Monday, May 31, 2010

Rialto

529 SW 4th
Happy Hour: 4 - 7 PM Daily

If you play pool, you've probably been to the Rialto. They have what seems like twenty-some tables on the main floor and a few more upstairs. There are televisions blaring sports all around, a few arcade games in the back, off-track betting, video poker and other lottery games off to the side, a pretty decent food menu (with fantastic onion rings) and a busy bar where it might take a minute or two, but you'll get great service and a quality drink.


The happy hour menu is pretty short and doesn't really appeal to the vegetarians...but, I thought it was worth a post. I've been here many times in the past year or so (even for a big celebration brunch...complete with mimosas) and made it through the door just minutes before happy hour ended.


I ordered a Tanqueray Lime Rickey from the drink specials listed on the folded menu at our table. It tasted almost exactly like the gin and tonics I order on a regular basis. It must be the extra lime that I always request that made these two drinks so similar. In my second, a requested a splash of simple syrup. Now it was just like lime aid...which would be perfect on a hot summer day (if only it would stop raining).


The happy hour menu consisted of four meaty items (one of which they were out of for the night) and fries. The fries are good. More like potatoes than the typical straight-from-the-freezer variety found in bars. The happy hour plate is much smaller than the second order of fries we had later in the night. I suppose the dollar amount matched the portion size. And, as always, these fries were better when dipped in ranch than plain ol' ketchup.


The pulled pork sliders seemed to be a hit at the table. They're little and go down quickly...especially for people who have already had a few beers. I was more interested in my sandwich, the veggie Reuben, which wasn't on the happy hour menu but still at a great price on the regular menu.


The veggie Reuben at the Rialto is the one and only experience with sauerkraut that I have yet to enjoy. Okay, one and only that I've now enjoyed two or three times. The bread is toasted (or maybe grilled) and served with thousand island dressing, avocado, tomato slices, lettuce, and the kraut. It's an INCREDIBLY messy sandwich (even when attempted with knife and fork) but so worth the labels you might get from friends at the table who now think you are the biggest slob around. It comes with an extra-thick napkin (or, maybe all the food does) so they are expecting some spillage. There's a choice of salads to accompany the Reuben...but, I've always gone with the green salad. Soft potato salad alongside a soft Reuben sandwich just doesn't appeal to this texture-driven girl. Maybe another time, though.

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

-b

Rialto Poolroom

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Paccini - CLOSED

1717 SW Park Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 7 PM


There are quite a few establishments offering happy hour to the overworked (and most likely underpaid) students at Portland State University. Paccini seems to be the most popular. Walking through the main entrance might lead you to believe otherwise, but as you cross over into the bar area (or step onto the large patio on a sunny afternoon) you will quickly come to realization that this place is heavily populated by the twenty-one and over crowd currently enrolled at PSU.

Having been there for dinner, drinks, and a graduation celebration, I knew exactly what I was walking into. It's loud, but not excessively so. (It's also dark...too dark to take quality food pictures.) There's a fire place in the center of the bar, a pool table off to the side, and a chalkboard full of happy hour options. I wasn't too hungry, but with thirteen minutes left until the official end of happy hour, I knew that I couldn't pass up another opportunity to post a review.


I ordered a lemon drop for just four dollars off of the happy hour menu. They have great deals on beer and well drinks, but I was tempted to go for something sweet. It was a little icy and the sugar rim was obviously done quickly, but the price seemed to match the quality.

The service at Paccini is pretty efficient. They seem to be prepared for crowds and take care of most food and drink orders at the bar (or so it seems). We were given a number to place on the table while waiting for our food. The system fits the location, in my opinion, and wasn't offensive in the least. It's a bar, not a fine-dining establishment. Even the restaurant side of Paccini has a cafeteria-style feel to it. Or, perhaps, more like a deli. You can buy pizza by the slice or by the pie, salads, even tiramisu.


We ordered the bruschetta as a snack. It was served with a bowl of marinated olives. When it first arrived, we were very concerned that the black edges were burnt beyond enjoyment. The were black...that's not an exaggeration...but, they were still good. The bread was toasted, for sure, but still soft. It had a drizzle of balsamic vinegar covering the top and then a mountain of tomatoes. It made for a messy place setting, but was worth the extra effort.

There are at least a dozen other things waiting on that happy hour menu for me to try in the future. And, I'm sure that I'll be back before too long.

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

-b

Paccini

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Blue Olive

Blue Olive
4627 NE Fremont Street
Portland, OR 97213


Happy Hour: Monday-Thursday 5-9 p.m.

http://www.blueolivepdx.com/

I had high hopes for this Happy Hour, but I was let down. I considered not doing a review, but received a little pressure from my co-blogger.

I went into Blue Olive with a craving for really good hummus and pita. My craving was, unfortunately, not fulfilled. We went on a Monday night and sat in a cute bar area. Aside from one man at the bar, we were the only ones in this section of the restaurant. I am not sure if we had to sit there to get happy hour, but we didn't want to take any chances.


I started with a sour cherry margarita, which was delicious. It was the highlight of the entire meal, and I would definitely order it again. My boyfriend wanted calamari from the HH menu. Even though I am not a huge fan anyway, I know that this was not good calamari. It was a small order with bunches of broken up pieces. The sauce was okay, but the calamari was just not good or worth the price.


I ended up ordering the vegetarian combo (13.00) off of the regular menu with pita bread from the HH menu. Again, I was disappointed. The pita bread was not like any pita bread that I have had before--it was thick and almost like regular bread. I am a bread fan and didn't care for it. The hummus was just okay. The best thing was the salad that came with the combo. My boyfriend thought his meal was decent--he ordered the mousaka (15.00).


We also had the experience of frustrating service. Sometimes it seems when a restaurant is empty the service is even more slow and less attentive than it would be if more people are there. It's almost like they forget they have customers. They were nice overall, but it wasn't great service.


I would not come here again, unfortunately, which is too bad because I loved my drink.

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

-E
Blue Olive on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Heathman Hotel

1001 SW Broadway
Happy Hour: In the lounge, 4 - 6 PM and 9 - close

The Heathman Hotel is out of my league, for sure. I've only been there twice in the almost thirteen years that I've lived in Portland. Once for a Holiday Tea (which was a gift and probably too spendy) and last night to enjoy some jazz music (played by a friend) in the lounge. I wasn't planning to post any reviews. I didn't even know that I would be there during their happy hour. But, I figure after sampling some items from the bar menu and sipping on a few cocktails, I might as well add it to the list.

The lounge is divided into two sections. There is an area that is most definitely a bar. And, then there is the fireplace lounge. It's cozy with cute little couches and small tables. There are a few that would be suitable for dinner but most of the tables are too low to accommodate a fork and knife kind of meal. We quickly realized that, although the seating looks comfortable, the tables have an awkward second level that leaves little room for your legs. And, sitting at the circular bench in the center means that you'll be getting cozy with a stranger if you don't plan ahead.

It was pretty packed last night but having known that the musicians playing brought out quite a few people, I can't say that this is typical. It also might have been overflow from the actual restaurant as it seemed to be reaching capacity with the many prom dates in attendance.

The server was quick to take our drink orders but the drinks themselves took quite a while to return. I'm guessing that the bartender is covering too many areas in the place and that it slows down service to the lounge and restaurant. That is only a guess, though. The menu was covered with cocktails ranging in price from seven to twelve dollars. I thought I'd play it safe and order a lemon drop. It wasn't on the menu and I quickly realized why after receiving the bill. Nine dollars is a little steep for such a small lemon drop. I'm guessing (again, merely a guess) that it was made with something closer to the top shelf. That's my hope, anyway, after dropping $18 on lemon drops. My sister ordered a Moscow Mule. I had never had one before but enjoyed the fresh ginger kick.

The happy hour special (available between four and six and again after nine) is a five dollar burger. That's the only special. It's a great price, sure. And, I'm sure it's a fantastic burger. But, I don't eat meat. I still had options, but they were from the bar menu and not all at such a great price. There are size listings, though. So anything can become super reasonable if you want to order the small. (I'm not sure how small they are, though.) My sister had taken a look at the menu first and warned me of some of the offerings. It seems that not all of their salad choices are meat-free. And, one of them uses a certain part of the animal...well, I'll stop there to avoid any further discomfort.


We ordered the butter lettuce salad and a plate of the gnocchi with spring vegetables to share. On the menu, it's listed as butter lettuce. It was so much more than that....I'm not sure why they don't say so. The salad had a creamy dressing (with a hint of horseradish) and was sprinkled with cheese and a few chives. The gnocchi was the star of the show, though. Each bite was so delicate. And, the spring vegetables were sauteed to perfection. (Honestly, I've never enjoyed a lima bean before...and these were great.)


It was a little pricey and the lounge appeared to be far more comfortable than it actually was...but, the music was great and I enjoyed the company. Knowing that the happy hour is nothing but a five dollar burger was more than disappointing...but, I wasn't really even there for happy hour. I'll be back someday. But, I'll have to save up before then.

Food: Exceeds
Drinks: Meets
Service: Nearly Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Does Not Meet

-b

Heathman