Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weekend Getaway: Willamette Valley Overnight with the Girls

Things have been a little crazy in happy hour honeys land lately, so I decided that my 31st bday would be an excellent excuse to get away for a night.


I’ve had my eye on The Vintages for a while, so when Kel, Dana, and Amanda said they were all in for a celebratory wine country sleepover, I booked the second cutest-looking trailer (the cutest was already taken) and went into planning mode.

The Vintages is a “trailer resort” located in Dayton, about 10 minutes southwest of Dundee. “Resort” might be taking it a little too far though. The Vintages is actually a collection of about 20 restored trailers of different makes and models attached to your run-of-the-mill RV park. The “county store” is stocked with more gourmet items than you might expect and the cruiser bikes and striped umbrellas that come with each rental are cute, but no matter what the rental price might suggest, this really is just a trailer park in the middle of wine country, not any sort of “resort”.


That said, our quick trip was definitely one for the books. Here’s our itinerary from the weekend: 

Lunch at Ruddick/Wood in Newburg
Wood/Ruddick is cute little hipster spot about 50 minutes outside of Portland. Our 12:30 lunch reservations seemed unnecessary when we arrived, but the place filled up more as we ate.


In order to prep for our day of drinking, we all ordered hearty sandwiches with fries plus a bottle of champagne to get the party started.


Meet up with Trish of No Whining Wine Tours
For me, the trickiest part of wine tasting is the driving aspect. Uber and Lyft have pretty much eliminated the need for a DD on a night out in Portland, but ride shares aren’t as readily available in wine country. Kel’s brilliant solution: hire a driver!

Trish was recommended by one of Kel’s mom’s friends and we got an insider deal. Aside from the perk of having a driver, using Trish meant that we had access to reduced tasting fees at the wineries that Trish recommended AND a personal photographer for the day. Trish also introduced us to a new winery that all of us loved and probably wouldn’t have found on our own. Basically, you should hire Trish.

Winery #1 – L’Angolo Estate in Dundee
Chase, Kelly’s third cousin (sister grandmas, sister grandmas!), opened the tasting room at L’Angolo last year and we like to go there to use Kelly’s membership to get a free tasting and to feel very fancy that we know the winemaker.


Winery #2- Lenne Estate in Yamhill
This stop was Trish’s idea and we loved the great view (which would have been even better without all the smokiness).


Winery #3- Fairsing Vinyard in Yamhill
Trish also introduced us to this spot, which I think all of us plan to visit again soon. The tasting room is built so that when you look out from the front lawn (which houses a labyrinth and lots of Adirondack chairs), there’s a visual affect akin to an infinity pool. I was getting some serious Lord of the Rings vibes, especially since Fairsing has Gaelic touches throughout the winery.



We barely made it to Fairsing before closing time at 5pm, but at that point we were ready for some food anyhow.

Supply Stop at Red Hills Market in Dundee
We had packed a snacky dinner to enjoy on our trailer “patio” back at The Vintages, but we decided to stock up on more wine at Red Hills just in case. Picking up a pizza here would also have been a good dinner option.

Dinner + Fun & Games at The Vintages
Trish dropped us back at The Vintages and we got a peek at our trailer, the Boles Aero, for the first time. The Vintages website labeled our trailer as appropriate for 2 adults and one kid, but with the double twin beds and the couch/futon, the four of us fit just fine. The trailer was outfitted with a few special touches like a cute couch, robes with slippers, and updated curtains, bedding, and light fixtures … but once again, a trailer is trailer – so don’t expect anything too luxe.


Following our dinner, we hopped on our bikes and cruised around the park for a bit before setting up Amanda’s ring and flamingo game. I also had a surprise for the girls: matching RV & flamingo pjs that I found at Target.


We spent the rest of the night chatting with our rowdy, Duck-loving neighbors, making s’mores on the BBQ, and hanging out in the trailer before hitting the hay.

Breakfast at Block House Cafe in Dayton
Before heading back to Portland, we stopped for breakfast at Block House Cafe in tiny downtown Dayton. You know you’re in wine country when you get offered a wine list at 9 am!

After our breakfast of cinnamon roll pancakes (Block House’s specialty), huge breakfast burritos, and eggs benedict, we hopped in the car and high-tailed it back to Portland.

Such a fun birthday trip!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Portland Happy Hour: Kachka

What: Kachka
Where: 720 SE Grand Ave
When: Happy Hour is daily 4-6pm and 10pm-midnight
Honeys Heart: Dumplings & Moscow Mules

It's crazy that we haven't written about Kachka yet since it's possibly number one on Katie's list of "Favorite Portland Restaurants", but we finally have pictures and recently had a pretty great happy hour.

This June, I was recruited to run the Helvetia Half Marathon with Doug with the primary goal of beating Katie's best half marathon time (just some friendly competition between husband and wife). I will say we did pretty well, and earned ourselves a whole day of bar crawling... and as supportive spouse and primary drinking partner to us both, Katie obviously partook in this reward.

After beers at The Commons, a gin and beer tasting at Loyal Legion, and a quick beer at Bithouse Saloon, we went to Kachka just minutes after they opened for happy hour at 4pm and luckily got one of the last tables in the lounge.

Despite having been on a beer kick, Katie and I started our happy hour with a Moscow Mule ($5) and Doug went big with a Yorsh ($7), i.e. a pint of beer with a rotating vodka. I will say the vodka was perfectly chilled and Katie might have downed the last half of it before we left.


For food, we got an array of items because our friend Alex, who also ran the race, was there and had never been to Kachka. Plus, his fiance is a vegetarian so he has to take advantage of a meal with meat eaters!

Because we had worked hard and needed to replenish with some carbs and fat, we ordered the Bread and Whipped Salo ($2) which is just what it sounds like - cured fatback mixed with garlic and coriander and bread. A sprinkle of salt and this is uber satisfying.


For another shared dish, we got the Sprat Snack ($5) with tiny hot smoked fish, parsley mayo, and rye bread. These little cured fish aren't my favorite to look at, but they're salty and definitely satisfying with the mule or a beer. 


Alex, on a meat kick, ordered the Golubtsi ($8), which is a pork and beef-stuffed cabbage roll. I wouldn't say this was the easiest for sharing but the combination of the roll in the sauce and cream definitely was a comfort food dish.


So far, I haven't had something I didn't like at Kachka, but I crave the Siberian Pelmeni ($9), dumplings filled with beef, pork, veal, and onion. 


Even though the happy hour is a good deal, the dinner menu apps aren't a bad price and a favorite lives on that menu. The Herring "under a fur coat" ($9) is "a seven layer dip. but Russian. and actually a salad" aka it's layered herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, and eggs.


Katie and I often stray from our happy hour roots these days due to schedules and thinking we have more money now (our bank accounts post home-buying would say differently), but this was a definite reminder that there are excellent happy hours in this city and it's a shame not to take advantage of them.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Buzzed with the Happy Hour Honeys: Wedding Special

In this Wedding Special, we discuss all things bridal! Take a listen for our bachelorette and wedding dos and don'ts plus two of the best wedding stories of all time (sorry again, Jessica).

NSFW cuz wine makes us swear. Enjoy!



A Visual Guide to the Wedding Special:

Bachelorette Party Destinations



Leslie's Vegas Bachelorette by Night

Kel's NYC Bachelorette


Bachelorette Party Activities

Coin game = getting tricked by your friends into thinking these guys had a "drug dog"


It might appear we're drinking in this floor dancing class... but trust us, we were not drinking enough.

To Match or Not To Match?

Sparkle Dresses for Katie's Bach

Vying for a place on the pole. Move boring girls in black.

We are Narcissists (Who Throw Damn Good Weddings)

Dance Party at Kel's Wedding

Por Que No? Taco Bar at Katie's Wedding

Teeny Tiny Baby Bouquets

Boys, stop drinking water and make sure the father-of-the-bride gets home safe!

The Gang Goes to a Wedding


Photo from the room... see wedding party blur on the lawn.

Oh, hi Katie.

Vodka in the presents...

Vodka in the bathroom!

Yeah, we had a bit to drink... and also just love each other a lot.

How Carol Got Her Groove Back

A Lovely Couple

Peach Orchard Engagement Photoshoot

Tractor

Oh, were you trying to take romantic sunset pics? Us too!

Bartender's Choice: Misc. Wedding Things

 A Toast by Kel/A Public Shaming of Doug

Leslie's Reception. That's right, they gave us a mic.

 Pro tip: do not chug champagne on a bus coming home from your rehearsal dinner.

SUPER BONUS: Our Real First Bachelorette Ever

Somehow we neglected this story in this episode, but our first bachelorette party ever was when we were in college. Katie made a veil, we bought a $6 ring at Fred Meyer, and we went to Greek Cuisina in downtown Portland. Best way to get free drinks, but also real awkward when you run into a "coworker" from where you're interning.

P.S. The veil was worn at all of our bachelorette parties and Les wore the ring in Vegas. The most common reaction to that canary yellow cubic zirconia monstrosity: "Wow, your fiance must be so rich!"

Breaking plates and getting ouzo poured in my mouth (16 seconds!) at the now-closed Greek Cuisina.

That's right, I got a shirt.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Portland Restaurant: Revelry

What: Revelry
Where: 210 SE MLK Blvd. 
Honeys Heart: Seaweed Noodles & Tuna Bowl

Doug and I celebrated his 30th bday with a trip to San Diego (don't get too jealous - it was rainy the whole time and he got the flu on our last full day), but it was obviously necessary to celebrate with friends when we got back too.

Doug's first pick was Mae, but the stars didn't align in our favor and we had to go with his second choice: Revelry.


I will admit, I had a little bit of attitude about Revelry prior to our dinner, mostly because I do not like kimchi and I was convinced that, being a Korean street food restaurant, they would put it in everything. This was an ignorant and incorrect assumption, and having tasted Revelry's crazy delicious food, I very much regret not giving it a try sooner.

Revelry's menu is divided up into "anytime", "pancake", "noodle", "rice bowl", and "sweets". With our server's help, we narrowed it down to the following dishes to split among 7 people. Here they are in order of favorite to least favorite, though it should be noted that even our least favorite was pretty tasty.


Our group's favorite dish was the Seaweed Noodles ($17) made with Dungeness crab, red curry, and creme fraiche. This was so, so good. The noodles were nice and chewy, and a great contrast to the creaminess of the crab. And while the flavors were more delicate than some of the other dishes, they worked very well together.

Right behind the seaweed noodles was Blackened Tuna Rice Bowl ($16) with cured yolk, koji asparagus, and zucchini. The tuna was seasoned perfectly and our group couldn't get over how tasty the zucchini was. They worked miracles with that squash, let me tell you.


We ordered Mrs. Yang's Fried Chicken ($14) in honor of our attempted meal at Mae and while there's no competing with Maya Lovelace's drumsticks, we all enjoyed this quite a bit. It had just the right kick of spice and the peanut brittle crumbled on top was an inspired addition.

We also tried the Dan Dan Noodles ($16) with chipotle pork and collard greens and while this was good, I'd definitely recommend the seaweed noodles first if you only want one noodle dish.


And in last place, the Short Rib Rice Bowl ($17) with cured yolk, herb tabbouleh, and charred spring onion. This was tasty, but on my next visit, I'll definitely skip this in favor of trying something new (that will not be the case with the seaweed noodles or tuna).

We also tried out a variety of cocktails including the gin & tonic. For whatever reason, people were not as jazzed about the drinks as they were about the food (I thought my G&T was good), but guess you can't win them all.


Doug and I are already plotting when we can go back. It's been over a week, so I think we've waited long enough. Eat you soon, seaweed noodles!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Portland Happy Hour: SuperBite

What: SuperBite
Where: 527 SW 12th Ave 
When: Daily HH from 5-6pm (also available at Kask 4-6pm)

Katie and I are super proud of ourselves when we actually make it to a happy hour these days. This is partially because we rarely have weeknight dates (thanks, dogs and husbands) and partially because we never make it anywhere early enough for happy hour (looking at you, semi-demanding work schedules). So when we finally scheduled a SuperBite happy hour date, we had to make the most of it.


Our dining experience at SuperBite started with a bit of seat-selection anxiety. Katie arrived 10 minutes before me and played musical chairs, ultimately ending up choosing a seat in the bar. Moments after I arrived and sat down, Karen Brooks, Portland Monthly's food critic, walked in and sat at the well-lit kitchen bar in the main dining area, highlighting what Katie already knew to be true: she had made the wrong seating decision. Basically, we missed out on any potential hobnobbing and the lighting was terrible for photos, but we'll forgive Katie, it's a lot of pressure!

Anyway, regardless of seating choices, we unfortunately left SuperBite underwhelmed.

Our expectations were high going in because 1) this is the second venture for the husband-wife chef team behind the impressive Ox and 2) if your whole restaurant concept is built on combining unique or seemingly separate flavors into one "super bite", that one bite better be fucking phenomenal.

When we finally were able to track down a server (we know we're not Karen Brooks but come on!), we asked for his top happy hour recommendations and he tricked us into buying all of the bites, which were $2 each. The bites are really the right size for one person but we opted to share all but the salmon. Also, he didn't really trick us, we're actually very easily convinced to order lots of food...

The Salmon Crudo is served with hibiscus ponzu, pickled jalapeno, and shiso, and was a pretty solid bite - I suppose at $2, it's similar to getting a piece of sashimi at a sushi restaurant.


Both of us really enjoyed the Dungeness Crab taco with celery root tortilla, sesame mayo, orange, and tobiko. The celery root tortilla provided a unique texture and the bite featured a solid serving of crab.

I think we were originally most intrigued by the Grilled Shitake with miso-procini marshmallow and sauternes glaze, but the porcini marshmallow didn't quite live up to the hype and was fairly indistinguishable.

Next up was the Beef Tongue "spam" musubi with cucumber, and Chinese hot mustard served on top of rice. This was one of our server's favorites and I could imagine it being one that people lean towards since it is a bit more substantial.


Finally, we tried the Duck Croquette A L'Orange with crispy duck rillettes and tangerine aioli. Neither of us had tried duck l'orange prior and while it was good, again we wanted to be wowed and didn't quite get there.

As I write this, I'm wondering if our expectations were unreasonable or if the experience really was missing a little something something.

To round out our happy hour, we also ordered the Nashville-style Hot Fried Cauliflower which was super spicy and a dish I probably would skip next time around (if there is a next time around...).


Last up, we had the Double Stack Cheeseburger ($10) with ground beef and shitake mushroom topped with fontina and cheddar, fancy sauce, dill pickle, and onion on a sesame seed bun. It sounds like a good idea and a ton of burger for $10 so we jumped on it. I would actually like to get Doug and Adam's take on this burger because Katie and I were not digging the texture that the mushroom added.


The real topper on the iffy service and underwhelming food is that we both felt nauseous for the rest of the night. Not the best way to remember what should have been an enjoyable happy hour.

Basically, we're not raring to try this happy hour again anytime soon - but we are curious to know if our experience was the norm, or if we caught SuperBite on an off night. Let us know!