Sunday, March 28, 2010

EastBurn

1800 East Burnside
Happy Hour: Daily, 3 - 6 PM


Eastburn's happy hour, more appropriately dubbed as RECESS, offers five well-priced food items, discounted house cocktails, well drinks and beers as well as a daily drink special that--on Fridays--extends through the dinner hour until 10 PM.I'm assuming that the most popular of all the recess specials would be Tuesday, where you can get two dollar pints ALL DAY LONG...but, I'm more apt to return on a Friday when I can get a bottle of wine at half the price when ordering two entrees.


Eastburn has quite the concept going for it. They have the typical outdoor seating out front, yes...but, they also have an enclosed area in the center of the building complete with fire ring tables. There are swings both inside and out and the downstairs (although I have yet to check it out) is supposedly equipped with Skee-ball machines (no prizes, though...which is why I'm less likely to venture down there). Plus, they've got space for live music and show movies down there once a week, too.


The drink menu has a lot to offer as well. March is, apparently, Merlot month. I was tempted to order a flight of wine (which actually comes in two sizes: 3 pours for $12 or five for $16) when I saw that they had both Patit Creek and Spring Valley's Uriah--two wineries that I frequently pass in the Walla Walla area as I'm driving to visit family. And, although I'm not much of a beer drinker (or, not one at all really), I was impressed with the skateboard menu and the row of tap handles that seem to cover an entire wall.


I ended up ordering two of the fancy cocktails that are priced at $5 during recess. I started with a very sweet (perfect for me, of course) Martini Marion Berry. It came layered--which was quite appealing--and had the perfect amount of sugar on the rim. I also tried--after being convinced by the server that it would NOT taste like I was eating flowers--the Walt Walker. The elderflower did not taste like a bouquet but did possess some interesting qualities. These, of course, slowed my sipping just a smidge...but, its unique flavors aren't going to keep me from ordering it again in the future.


Since we had dinner plans later that night, the three of us selected just two items off of the menu to share. From the recess menu, we ordered the Chipolata sausage sandwiches. I can't tell you much about them other than that they were presented nicely and enjoyed by the two meaters at the table. From the appetizers list on the dinner menu, we also had a plate of potato pancakes. They were made of shredded potatoes, shredded at a perfect size (in my opinion) so that they allowed for the true texture lovers to enjoy, and were served with a scallion sour cream and bourbon-apple chutney. The chutney was a little heavy on the golden raisins but had great flavor.

I expected the place to be a little more crowded (especially having been a Friday afternoon at about 4:30) but enjoyed that its emptiness meant for great service. Our server was quick to return and answered all of my questions (I tend to ask quite a few, as almost anyone who dines with me knows).

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

-b


EastBurn

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Romo's Latin Quarter - CLOSED

7915 SE Stark Street
Happy Hour 5-6 p.m.
(Closed Mondays)

Latin Quarter is a mystery to me. It is on a popular street with other popular restaurants, but it seems to remain fairly empty most of the time. It has delicious food, always has great service, yet it is not a busy restaurant. People seem to be flowing out of The Country Cat and Ya Hala, but Latin Quarter is virtually ignored.

I have been here a number of times and have never been disappointed. My absolute favorite thing to eat here is one of the two vegetarian specials, but I can't remember the name of it. I think it is some kind of spinach enchilada, and it is the best. I had never been for Happy Hour, however, but I was eager to try it and give the restaurant some much needed publicity! (Ha ha)


The Happy Hour menu was small, but I liked the options. The choices included red or green chicken burritos, tacos, beans and rice, or guacamole and chips. The house margaritas were on special for $4.50 or you can get a strawberry margarita for $5.50.

Our table started out with the free chips and salsa, which are both homemade (the chips came out warm). I really like how the salsa is hot and the chips are extra salty. These are some of my favorite chips and salsa, and I LOVE chips and salsa, so I have many previous chips and salsa experiences to compare these ones to.

I ordered two house margaritas on the rocks, and again, these are some of the best margaritas. There is a good balance between alcohol content and flavor. I hate it when you order a margarita and it is too strong or has too much sour mix. These were perfect, and I am still feeling the margarita buzz about an hour later, so they weren't watered down. My friend really enjoyed her strawberry margarita as well.

For my dinner I ended up ordering a red chile burrito ($4) which was delicious but pretty spicy. A friend ordered the green one and also mentioned the spice. My friends ordered tacos, beans and rice, and guacamole, and they all seemed pleased with what they received.


The service was really good. Our server was quick and efficient, and she didn't mind dividing up our tab (in fact, she offered).

I really hope that this restaurant catches on because it is a great place. It's not too expensive, has great food, and has good service and a nice atmosphere.

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

--E

Romo's Latin Quarter on Urbanspoon

Romo's Latin Quarter - CLOSED

7915 SE Stark
Happy Hour: (possibly a secret) Weekdays, 5 - 6PM


The website doesn't really work. The signs out front are almost impossible to see. But, this place DOES have a happy hour. And, it's only a ten-minute walk from my apartment...which makes it an ideal location.

We'd been here many, many times before for dinner. I think I've already tried every single vegetarian option on the menu. They are all good...but, completely covered with cheese. I've even included this location as a place for my parents to hit while in town from Idaho. It's good. It's in the neighborhood. There's always space, it seems. And that one time I actually made reservations--the time that they lost the reservations--the won my appreciation through free "make-up" drinks and appetizers. Plus, the owner is super sweet. He seems to have a good memory, too, as he recognizes us each time we return.

It was our first time here for happy hour...which, of course, means our first time to document our opinion on the food, drinks and service. We weren't able to verify that happy hour still existed until sitting down at our table, preparing to order. We had already decided that if they no longer offered a happy hour menu, we'd just stay for dinner (letting go of all of our Spring Break happy hour plans). It's just that good. Our server brought the small bar menu upon our request and, although it wasn't much, we were able to order some great cheap eats and a couple of house margaritas at a discounted price.


After scanning the menu, I quickly asked the server if there were any substitutions available. The happy hour menu, you see, is covered with meat-friendly options. It's short to begin with, yes, but I was hoping to have more available. I was forced to settle with a plate of beans and rice and an order of guacamole. I was quite satisfied, though. With these two and the chips and salsa that came with our meal, I had plenty to eat and a variety of flavors to keep my palate happy.


The beans and rice were topped with shredded cheese (something that this place seems to be well-known for) that was melted under the broiler. For as simple as this dish was, it was full of flavor. I suppose that it could be from the salted chips alone, but I was quite impressed with the abundance of flavors that it possessed. It must be something that they do with the beans in preparation. They are quite tasty and far from the typical refried beans found at almost every Mexican restaurant.


The guacamole had large chunks of avocado making it obvious that this was really freshly made guacamole. And, it was served with freshly made chips as well. So fresh that you can't be too impatient if you request another basket. And, if you are looking the right direction (as in the direction of the kitchen) you'll see the steam rising up off of the freshly fried tortilla chips.


And, of course, I had to order the house margarita. I'm not sure exactly what it is that makes it their own recipe, but I know that I like it. With a salted rim, it would be a perfect treat in the summer sun (too bad they don't really have the space for outdoor seating) or really anytime.

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

-b

Davis Street Tavern

500 NW Davis Street
Happy Hour: Monday - Saturday, 4 - 6:30 PM


Never before had I really understood what people meant when they said that something was just too rich to finish. I can finish chocolate cake--even flourless chocolate cake that's meant to taste like a truffle--without any problems. And fancy cheeses, too. Even cheesecake. Maybe I just have a better strategy when going about it. A bite or two, a sip of...water, milk, coffee, wine...and then another bite. It's not hard....or at least that's what I thought. The macaroni and cheese at Davis Street Tavern is rich. RICH. It was almost too much. It's a good thing that I have experience, or I would have had to put down that fork.


I'd been to Davis Street Tavern twice before now. (It was date number two...which makes it special.) Not too long ago we were here as a whole family. My sister called and they were able to squeeze us in. With a table for ten, that's not always possible. I've always been impressed with this place. And, although I've yet to actually order it, they have one of those prix-fixe specials. It's a guarantee of three yummy items for a fixed rate of just twenty-six dollars. It's an ideal concept, I think. Going for happy hour only sealed the deal on this place. It's at the top, for sure.


Before I savored the incredibly rich dish of velvety (their choice of words, not mine) macaroni and cheese, I had a salad. I've had this same salad (and had been equally impressed) for dinner but with a greater price and I'm sure a greater portion. I honestly didn't expect so much for just four dollars. The salad was a mix of butter lettuce and baby spinach topped with sliced radishes, grape tomatoes and Rogue River blue cheese (a substantial amount, I might add).


I shared a few bites of my salad with my boyfriend in return for a few spoonfuls of his tomato basil bisque. The soup had the flavor and texture that makes a bisque so much more than just a bowl of tomato soup. Plus, it was served with a slice of bread that had been sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and toasted to what I would call perfection. To follow the soup, he ordered the sausage plate. It came with mustard and chutney, two types of sausage and grilled bread. I can't say much about it...but, he seemed more than pleased with his selection.


The happy hour menu at Davis Street Tavern is quite long (long enough that I will have to come back in the near future to try something more). The choices range in price and in size (many of which could easily suffice as dinner) and are followed by a few selections of beer and wine. Both of us ordered a glass (wine for me and beer for him) and then, later on, another


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

-b

Davis Street Tavern

Clyde Common

1014 SW Stark St.
Happy Hour: Weekdays, 3 - 6 PM


Clyde Common has been on my list to try for a very long time. I could easily pull the actual paper I wrote it on out of my desk drawer and you would see that Clyde Common is at the top of the list. So when Spring Break hit (and time finally made itself available), we went there first. Happy Hour starts at three...and we were there just minutes after. I was excited. It seemed to be a very promising place. It, however, was not. It wasn't awful. The server was great, the menu had a lot of vegetarian options, the prices seemed ideal. It just didn't suit me. I don't think I'll be back. Not for happy hour that is. And, as far as the list goes (the other list, that is...the one I keep of all of my favorite, must-return places) Clyde Common is somewhere at the bottom.


Walking into this place, we were greeted with large wooden tables that leave space for strangers. At happy hour or even late-night dining, I'm cool sharing the space with others. But, knowing that there was a family with two small children (and the potential for a lot of awkward first dates), I was a little curious to know how well this seating arrangement has worked at the dinner hour. As time went by and the place started to fill up, most people sat at the bar (another shared space, I suppose, but still).

The happy hour menu was covered with vegetarian options. And, quite a few of their menu items are listed as daily. It's nice to know that they have something new to choose from...even a daily cookie. Plenty of offerings caught my eye (especially the pesto grilled cheese with fontina--which also contained walnuts and was why I didn't order it) and I was able to narrow it down to just two. I ordered the green salad and a plate of fried chickpeas, at $3 each.


The salad wasn't bad. But, it was just lettuce. Giant pieces of lettuce that--if I wasn't afraid to tear it up ahead of time or even make a mess of my face--couldn't be any more cumbersome to eat. The vinaigrette was light and had a fairly good flavor...but, it wasn't special. Even for just three dollars, I was expecting a little more. A tomato, some carrots, just one crouton...anything would have helped improve the rating here.


I was pretty impressed with the fried chickpeas, as was my friend (who was--if you haven't already read her review--equally displeased with this place). There were plenty of them to share and they were easy to eat (like popcorn, really...but I wouldn't suggest eating them by the handful). They had a thin layer of some sort of breading and were dusted with something that appeared to be paprika.


Before ordering anything, I asked the server all sorts of questions. The happy hour menu leads to that I'm sure with all of its daily specials. But, I was asking about the drinks. There were just a few on the happy hour side and none of them really struck me as being the one. She claimed that the charlie horse was pretty popular. It was a mix of vodka, orange, and something that I couldn't quite pronounce (something that she said was made from artichokes). She warned me of the piney flavor but led me to believe that it would be satisfying. At first sip, I knew it wouldn't really do. I finished it...but, I wouldn't think to order a second. The flavors were a little too much for me.

Food: Nearly Meets
Drink: Does Not Meet
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

Clyde Common

1014 S.W. Stark Street
Happy Hour 3-6 p.m.

I am sorry to say that Clyde Common was a big disappointment. We chose this place because it sounded like it had exciting and unusual Happy Hour food and drinks, but based on my experience I doubt I will be back again.



It is rare that I order a drink that I won't finish, but the One Trick Pony ($5) I ordered from the list of Happy Hour cocktail specials was one of those drinks. I thought since it had maraschino liqueur that it would be cherry flavored and sweet, but maybe I was confused about what maraschino was? In any case, it was NOT good. It wasn't sweet and had a flavor that I definitely disliked. My friend's drink was inadequate as well, and none of the other drinks really appealed to me (many of them have whiskey/bourbon in them, which is not really my thing).



I ended up ordering two items off of the Happy Hour menu. One was the house pickles ($3). Maybe it is because of my lack of sophistication, but when I saw house pickles on the menu, I thought it would be a variety of different kinds of PICKLES. You know, like the kind you get on the side of your sandwich. Unfortunately, they were the worst kind of pickled VEGETABLES imaginable. Pickled beets, eggs, mushrooms, and cauliflower. I can't imagine anyone (well, maybe, a pickled beet-lover) ordering this and being happy about it. I was actually extremely sad.


Slightly better was the grilled baguette with Nutella and orange marmalade ($4). I thought it sounded very European, so I thought I would give it a shot. It was edible, but I wouldn't order it again. I guess not everything from Europe is better.



Overall, I just got the impression that Clyde Common was trying too hard to be exotic and different. I like trying new things, but this place made me long for standard Happy Hour food and drinks that actually taste good. Sign me up for some artichoke dip and a quesadilla!

Food: Does Not Meet
Drink: Does Not Meet
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Does Not Meet

--E

Clyde Common on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mint/820

820 N Russell Avenue
Happy Hour: Monday and Tuesday 4 - 8 PM, Wednesday ALL NIGHT,
Thursday - Saturday 4 - 6:30 PM, Sunday ALL NIGHT


All night Wednesday and all night Sunday make this location a great one to hit up if you are looking for fancy drinks at a discounted price. It really is about the drinks at this place, too. The owner has been listed in multiple foodie magazines as one of the top mixologists in the country. She also recently published the book Hip Sips in which she shares the recipes of some of Mint's signature cocktails.


During happy hour, the house cocktails (about a dozen or so if you include the specialty drinks) are just six dollars each. The complete cocktail list is very intriguing and at just two or three dollars more, I'm sure many people pick and choose from either menu knowing that what they are about to indulge in will be well worth the price.


I was originally set on ordering the Mission. Its mix of vanilla vodka and fig puree made it an obvious choice for me (a girl with a very sweet tooth). Saddened by the knowledge that they had recently used the last of the fig puree, it was recommended to me to try the O. Apparently it's one of the most popular and was recently on the Food Channel. (Knowing that the recipe is easy to find will not, however, have me making these at home. Don't get me wrong. It was quite good and something that I would especially enjoy in the summer heat. I'm afraid, though, that I couldn't make it as well as they do.) The O is an orange rum mojito made with fresh citrus juices and simple syrup. (And, because I know that some of you will ask...with just a few torn mint leaves, it's not too planty.)

For dinner, I selected the soup of the day (a four dollar purchase) and the fried, stuffed risotto balls (at six dollars for four). The risotto balls were interesting, and not really what I had expected. They were crisp and (obviously) fried on the outside, but soft and cheese-filled beyond that first bite. The cheese was exceptionally stringy, making these a definite fork food. They were served with a roasted tomato sauce (sounds fancy, huh?). The fried risotto balls (listed on the regular menu as arancini (now that sounds fancy) seemed to be a popular happy hour menu item as I saw the two closest tables had ordered them as well.


At first bite, the green chili soup was just a vegetable soup (quite similar to the flavor and consistency of Campbell's, actually) but with heat--lots of heat--added at the last minute. (My nose was running as I finished the bowl.) I was not displeased in any way by the soup, but was not impressed either. I am quite curious to know what other soups cycle through the "du jour" status. (And, for those of you--unlike me--who are not opposed to anchovies, they have a great looking spicy Caesar salad on the menu, too.)


Also on the happy hour menu (but not really listed at a happy hour price) was the lamb burger. My boyfriend enjoyed the taste but was less than impressed with the price. Served with sweet potato fries (which are available as a side for $3.50 during happy hour) and a fancy mayonnaise concoction, I was surprised to see just how juicy this lamb burger was. (I could have easily finished the sweet potato fries that were left on the plate had they not been caught in the downpour of lamb burger juices.) It's been too long for me to remember, but I'm guessing that--despite the mess--a juicy burger makes for a great burger.


Mint and 820 are located just a block or two up from one of the first yellow max lines past the rose quarter. It's close to the Gotham Tavern as well as the Widmer Gasthaus, and just a half-mile or so down the road from the Mississippi neighborhood. It seems to be in a great location and has done well since first opening nine years ago. I'm most impressed with the cocktail menu and plan to return in the near future.

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

-b


820

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a second review of Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant

17937 SE Stark Street
Happy Hour - 4:00 - 6:30 PM

I first tasted Giuseppe's lasagna in the fall of 2003. It was served with a traditional iceberg salad (you know, the one with purple cabbage and shredded carrots), giant white rolls with prepackaged pats of butter, and Costco cookies for dessert. For one reason or another, this had become the usual for our staff dinner during the nights we stayed late for conferences. The dinner was nothing special but when something becomes tradition, I begin to love it for what it has to offer. I'm very into my routines, you know. I became a little disappointed the year that the salad changed. The restaurant didn't make that change, though. Someone decided that it would be cheaper to buy the bulk packaged salads at Costco. The rolls were replaced by Costco rolls a year later. And then there was the year we had sandwiches instead. I went out for dinner that night.

Now that the tradition is gone, we thought it might be time to give Giuseppe's happy hour a try. I was hoping for small plates of lasagna, fresh garlic bread, soup, and more. Instead I found a list of appetizers marked at a discounted price for happy hour. This list was not typical of an Italian restaurant but instead that of a neighborhood bar. Everything seemed fried. And, I can only expect that it came directly out of the freezer before hitting that vat of oil.


We opted for the fried zucchini, fried mozzarella, and fried ravioli. (See, even the ravioli was fried.) The last time I had eaten fried ravioli was in the cafeteria while in my first year of college. It was pretty equal in taste and I CAN guarantee that those ravioli came straight from the freezer. The sauce for dipping did seem, however, to be prepared on site. It was tasty but nothing to write home about. (Although I am writing...and, this could reach home...I think you know what I mean.)

Sharing the fried foods with four others, and finishing all but the croutons of the large salad (yes, it was the salad I remembered--perfectly plain and simple) we decided that we were still hungry. I requested the dinner menu and the waitress (who was most pleasant during the entire visit) helped us to see what wasn't clearly printed. Okay, it wasn't listed at all...which makes me wonder what other "specials" they have to offer. We were able to order the smaller-than-small pizza and decided on mushrooms, olives, pineapple and NO onions. The pizza was decent with a chewy crust and stringy cheese. The pineapple wasn't interested in staying on top of the pizza and instead became a side order. (That's common though, right?) I would order the pizza again but can't really say that it's my favorite. Don't get me wrong. It's good...but, not great.

The restaurant side of Giuseppe's seems pretty typical of any pizza place in the Gresham area (or at least, the two I've been to). They are definitely made to please families. They've got large tables, pitchers of soda (and beer, of course) and plenty of plastic pizza plates. The lounge side is equipped with comfortable seating, a long bar, dark lighting, and plenty of televisions (including a big screen projector that they pulled from the ceiling just before we left) all tuned to the same thing. And, I don't mean that they were all tuned to sports. I mean, they were ALL tuned to the exact same game. I suggest that--if they are interested in taking over the sports bar scene--they invest in the cable package that allows for multiple sports stations.


During happy hour (which was only as long as it was due to the great company and stimulating conversation and not the extra special dining experience) I ordered two drinks off of the fancy cocktail menu. The first was quoted as being the most popular by our friendly server. I haven't quite figured out why it was called the Teelicious but assume that the spelling should have been indicator enough...because it tasted nothing like tea. It was served in a large glass and had an assortment of sweet-tasting flavors. My second was less than impressive. It was a Krazy Koolaid and too sweet even for me (which rarely happens). If we end up here again (which I'm guessing won't happen unless we are invited by another group who have yet to experience the fried menu) I really need to remember to stick to something simple. They did have a menu on the table for some locally-produced wine. That might be worth a try.

Food: Nearly Meets (the pizza was barely enough to raise this grade)
Drinks: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Nearly Meets
Value: Does Not Meet

-b

Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant

17937 SE Stark St

Happy Hour in the Lounge



I really love Giuseppe's Pizza--it's one of my favorite pizza places in Portland. That being said, I wasn't too impressed with their Happy Hour. As far as atmosphere goes, the lounge area is very guy-oriented (not to make stereotypes about what guys might like, but we were the only ladies in the place besides the server). There were more TVs than I have ever seen in one place, and they were all tuned in to college basketball.


The menu was also guy-oriented, with lots of fried choices. Our table ended up ordering salads, three fried appetizers, and a bar sized pizza to share. I enjoyed my salad, but it was pretty basic. The appetizers were $1 off at Happy Hour, so they were very reasonably priced. We had fried ravioli, mozzarella sticks, and zucchini sticks. I only tried the zucchini and fried ravioli, and both were good but not great. I love zucchini sticks but these were nothing special. The pizza wasn't as good as usual either--maybe because we got the smallest size.


Giuseppe's does has a fun drink menu, and the drinks were 50 cents off at Happy Hour. I ordered a Dirty Arnold Palmer and then a Grape Peak. I wasn't driving, so I also ordered a Vodka Tonic. Again, all were good, but they weren't great. My individual total was a little more than I usually would like to pay at Happy Hour, but I did order fancy drinks, so that's what happens.

The one thing that I did love about this Happy Hour experience was the server. She was great! She was super friendly, answered our (many) questions, had helpful suggestions, came back to check on us multiple times, and was there right away when we wanted to order something else. She was definitely one of the best servers ever!

Food: Nearly Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Nearly Meets--too many boys
Value: Meets

--E

Giuseppe's Italian

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tapalaya

28 NE 28th Avenue
Happy Hour: 4:30 - 6 PM, daily


This could easily be my new favorite place for happy hour. We do our best to try new places each time we go out...but, I have a feeling that we'll be back here again soon. The small plates are the best. They are the perfect size to allow for all sorts of flavors without spending too much or becoming too full. And, the small plates aren't just for happy hour. From open to close, you can get a great meal for a great price. The benefit at happy hour, of course, is that a select number of plates are on the menu at a discounted price AND you can get two dollar Martinis and three dollar Hurricanes.


I had never had a hurricane before and had to find out what was in it before ordering. Our server had quite the accent and I missed the first few ingredients while trying to decide where he was from. Although I still can't decide where he is from (but, I'm hoping that it is Louisiana - since that would fit the restaurant's theme the best) I do know that he listed dark rum, lime juice, some other citrus juices and a splash of grenadine. Having grown up on Shirley Temples, I've loved anything that comes with a splash of grenadine for quite some time. At just three dollars a piece during happy hour, I had to have two.

There were four of us at the table and I was sharing most of my small plates with my boyfriend. Okay, I was sharing all of my small plates...and, he had a po' boy to go with my sides. It worked out perfectly, though, because I was able to try so many things without becoming full. Don't get me wrong...it was filling enough that it became my dinner BUT I wasn't so full that I couldn't walk into the chocolate shop around the corner and pick up a special treat for dessert.


The first of the small plates was the sweet cornbread. I'm a fan of cornbread and have been for the majority of my life. Dry cornbread, however, has never been my favorite. And this cornbread was anything but dry. I couldn't quite decide if it was the cornbread that was sweet or if it was the butter. In the end, we decided that both had been sweetened with honey. SO good.


Following the sweet came the salty. And, not just salty and fried...but, salty, fried and a bit pickled. I've had fried pickles three times now and at three different locations. I'm still convinced that fried in the spear shape makes for a better batter to pickle ratio, but these pickle chips were extra tasty. The picture makes them look quite greasy...which, I'm sure that they were...but they were a great way to start the meal. (Or, at least keep the flavors changing.)


The next small plate to arrive (I'm not sure if the timing is intentional, but it seemed to work out perfectly for me) was the macaroni and cheese. It was baked in its small dish, giving me plenty of that crusty over-baked edge of the pan that I love so much when it comes to cheesy pasta dishes. Yum. I saved my last bite for this item (until I later decided that I needed to order more cornbread - at only two dollars, it made for a good start and end to the meal).


We also ordered a plate of the apple slaw. (This is the same slaw served on the pulled pork sandwich...a sandwich I will never eat...but one you can read about in the other Tapalaya post.) Such good flavor. Sometimes coleslaws can be a little overpowering. This one was not. It had great crunch and great color.

Altogether, the meal (which, now that it's written out seems to be quite HUGE) accompanied by two hurricanes was the perfect way to end a long and exhausting week at school. And, the service was fantastic. Other than having a fun accent, our server was speedy, efficient and really good at describing the specials (which, like usual, were full of meat and nothing I would ever try. I still like listening to all of the descriptions, though). He was quick to return with all of the small plates our table of four had ordered and didn't have any problems with our need to split the check three ways.


Food: Exceeds
Drinks: Exceeds
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets (there are even voodoo dolls in the bathroom, which doubles as a wine cellar?)
Value: Exceeds

-b

Tapalaya, part 2

Happy Hour Daily, 4:30-6 p.m.

28 NE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97232

http://www.tapalaya.com/

The concept of Tapalaya is interesting--small plates of New Orleans-style food. I really, really liked it. I hadn't heard of it before my friend suggested trying it out, so I had no expectations at all, but I thought it was a great place.


Our group started with a round of Hurricanes ($3 during Happy Hour--half price!), and they were delicious--fruity and strong. The food concept at Tapalaya is small plates of New Orleans-style food, so I ordered three things: cornbread ($2), fried pickles ($2), and a pulled pork sandwich with apple slaw ($5). The cornbread and pulled pork sandwich were from the regular menu. My favorite item was definitely the cornbread--it was sweet, warm and crumbly. I also liked the unique taste of the pulled pork sandwich with the apple slaw. I wasn't a huge fan of the fried pickles so only had a few, which was strange because I love pickles.


I am not generally someone who seeks out Southern food, but I would be glad to go back to Tapalaya again. The atmosphere, service, food, and drinks made me very happy.


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

--E

Tapalaya on Urbanspoon