips. More snack-ish options and both exceptional for such seemingly simple items.

My grandparents and mom all ordered the razor clams and all were very pleased. If you are a razor clam fan these were perfectly cooked!

I know, I know, of course I ordered the Mac n'Cheese. I'm glad I did though. The penne pasta was covered in creamy, cheesy, goodness on the inside and the crispy top supplied a little crunch. I loved it!

All the food is available in regular or small portions and I have never been disappointed by the quality of their food or drinks. It's not an everyday afforadable happy hour for everyone, but it's worth the splurge every so often. The Heathman also tends to be a hot spot for celebrities to stay when they're in Portland so I recommend doing a little people watching or seeing if you can get any hot gossip from the bartender!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Portland Restaurant: Screen Door

Posted by Kelly

What: Screen Door
Where: 2337 E. Burnside St

Specializing in southern food ranging from fried chicken (which I must go back and try) to jambalaya, Screen Door offers hearty meals, while also incorporating fresh, local and organic vegetable and meats. Our first experience here was great and I am sure we will return. It can be busy though so plan your visit strategically. When I drove by there on Sunday at 9am there was a line half way around the block!

Adam and I started with the Blackberry Margarita. Not so awesome that I had to have another one, but good enough that it definitely satisfied my margarita craving.

After reviewing and re-reviewing the menu I chose the screen door plate ($13.95) which lets you customize your meal by choosing 3 sides from the side menu or vegetable specials and a slice of cornbread. This was perfect since I love being able to try multiple items on a menu! This evening I chose the mac & cheese, sweet potato frieds and beet salad special with goat cheese, pistachios, grapefruit, greens and a citrus vinigarette. It was all delicious, but next time I really should go more southern and order fried catfish or creamy grits.

Adam, being pretty typical Adam, ordered the backyard burger ($10) which comes with cheddar and fries, but he snazzed it up with the addition of crispy fried onions ($1). I think those definitely made the burger a little more unique. They use 10 oz of Painted Hills ground sirloin to make this huge burger and you can taste the quality of the meat. Though it was a great burger you can get quality burgers for less at places like Pause on N. Interstate, or at happy hour at multiple NW restaurants.

An added bonus to our evening was having nice enough weather to sit outside, sort of shocking in Portland this summer! The small patio on the side of the restaurant is just off Burnside enough to be pleasant and quiet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boston Bars: Katie and Doug's Epic Boston Bar Crawl

Posted by Katie

So Doug came to visit. And we had a pretty amazing weekend.

Thursday night was spent at Charlie's Beer Garden followed by dinner at Tory Row (post coming soon).

On Friday, we had dinner at The Barking Crab, drinks at my very favorite place in Boston, Drink, and more drinks served by our fav bartender, Robby, at The Regal Beagle.

On Saturday, we hit up Newbury Street and then took the commuter rail out to the New England Revolution vs the Seattle Sounders game in Foxboro.

And then came Sunday. Ah Sunday...

Somehow Sunday turned into a bar crawl of epic proportions. Here's a map of our route if you don't believe me.

I know, right?

Let's talk about it.

Our crawl started with our tour of Harpoon Brewery at 3pm, which is the last tour of the day. If you want to go on the last tour too, you should make sure you're out at Harpoon by at least noon to buy your tickets, otherwise, you might not make it in.

I could tell you all about the Harpoon tour...but that might spoil the fun if you want to go on it. All you really need to know is that the tour takes about 15 minutes and then you have 30 minutes to "sample" aka chug as much beer as you want. Fun!

Because Doug and I were a little tipsy, and because I sometimes have trouble estimating how far apart things actually are, we then decided to walk to the original Cheers across from the Public Garden. What I assumed would be a quick walk actually turned out to be a 2.3 mile trek. Oops. At least we really appreciated those beers once we finally got them...

I can't remember what Doug had but I tried the Purple Haze brewed by Abita in Louisiana. The bartender described it as a Blue Moon with a hint a raspberry. Tasty.

From there, we were off to dinner at Toro. I had so much fun when I went there with the fam, but I wanted to take Doug there too because I knew he would try some of the weirder things with me.

We started off with the more normal, ordering the ceviche and patatas bravas (fried potatoes). Then it got a little more fun. We tried the mussels with blood sausage, which were very good. And then came the crown jewel of our meal: Asado de Huesos. That's roasted bone marrow with radish citrus salad and oxtail marmalade.

The bone marrow was rich and creamy and Doug and I both loved the sweet oxtail marmalade. Having a few beers in our systems probably helped reduce the gross-out factor...but it was so good that I would order it again, even completely sober. Ha.

From there, we decided to head out to Cambridge. We stopped in at Grendel's for a round of beer and some shots. Now, shots and I are not the good friends we once were, but Doug convinced me that I needed to try his favorite shot, a Dead Nazi. Dead Nazis are made with Jager and Rumple Minze peppermint liqueur.

Sounds kinda gross, but they're actually not bad. Went down much smoother than the shots of Patron or, gag me, SoCo Lime that I've been treated to at bars before. Good choice, Doug.

From there, we hopped across the alley to Tommy Doyle's. There was a great band playing upstairs so we stayed for quite awhile.

An hour or so later, the roomie and her friend Erica were done with their movie, so we all met up at Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston. I had a one of their many pumpkin ales which I think I enjoyed? They'll rim your glass with cinnamon and sugar if you ask nicely. Fancy.

And then Doug went on a photo-taking frenzy.

The End.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DIY Happy Hour: Berry Martinis

Posted by Katie

Today was my first day back at school, which means summer is officially over. Sad.

And with the end of summer also comes the end of berry season. So if you want to make these fresh and delicious Berry Martinis, you better get on it.

But first, a warning: I think it's well-known (and appreciated?) that Kel and I are pretty heavy-handed when it comes to mixing cocktails. This recipe is no exception. But usually when that happens you can taste our generosity. Not so much with these guys. So take it slow...unless you prefer not to remember your nights.

What You'll Need:
- Smirnoff Raspberry
- Fresh raspberries (or strawberries)
- Sugar
- Fresh limes (or the juice from those plastic limes, in a pinch)
- Sprite (for the weak-hearted)
- Ice

Step 1: Make the berry puree.

Combine a carton of berries and some sugar in a blender. Use more sugar if the berries are sour, less if they're sweeter. And probably you want to start with less, because you can always add more if needed. But you already knew that.

Blend until smooth.


Look at my fancy strainer. I got it at The Boston Shaker. They were actually kind of rude to me there. But I think it's because I was wearing workout clothes and my hair was in a pony tail...and that usually makes me look about 16. And not old enough to be buying cocktail supplies.

Step 2: Juice the limes.

I made these at Anna's apartment so I didn't have my beloved Cuisinart juicer to do all the grunt work for me. But this kind works just as well.

Step 3: Combine all ingredients (except the Sprite!) in a shaker over ice. Shake.

- 2 oz Smirnoff Raspberry
- 2 oz berry puree
- 1 oz lime juice

(Feel free to adjust the puree/lime juice ratio to your own preferences. More puree = thicker, more raspberry taste. More lime = more tartness.)

Step 4: Sugar the martini glass rims. 

You know how to do this.

But just in case you forgot...Rub the rim with a leftover lime rind, place in dish filled with sugar and lightly rotate the glass. Easy! And so pretty!

 Step 5: Pour martini mixture into glasses

 Optional Step 6: Top the martinis with Sprite before you serve them.

This is for those that don't take well to strong drinks.

Personally, I prefer my Fresh Berry Martinis without Sprite, but that means more alcohol in each martini... and I did almost biff it about 20 times during the walk from Anna's to all those bars on Boylston. Although, in my defense, I was wearing my highest pumps and you try walking a mile on cobblestones in 4 inch heels. It's hard.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monterey Restaurant and Happy Hour: Cannery Row Brewing Co. and Esteban

Posted by Katie

What: Cannery Row Brewing Co.
Where: 95 Prescott Ave
Honeys Heart: Mac n' Cheese

What: Esteban Restaurant
Where: 700 Munras Avenue (at Fremont Street)
Honeys Heart: Blue cheese dates

Remember my friend Lauren? Her blog, 32 Above, chronicles her adventures in Monterey. And here's the guest-post she did about the last time I went to visit her there.

This time around, we hit up happy hour at Esteban and then got dinner at Cannery Row Brewing Company.

We stopped at Esteban first, but I liked Cannery Row Brewing Co. a lot more, so we're going to talk about that one first.

From what Lauren tells me, Cannery Row Brewing Company is a fairly new addition to the Monterey dining scene. There's a large dining room, a nice patio outside (with heat lamps!) and a pretty sweet bar.

We began our trip to CRBC with some drinks. They have 73 beers on tap as well as several bottled beers. I'm a big fan of cider, so I tried whatever cider that they had on draft. Lo and I liked the sound of the bottled Wells Banana Bread beer, but it turned out to be pretty undrinkable. Like banana-flavored laffy-taffy mixed with not-so-great beer. Gross.

Happily, our food choices were much more satisfying. Lauren just recently discovered the deliciousness that is corn dogs, so we decided to try the mini corn dogs with cheese dip.

They were pretty much amazing. Crispy on the outside with flavorful corn batter and beef franks on the inside. Delish.

Lauren is also having a bit of a love affair with mac n cheese right now (which I fully support), so we ordered the mac n cheese with ham, mushrooms, leeks, spinach and breadcrumbs.

This was some of the best "grown up" mac n cheese that I've ever had. The cheese sauce was so rich and creamy but the additions of the spinach, mushrooms and leeks kept things fresh and flavorful. I would eat this everyday if I could. That good.

We also liked the fact that CRBC topped the walkway to their front door with pennies. Nice.

And now back to Esteban...

Esteban pretends that they are located "next to the historic Casa Munras hotel," but they're really right inside it. They're definitely going for a classy atmosphere, what with their fireplace and dim lighting, but it all felt a little contrived to me. 

Happy hour at Estaban is from 5-7pm with $4 house wines and mojitos, $3 sangria and beers, $1 pintxos and various half-priced tapas.

Lo got some sangria and I got a mojito. Or it might have been the other way around. Either way, our drinks were decent.

As far as food, we each got a huevos diablos with shrimp and peppercini ($1) and a date with blue cheese and bacon ($1). We shared the watermelon with goat cheese and black pepper ($1).

The deviled eggs with shrimp were ok, but kind of a strange combination. The watermelon was good too, but it was the dates with blue cheese and bacon that we really liked. So rich, but so good. But also, so small. Great that all the pintxos were $1 during happy hour instead of the regular $2, but I couldn't help remembering the 50 cent tapas that I've had in Boston and that made it hard to be impressed by the cheaper price.

So, while I enjoyed catching up with Lauren over cheap drinks, I don't think that I would ever suggest a return visit.

And now fast-forward back to CBRC. 

We were pretty full from our corn dogs and mac n cheese so we decided to keep it light for dessert. Did you know that eating green apple sour straws and peanut butter malt balls while looking through pretty cupcake cookbooks is the perfect way to end an evening out with an old friend? Well, now you do...