Sunday, October 31, 2010

4th Street Brewing Company - CLOSED

77 NE 4th Street
Gresham, OR 97030
Happy Hour: 2 PM - close (drink purchase required)

Oh, Gresham. You're finally growing up. You've got some great go-to restaurants, a natural foods market (Go Lillian!), and your very own brewery. I remember when it wasn't on fourth street though. The name change was a must, of course. But since the move from Main Street, I'd say that both the atmosphere and the service improved by pretty substantial amounts.

We stopped in at 4th street for happy hour on Friday after a very long week of teaching. I was starving after skipping most of my lunch to prepare for the big eighth grade dance. I was thirsty, too. But it was more about the food this time. And, luckily, food comes out FAST at 4th street. Seriously fast.

I ordered a side salad (just $1.95) and was pleased to see that it was topped with all of my favorites. It was a good size and definitely worth the price.

To share with the others at the table, I also ordered a plate of the fried cheese curds. I've had them once before at another location...and have now decided that these little balls of gooey cheese are pretty fantastic. Being cheese curds, I'm sure, turns a lot of people off of the idea. But, really, they are just like little cheese sticks. Only better. The ratio of fried goodness to cheesy goodness is almost perfect. So good that I didn't even miss the squeak.

I had a few bites of the nachos, too. The plate is a huge one and well worth the $4.95 price tag. They are covered with black beans, cheese, olives, jalapenos, and more.

To drink, I ordered a gin and tonic (with extra lime, of course). At 4th street, gin and tonics are served in pint glasses. Maybe I've just been lucky. Either way, it was exceptionally refreshing.

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


Monday, October 25, 2010

Ringler's Pub - a McMenamin's Location

1332 W Burnside
Happy Hour: Daily 3 - 6 PM and 10 PM - close

The McMenamin's name is VERY well known. And so is their reputation for bad service. It's a place you go when you have time, when you aren't so hungry that you'll scream even if it takes forty minutes for your order to be taken, when you just don't care how long it could take. Maybe you're ready for a LONG conversation, you have homework to do (they often have free WI-FI), or you will be dining with someone who eats as slowly as my grandmother. Whatever the case, you have to expect it when you walk in the door. Everyone seems to know how it is. And, until now, it didn't really matter which McMenamin's you walked into. It would always be the same. I am happy to say that I have finally found a McMenamin's where service is speedy, the food comes out before it's cold, and the check arrives in what seems like an instant (in comparison, that is). Seriously, our server was on top of it ALL. And when she was suddenly busy, there were others ready to take over. It's never been this way before. Never.

My boyfriend and I had tickets for a show at the Crystal Ballroom last Friday. Having worked a full week (and when I say full, I mean it), we decided that it would be best to sit in the balcony. We made plans to get to Ringler's after work for an early dinner (at happy hour prices) and get into line soon after. It wasn't until we were ready to close out that we learned of the new ticket policy. You see, if you have tickets to a show, and a receipt showing that you ate or drank a bit in the pub, you can line up INSIDE and get in before the doors open. Amazing! It's a new policy--about three weeks old--that is likely to make them some serious cash while pleasing just about everyone who knows.

Amazing! (I had to say it one more time.)

We started our dinner with a plate of hummus and pita. We were waiting for one more and just didn't think it would be right to order a full meal without her. I've had the hummus platter many times (and at many locations) and have always been quite pleased. It's got all the traditional dipping items. You know, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and kalamata olives. Well, this one is NO platter...but it is a great snack at a great price. It's just pita and hummus. And that's it.

For dinner, I went with the veggie burger. I was bummed (big time) a few years back when all the McMenamin's pulled the Gardenburger off of their menus. It was even before the big Gardenburger factory fiasco, meaning it COULD have been avoided. They thought the Boca burger would be fine by me, apparently. It's not. They are meant to taste like--and resemble the texture of--MEAT. I don't eat meat. And I don't eat meat because of the taste and the texture. Boca burgers don't work for me. Not at all. Well, with the new specially-made Hammerhead veggie burger, life can go back to normal. I mean it. I'm a happy girl.

I ordered my new favorite go-to drink to go with dinner. (Well, I suppose I ordered one to go with the hummus, one to go with the burger, and one to go with dessert.) Added to my long list of go-to drinks is the gimlet. A vodka gimlet, to be exact. I've had a few around town and I LOVE them. I got all intrigued with them while reading Julie and Julia (she had one every night, I think) and now I'm so into them I'm even ready to make them at home. Just not on a nightly basis.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets, finally
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


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