Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Portland Bar: Ambonnay Champagne Bar

Portland Bar: Ambonnay
Where: 107 SE Washington Street
When: Mon-Thurs 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm, Sun 1-7pm

Ambonnay takes up a small corner in an industrial office building in Southeast that is also home to Olympic Provisions east side location. The small bar feels grander with tall ceilings, concrete walls, copper accents, mirrors and dim lighting. Unfortunately my horrible phone photos in the dark bar aren't doing it justice. I promise, I will stop doing this! 

I love me a glass of champagne, so when Dana suggested we try Portland's first champagne bar that serves nothing but bubbly I thought it would be a great opportunity to have some girl time while expanding my palette. Cooks Brut for $5.99 at Fred Meyer might get me by for some casual mimosas or a French 75, but in general I don't have a lot of experience with champagne or other sparkling wines - with exception of some tasty Prosecco I have had with Rachel.

We went back and forth between splitting a bottle, of which they offer over 50 options, or just going for a glass and finally opted to each try a different type so we could explore more of the menu. At $12-14 a pop we were only going to be having one glass each.

We enjoyed all three that we tried. Dana's rose was a bit sweet for us, but still tasty, and the other two were crisp and light. Though we only had drinks this visit they do offer a cheese plate ($12), truffle popcorn ($4) and olives ($4) and on their website you can find information about events at Ambonnay and their sister business Red Slate Wine Co.

This would be a great place to kick off a celebratory night, but not a bar I could afford to frequent. If I had some extra bubbly money in my budget I would really love to spend some time sampling and learning about many more of these sparkling wines!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Portland Happy Hour: The Hazel Room

So you know when you find this new restaurant/coffee shop that you just love, and you can't wait to blog about it, and you say to your co-blogger "I am seriously coming here every week," but then 15 minutes later your phone gets swiped by some high school hoodlums at said restaurant/coffee shop? It really puts a damper on things. Even when your server gives you a cookie on the house.

But even so, I still want to blog about The Hazel Room because I still think it's pretty awesome.

What: The Hazel Room
Where: 3279 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
When: HH 4-7pm daily, all day Sunday
Honeys Heart: $5 bacon and egg breakfast sandwich (served all day)

I was introduced to The Hazel Room by my friend Sarah Flan whose friend owns the super cute Mag Big boutique next door. The Hazel Room has been open for a little over a year, but they just recently expanded their coffee, tea, and sandwich menu to include coffee and tea cocktails and breakfast options that are served all day long.

Happy hour is served from 4-7pm daily and all day Sunday with $1 off all drinks. There are no food happy hour options but the $5 Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich is delicious and pretty cheap so no complaints here.

The biscuit with marionberry jam is definitely what makes this breakfast sandwich stand out from your regular ole' run-of-the-mill egg sandwich. So good!

My favorite tea cocktail/the only one I've ever tried is the Pumpkin Chai Warmer ($7) which is spiked with bourbon.

This is essentially the perfect fall/winter cocktail in my book. Kel and I usually don't go for bourbon, but in this case, it complements the pumpkin chai so well that both of us were totally okay with it. And don't you love that they serve it in those pretty little teacups?

Kel has tried the Spanish Coffee ($7) too and noted that it's quite strong. Love when restaurants don't get skimpy with the alcohol!

So yeah, it really did suck that my phone got stolen here, but the place is so cute and the food and drinks are so good that I know I won't be able to stay away for long!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portland Restaurant: Slowburger

Obviously Katie and I are fans of the Ocean micro-restaurant complex on NE Glisan and 24th. After this review of Slowburger and Pie Spot I think we'll have covered everything that's open there to date. As a quick wrap up: we're big fans of 24th and Meatballs and Katie and Doug definitely liked Uno Mas, but would pass on Basa Basa.

Also, before we get started. I obviously need to quit taking photos on my phone in dark restaurants, sorry about the quality of these!

What: Slowburger
Where: The Ocean, NE 24th and Glisan
Honeys Heart: The number "two"

Slow Bar on SE Grand and Washington is the original home of the "Slowburger." This funky, skatery, divey, but also awesome little corner bar features a to-die-for burger that I had with Rachel, my friend and former boss, a few years ago. I have meant to take Adam there since, as he might be the biggest burger fan I know, but we've never made it. When I heard that owner Rob Hemmerling opened Slowburger it seemed like the perfect alternative. Check out a new restaurant, but with the guarantee of great food. 

Slowburger offers five burger. Three regulars, one veggie and one seasonal. You can check out the menu here.

Adam went for the number two ($8) with a 1/2 pound of Painted Hills natural beef, chipotle cheddar, caramalized onions, Tails and Trotters smoked bacon, iceberg lettuce and slow sauce on a Grand Central brioche bun. This was my favorite of the two we tried and they're huge. We really didn't each need one!

I chose the seasonal ($8) to mix things up which featured a red pepper spread, white cheddar, slaw, and other things I can't remember. Also a great option, but when we return I would go with the number two over this. Looking back I should have ordered the other two burgers on the menu in their 3oz minis ($3.50) so that we could have tried them all. Oh well, next time!

As if two 1/2 pound burgers wouldn't be enough food we also shared the onion rings ($3) which were pretty delish. Our next visit will probably need to include an order of the sea salt fries with stinky cheese (Sm $4, Lg $5) though.

Overall, if you're looking for a filling and delicious burger this place won't dissapoint. They also have beer and wine options, or you can even fill up a growler!

Our dinner was awesome, but with the Pie Spot food cart just around the corner we couldn't skip dessert.

What:Pie Spot
Where: The Ocean, NE 24th and Glisan
When: Wed-Sun 12-8pm, Closed Mon/Tues

I scrounged through my purse for $3.50 so that Adam and I could take an Apple Crumble Pie Hole to go and warm it up later that night. I loved how it smelled and tasted like the holidays. I'm definitely a pie person over any other kind of sweet so this was my kind of dessert!

So if you haven't gotten the message yet, basically we're saying that you should go check out these restaurants! I asked Adam this difficult question as we drove away "would you go for 24th and Meatballs or Slowburger?" Too hard to choose.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

5 in 5: Uno Mas, Two Tarts, Cafe Castagna, Dove Vivi, and Basa Basa

Alright guys, there were some complaints (from Doug) about my last 5 in 5 and how some of my descriptions are confusing or don't give a complete enough picture of the restaurant. But really, you should be fine with it (Doug) because if I don't do these quickie posts, this blog will sit sad and alone for much longer periods of time and no one wants that... 

Uno Mas
Occasion: We loved 24th and Meatballs so we wanted to give another Ocean restaurant a chance.
The Five: Cheap and super tasty tacos.

Two Tarts
Occasion: My parents were in town so obvs sweets were a must.
The Five: Lemon bars: good. Macarons: eh.

Cafe Castagna
Occasion: We'd heard very good things about their happy hour burger. 
The Five: Amazing burger, awesome bartender.*

Dove Vivi
Occasion: We've been conducting our own informal Portland pizza-off.
The Five: Corn pizza. Do it now.

Basa Basa:
Occasion: Another Ocean restaurant
The Five: Stick to meatballs and tacos.

*Had to write a little more our bartender at Castagna as he was so friendly and knowledgeable. Definitely a great guy to chat with. He usually only works weekends but we were happy we managed to catch him on a rare weekday!