Friday, April 30, 2010

Boston Happy Hour: Noir at the Charles Hotel

posted by Katie

What: Noir's 5-4-3-2-1-0 menu
Where: The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square
When: 5-7pm Mon-Thurs

During my first few months in Boston I had a problem. There were so many places that I wanted to explore, things I wanted to do, restaurants I wanted to try, but the few people that I knew always seemed to be busy. So I sat at home and felt sorry for myself. But then after awhile I had this epiphany: I could go by myself.

After years of running around in a pack of close girlfriends, venturing out on my own was scary at first, but I soon found out that it could also be fun. I get to do what I want to do, go where I want to go, and not have worry about anyone else. I like it.

But there's one solo activity I still haven't mastered: the art of dining out alone.

This past Wednesday was the last day of my internship and I wanted to celebrate. My internship shuttle drops everybody off right in front of the Charles Hotel and so I thought that my last day would be the perfect excuse to finally check out Noir's version of happy hour (which I've been wanting to do for months.) I hadn't managed to scrounge up anyone to go with me so I sucked it up and bellied up to the bar alone.

Monday through Thursday Noir offers their 5-4-3-2-1-0 menu. The selections include $5 flatbreads, $4 sandwiches, $3 snacks, $2 salads, $1 sweets and free nuts. In order to get the 5-4-3-2-1-0 prices, diners must order at least a $6 drink.

Since I was feeling stingy (enjoy my money, Vegas), I decided to opt out of the $10-$13 cocktails and went instead with the $8 Sangria made with syrah, ruby port, apricot brandy, peachtree schnapps, peach puree, and a splash of oj and soda.

Kind of a lot of ingredients, and it was good, but not the best I've had. Next time I'll probably just spring for one of the cocktails instead.

As far as food, the flatbread with dried peaches, goat cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic reduction with arugula (usually $10) jumped out at me right away so I went with it without really looking over any of the other choices.

It smelled AMAZING and was bigger than I expected, but I was disappointed with the prosciutto. From my previous experience, prosciutto should be thinly sliced and cured. This prosciutto came in thick clumps and was rather crispy. It reminded me more of bacon or pancetta. It was not bad, but also was not what I was expecting.

Sitting next to me was a fellow solo happy hour-goer who appeared to be a regular. He ordered the flatbread with four cheeses, spiced tomato sauce and crispy basil. All the bartenders raved about it when they saw his choice, which made me think that I might have picked the wrong flatbread.

That's ok though, because I loved the vibe at Noir. Nice and dark with a good afterwork crowd. Friendly bartenders too. While I chatted a bit with the four cheese flatbread guy, I was glad that I brought my book with me (still working on dining alone without any distractions) and I didn't feel out-of-place reading at the bar, which was nice.

I plan to return again soon...and this time with someone else in tow so that I can try more than one thing off their menu!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boston Happy Hour: KO Prime

Posted by Katie 

What: KO Prime
Where: 90 Tremont Street 
When: 5-7pm and 9-11pm everyday
Honeys Heart: $5 drinks!

One of my favorite weekend pastimes has essentially become wandering around Boston, and while I could lie and say that my walks are spent admiring architecture and the like, really, it's all about the food. I generally come home from my explorations with at least a few ideas of places I'd like to try when I have the time, but my favorite types of finds are, you guessed it, happy hours.

A couple of weekends ago I happened past KO Prime and just about stopped in my tracks when I saw their sandwich board sign proclaiming "$5 drink of the day!" Now, I'd never been to KO Prime but it's one of the those places that you can tell thinks of itself as pretty ritzy, so I was surprised to see that they were offering such a low-priced cocktail. My delight doubled when I saw that the other side of the sign read "$2 and $5 KO Prime Time Bites." Nice!

When my book publicity class was canceled a week or so ago, the roomie and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to meet for happy hour after work.

This was our server. His name is Asher. 

At first I think he was a little miffed because Shannon forgot her wallet at work and had to run back and get it. But he perked up when I mentioned the blog and volunteered to pose for pictures. Now that's some good customer service...

Shannon and I both ordered the drink of the day, a raspberry Tom Collins. I liked the sound of it more than I liked the taste of it since it reminded me a little too much of raspberry jello. Also I was expecting it to be pink.

As far as food, Shannon went with the calamari ($5), which she said was good.

I asked Asher which of the other $5 bites he would recommend and he said the pulled chicken slider with crunchy onions, housemade pickles and BBQ sauce was good. He was right.

The chicken with BBQ sauce by itself was not too exciting, but with the addition of the crunchy and flavorful onions and pickles, the chicken slider makes for a tasty sandwich.

A warning though, the slider is pretty darn small for $5, as are the other bites. That means that KO Prime Time is more of a snacking happy hour and not so much a dinner option.

Pour some out for Romo's Latin Quarter (Portland)

Posted by Kelly

Recently a restaurant that I used to go to with the gparents and have returned to with college friends, on date nights, and when in the mood for some good mexican food closed. I called Katie, needing to make a blog decision. What were we going to call it when a restaurant closed? First Katie goes, "sad hour?" Not bad. But then she says "let's go with pour some out for... you know like pour some out for your homie?" Of course I'm not too hip and hadn't heard this expression used. So I look it up, and I ask Katie if this is what she means:

Of course this was what she meant, but she had learned about it in a much cooler way:

(skip to 4:22 if you wish)

So, here we are "Pouring some out for..." Romo's Latin Quarter. I first ate here when it was a small restaurant on Hawthorne, which then moved to SE Stark, and is now closed. Good luck to Romo on his next adventure!

Portland Happy Hour: Jimmy Mak's

Posted by Kelly

What: Jimmy Mak's
Where: 221 NW 10th Ave, (between Davis and Everett)
When: Mon-Sat 5-7pm
Honeys Heart: Gyros!

The summer before our junior year of college Adam and I went to Greece. It was beautiful and fun and the food was great and I want to go back! Our favorite easy lunch was to get gyros at food stands throughout the city, piled with lamb, veggies, tzatziki and Adam's favorite addition, fries and chili powder. I'm always looking for a good gyro so recently I convinced a few of my friends to try Jimmy Mak's with me. I have been there before to listen to jazz and have a tasty cocktail with the fam, but last friday was my first happy hour experience at this popular jazz club.

A little after 6 pm, we were ordering, Dustin and Adam were playing pool and we were the only people there. I think this is a more popular late night spot. The happy hour menu is great though.  All items are $5 and mostly Mediterranean with some pork sliders, chicken drumettes, onion rings, and pizza thrown in there. There is also discounts on their beer and well drinks.

Megan and I shared a gyro and greek salad.

Both were so good, I would definitely recommend the salad! YUM. Adam got a gyro and Dustin went with the Mediterranean pizza.

Oh...and I convinced Adam he wanted to share the kalamari with me. (Sorry I kind of forgot to take photos before we started eating, as you can tell by the half eaten gyro, salad, and kalamari) Total food bill: $25 ...for 4 people and filing portions, I'd say that's a good deal.

The boys had beer, $1 off during happy hour. Good deal for good beer.

And Megan and I went with a vodka tonic and a greyhound.

I really enjoyed this happy hour and will definitely return when I'm in the mood for a gyro. I would also recommend lounging and listening to some jazz!

Jimmy Mak's generally charges a $5-$10 cover depending on the night of the week and the music playing but if you're just coming for food/happy hour, no worries, you won't have to pay (unless you end up lingering to listen to the music).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Boston Restaurant: Bottega di Capri

Posted by Katie

What: Bottega di Capri
Where: 41 Harvard Ave in Brookline Village
Honeys Heart: Tuscan Panini

A few weekends ago, Shannon and I headed out to Brookline Village on a lazy Sunday in search of lunch.

Since we were both hungry, the walk seemed longer than usual and by the time we came to Bottega di Capri, a small Italian deli, we weren't feeling all that picky.

Lucky for us, Bottega di Capri turned out to be a great find.

They had a fairly large menu, including a good selection of paninis and cold sandwiches. Shannon and I both decided to go for The Tuscan panini: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, sopressata, roasted red peppers and basil oil on housemade foccacia.

This photo does not really do The Tuscan justice. The focaccia was amazing, flaky with the perfect amount of herbs. And the fresh mozzarella combined with the prosciutto, sopressata and roasted peppers was as delicious as it sounds.

Our paninis were also huge, definitely big enough to split and still go home feeling very full.

Shannon and I plan to go back again soon to try out some of their other offerings. I am especially interested in tasting their gnocchi, a favorite of mine, to see if it's as good as their sammies. I'm betting that it is...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Portland Happy Hour: Kells

Posted by Kelly

What: Kells
Where: 112 SW 2nd Ave
When: Mon-Fri 4-7pm, Mon-Thurs 10pm-12am, Sun 7pm-10pm
Honeys Heart: Regular status!

Recently we celebrated my friend Sofi's birthday...for like 3 weeks...but on her actual birthday we had to go to a happy hour and what better spot to visit than Kells where Sofi is in fact a "regular." I LOVE achieving regular status, so I was more than willing to help Sofi maintain hers.

I usually think of Kells only on St. Patrick's Day or for beer drinkers, but their happy hour has pretty great prices and isn't bad. Not my favorite hh ever, but for $3 (for all items) it's a steal.

We ordered some of Sofi's favorites. Wings and oyster shooters.

But since I'm a bad wing eater and sometimes just can't stomach the texture of an oyster, we also ordered the daily quesadilla (which that Tuesday happened to be cheese and black beans) and sweet potato fries.

Kells also requires that you order a minimum beverage purchase (not hard to do on a birthday) so while Sofi ordered beer, I went for the house wine. Yeah I know beer would be more "Irish" of me, but I still just don't really like it (unless drinking for competitive purposes)

Overall, it's worth a try. Cheap, great atmosphere, nice waiters, friendly bartenders...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Boston Restaurant: The Savant Project

posted by Katie

What: The Savant Project
Where: Mission Hill (Brigham Circle Green E line stop)
Honeys Heart: Our absentminded waiter
Kelly and I have both written about how much we love Groupon, and I'm happy to report that Boston Groupon has been offering a lot more restaurant groupons recently. I love restaurant groupons because they apply to food AND DRINKS...which means you can skirt around Boston's strict discounted drinks laws and essentially create your own happy hour.

Shannon and I had been looking for a place to do Easter brunch since we wanted to do something special as this would be our first Easter apart from our families. When we saw the groupon for $20 for $40 worth of food and drinks at The Savant Project, we knew we had our place.

The moment I walked into The Savant Project, I felt like I could be back in Portland. The restaurant has a gritty-chic thing going on and was pretty small with a decent-sized bar in the main dining room and a little patio out back.

It was a beautiful day, so Shannon and I chose to sit outside. It was great being outdoors but we decided the patio could have used some music and a little straightening up.

We started off with a basil and blackberry mimosa for me ($8) and a millerosa: miller, oj and orange curacao ($5.50) for Shannon. For our second round, I went with a traditional mimosa instead, which I liked much better.

The Savant Project's brunch menu is not very extensive, but I find that refreshing. I decided to try the Fresh Ginger Pancakes with whipped lime cream and sake drunken berries ($8). I couldn't really taste any ginger in the pancakes but they were delicious nonetheless, especially with the addition of the cream and berries.

Shannon ordered the Scrambled Eggs with swiss cheese, herbed parmesan, and applewood smoked bacon ($8) which came with toast and home fries. Strangely, the eggs were flat but still tasted fine. And Shannon's pick won points with me as the home fries were made of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes. Yum.

Aside from the tasty food and good drinks, Shannon and I also enjoyed our brunch thanks to the little crush we developed on our waiter. He was grungy-cute and seemed kind of out of it as he had to double check our drink and food orders and asked us at the end of our meal whether we had already paid or if we still needed our check. That might have annoyed some people, but we found it charming. Which may or may not have been due to the nice little mimosa buzz we had going on...

When our (finally) check came, we were pleased to see that with our groupon, we only owed $4 for our meal. That basically boiled down to $12 each plus tax and tip once you factored in the $20 it cost us to purchase the groupon. Not a bad deal. Shannon and I plan to return to try some of the lunch/dinner fare, as the hamburgers that some of the people around us ordered looked pretty darn good.