Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gypsy

625 NW 21st Street
Happy Hour: 4 PM - 7 PM, daily


We sat down to a birthday dinner with a group of about fifteen just minutes before happy hour ended. It was completely unintentional--and not everyone took advantage of the great prices--but, I couldn't resist. It meant a smaller bill, a fuller belly, and another opportunity to write a review of one of Portland's long-standing establishments.

It was my sister's birthday. Apparently, this was the place she and her friends spent a lot of their free time during the latter part of college. Some years later, they decided it would make for a great venue for a birthday celebration.

The crowds are no more, it seems. Perhaps it was the cold night and threat of icy streets that kept people from hitting this spot on a December Saturday. Or, perhaps the action has moved down a few streets. Either way, it meant that our large party had plenty of room to spread out.

I finished my first lemon drop while waiting for the food to arrive. It was a touch on the sweet side and didn't seem to contain much alcohol. I did settle for the house vodka, which meant for a four dollar price tag but might have caused all the problems. Oh well. I ordered a second just the same.


To share, we ordered nachos. Everyone who reached in seemed to be completely impressed with these. There was a mix of yellow and blue corn chips, beans, cheese, jalapenos, avocado, salsa and sour cream. I had been expecting the typical packaged guacamole and was happy to see big chunks of avocado instead. Good choice on their part, for sure.


From the regular menu, we ordered the spicy vegetable sushi roll. Spicy, for sure...but quite good. Those who stuck to the happy hour-priced California rolls were a little jealous of the spicy sauce that accompanied this roll and kept reaching across the table for a taste.


I also ordered the blue cheese and pear salad. The blue cheese, pear slices and candied hazelnuts would have done better on a different bed of greens. The lettuce was limp and the vinaigrette left much to be desired.

Despite the inconsistent food review, the service at the Gypsy was remarkable. Our server was quick to return with every request regardless of the size of our party.

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

-b

Gypsy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Bonfire Lounge

The Bonfire Lounge
2821 SE Stark St.
Happy Hour: everyday 2 - 7 PM


I can't believe that we waited so long to do a review of this place. Bonfire is, by far, one of my favorite happy hour locations in Portland. It's cheap. The food is fantastic. The service goes back and forth...but, with the number of people in the place, it's kinda understandable.

I tend to go back and forth between two options when it comes to the incredibly cheap happy hour food options. Okay, they really are the same thing...just with a different filling. Bonfire has the most amazingly enjoyable gyros. I don't eat meat and that's not a problem. Like I said, I go back and forth. This time I ordered the falafel gyro. It's the less messy choice. The gyro isn't dry like at some places. It has a great crispiness on the outside of each little bite and the inside holds its flavor well. It's covered with tzatziki, some lettuce, tomatoes and feta. Usually there are red onions in the mix but I opted to go without. My other favorite is a portabella mushroom gyro. It has the BEST flavor. I've made a lot of portabella dishes before and have tried twice as many while dining out. When I say this has the BEST flavor, I mean it. But, it's crazy messy. The mushroom holds as much of the juiciness in but tends to drip down the paper wrapping (sometimes down my arm) and all over the plate. It's worth it...unless, of course, you are there with someone new and quite possibly trying to impress them. That's simply a bad idea.



To accompany the gyro (an obvious match as it is usually paired with these when ordering off of the regular menu) we ordered a basket (and then a second basket) of the sweet potato fries. Some people have a strange aversion to sweet potatoes. (Some of those people were sitting at my table...and still we ordered two baskets.) I am not one of those people. I love sweet potatoes. I love them baked. I love them in burritos. I love them, love them, love them. Eating these sweet potato fries at Bonfire helped me to realize that their true calling is to be sliced, deep fried, and tossed (while still warm) with salt and pepper. Pepper, I think. That's what it looks like anyway. Amazing. I think that's all I can say. Eat them. You'll love them. Every time!


To wash everything down (including all the salt that came atop my fries) I ordered one (and then a second) gin and tonic. Not fancy, no. But, it's only two-fifty. That's right, $2.50. With an extra lime (my signature...along with so many others) it is the most refreshing drink after a long day at work (or, at play).

The service today was better than it has ever been. I'm hoping that this is an upward trend as in the past the service would have been my only complaint. It's a busy place...so it would make sense that they are sometimes running behind. Perhaps the difference is the season (or better yet, the weather). During the summer, this place is packed. Outside tables are hard to come by and the servers are going in and out and out and in. While it is too cold to sit outside (those tables are now reserved for the smoking crowd), the servers aren't forced to move around quite as much and are, therefore, more attentive.

One last thing that makes this place so incredibly fantastic is its location. It's just a couple of doors down from the Goodfoot. The Goodfoot also has good food and good drinks, sure, but it's the dancing and live music that makes it so inviting for me. Imagine, you start with happy hour (as early as two), move to the main floor of the Goodfoot for pool (free, at times) and then end the night dancing until closing. It might make for a long night...but, a good night, no doubt.

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambience: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-b

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bonfire Lounge

The Bonfire Lounge
2821 SE Stark
Happy Hour 2-7 p.m.

The Bonfire Lounge isn't much to look at, but the delicious food and cheap drinks makes this place one of the best Happy Hour options in Portland. I have visited Bonfire a number of times, but I always order the exact same thing--the Portobello Mushroom Gyro (without red onion) and Sweet Potato Fries. The tricky thing about it is that if you order the gyro off of the regular menu, it comes with sweet potato fries. So the server may try to talk you into that when you try to order the Happy Hour gyro and a basket of the fries. Do not fall for this! Once you try the sweet potato fries you will be unhappy that you did not order the whole basket. For yourself. Trust me.


On this particular visit I ordered my usual. The Portobello Mushroom Gyro is a great price--only $3.50. They also offer other flavors, but I haven't tried them. The only drawback of the gyro is that it is pretty messy. There are also other $3.50 deals including Tacos, Quesadillas, Hummus, and Burgers. A basket of the Sweet Potato Fries is $6.00. Our table of five ordered one basket. We quickly polished off that basket and ordered another. These seriously are the best sweet potato fries ever. Crispy, but not too crispy. Salty and slightly peppery. Perfect!


Speaking of cheap, Bonfire has really cheap, strong drinks. I ordered a Vodka Tonic and was shocked to see that it was only $2.50 at Happy Hour. I proceeded to order two more and--in the only sad part of my Happy Hour--managed to spill my third drink all over the table! That was embarrassing, but my friends believed me when I said that I was just clumsy, not tipsy (I think).


I haven't always been too impressed with the service at Bonfire, but on this visit both of our servers were attentive and prompt. I was definitely a satisfied customer!

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets (but could use a little work)
Value: Exceeds

-E
Bonfire Lounge on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Observatory


I love trying new places for Happy Hour! The Observatory is located on 80th and Stark, which means that you could go for Happy Hour and then go right down the street to the movies at the Academy Theater. You could also go for coffee at The Bipartisan, and if you were really hungry, you could have some Flying Pie pizza.


I ended up ordering a number of items from the Happy Hour menu. The first was a Lemoncello Cosmopolitan, which was their special $5 drink. It was a little bit too strong and not sweet enough for my taste, so next I switched to the $5 house wine. This was one of the best house wines that I have had, and it tasted very similar to my favorite $4 Trader Joe's Pinot Noir. It was also a generous amount, and I was feeling a little bit tipsy after drinking both of my drinks.


I also ordered the $2 cup of tomato and red pepper bisque. I thought it was perfect and almost ordered another cup. The $2 mixed greens salad was also good--it had an interesting mix of lettuce and was topped with fried onions. Later on I ordered the rosemary garlic fries. These were just okay, but it was my fault for forgetting that rosemary is my least favorite herb. I also have to warn people who want to impress their dates with fresh breath--the garlic on these fries is extremely powerful. I went home and brushed my teeth, and my boyfriend could still smell the garlic when I saw him later that evening!


When we got to The Observatory at 4 on a Friday, it was pretty empty, but it soon got really busy. Something about it also seems to cause echoing, so we could hear the people next to us very clearly. I liked the busy, fun atmosphere, and I thought our waitress was prompt, helpful and extremely nice. This is a place that I would definitely try again.

Food: Meets
Drink: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-E
The Observatory on Urbanspoon

The Observatory

8115 SE Stark Street
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM everyday
and again Tuesday - Thursday from 10 PM - 12 Midnight

The Observatory--a new restaurant in the Montavilla neighborhood--is within walking distance of my house. Any restaurant within walking distance makes me smile. I love knowing that I can get somewhere without stepping foot in my car. This restaurant makes me happy, thrilled in fact, to know that I can spend hours in a relaxed environment, all the time enjoying good conversations with friends, great food and cheap drinks.

I had been to The Observatory once before. During that visit, I had a chance to glance at the happy hour menu and knew that this was a place to which I would soon return. It was the Oregon Fry Bread that brought me back so quickly.


Fry bread was one of my favorite purchases at the County Fair as a kid. Usually covered with melted butter, cinnamon and honey, the fry bread would be the best treat following a day of walking through barns and the 4H exhibit hall. The lines were always long for fry bread. The oregano fry bread--on the happy hour menu for only two dollars--is a savory version of the fair favorite. Served with two ramakins full of dipping options (one an herbed sour cream and the other tomato bisque) and sprinkled with sea salt, this is something that I would enjoy again and again. And, as seen in the picture above, the serving size is not small. My suggestion would be to have someone to share this with.


A perfect accompaniment to the oregano fry bread--which became more obvious when it was served with a small ramakin in which to dip the breads--is a bowl of the roasted red pepper and tomato bisque. A little salty for my taste, this soup is one that I will probably not order again. Everyone else at the table did not agree, however.


I was enticed by the combination of flavors in the specialty cocktail--one that changes daily and is a mere five dollars during happy hour. A limoncello cosmopolitan might be the perfect drink on a hot summer day. During the start of Autumn, on a blustery evening just days after the end of daylight savings time, is not a prime time for a drink like this. My second choice--a glass of the house red wine, also at five dollars--was a much better match for the day. (It also matched well with the flourless chocolate torte that I ordered off the regular menu to finish my meal.)


Food: Meets

Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-b

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hopworks Urban Brewery

2944 SE Powell Blvd.
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM daily
Latenight Happy Hour: 9 - close, Sun. - Thurs. AND 10 - close, Fri. - Sat.


The happy hour menu at the HUB is quite varied (especially when compared to other Portland establishments). They've got simple bar food (pretzels--which tower out of the pint glass they are served in--and roasted peanuts), pizza (both a veggie and a meat option that change daily), salads, wings, cheese bread (YUM!), beer sausage, fries and a housemade minestrone soup (with tortellini rather than a few sad elbow noodles). It might seem a little typical...but, at somewhere between 2 and 4 dollars each, the HUB is a great choice for cheaper cheap eats.


Today I decided to go with pizza (veggie, of course). For just $2.25, I had a large slice of pizza covered in olive oil, multiple cheeses (including feta) and broccoli. It was simple, yes, but as tasty as can be.


With my slice of pizza, I ordered the house salad. Lightly coated in a viniagrette and served with grape tomatoes, cucumber slices and parmesan cheese, this salad far exceeded my expectations. It was cheap but still substantial. (It was probably twice the size as the house salad I ordered on my last outing.) And, it's not like there was just the one grape tomato. When I say substantial...I mean it! Not so much that you can make a meal out of it, of course...but, paired with any of the other menu options, you will be set for the evening, I am sure.


I'm not much of a beer drinker (in fact I don't really drink the stuff at all)...but, couldn't pass up the opportunity to include this shot of a full pint of the Hopworks IPA. Listening to the waitress describe the different options when we first sat down might have been enough to make me want to try a glass of beer. She included words like clove, pear and BANANA? See, doesn't that make you want to try some. You'll notice that the pint in the picture is accompanied by a taste of the double IPA. That's one of the specials currently available. It has somewhere near 9% alcohol content and, therefore, is not included in the happy hour price list. Although I wasn't tempted to order a beer this time (and probably won't be ordering one in the future), I am interested in the drink made by mixing the HUB lager with lemonade. Sounds tasty.

Now, to the service. If you've already scrolled down to the bottom, you'll see just how impressed I was with the service at Hopworks. Maybe I lucked out. Or, maybe they are all that thorough. This woman was perfect. She was friendly (but not bubbly). She was incredibly attentive (so much so that when I declined a refill on my lemonade she promptly brought over a glass of water). And, she split the bill without any request being made.

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

-b

Hopworks Urban Brewery

Monday, August 24, 2009

C Bar

2880 SE Gladstone St
Happy Hour: 5 - 6:30 and 9:30 - 11, Monday through Thursday
and ALL DAY Sunday


All day Sunday happy hours are my new favorite phenomenon. What a fantastic idea!

I had been to the C Bar twice before finally making it in during happy hour. I was disappointed to see that the Mac and Cheese wasn't listed on the cheap eats menu. At only $8 (and knowing that it is chalked full of cheeses--fontina, smoked gouda and tillamook cheddar--Hop Works IPA and large rigatoni noodles) I decided to order off of the regular menu, too. Sharing this entree made it easy to order a few other items from the happy hour food list. At least that's how I felt when placing the order. I was beyond stuffed when leaving the C Bar that night.



To accompany the gooey cheesiness that is the C Bar's mac and cheese (and, I'm guessing the same sauce--dubbed beer cheese sauce--offered with fries on the happy hour menu, YUM!) we ordered a side salad, sliders and tomato confit.



The side salad is nothing compared to the salad that was on the C Bar's menu before the change made earlier this summer. For just $3.50, I won't complain too much. The salad I had ordered previously--with candied walnuts, fresh fruit, blue cheese and a vinaigrette-- is overdone on menus these days anyway. This salad had a small pile of cheddar cheese that would have been welcoming had I not ordered it with the mac and cheese. And, of course, I failed to order the dressing on the side, making my lettuce a little too well-coated with the balsamic dressing. My fault.


My absolute favorite item (and something that I need to remember to order EVERY time I go there) was the tomato confit. Sure, it looks like spaghetti sauce and some olive oil thrown together on a plate and served with warmed bread. Maybe that's all it is...but, it is such a perfect match for my liking. And for only three dollars, you are served this tomato mix and a pile of ciabatta.


The house-made veggie patty had good flavor--especially with the added tomato slice and provolone--but was a little overshadowed by the sourdough bun. The bread to patty ratio of this slider was off by just a touch but it was the actual flavor of the bread that did away with that of the patty. (I love sourdough...but, it can sometimes steal the limelight of a good flavor combination.)

Although tonight I stuck with a plain glass of Merlot (which is $1 off at happy hour), I am partially in love with The Gordon. A mix of gin, fresh lime, muddled mint and ginger ale...it combines some of my favorite summer flavors to be quite refreshing and perfectly pleasing.

On a Sunday evening, service can be a little slow. Knowing this (and after recognizing that there was only the bartender working that night), we placed our order at the bar. Once that was done, both the food and drinks were delivered quickly to the table.

And, if it weren't already so late...the C Bar is equipped with pool tables and pin ball machines (lots of them) in the adjoining room.

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

-b

C-bar

Sunday, August 16, 2009

B.J. Willy's Public House and Eatery: for those of you who live in the suburbs.

http://www.bjwillys.com/

1717 Willamette Falls Drive
West Linn, OR 97068

Happy Hour 7 days a week, 3-6 pm and 9:30-close.


Not all of us are fortunate enough to live in the most popular areas of Portland, but there are some good Happy Hours available outside of the Hawthorne area and downtown. B.J. Willy's Public House and Eatery opened recently in West Linn, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite places for Happy Hour.



Right down the street from West Linn Saloon, this is the perfect place to come for a late night drink and snack. I have come to this place twice for late night Happy Hour, and I was impressed both times. The best thing is the cheap, fancy drinks. During Happy Hour, they offer well drinks, Lemon Drops, Cosmos, and Margaritas for $3.25. Are you kidding me? A Lemon Drop, my all-time favorite drink, made correctly with a sugar rim, for only $3.25? I had both a Lemon Drop and a Cosmo, and they were both strong and delicious. They also offer $1.00 off on draft beers and premium alcohol. So basically, the drink specials are unlimited here.



Also impressive is the wide array of cheap food to choose from. Although a lot of it is not exactly healthy, sometimes you just have to give in to your cravings for things like cheeseburger sliders ($2.99) or corn dog bites ($5.99--on the regular bar menu). Both are delicious, but the corn dog bites also bring up fond memories of corn dog day school lunches and trips to the Rose Festival Fun Center. You can always make yourself feel better by eating a healthy side salad along with your sliders ($1.99).


Options on the regular menu were good as well--a side mixed field greens and pear salad ($4.99) and a half order of the Mac and Cheese ($5.99) were more than enough to fill me up. The Mac and Cheese was rich and flavorful, and the side salad had just the right amount of nuts and fruit.

Service has also been good on both of my visits. When I sat in the restaurant, the owner was extremely friendly, and he pointed out that he made Happy Hour available in the bar and the restaurant so families can enjoy Happy Hour specials as well. The waitress was attentive and checked in regularly. When we ate at the bar, the bartender did a great job as well, and he also showed concern for a regular who had a bit too much to drink.

Overall, I would recommend this place for anyone who lives in (or near) West Linn.

Food: Meets
Drink: Exceeds
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

--E

B.J. Willy's Public House and Eatery on Urbanspoon

Mama Mia: another perspective.

I had eaten at Mama Mia for dinner before and was very unimpressed (I had gnocchi with red sauce, and it was bland and tasteless). That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by my Happy Hour experience.


I started off with a ginger ale and vodka, which I believe was $5. I just wasn't excited about most of the cocktails, and none of them were on special anyway. Then I ordered two items off of the food menu. Everything on the food menu was $3, and there was enough of a variety to please just about anyone. I ordered the lasagna of the day and the fried zucchini, and I was really impressed with both the size and the flavor of both dishes. The zucchini was freshly made with a light batter and dusted with Parmesan cheese. The lasagna was exactly what lasagna should be--cheesy and meaty with lots of marinara sauce. Eating these two items together made me feel stuffed, and I could definitely see myself making Happy Hour into dinner again in the future. The food here ended up being some of the best that I have had during our Happy Hour adventures this summer.



The bartender was our server, and he was having a rough night. Despite his problems (broken wine bottles, smashed finger), he was still friendly, funny, and attentive. I got the impression that service is generally good here.

The biggest complaint I have about Mama Mia is that Happy Hour is only available in the bar, which is sad for parents who want to get a good value, too! Mama Mia should offer Happy Hour outside or in the restaurant area as well to accommodate people with little ones. I understand not wanting to have babies in bars, but it is not as if Mama Mia is solely a bar. I felt Andina was much more welcoming in this regard--they said that since their bar has a full menu children were welcome during Happy Hour, and they also had outdoor seating that was kid-friendly.

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

--E

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mama Mia

439 SW 2nd Avenue
Happy Hour: weekdays, 5 - 7PM

Happy Hour? More like dinner. The prices are low (everything's just three dollars) and the portions are huge. Comparably speaking, that is. I've only been to Mama Mia once before...but, now that I know, I will only dine there during those happiest hours. And, it's more than just the two listed above. They have an extra hour on Friday, one on Saturday and all of Sunday evening, too. The down side, of course, is that you have to eat in the bar. If there are just two of you, it's perfect. For larger groups, you'll have to get there early to secure group seating at the bar itself. And then, of course, you'll have to practice the sideways conversation. It's tricky. But, it can be done.

We were the first to enter the bar that night. (This is part of the plan, of course. While we are on summer vacation we make a point to get to each selected establishment as the doors for happy hour open.) This meant that--due to some slight mishaps by the hostess--we were provided with entertainment. Our poor, poor bartender. He was having quite the night! And, it showed...through the use of many inappropriate words. He apologized once...but, it continued. Two broken bottles of wine and one smashed finger led to his choice words. I suppose that as a bartender, he doesn't exactly need to filter. It's not as if there are children around.

Our bartender--despite all of the foul language--was very friendly to our party of four with talk of shared birthdays and our upcoming trip to Vegas. He also took the time to console a woman across the way who had obviously had a trying day at work. I suppose they do say that bartenders carry some of the same qualities as therapists. The stories they must hear...



I decided to order something fancy to drink because...well, I wanted to. The drink prices aren't discounted during happy hour but with well drinks at around five dollars, it's not really that necessary. For eight dollars, I had a mix of pomegranate and limoncello plus a few other fitting ingredients all served in a champagne flute. It was quite tasty but not something that I could drink more than one of. It was just a touch too sweet for my taste (which is something I rarely say).



According to our bartender, the fried zucchini is prepared fresh upon order. Knowing that, there was no question as to what I would order. Yum! It was a perfect treat, dusted with Romano cheese and served with marinara. Yes, zucchini is in season right now...but, I'm assuming that this dish is good year round. And, I'll be sure to return--ordering it every time--just to be sure. I also ordered a bowl of the Minestrone soup. It, too, was garnished with Romano cheese adding just the right touch to the mix of vegetables.



Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds

-b

Mama Mia Trattoria

Friday, August 07, 2009

Calaroga Terrace

1400 NE 2nd Ave
Happy Hour: Fridays @ 4 (by invitation only)


Our weekly happy hours started taking place last summer. (Don't get me wrong...we enjoy happy hour during the school year as well.) During the summer months, though, it is nice to take advantage of our vacation. We can show up right as the doors open, if necessary, to get a good table. And, we can try new restaurants...restaurants that are too far across town to make it to after a long day of working with middle schoolers.

The blog is just for fun. It gives us a chance to share our experiences and opinions, an opportunity to practice our writing and photography skills...and, to keep track of where we've already been so that we don't make the same mistake twice. And like I said, it's fun. We might refer to it as homework...but, it's not like that at all. (Not that homework isn't fun...homework is ALWAYS fun.) This post, however, is special to me. It's by invitation only...but, not because I'm already being recognized in the food critic world. This post is all about happy hour at the Calaroga Terrace, a retirement community like no other.


My grandmother moved into the Calaroga less than two weeks ago. They have adorable apartments (hers overlooks the Willamette River), a welcoming staff, a dining area that serves more variety than some restaurants in Portland, and a laundry list of weekly activities for all of the residents to enjoy. On that list is Happy Hour. Every Friday, the residents of the Calaroga are invited down to the terrace for wine, beer and snacks. The lines are never long (but don't move too quickly for obvious reasons), the food seems to be endless and the wine comes in full glasses. And, no one will stop you if you get back up for seconds. Or, thirds.


Today's food selection included salmon bites, chicken wings, and spring rolls. They were served by Gary, the executive director for the Calaroga, and other friendly staff members. Residents were also provided with what seemed to be an endless supply of olives, cheese, fruit and vegetables and an assortment of crackers.


To accompany the assortment of appetizers, full glasses of wine were poured upon request. The list was not printed (nor very long) but included all of the basics. Bottled beers were also available. As there is no limit, many residents found themselves with a second glass to take into the dining area for the evening meal.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Exceeds (it's free)

-b

Andina, a third perspective.

Andina is a great place for Happy Hour, because you get to experience the upscale atmosphere, unique food, and delicious cocktails, without having to drop $100 for a meal. My only complaint is that I wish that they had a bigger variety of Happy Hour food to choose from. They only offer three kinds of skewers (none of which are vegetarian), so I ended up ordering food off of the regular menu.

I shared two items with a friend, the Causa Solterito and the Tabule de Cereales Andinos. At $8.50 each, they weren't cheap, but they were both delicious. The Causa Solterito was a cake made of mashed potatoes with corn and avocado. The Tabule de Cereales Andinos had quinoa mixed with other flavors. Both had a unique, fresh flavor. If I had to choose a favorite it would be the Causa Solterito because I loved having so much avocado.



The highlight of our visit to Andina was the cocktails. Normally $8.75, during Happy Hour you can try any of the cocktails for $5.50. There were so many that I wanted to try, but I ended up getting the Atardecer Porteno. This was one of the best cocktails ever. It had pink guava and honey infused vodka, and the rim was lined with anise flavored sugar. It was also extremely strong, and I started to feel a little tipsy after just a few sips! Our friend, D, had her favorite drink, the Scasayhuaman, which has passion fruit puree and spicy vodka. If you aren't into spicy drinks, this drink is also good made with regular vodka.



The server was incredibly friendly, and he was prompt and professional. Overall, I would definitely recommend trying Andina out for Happy Hour.


Food: Meets
Drink: Exceeds
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Exceeds
Value: Meets for Cocktails, Does Not Meet for Food

--E

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Andina


Serving Peruvian food in a very charming three story tall restaurant, Andina is worth the hassle of downtown driving and parking. We sat on the main level in the bar. Its decoration was minimal and modern but on my way out I saw down through to the courtyard. It looked lovely. It was like you were sitting outside on a cobble stone street. I would like to sit down there next time.


The best part of my experience at this Happy Hour was the drink I ordered. E also ordered the same drink. It is the “ATARDECER PORTENO (pink guava nectar shaken with honey infused vodka and lime juice topped with a float of ruby port and a sprtiz of lime zest, served up with an anise sugar rim)” The drink was Delicioso and only $5.50. The best part of the drink was the anise sugar rim. I love black licorice and you could smell it faintly every time you lifted your drink. As of right now today I would say this is the best drink I have ever had!!!!!



I didn’t eat much this trip but I did have the Chicken Kabobs off the HH menu. They come in serving sizes S, M, L (3, 6, 12) I ordered the medium and shared it with a friend. It came with 4 kabobs. I thought the kabobs would have veggies on them too but it only came with two small pieces of chicken on each kabob (about the size of a dollar coin). I don’t think each kabob was worth 2 dollars. But it was good. What I liked better than the paid for chicken kabobs was the free bread and dipping sauces. The bread looked like a poppy seed bread but did not taste sweet. It was soft and chewy. I love sauces! The sauces were three different blends: one, a peanut sauce, two a mango chili sauce and lastly, a jalapeno and garlic sauce. Pay attention here! The waiter didn’t bring this to our table right away. He only brought it after a friend requested it, so maybe you have to know about it to get it. -O



Food: Exceeds
Drink: Exceeds
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Exceeds
Value: Nearly Meets