Tuesday, December 28, 2010


4306 N Williams Ave
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM

Anyone who's driven along North Williams in the last year or two knows that it's growing, and growing FAST. This is the way things seem to work in Portland. First it was Alberta, then Mississippi...even my own little neighborhood in Montavilla has seen huge growth in the last five years. Each little strip of businesses start with a few restaurants, a coffee shop, a retail business or two and then they make the news. And not just the Willamette Week or the Portland Mercury...but they are showing up in magazines distributed nation-wide. Sometimes I read about new shops or restaurants in magazines while working out at the gym before I even hear about them word-of-mouth from my friends and acquaintances IN Portland. People say that Portland is all the rage is big cities (like, even New York) because of all these new(er) chefs opening their own restaurants in our little city. North Williams (and all of North Portland, really) is being taken over with these businesses. It's going to take some time to get around to all the new happy hour locations (and my list was already far from short). It's just too bad that winter break can't be any longer. (If you've been reading, you know that our posts come ten times as frequently during breaks than during the school year.)

Vendetta is apparently THE place to go. They've got a great looking patio out back (which would make this a great summer place), free shuffleboard and both vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

The food options, however, are not included in the happy hour discounts. The prices are okay just the same, with items ranging from two to nine dollars...but I feel that this place is really missing out. We walked in right at opening to learn that the food guy wouldn't be in for another hour. We decided to wait it out...and in that time the place never had more than six people in it (not including the bartender and food guy). Maybe if there were additional discounts--maybe a few dollars off your nachos--the place would fill up. I know that happy hour (like any early bird special) is meant to get business at the hours most places sit empty...and I'm convinced that the fifty cent savings on my gin and tonic isn't going to bring about much business.

Despite the full price, I ordered the seared tofu sandwich and my boyfriend had a Sloppy Joe. They had a Sloppy Jane (the veggie version) on the menu, too...but I'm not as interested in the red meat redo. Both came with a side, and we both opted for the salad. They were covered with sesame seeds and pickled onions. They just had two dressings to choose from and I'm glad that I went with the ranch (over a vinaigrette) as my tofu sandwich needed a little extra something. The sandwich, you see, had what I like to call a flavor facade. Tofu doesn't really taste like anything until you cook it in something flavorful...and whatever they used wasn't nearly flavorful enough. There was a little color and a little flavor on the surface of the tofu, but nothing made it to the middle leaving this sandwich to be a great source of protein but seriously lacking in flavor.

The gin and tonic was pretty tasty, though. And the bartender was especially friendly. I also love that they have free shuffleboard and a stack of board games waiting for customers off to the side. The patio is a big draw, too. I might be back in the summer to enjoy the outdoor seating, the cheap drinks, and MAYBE (just maybe) some nachos.

Food: does not meet
Drink: meets
Service: meets
Ambiance: meets
value: nearly meets (a discount on food might help)


Vendetta on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Clementine Bistro and Bar

510 NE 28th Ave
Happy Hour: Tuesday through Sunday, 2 - 6 PM

Happy Hour is one of my most favorite ways to spend both my time and my money. It's a great way to go out exploring the many restaurants that Portland has to offer. It's cheaper than dinner, and it fits into my early-to-bed schedule. There are benefits all around. During the summer months, it's easy to fit in two or three happy hours per week, making blogging a great way to fill my time. During the school year, however, there never seems to be enough time to go out. At all. And so it has been more than a month since my last blog post. And, after all that time, the restaurant we picked is nearly an exact match...with only a new name on the front door. It was a bit disappointing to see that nothing had really changed...but at the same time, that meant that those super yummy portobella sliders were still on the menu. And they were still just as tasty as I remembered.

We were meeting a small group to celebrate a friend's birthday. The four of us were all coming from different directions, making the Clementine Bistro and Bar the perfect location to meet in the middle. It's on NE 28th just around the corner from Pambiche on Glisan. The bar itself is divided into multiple sections, and all but one (that was closed off for whatever reason) seemed to fill up during happy hour. And, despite the large number of customers, our server (who seemed to be the only one working--on the floor and behind the bar--for a large chunk of the time) was able to keep up with all of our requests.

We started with drinks. I tried a sip of all but the Bloody Mary (which I also missed taking a picture of...). There were multiple Hurricanes, a Moscow Mule, and a Lime Gimlet (still one of my new favorite go-to drinks). Everything was made fresh and served in chilled glasses. The Lime Gimlet was especially yummy, having the perfect mix of lime and sweetness. The hurricane was sweet, too...dangerously so.

Having remembered the vegetable plate to be something substantial, we decided to share an order. It was listed on the menu at four dollars, but was definitely NOT worth the price. There were a few carrot sticks, a few celery sticks, some broccoli florets and a few slices of cucumber. The old version was HUGE in comparison.

Sliders are listed twice on the happy hour menu, offering them at two for $2.99 or 3 for $3.99. (They are just two dollars each on the regular menu, if you get there after six--or decide two minutes too late that you want MORE.) There are four flavors to choose from. I avoided the top three (beef, chicken and fish) and went for what I remembered to be quite tasty (mushroom and grilled onion). They seemed a bit heavy on the mayo...but, were still good enough to make me want to go back.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Nearly Meets (if only the veggie plate wasn't so small)


Clementine Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon