Friday, August 28, 2015

5 in 5: Victoria Bar, Eb & Bean, The Green Room, Pollo Norte, and Broth Bar

I really, really want to devote a full post to each of these spots, but its been summer and work is busy and we just moved into our new house and blah blah, you understand.

Here's the drill: 5 spots, described in 5 words. (Plus a bit of info about the occasion because obvs you want more details.)

Victoria Bar (Not to be confused with Victory Bar)

The Occasion: Laid back dinner and drinks with the Bowlsby's.
The Five: Decent Southern dishes and cocktails.

Eb & Bean

The Occasion: I finally decided to give this place a try after rolling my eyes at the menu and the high prices.
The Five: Move over, Salt & Straw.

The Green Room

The Occasion: The second stop on a recent downtown pub crawl (Shift Drinks coverage coming soon).
The Five: Don't expect MWL's outstanding service.

Pollo Norte

The Occasion: Double date with some old college friends.
The Five: Cheap, tasty family-style dinner.

Broth Bar 

The Occasion: Blogger preview.
The Five: I just don't get it.*

*Neither did Portland Monthly or Portland Mercury. Check out Pomo's Q&A with Broth Bar's owner here and The Merc's snarky review here

Want to read more half-assed posts? Here's some other 5 in 5's:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Hamlet

9.12.15 Update: 
Co-owner Ryan Magarian invited us back to Hamlet for another try after reading our initial review. We sampled the Melon vs. Meat and Endless Midnight cocktails for a second time and were happy to find that when made with a more experienced hand, the flavors, though still nuanced, were much more enjoyable.

Ryan also let us play a round of his bartender's choice game. He asks your favorite drink plus a random, spur-of-the-moment question (Katie's was "Who's your favorite male actor?"). Her answers: a southside and Chris Pine. Ryan delivered The Monarch which is basically all our favorite cocktail ingredients combined: gin, St. Germain, mint, and lemon. Well, done Ryan! Thanks for inviting us back- we're glad we gave Hamlet another shot!

What: Hamlet
Where: 232 NW 12th Ave
Honey's Heart: Giving second chances  

Katie and I try our best to keep up with the Portland food scene and often know of places and have them on our list for a few weeks before we're actually able to coordinate our schedules and get there. That was the case with Hamlet, the new project for Cathy Whims, Ryan Magarian, and Kurt Huffman.

After a Children's Cancer Association event, we stopped by Hamlet for a drink and snack to share. Hamlet has a great location in the Pearl next to an old favorite from our college days, Vault. Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend (whoa this post is old), the restaurant was fairly quiet and we took a seat at the bar.

We started with two cocktails- Melon vs. Meat made with gin, lemon juice, honeydew juice, orange bitters, and prosciutto, and Endless Midnight made with pisco, green chartreuse, blackberries, lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white.

It seemed interesting at first that the exact cocktail recipes were printed on the menu (we could steal these and make them at home!), but after being generally underwhelmed by our drinks, we decided maybe it wasn't such a risky move. The Melon vs. Meat was reminiscent of diluted honeydew water while the other shockingly had very little flavor at all despite its bevy of ingredients.

For food, we turned to the selection of pig. I love some ham, prosciutto, speck, I'm all for it, but after our spendy weekend in Vancouver, BC, we weren't looking to spend $16+ on some ham to share, so we went for the $8 ham and salted butter sandwich.

Not that it wasn't good, and sometimes the most basic combo is also the most satisfying, but we felt like we could have made this and picnicked in the park with some rosé for a fraction of the cost.

The warm (hot) olives ($5) were good, but not special enough to compensate for our otherwise disappointing stop by Hamlet. Sorry Cathy, we won't be back.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Portland Restaurant: Donnie Vegas

What: Donnie Vegas
Where: 1203 NE Alberta 
When: Daily 4pm - Close
Honeys Heart: Roll the Dice!

Adam and I got bikes for my birthday and decided to put them to good use right away. I know, Adam got a bike for my birthday too, but don't worry, I'll be getting something for his birthday now that I know this is a thing. I'm a fan of riding to a rewarding destination so we biked to Donnie Vegas on NE Alberta for a drink and a hot dog.

Isn't my bike cute? Adam says I'm too matchy matchy with my white and teal bike, and black and teal helmet, but I'm okay with it. 

Lucky for us sweaty bikers, Donnie Vegas has an awesome back patio area where we started with a couple cocktails. Moscow Mule ($7) for me and a whiskey tea cocktail for Adam.

After settling in with our cocktails, we decided to try their $5 hot dogs. Adam chose the Dirty Hawaiian with teriyaki, pineapple, and scallions. The hot dogs aren't particularly special on their own, just a simple beef dog, but the toppings, price, and patio make it a nice, low key place mid-bike adventure.

I chose the Banh Mi Dog with hoisin, pickles, and cilantro. I preferred mine to Adam's but they were both good!

So you may be wondering how we ended up with four drinks on our table...

Well, a fun drink option at Donnie Vegas is to roll the dice for a $4 drink. I can't remember all six options but they included a tequila shot, pickle back, featured cocktails, and a few other options. Each is associated with a number and you get whatever it lands on. Risky, but for only $4 we were in. We both happened to get featured cocktails and ended up with another bourbon tea cocktail and a mojito. 

This would definitely be a great spot for a drink and hanging out with a group. Everyday they have happy hour including a drink special, $1 off drafts, and $2 plain dogs. Oh and they give fair warning on the site, that "Donnie changes the menu whenever he wants, ya dig", so don't be surprised if none of this is relevant.