Saturday, July 16, 2016

NEPO 42

5401 NE 42nd Avenue
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM, daily
www.nepo42.com


I've had my eye on this place for what seems like an eternity. It's on the way to the dog park--the BIG dog park at what was once Whitaker Middle School. We used to go there all the time, before we had a baby (sorry, doggie). It's got a huge patio out front (Nepo 42, not the dog park) and--unlike the park--it's fenced in (making it perfect for toddlers who are on the move). It's just that every time I make plans to go there, it rains and I end up sitting inside.


Happy Hour at Nepo 42 is served daily from 3 - 6 PM. They have a good long list of typical bar food, done up. Like, they have jalapeno poppers...but they make them from scratch. And they're HUGE. (The poppers must be taking a break from the happy hour menu right now, but we hope they'll be back. Either way, they aren't that much pricier than the rest of the happy hour options.) And when the menu was redone, they added more discounts on drinks. That's a fair trade-off, in my opinion.


I much preferred my super summery coconut & lime cocktail served at a discount to a run-of-the-mill whiskey ginger for four bucks. The only thing that would have made it better was a little more sunshine (and a little less rain).



We ordered more food than was necessary (which is good for blogging & testy toddlers) and enjoyed all...but one thing. There was something about that horseradish vinaigrette--perhaps the HORSERADISH--that made it hard to stomach. It's just not for me. But now I know. And I'm sure that they've got plenty of other dressings to choose from.


Or I could just eat more chips. There were vegetables hidden in that dip, I am sure of it. And the more dip I eat, the more vegetables I consume, and the healthier I will be--right? In all seriousness, that dip was delish! It is made with perfectly caramelized onions and loads of herbs.




The hummus was good and came on a plate packed with pickled veggies, big blocks of feta, and plenty of pita...but be prepared as the menu only claims it to be house-made and doesn't make any mention of the extra ingredients mixed in. They're just spices, I know, but I wasn't expecting for my chickpeas to have that extra flavor. I tasted curry, but who knows what else they could have mixed in there.



Nepo 42 offers a six dollar burger (veggie or not) with options to add just about anything. The first time, I took things a little too far adding so much that I could barely pick the thing up without help. This time, I kept things simple...adding cheddar cheese, but nothing more. It's a good burger on an even better brioche bun that I am sure I will order again and again.


Although I didn't taste the meaty option across the table, I did snap a picture of the chicken 'n' waffle. They say chicken 'n' waffle, but that's bacon in the middle, too. And it's smothered in sweet maple syrup. It's pretty, and people say good things about the combination of sweet and meat, but it's not enough to make me change my ways. Not even one little bite.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b


Nepo 42 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, July 08, 2016

Cruzroom

2338 NE Alberta
Happy Hour: 4 - 6:30 PM, daily
cruzroom.com


Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. $2.50 tacos. That's the happy hour deal at Cruzroom on NE Alberta every afternoon from 4 until 6:30 PM. And these are NOT normal tacos. They look like tacos. And they function like tacos. But the stuff inside is NOT the stuff I'm used to. And the menu is LONG, so everyone is bound to find something that they'll enjoy. Even as a vegetarian, I ate three different tacos and still have more to go until I've tried all that I can try.


There are FIFTEEN tacos to choose from on the regular menu and every one of them is available for $2.50 during happy hour. Sure, it's only a dollar discount. But it's a discount. And that's what makes me happy. They've also got plenty of sides, a kid's menu (just ask), house-infused booze, and some pretty stellar cocktails.



I started with the Size Me Up. It's basically a Vesper (a favorite of mine) but made with cucumber-infused gin. It's served up and garnished with a DINOSAUR. Why not, right? Who needs an umbrella, anyway?


Across the table was the Victory. Also made with one of their house-infused liquors, this one is a mix of strawberry vodka, ginger, lemon, and basil.

Between the drinks and the tacos, was the arrival of the Asian Salad (and a kid's quesadilla - thank you, Cruzroom, for knowing that the first food to arrive should be the food for the baby. So many places don't get it.)



The Asian Salad is a mix of julienned carrots, jicama, cucumbers, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro that's been lounging in a somewhat spicy sauce for just long enough. I loved it. My baby loved it. And I could have easily ordered a second (or third) bowl before tiring of the flavor.


Last to arrive (besides the check, of course) were the tacos. Each of us ordered three: three veggie (two were actually vegan) and three meat. Reading the descriptions again makes me want more. Right now.


On the meat side, there was the Green Meanie (pulled pork and roasted tomatillo & poblano chili sauce), Sweet Caroline (apple-braised pork, honey mustard slaw, and a dill pickle & jalapeno relish), and The Jerk (spicy & sweet braised chicken topped with mango slaw and fresh cilantro).



For the vegetarian (that's me), it was an Eat Your Heart Out (black beans, fried artichoke hearts, and avocado salsa served in a teeny-tiny crunchy tortilla cup and topped with gooey cheddar cheese sauce), a Miso Hungry (tofu, bean sprouts, and carrots with pad thai sauce served in a crunchy shell), and the East is West (Eastern-style pulled jackfruit in a soft corn tortilla, topped with cabbage slaw and roasted cashews).


The winning tacos from each plate were the Green Meanie & the East is West. I'm new to jackfruit (despite being a vegetarian for more than twenty-four years) and my first experience wasn't a good one. This pulled jackfruit taco, however, is one that I will eat again and again. The other two were good too, but messy, and I didn't enjoy the fried crunchy shells as much as I thought I would.

If the weather is good, sit outside. They've got a great patio. And there are games...if your table requires additional entertainment.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-b

Cruzroom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato








Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Via Chicago

2013 NE Alberta
Happy Hour Wishlist
viachicagopizza.com

Via Chicago does NOT offer happy hour, but you can get a bottle of wine for HALF OFF when you're there to eat that ultra cheesy, nearly overstuffed, Chicago-style pizza every Wednesday night. And--although it might require a few more laps around the track or an extra two hundred and some odd burpees--you might just want to eat there EVERY Wednesday night.


At Via Chicago, they've got pizza by the slice (with or without meat), salads, appetizers, a number of sandwiches (including a goat cheese, fig & honey panini), and all the full size pies. You can order one of many pre-designed pies (we opted for the stuffed spinach pizza) or build your own. Toppings available include all the usual PLUS an option to go vegan or gluten-free.

The wines are limited (they've only got three reds, three whites, one rose and one with bubbles) but for only ten bucks (on Wednesdays) it's totally worth it. The list of beers available, however, seems to be forever long. Via Chicago is, in fact, a pizzeria & bottle shop. They've got bottles and cans and rotating taps and growler fills, galore.

Service was good and they've got toys in the corner for the kids to peruse, but you must know before ordering a full-size pie that it's gonna take some time. And those stuffed pizzas take even longer. So order a salad. And an appetizer. And maybe a second bottle of wine.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

Via Chicago Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, July 01, 2016

Paydirt

2724 NE Pacific
Happy Hour: Tuesday through Friday 4 - 7 PM, Saturday 12 - 7 PM
ALL DAY Happy Hour: Sunday & Monday
www.paydirtbar.com

Happy. Hour.

I haven't forgotten how. It's just been awhile since I've written about it. But it's summer break again and this time I have a goal. (We'll see if I make it.) It's nowhere near as lofty as my Spring Break goals used to be (current Spring Break record: 17 new happy hours in one week), but now I have a small child slowing me down.


Speaking of that small child, Nana was in town last week...which meant we made it to happy hour without that little girl in tow. Paydirt opened last September, just as the three of us bloggers were headed back for another year of teaching. It shares space with a number of micro restaurants in a building known as the Zipper. Sharing that space means that Paydirt--unlike its sister bar, The Old Gold--can focus on drinks alone.


During happy hour--which lasts all day on BOTH Sundays and Mondays--well drinks, house wine, and micro beer are all a dollar off. Fancy cocktails are pretty low to start, with most priced between eight and ten dollars. Buy in bulk (or plan to share) a bucket of Miller High Life for just $10. Or try one of the two bottled cocktails for just seven bucks a piece. Just don't walk away from the bar without taking a quick look at the Big Book of Whiskey. It's more than impressive.


Pictured below is the Future Days (Bulleit Rye, Amaro Averna, Fresh Mint, Lemon, Demerara, and Soda) and the Georgia Lee (Pisco, Creme de Peche de Vigne, Lemon, and Sugar).




There are a number of food options available at the Zipper, making this place a perfect spot when you and your significant other, foodie friend, or even the entire family can't agree (but also a nightmare if you can't make up your mind when given an abundance of options). Since we weren't in it for a full meal, we ordered the Dan Dan Fries from Basilisk, a place known for its enormous fried chicken sandwich. Dan Dan Fries are just seven bucks and come smothered with peanut sauce, pickles, chopped peanuts, green onions, lime, chili oil, and cilantro.




Although there is plenty of seating inside Paydirt, the patio is HUGE and makes the entire establishment very kid-friendly. (Minors are only allowed during the early parts of the day, though...so be prepared to pack up by eight.)

Food: n/a
Drink: exceeds
Service: meets
Ambiance: meets
Value: meets

-b

Paydirt Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Zoiglhaus

5716 SE 92nd Avenue
Happy Hour: 3 - 5:30 and 9 - close
www.zoiglhaus.com

Zoiglhaus became my new go-to happy hour spot by accident. Or fate, I guess. All I know is that traffic was bad and there was a very unhappy baby in the back seat. I had happy hour plans across town and I just WASN'T going to sit through another red light. I parked. I took a chance. And it all turned out for the best.


I've been back since. And I've introduced the place to the rest of the mommies in my mommy group because Zoiglhaus has a play area. There are others like it in town. It's an amazing feature--that, if you've got the space, you should definitely have--because it gives parents an opportunity to get out. I've spent a lot of nights in lately (and when I say lately, I mean for the last eleven months) and it's nice to get out. Even if I still have to rush home to start the bedtime routine, getting out feels good. And what's great about this place is that it's BIG--both the play area and the restaurant, itself. Big enough that you wouldn't even know there were seven tiny humans running amuck in the back section of the restaurant while you enjoy a plate of Schnitzel and a pint of the Kicker Kolsch.




The Happy Hour menu seems pretty substantial, with snacks priced as low as three bucks. They've got a few big ticket items--a burger, turkey meatballs, and the traditional German currywurst--plus the daily Flammkuchen (read: German pizza) and nothing is listed at more than six dollars. Plus, the haus-made pints are all a dollar off.


I still haven't found my repeater item on their menu. There's just too much to choose from--and I'm limited to just the vegetarian items. So far, I've tried the Weissbier Cheese Soup (which is not on the happy hour menu, but is priced reasonably and worth the extra two seconds it takes to look at the regular dinner menu), the beet salad (because I can't say no to beets), and the Kasespaetzle. I've also sampled the pretzel, the hummus plate, and the pickle platter. I plan to keep working my way through the rest of the vegetarian options. And eventually, I'm sure I'll convince my husband to join me so that someone can comment on all the meaty menu items available.


Of course I'll be back--and not just because of the play area. There's a veggie Flammkuchen--with asparagus and goat cheese--calling my name. And the loaded fries are a bit too intriguing. They've got two versions--one with bacon and one with spinach, both covered in cheese. All that and the Zoigl (veggie) burger AND Hildi's vegetarian sandwich means I need to plan for at least six more stops before I can pick a favorite food--one to always fall back on. (And by then, they're likely to switch things up a bit.)

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

Zoiglhaus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Swift & Union

8103 N Denver Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6, weekdays
swiftandunion.com

It's been more than two months since my last blog post. (This sounds a bit like a confession, which I suppose--in a way--it is.) As it turns out, blogging while teaching and being a mother to a very small child is REALLY HARD. No, it's not actually any more difficult to do than before. It's just difficult to find the time. I'm busy. We are all busy. But that doesn't mean we are done with this blog. We're just taking a bit of a break. Expect more time between posts for a while. You'll probably hear from us during the holidays, Spring Break, and again in the summer. And when the babies are older, we'll be back up to our normal blogging speed.

Those same babies (remember, there are three bloggers and two bloggin' babies) have also led us to a whole new category of happy hour. We need crayons, space to play, patient servers, and a changing table in every bathroom. And we need minors to be allowed during happy hour (which is not always the case and rarely advertised on an establishment's website). But we knew that the happy hour at Swift & Union would welcome our small children because they are a spinoff of the very family-friendly Tabor Tavern. (Minors must be seated by seven and off the premises by 8 PM at both locations.)


Swift & Union is new to the Kenton neighborhood and offers happy hour weekdays between four and six. The menu is somewhat seasonal, offers just enough variety, and includes items big enough to call dinner. Prices on the food menu range from 2 to 6 dollars and the discounts on drinks include more than just beer and wine. There's a $5 rotating cocktail (and the rest of the specialty cocktails aren't that much more, anyway).


Dining with a very small someone (who is just learning to feed herself), I opted for mostly finger foods. The pretzel was a perfect fit and only three dollars. I could have used a little more salt (that's just me) but the mustard made up for any lacking qualities. It's definitely more than just your everyday whole grain mustard.


The watermelon spears were perfect for the warm days last month but have since been replaced with a more seasonally appropriate item. They'll probably be back, someday.


And although there are plenty of vegetarian options available on the regular food menu, the happy hour menu didn't have much else to offer--other than the house salad, of course. A mix of simple greens and a few sliced radishes, a sprinkling of pepitas, and a cumin lime vinaigrette, this salad was worth the price (it's just three dollars during happy hour) but left me wanting more. Next time, I'll be sure to check out the regular menu, too. They've got sides (that are priced just as low as some of the happy hour food offerings) and a number of salads with tofu (or chicken) add-ons available.

Service was great (despite how crowded it became while we were there) and the Union Burger we brought home (for daddy) got two thumbs up. It's not as conveniently located as Tabor Tavern is (for us) but it's definitely a place we will hit, again and again.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

Swift and Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato