Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Portland Happy Hour: Aviary

What: Aviary
Where: 1733 NE Alberta Street
When: Mon-Fri,  5-7 PM, "Classy Mondays" all night in the bar
Honeys Heart: Bread and Bagna Cauda 

Arriving 15 minutes early to meet a friend for happy hour at Aviary left me three options: Sit in my car and probably look at Instagram, walk around Alberta, or just go in the second they open (at 5pm) and drink wine. I obviously went with the last option. 

The restaurant was empty. Granted they had only opened 30 seconds before, but I felt like the first one at the party and it's awkward because no one you know is there yet. Oh well! Happy hour is in the bar so I made my way to the back. 

I was the only customer, so bartender Corey had plenty of time to put final touches on the bar and hand me menus and offer suggestions. Corey turned out to be a critical part of our quiet Aviary experience. He was super helpful with happy hour menu suggestions, wine picks, and ultimately partaking in our poor driving stories - he didn't share his own, but he did laugh and act like ours were interesting. He also learned how instead of saying "another" to me when my wine glass is empty (which I will almost always say yes to) that he should say "you're good, right?" Good job, Corey! 

Starting out with generous $5 house wine pours was not only appreciated, but gave us time to ponder the menu. Sarah (friend from college, not sister) and I ultimately settled on the tempura green beans ($6) with a curry sauce. Be sure to mix it all up to get the sauce on the beans!

We also kicked things off with the Brussels sprout nachos ($5). Brussels sprouts are so hot right now and I'm digging it. These were odd - not sure Sarah was a huge fan - but I still liked the concept. The Brussels sprout leaves acted as the "chips" with a mole sauce, cojita cheese, and a couple other things. 

Last minute I added a $2 oyster and was pretty happy about it. That's a good price and it was tasty. 

After another round of wine and sufficient holiday updates, we decided we were still hungry. Corey recommended the slaw dog ($5) and at this point I think we were doing whatever Corey recommended food/drink-wise so we went for it. The dog is house-smoked, accompanied by a pickle, and topped with a papaya slaw. I loved that the bun was classic and soft - super good!

After some additional catch up, mostly covering the latest from the Bachelor premiere (that's important, okay), and maybe another glass of wine, we ordered the pulled pork sliders ($5). Sadly I forgot to document, but this has the papaya slaw as well with some sriracha and was a generous portion. Definitely a little spicier and heartier. 

We might have also thrown in the bread and bagna cauda ($2). I mean, only $2 and the description sounded pretty great. Bagna cauda is a warm dip from Italy made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter, some kind of cream, and I heard something about tomato oil (or something). Regardless, I would recommend it. If you order something off their dinner menu this is complimentary so keep that in mind! 

Aviary also features a $6 happy hour cocktail which that night was bourbon based. The trotter n eggs ($5) was also highly recommended.

Overall we had plenty of food and three drinks each totaling $26 each (plus tip). Not bad! I don't know that everything was incredible but it was really satisfying and unique compared to many hh offerings. There are definitely items I would go back for. Plus everything was fairly priced and the service was great!