Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Monkey Bar - CLOSED

2710 N Killingsworth Ave
Happy Hour: 4 - 6:30, Tuesday through Sunday
and late night Happy Hour 9:30 - close, Tuesday through Thursday

This place has been on my happy hour to do list for some time. So long, they've actually changed the name. The menu's mostly the same, though. And for me (and my mac and cheese cravings) that's really all that matters.

I'd been to the bar/restaurant a few times in the past. We actually went as a large group to celebrate my sister's birthday a few years back. You see, she's got a December birthday...and the old name was Sagittarius. Perfect, right? She also lives a few blocks down the street so it was especially perfect. I'm not sure if the owners changed, too...but a lot of what I remember seems the same. And what I remember the most was the rosemary mac and cheese. Mmmm. Some people don't like rosemary. And some people are really missing out.

We got to the Monkey Bar when it was still fairly empty. Okay, it was completely empty. By the time we left, though, there were quite a few tables taken and the bar was over half full. I guess I like to get an early start because that seems to happen quite a lot.

We started with drinks. I ordered a gin and tonic. Boring, I know. But I love them. My boyfriend ordered the Ginger Baby. What a cute name, right? But it's made with whiskey...and I'm still working my way up to the stuff. He also ordered a shot of whiskey. They are just a dollar during happy hour and come served in a boot. It's a tiny boot...which is why the price is somewhat reasonable. He said it was not the best quality whiskey...but that he had completely anticipated that.

For dinner, I had a side salad and the mini mac. There are three kinds of mac and cheese on the menu and the rosemary has always been my top choice. It wasn't quite as strong a flavor as I remember but still had great creaminess.

My boyfriend ordered the Teriyaki Pops and meatloaf sliders. Meat, meat, meat. I guess it's better that he order it at restaurants...because when I make dinner it's never on the menu. He seemed to like both pretty well. I, of course, thought that the sliders were the cutest things. So adorable. Small foods are the best.

Also at the table was a plate of calamari. I didn't have any (of course), but according to the guys it was pretty tasty but with a little too mush breading. The ratio just wasn't on target. And the dipping sauce was, apparently, a bit spicy.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets (a little slow...perhaps the basketball game was distracting)
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


The Monkey Bar on Urbanspoon


3508 N Williams
Happy Hour: 3 - 7 PM, Monday through Friday

According to my boyfriend and his two best friends, this is THE neighborhood bar. If you're in their neighborhood, that is. They moved into a house just off of Mississippi last spring and have since been looking for the right neighborhood bar. There are so many places on Mississippi that the search seemed to be taking FOREVER. They narrowed it down to a few top choices, but after several visits to each the decision has finally been made. And Maui's is it.

Maui's is located just past the convenience store at the corner or Fremont and Williams. It's also directly across from the Boise-Elliot farmers market which is open two days a week during the warmer months. The bar is just a few blocks south of the main business strip that is becoming so popular (maybe even more so than Mississippi).

We didn't ask about food as we had plans for later in the evening but we did take full advantage of the great prices on drinks during happy hour. My gin and tonic was just $2.50 and the beer was only $3.

They have pool, comfortable seating, a covered patio and plenty of televisions if you're interested in watching sports. All those things combined plus the cheap, cheap drinks are most definitely cause for this place being THE place.

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


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Le Bistro Montage

301 SE Morrison Street
Happy Hour at La Merde: 5 - 6 PM daily

Montage is known for staying open late. LATE late. Like 4 AM, late. It's one of those places that people know about before even visiting Portland. Like Voodoo Donuts and Powell's, it's on the list of places to go in our lovely little city. They have macaroni and cheese prepared in a multitude of ways, family style seating, servers and cooks screaming who knows what, and foil masterpieces if you don't finish your plate.

With Thursday being one of those strange mid-week holidays, I decided that Wednesday afternoon would be a perfect time to catch up with an old friend. It had been almost two years! We met at La Merde, which is attached to Montage and the only place to get their famous mac and cheese for just four bucks a plate.

Before deciding on the right mac and cheese, we selected drinks and placed an order for a plate of vegetable hush puppies. I'm glad they differentiate...since I've had near accidental meat-eating occurrences in the past few months. Hush puppies can be a dangerous food.

The hush puppies were a tasty treat but not as corn-mealy as I'm used to. They were chewy and had a bite to them (especially if you bit right into the over-sized jalapeno chunks). They came served with two dipping sauces. I stuck to the lighter colored of the two as it had a very complementary flavor. Still spicy, but enough creaminess to cut down on the heat.

To drink, I ordered the Quinn Sour. It was made with fresh squeezed citrus and a little Pimms. My friend (who, for the longest time, I've referred to as my "brother") ordered a Stinky Kitty. I might have forced him into it. I'm still not sure about the name. It was made of rum and sweet juices. Despite the frou frou look, he enjoyed every sip. Or so he said.

When it came time to order the mac and cheese, I went with the old. It's got great flavor and seems to be my favorite...despite all the other options. My "brother" opted for the spicy mac. He decided that it just wasn't cheesy enough to still hold the mac and cheese name. I suppose that's why the hybrid "spold" mac is available. It's got the spice and the cheese all mixed into one delicious bowl.

Service was pretty fantastic at La Merde. I was the first to walk in the place when they first opened at five. The tables filled pretty quickly. They've got board games and trivia ready to keep you entertained. And the pictures on the wall must rotate frequently as they were accompanied by price tags.

It was a great visit between old friends and a great meal. I know I'll be back someday...whether it be to the bar at La Merde or Montage for late night dining, I can't say. One thing for sure...I'll always finish my plate. Or maybe leave a little behind. I love the food. But that's not it. It's the enormous amount of foil used in those masterpieces. They are beautiful, yes. And they add to the event, of course. But I sat in the back once and saw the giant sheets of foil used for each design. It's such a waste. Seriously, finish your meal people.

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


Le Bistro Montage on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 08, 2010

Green Dragon

928 SE 9th Ave
Happy Hour 4-6 and 9-close Sunday-Wednesday, 4-5 and 10-close Thursday-Saturday

Green Dragon is a place in inner-Southeast that would probably be great for a beer lover. They have lots and lots of interesting beers on tap from various local breweries. We came here on a Friday night for Happy Hour, and we ended up staying for quite a long time.

The atmosphere is pleasant. It feels sort of like a warehouse and it almost feels as if you are sitting outside. Our service was great--our waitress was very upbeat and friendly, and she seemed concerned about making sure everyone got exactly the kind of beer that they wanted. She even offered tasters to make sure that that happened.

I ended up trying a few different kinds of beer. My favorite ended up being one that the waitress let me try. It tasted exactly like chamomile tea, so it sort of had a flowery taste to it. It was really interesting, and I enjoyed it enough to get two.

We ended up ordering food off of their happy hour menu. The food was really nothing special. I had a house salad ($4), which was good, but honestly I have had house salads elsewhere that were better and cheaper. I also ordered french fries ($3). Don't be fooled by the fancy container though. These fries were not good. I don't think I ever leave french fries behind--like pizza, even when they are bad, they are usually pretty good. Not these fries. They had some weird seasoning on them that made them taste really strange. I barely ate any of them, and no one else at the table wanted them either.

My boyfriend ordered the fish and chips ($5) and the beer cheese soup ($3). The fish and chips seemed like a good deal, and he ate them so quickly that I didn't even get to try them.

Overall, I found this restaurant to be a great place to get a few beers. Next time, though, I think I will skip the fries.

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

Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Gilt Club - CLOSED

306 NW Broadway
Happy Hour: weekdays 5:00 - 6:30 PM

We've been to the Gilt Club multiple times in the past. Always for dinner. It's a very convenient location, sitting just below the Everett Station Lofts at NW Broadway and Everett. (My sister lived in those lofts when she was first married. I was still in high school. And instead of Gilt, it was BYOB...Build Your Own Burger.) Gilt is far more than a burger joint. It has a lot to offer. They are open until 2 AM--like so many places--but offer the same high-quality menu from open to close. And for the first hour and a half, you can taste some of their fabulous dishes for a very small price. The menu starts at one dollar. Plus, the regular menu has fifteen items listed at just five dollars each. At one point, I remember thinking that Gilt was a little too pricey for the food. I've changed my mind.

Our dinner plans had been postponed due to a delayed flight, and we decided that Gilt would make the best choice for a Friday night happy hour stop. They had just opened their doors, making it easy to get a table. The bar area filled up quickly but there were still plenty of available seats in the main dining area when we left an hour later.

The happy hour menu has plenty to offer as far as food items go but just three discounted drinks (house-selected wine, a Moscow mule, or an appletini). My boyfriend opted for the Moscow Mule ($5 during happy hour). It was served in the cutest mug. It looked like something straight out of my grandmother's kitchen. The metal, however, led to very cold hands. The mule was fresh in flavor but a little too gingery for my boyfriend. Before switching over to a vodka gimlet (now a go-to for the both of us) he even commented on the mule tasting a bit too much like a gingerbread house. I gave it a taste and noticed the Christmas-y qualities right away. That sort of flavor might be perfect for some. But not for him.

I was quite thankful for our server's honesty when I started to order the discounted glass of red wine. She made another suggestion from the menu and brought out two glasses to try. I quickly said no thank you to the five dollar wine. The glass of Malbec was the perfect way to start the weekend. And with such a large pour (plus the taster pictured above), I was happy with just one glass.

We didn't want to fill up before dinner but weren't really sure how long we'd be we ordered a few small plates to share. We started with the angry deviled eggs ($2). I love that they are angry. I'm a fan of sweet relish in my eggs...but so many are not. (Including my boyfriend.) These are definitely the opposite of sweet (hence the name) as they are prepared with calabrian chilies. The heat was perfect with just a hint of smoke. The creme fraiche and chives only added to the flavor. So yummy!

After quickly devouring the plate of eggs, we decided to order the ceci bean puree. I didn't expect it to amount to much as it was listed on the menu for just one dollar. The bean puree was served in a small ramekin with just a few slices of bread. Everything about the plate seemed dainty. Except, of course, for the flavor. It had some serious punch. My boyfriend decided that it was even better than hummus.

We also ordered a small plate of German potato salad for just three dollars. I had to check first to make sure it wasn't made with meat. It wasn't warm like so many of the German-style potato salads that I've tried before, but it definitely wasn't something that you'd find at the grocery store next to all the other picnic favorites. The mustard flavor stood out to me the most. And the potatoes had the best texture. I'm not sure what variety they started with...but I do know that they were cooked to just the right point. It was a small portion, but perfect for us as we still had dinner to get to.

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


Gilt Club on Urbanspoon

4th Street Brewing Company - CLOSED

77 NE 4th Street
Gresham, OR 97030

Happy Hour: 2 p.m. - close

This was my third visit to 4th Street in Gresham. The first time I attended a work happy hour, and I don't remember being very impressed (and that was back before we started the blog anyway). The second time was for a get together through the union. John Kitzhaber showed up to meet us, but I didn't talk to him. His assistant sat at our table and flirted with our friend! Needless to say, I was more interested in what was going on with that situation than with the food. Well, the cliche must be true that the third time is a charm, because this time I really enjoyed myself here!

Although this was supposed to be a work happy hour, our coworkers don't seem to be in the happy hour spirit this year, because only six of us showed up. Five of those six were people who regularly go to happy hour anyway! I am sad that no one likes to do happy hour but us.

Luckily, it was a good happy hour. I just started Weight Watchers (maybe because I have been indulging in a few too many happy hours. Conflict of interest?) I had to go with something smaller/lighter so that I could stick to my points for the day. Not wanting to skip the alcohol, I opted for a side salad and soup from the happy hour menu. Cheap, delicious, and surprisingly filling, I didn't feel too sad about not ordering the nachos or cheese curds. Along with three drinks, my total was only $12.90. Not bad, Gresham, not bad!*

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


*Yes, I realize I totally copied my coblogger by addressing Gresham directly. I cheated and read her post before posting mine, and I couldn't help myself.

4th Street Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon