Thursday, November 29, 2018

Portland Restaurant: Hey Love (and a quick throwback)

What: Hey Love and Elephants (again) 
Where: E Burnside 
When: 5pm - 2am
Honeys Heart: Decor and cocktails

In between Katie coaching dance, me trying to figure out this whole dating thing, and us kindly inviting Doug to join us when we go places he wants to try too, Katie and I still try to prioritize checking out new bars and restaurants just the two of us. Recently we decided it would be fun to do a "back in time" bar crawl where we started somewhere we might like to go now, as mature 30-something year olds, and travel back in time through the night to places we frequented in our 20's (aka only places in NW).

Our list included Elephants, a toast to The Gypsy (from Muu-Muu's), Vault, and Life of Riley. Disclaimer: we did not make it to all of these places.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling
Elephants circa 2014- those are the strongest drinks of all time

To begin, we checked out a recently opened restaurant/bar called Hey Love in the newly-built Jupiter Hotel addition. With its tropical vibe and elevated tiki-style drinks, it was a great start to the debauchery to follow.

Hey Love's description of itself: "a community meeting hall, an afternoon study spot, an exceptional cocktail lounge, a hidden garden, and a house party - all wrapped into one." And to be fair, we met there, studied the menu, drank cocktails, commented on the plant-life, and returned at 1am to a wedding party and a DJ playing old-timey jams without a dance floor. We liked the vibe. 

Our bartender, a friendly woman with bright red hair, big earrings, and a colorful top, offered a warm greeting and suggestions of her favorite cocktails. We started with the Companion Fare ($11) and one of two rum slushy options. The one below featured strawberry and some fresh citrus and while both slushies were delicious (obvs we had to try both), they aren't sustainable additions to our daily drink repertoire as they lean a little sweet.

Recognizing that we had plenty of drinking ahead of us, we decided to try some of the tropical-inspired comfort foods. The Macaroni & Cheese Pie ($7) was an obvious choice for us and was made even more satisfying with wagon wheel pasta and the accompanying sauce.

After another round of cocktails, we ordered the pork cheek sliders to be safe. Good, but I don't think about them like I think about the mac. 

We wrapped things up, saying again "oh my gosh, we just love this place" and requested a Lyft to Elephants.

You might remember our first ever Elephant's post in April of 2009 where we raved about their incredibly cheap happy hour, then in October of 2009 when I explained my preference in bartender (sorry bartender Kelly), then in 2010 when Katie and I were SO funny and Kelly and Steve chased us out of the restaurant, then in 2011 when we copied their three citrus margarita recipe (we'd seen it made a few times)... and that's probably not every time they were mentioned. Point is, this stop was a MUST.

On our way there, we debated whether or not we would stay if bartender Kelly wasn't bartending. We decided we'd skip it since it just wouldn't feel the same without his adoration of us. As we walked up to the door, Katie saw him through the glass and immediately goes, "oh shit." We walk in, a bit enthusiastically, and from behind the bar we hear "oh shit." Bartender Kelly shared our sentiment, and probably a little bit of fear, of where this night was going.

We had a couple real strong cocktails and for old times sake, I put the bar stools up.

We left here to have shots at Muu Muu's and toast to The Gypsy's old location, now home to a new building full of retail space and apartments. Then went to Low Brow for lemon drops and went in very drunk search of somewhere to dance. We failed. As you can imagine the night went downhill and we should let the past live fondly in our memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Portland Restaurant & Wine Bar: Park Avenue Fine Wines

Where: 626 SW Park Avenue, Portland 
When: Spatzle & Speck caters Tuesday - Saturday from 2 - 9pm (the shop has other hours)

First of all, if you find that you highly value our content and opinions (and if you really do, maybe reflect on that...), you should follow us on Instagram for more regular, but still mostly irregular, updates. You can find us at @happyhourhoneyspdx

It's been four months so I'm sure you're dying for an update. Good news: our throuple is going strong (the throuple being Katie, her husband Doug, and me). Don't get confused, it's not romantic, but it makes me feel better than referring to myself as their "third wheel" on many, many a date. 

Us at a rooftop movie this summer

Recently I joined Katie and Doug at The Color Purple at Portland Center Stage and we decided to check out Park Avenue Fine Wines prior. Karl Holl, chef of Spatzle & Speck cooks up delicious eats there Tuesday through Saturday, and we knew he wouldn't disappoint. I had been last winter before a writing class and was angling for a reason to return, plus Karl caters my cousin's member events at L'Angolo and Portland Monthly named him their chef of the year...

We started with a bottle of wine (not pictured) that was a good deal for the three of us and, as I recall, tasty. They have wine by the glass and featured wines, but you can also get any wine in the wine shop. We told our server what we were hoping to spend and let her make the call. 

For food, we started with Oregon bay shrimp ($9) with hazelnuts, sultana, and a rustic baguette, which I was a little hesitant on. I don't usually like bay shrimp or raisins and the combination wasn't necessarily calling to me, but as in all relationships, you compromise. And sometimes you find out you do like something! 

Their menu is fresh, seasonal, and often changing so this particular burrato/tomato combo isn't on there right now, but it was fresh and light. Also, everything was so pretty, it was just nice to have it arrive at the table.

Next up, a more predictable crowd pleaser, Tempura Vegetables ($14) with their garden ranch dip and dusted with smoke parmigiano reggiano. 

We ended with the 100 Layer Lasagna ($21) with wild mushrooms, ricotta, fonduta, winter truffles, and more parmigiano reggiano (do you see it there?). It was delicate and silky, and I'm glad we tried it. There are other pastas and vegetable dishes that I would try next time before having this again, but don't get me wrong, if anyone ever just set this in front of me, I would thank them. 

Overall a lovely fall evening that I would highly encourage you to replicate. It's fine, we like to be copied. Next up on the blog: Katie and I go from the present to the past and remember why we like the present.