Monday, December 21, 2015

Portland Specialty Store: World Foods

What: World Foods
Where: 9845 SW Barbur Blvd & 830 NW Everett Street
When: 7am - 10pm Daily (Barbur), 7am - 9pm Daily (Everett St.)
Honeys Heart: Poke, Mediterranean bowl, kebabs... 

A few months ago, my cousin Chase introduced Adam and me to World Foods in the Pearl, and I might be in love. This specialty store is family-owned by a couple from Lebanon and offers products from over 50 countries at their meat and seafood counters, in their fresh produce and dairy sections, through their wine and beer selection- and so far I haven't made a bad decision.

The obsession started with the lamb shawarma bowl, which for $7.99 is a sizable bowl of rice, hummus, tahini, pickled vegetables, lamb, and feta. It's delicious and definitely two-meals worth. And made even better by buying the grilled pita bread.

My love for World Foods grew with discovery of the ahi tuna poke bowls. Smalls are $7.99 and larges are just a dollar more and you get rice, seaweed salad, and poke. Adam and I love sushi, but it's not always in the budget so this is the perfect fix. On our first trip, I opted for the sesame poke. The small is plenty, with a generous portion of tuna!

Adam went for the spicy tuna. Since then, we've also had the salt and pepper, wasabi, and oyster sauce poke. None of them disappointed, but don't feel that you have to decide blindly, you can ask for a sample, and you can get two types in your bowl!

The goodness doesn't end there. Enjoy these bowls at their tables with a bottle of wine that they'll cork for you. Or if you're looking to take something home, grab items from the deli or some of their marinated kebabs (the ginger beef were so good!).

Basically, you can't go wrong and you should go soon- just be prepared to drive around looking for parking for quite a while if you're hitting up the NW location.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Buzzed with the Happy Hour Honeys: Episode 1

Adam suggested like five years ago that we start a podcast, so in true Happy Hour Honeys fashion, we procrastinated for a few years, got tipsy, finally recorded something... and came to the realization that we're kind of annoying (but also kinda funny?).

Anyway, here's our very first episode. And yes, we realize that Toro Bravo has paella all the time. And that Katie's enunciation gets a bit too pronounced when she's trying not to sound too drunk. And that Kelly really should have apologized for all that shushing.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2015 Holiday Ale Fest Preview

Today marks the opening day of our favorite beer festival in Portland: Holiday Ale Festival!

This year, Kelly will be busy selling raffle tickets for Children's Cancer Association throughout the weekend and Katie isn't planning to get to the fest until Saturday, but here's what beers are on our radar:

54*40’ Brewing Co. Snowball Headed for Hell White IPA
Why: 54*40’ Brewing was opened this past summer by GABF medal-winning brewer Bolt Minister (what a name!), formerly of Old Town Brewing, and it’ll be our first chance to try his new beers.
Tent Location: 1 

Alameda Brewing Co. Cookies for Papa 
Why: We should probably be put off by all the flavors Alameda is trying to cram into this beer (cranberries, cocoa nibs, bourbon vanilla) but it actually sounds pretty good. Let's see if they make it work.
Tent Location: 1

Eel River Brewing Co. Gargantua III
Why: This is the third installment of what has become one of our favorites at the festival. Last year’s was the perfect combination of vanilla bourbon deliciousness.
Tent Location: 1

Ex Novo Brewing Co. Weapons of Mass Fermentation
Why: Alcoholic af. At 11.5%, this Belgian quad will either keep us warm all night or melt our faces off.
Tent Location: 2

Gigantic Brewing Black Pieter
Why: Gigantic never disappoints and while we're not really sure what a "Belgian-style strong black ale" actually is, we're willing to find out. 
Tent Location: 2

Natian Brewery Pumpkin is the New Black
Why: Everyone loves a train wreck. Nation blended their milk stout with pumpkin ale to come up with what is best-case scenerio: an ironic take on novelty holiday beers and worst-case scenerio: something you'll want to spit out immediately.
Tent Location: 1

Also, head-ups: on average, this year's beers are higher in alcohol than last year's so make sure you have a solid, safe plan for getting home.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Portland Bar: Shift Drinks

What: Shift Drinks
Where: 1200 SW Morrison St.
Honeys Heart: $8- $10 food menu (especially the bruschetta!)

Katie and I have both hit up Shift Drinks a number of times since it opened last May and it's become a bit of a favorite for us, but somehow we're only getting around to writing about it now... typical.

Shift Drinks was opened by sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt, who met while working at Multnomah Whiskey Library. The name comes from the popular service industry practice of providing staff with a complimentary "shift drink" at the end of their work day. In this case, the drinks are for everyone and you do have to pay for yours- but the idea is that this is a great place to drop into for a drink or two with friends after work.

The drink menu focuses on cocktails and wine by glass but there's beer on tap plus cider and sake too. Cocktails run from $8-12 and glasses of wine are $7-14. The options change frequently, but we've always been more than satisfied with our cocktail and wine selections. We especially appreciate that they're not above labeling some of their wines as "cheap." We'll take 'em!

The food menu also changes seasonally but there's always a great selection of salads and paninis, though you'll see below that we usually tend toward one of the four bruschetta options. Originally, all the food was $8, which was a crazy-good deal since it was all delicious and the portions are generous. Shift Drinks has since wizened up and food prices now range from $8-10, but that's still a very good price point for what you get.

Come to think of it, it's been more than a few weeks since our last visit. Probably time to check out their fall menu!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Batter Griddle and Drinkery

Where: 4425 NE Fremont St.
When: Tuesday - Sunday 8am - 11pm
Honeys Heart: $5 pint-sized mimosas 

Batter has been on my list since it opened last March. Luckily, it happens to be my Mimi's favorite new neighborhood joint, so we've hit it up on multiple occasions recently.

It's definitely a family friendly place with plenty of options to please everyone in a group. I say go for the $5 pint-sized mimosa with multiple juice options - I favor the grapefruit - as you look over the slightly overwhelming menu (if you're bad at making decisions like me). 

There is a sweet and savory side of the menu. Though I am tempted by the sweet side, I know that I won't be satisfied without my salty fix, so I go for the savory. 

I like to think that I mix it up, but I have ordered the Mu Shu Crepes (shredded pork shoulder, shitake mushroom, egg, ginger, scallion with hoisin sauce - $9) both times I've been here and I'm not convinced I will change my ways. I need to go with someone who will get something else and go splitsies with me. There's definitely others I want to try, and then there's plates like the Mac & Crepe ($10) with mac n cheese wrapped in a crepe topped with more cheese and bacon...and that seems scary, but also I'm curious. 

Mimi is one to stick to her classic favorite and every time I have gone to Batter with her she orders one waffle and a side of bacon, extra crispy. I can't really fault her... the bacon is spot on. Two mimosas and a crepe later, you've only spent $20. That's already pretty good brunch rate, plus the crepe I order is definitely enough to split or take half home so you have another meal there.

Still on my list is to try their after 4pm bar menu. There's something related to mac n cheese, deep fried bacon (eek), but also a detox salad so we should be able to find some balance.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweat & Sip (but no Sip): YAS Yoga and Spinning

12/3/15 UPDATE: Both our instructor and the owner of YAS reached out to us following this post to let us know that our experience with our instructor was not the norm and to invite us to give YAS another try. We definitely appreciate that kind of dedication to customer satisfaction! We'd like to point out that one of the main reasons we're forgoing another visit to YAS is because we prefer free wheel bikes. If fixed gear is more your style, YAS might be a better fit for you than it was for us. 

The beauty of ClassPass is that there are a ton of studio options for similar types of workouts, so while Kel and I are devoted Revocyclists, we decided to check out another spinning studio to allow for some compare and contrast.

YAS (which stands for Yoga and Spinning) is located right next to Firebrand Sports and offers- you guessed it- yoga classes, spinning classes, and yoga AND spinning classes.

Kel and I used our ClassPass membership to sign up for a 9am spin class on a Saturday morning.The spin studio has a giant garage door that looks out onto 13th Street which seems cool and urban at first, but once you get going, you realize you're facing away from the door and God knows who's staring at your butt from the street. It's a little weird for those of us who aren't into exhibitionism.

There was also a much different, less-welcoming vibe in YAS's spin studio than at Revocycle (or even at Burncycle, if we're being fair in our spin studio comparisons.) Kel and I were obviously new to the studio as evidenced by the fact that we had to walk up to ask the instructor how to adjust our bikes. She did not offer to come over and help us, just gave us a curt response and turned away. Kel and I know our Revocycle numbers, but YAS's bikes are fixed gear as opposed to Revo's free wheel and adjust differently. It would have been much appreciated for our instructor to offer to help us make sure we were positioned properly.

And then the class itself. Ugh. Maybe we are too used to Revocycle's rhythmic style, but the songs we were cycling to did not match our pedaling speed and it was driving me nuts. We also did the most jumps, which are my least favorite cycling thing in the world. No thanks!

In the end, we got a workout, but my knees hurt (probably from so many jumps on a poorly-adjusted bike) and there was nothing enjoyable about the experience. At Revocycle you work hard, but it's fun and somehow calming. At YAS, I just couldn't wait for my butt to get off that bike (and off display).

So, while I'm glad we branched out and tried a new cycling studio, we will not be back.

Sweat & Sip:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sweat & Sip: Firebrand Sports & The Highland Stillhouse

Katie and I haven't posted a "Sweat and Sip" in quite some time, but that's not because we haven't been working out (well... maybe in my case), it's because Katie moved to North Portland. I'm not going to lie, since Katie moved and my once-a-week cycling partner was too far from Revocycle, my fitness regimen took a serious dip, but thanks to ClassPass, we've been getting back in the game!

If you have workout attention-fatigue like me and you haven't heard of ClassPass, you're missing out. With a ton of studios to choose from in different parts of town, there is probably a class to peak your interest any given day and time. ClassPass was generous enough to offer us a free month and we've been doing our best to try out at least two classes per week.

Last week, Katie and I spent our Thursday morning at Firebrand and then, to even things out, our Thursday night at the Highland Stillhouse.

What: Firebrand Sports
Where: NW Glisan and 14th
Honeys Heart: Pyrolates

I have been wanting to try Firebrand Sports, but with pyrolates classes running at about $30 to drop in, it hasn't felt fiscally responsible. Luckily, pyrolates is one of ClassPass's options.

Firebrand has a lot going on! Cycling, barre, "cardio barre", and pyrolates are all offered, of which I've tried the cardio barre and pyrolates. Katie and I really like the pyrolates class. It's challenging, fun, and requires focus moving around on that gliding platform. Plus, my inner thighs had never been that sore, and I love knowing the next day (or later that same day) that I worked hard!

The only part of our class that I thought was kind of odd was that the instructor didn't introduce herself at the beginning or end of the class. I'm used to really friendly and welcoming instructors at the other studios I've visited and I would have loved to feel a more personal connection to the class and studio. 

What: The Highland Stillhouse
Where: 201 S 2nd St, Oregon City
Honeys Heart: Mick and the weird, awesome collection of furniture and Scottish memorabilia

Pyrolates in the morning, followed by a full day of work, and then it was finally time for The Highland Stillhouse! Okay, you do have to make the trek out to Oregon City which for us city gals is the only downside, but otherwise everything about this place is awesome. It's unique, eclectic furniture - much of it actually shipped from Scotland - sets the stage for a warm and friendly environment.

There was live music playing while we perused the scotch and whiskey list, which has thousands of options. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but there is an extensive list organized by region and a storage space across the street from the restaurant in case you buy something obscure that isn't on their shelves. Knowing very little about scotch, we got a recommendation from our server and called it good. 

The first time I was at The Highland Stillhouse, the owner Mick sat at our table and gave us the scoop on proper tasting techniques and we tried to implement them during my second visit. You start by smelling the scotch with each nostril separately, with your mouth open. Then you sip the scotch and get a little air in your mouth, and let it sit for the same number of seconds as it is years old. So a 12-year-old scotch would sit in your mouth for 12 seconds. I know, that sounds hard, and it totally is - but it also completely changes the flavor of the scotch. Just like our pyrolates class- challenging, but worth it in the end!

Stay tuned for more Sweat & Sips courtesy of ClassPass!

Sweat & Sip:

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Seattle Cider Knocks Eylsian Out of First

Well folks, I think 2015 was finally the year that we reached Maximum Pumpkin Beer.

At this year's 4th Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting, our group of 25 tasted 31 different pumpkin beers and ciders. That's roughly the equivalent of 13 growlers or 3/5th of a keg. In layman's terms: a shit ton

In addition to adding 7 more beers to our lineup (read about our 2014 list here), we also switched things up a bit by going with a Dia de Los Muertos theme. I really wish we had some extra time to pick up some sugar skulls to really complete the look, but the food and decor came together pretty nicely otherwise.

  • Day of the Dead clip art from Creative Market
  • Tasting cups with skull stickers from Target
  • Wooden skeleton from Cost Plus
  • Dia de Los Muertos plates and napkins from Michael's 
As for this year's pumpkin beer winners, Eylsian still managed to keep a few beers in the Top 5, but we did see two new breweries make it into the winner's circle. The trend here, with the exception of Eylsian's Night Owl, is that all our winning beers (and the cider) were something different than just your typical over-spiced, too-sweet pumpkin beer. Take note, brewers!

Top 5: 

#1 Seattle Cider Pumpkin Spice Cider (Seattle, WA)

This cider is up from 4th place last year and even though it's not technically a pumpkin beer, we're okay with it taking first place because it really is delicious. This cider is fermented with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, giving it a delicious, subtle pumpkin-pie vibe.

#2 Pfriem Pumpkin Bier (Hood River, OR) 

This pumpkin beer was new to the line-up this year and I can find almost nothing about it online except for that most people who have tried it agree that it's a Belgian and it's not your typical pumpkin ale. I think our crew liked this one so much because it tasted the most like a normal beer, aka no overwhelming spices or sweetness.

#3 Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (Seattle, WA)

Night Owl dropped down one spot from its #2 finish last year, but as this beer has always made it into our top three, it think it's safe to say that Night Owl epitomizes what a pumpkin beer should be. It's brewed with 7.5 pounds of pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

#4 New Belgium Pumpkick Spiced Seasonal Ale (Fort George, CO)

This beer was also new to our tasting this year and stands out due to the "kick" of cranberry juice and lemon juice that New Belgium adds to its traditionally spiced ale.

#5 Elysian Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale (Seattle, WA)

Punkuccio fell from its #1 spot last year, but still finished strong in 5th place. This ale is made with Stumptown coffee plus cinnamon and nutmeg and while it was the darkest beer we tried, it's very balanced compared to most of the other pumpkin ales.

And the rest:
#6 Elysian Great Pumpkin
#7 O'Fallon Pumpkin Beer
#8 Fort George Drunkin Pumpkin
#9 Ace Pumpkin Cider
#10 Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale
#11 Stormbreaker Pumpkin Pedaler
#12 Blue Moon         
#13 Rogue Pumpkin Patch
#14Two Beers Pumpkin Spice
#15 Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale
#16 Unita Punk'n
#17 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Harvest Ale
#18 Southern Tier Pumking
#19 Indian Wells Spicy Pumpkin Ale
#20 Oakshire Big Black Jack
#21 Alaska  
#22 Southern Tier Warlock
#23 Anderson Valley Fall Hornin
#24 Ninkasi Pumpkin Sleigh'r
#25 Coronado Punk'In Drublic
#26 Buffalo Bills        
#27 Cisco Pumple Drumkin
#28 Banks Pumpkin Ale
#29 Anderson Valley Pinchy Jeek Barl
#30 Burnside The Dapper Skeleton
#31 Elysian Dark o the Moon

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Harlow

What: Harlow
Where: 3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Honeys Heart: Betty Bowl 

When my friend from college, Sofi, and her husband, Esteban, came to town this summer with her new gluten-free diet, one I definitely don't subscribe to, I knew that Portland would have her back. Most places offer GF options on their menu, but I decided it was the perfect opportunity to wander SE Hawthorne and try fully GF and pretty much vegan, Harlow, the sister restaurant to Prasad in the Pearl.

I have been to Prasad with my sister - healthy people visiting equals me eating healthier apparently - and knew that Harlow offered many of the same items; bowls, soups, greens, brunch options on the weekends, and fresh juice, plus wine, cocktails, and GF beer.

We decided to be super healthy and each started with a fresh-squeezed juice. I think these could technically be meal replacements, due to their healthy ingredients and price, but oh well. Esteban and I went for the Ruby ($6) with grapefruit, carrot, beet, and ginger while Sofi opted for one with celery, that tasted mostly like celery water. If you're going to spend the $6, I would go for the juices with a bit more robust veggies. 

We snuck in right at the end of brunch and Esteban took advantage by ordering the Mercy Blues ($12.50 with avocado). I think one misconception of being GF, vegetarian, or vegan is that you'll never be full, but this was a pretty substantial dish!

Sofi and I decided to share the Betty Bowl with avocado ($11.50) and Hawthorne Mac ($7.50). The bowls are the way to go here I think. Lots of veggies, delicious sauces, and overall very satisfying. We got this with quinoa, but you could also go for brown rice.

So I completely understand that vegan people should have a mac alternative, and this really wasn't bad. It was actually pretty good. It was made with quinoa pasta and Daya cheese - which is a cheese substitute made out of the root of a vegetable - and I was surprisingly not offended. When push comes to shove though, I'm going with a mac n cheese with REAL cheese. I just am.

Harlow is a great place for healthy, and satisfying, brunch, lunch, or dinner. I should probably go more often...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Swift & Union

What: Swift & Union
Where: 8103 N. Denver Avenue
Honeys Heart: Swift Burger, I guess

Kel and I have written before about how important it is for us to always be truthful about our experiences. That includes when PR companies invite us to tastings and when we really, really want to like a place.

Swift & Union is one of those places that I really, really wanted to like. It's not often that Eater covers the opening of a restaurant in our part of town, so Doug and I were pretty excited to give Swift & Union a try.

We've visited on three different occasions in the last couple of months: first, for dinner on their opening day, then with Kelly and Adam for a double date, and finally for happy hour at the bar. The overall verdict: ehhhh, it's fine.

On our first visit, Doug had the Swift Burger ($13) with bacon jam, lettuce, and aged cheddar on a brioche bun and I tried the Fish & Chips ($15). Doug really enjoyed his burger but my fish and chips were cold by the time they got to our table (opening night thing, I'm sure) and the fish had an odd bitter aftertaste (not an opening night thing?).

It's never fair to judge a place so soon after they've opened though (unless, of course, a PR company invites you to), so we knew we needed to give it another shot. 

Our second visit came a few weeks later with Kelly and Adam. Swift & Union's cocktails sounded pretty tasty so Kel and I gave them a shot. I tried the Derby Hound ($7) with vodka, grapefruit, lavender bitters, and campari and Kelly went with the Rose Garden Party ($8) made with gin, aperol, lemon, simple syrup, sparkling wine, and basil. I expected mine to be a glorified greyhound and for Kel's, we expected a savory, refreshing drink.

Kel and I never send back drinks. Never. (Okay, actually, we do at Elephant's sometimes but that's because we know the bartender and he should know what we like by now.) Usually we just drink whatever it is (cuz alcohol) and get on with our lives. But my drink was probably one of the worst cocktails I've ever been served. There was no sense of balance, just GRAPEFRUIT!!! and LAVENDER BITTERS!!! Whoever made that drink could not have tasted it before it was served. Kel's drink was not nearly as bad but it was definitely made with way, way too much simple syrup. So we sent them back for glasses of rosé instead... and felt terrible about it the whole rest of the meal. But really, those cocktails were not okay.

For food, I ordered the Salmon Burger ($13) with sweet corn relish, lettuce, aoili on ciabatta; Kel had the Lamb Burger ($13) with apricot, mint, shallots, goat cheese, red pepper coulis, and lettuce; and the boys had Swift Burgers. I thought my burger was on the small side for $13 but it wasn't bad and I think everyone else enjoyed their burgers. So overall, terrible drinks + okay burgers = meh, yet again.

We decided to give it one more try, this time for small plates at the bar. Happy Hour is served from 4-6pm. HH drinks include $1 off draft beers and select wines and a $5 rotating cocktail. I was not going to take my chances with a cocktail again so wine it was!

Me: What's your happy hour wine?
Bartender: Uh, what?
Me: It says you offer a happy hour wine
Bartender: Which one does the menu say?
Me: It doesn't. 
Bartender: Oh. Uhh....

Off to a great start, people! After we figured out the wine situation, Doug and I ordered the happy hour Beef Tips ($) with wild mushrooms and a sesame ginger glaze and the Corn Fritters ($3) with jalapeno honey.

I do not know what they did to them, but I've never experienced such rubbery mushrooms before. Not good. The beef tips themselves were fine though and I liked the corn fritters even though Doug thought they were a bit bland. At least the plating was nice?

So to conclude... I'm sad. I wanted to like Swift & Union so much but after three tries, everything was just okay at best, and really, really bad at worst. My advice: If you're going to go, order a burger and a beer and you should be safe.