Saturday, November 12, 2011

Southpark Seafood Grill & Wine Bar

901 SW Salmon Street
Happy Hour: 3 - 6 PM, Wine Bar & Patio


I really do love the ambiance of a place like Southpark. The wine bar has a mix tall and short tables, and the long red drapery creates small little pockets of seclusion. Or there's the bar itself, where you can sit and watch the drinks being made. It was pretty slow when we were in on a late afternoon a few Saturdays ago. Downtown wasn't as busy with holiday shopping then. I'm sure that if I went back again within the next month, it'd be packed. Southpark is a perfect place to stop when shopping or before a show.


We stopped in after a long day of dress shopping. (Trying to find the perfect white dress is time consuming...and is best followed up with some sort of relaxing event. My event of choice is almost always happy hour.) I was ready to order a five dollar glass of red wine almost minutes within being seated.




The food selections during happy hour are a bit limited for someone who doesn't eat meat. My sister, the pescatarian, was quite pleased to find both crab cakes and calamari on the menu. Rather than deciding between the two, she and my fiance planned to share a few bites of each. And I stuck with the garbanzo beans.


I've had roasted chickpeas at a couple of other happy hour locations. (I've also had roasted chickpeas from a bag that were intended to replace peanuts...without as much success.) I like them. I like them so much that I really need to make them at home.


Also at the table was a cheese plate. The server did his best to suggest the charcuterie plate because it came with so much more...but without as many meat eaters at the table, it just wasn't going to sell. The cheese plate came with fruit and nuts and three kinds of cheeses but did not come with bread! Thankfully, the server was willing to bring some when requested and then bring even more when we finished the first.

Although this wasn't the only happy hour of the evening, I did enjoy myself quite a bit. So much so that I might just make a return trip before the year's out. Winter Break is scheduled to be extra long this year (thanks to the many furlough days of the school year) and a day spent at the art museum followed by another five dollar glass of red wine sounds inviting.

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

-b


Southpark Seafood Grill & Wine Bar

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Old Gold

2105 N Killingsworth
Happy Hour: 4 - 7, Monday through Friday

The Old Gold is not exactly brand new. It's been around for about three weeks, maybe four. We went as a family (mom and dad were in town) within a week of the place opening its doors. And then my fiance and I went back for happy hour (even though a lot of the food is the same) to make this post official.


The Old Gold is approximately 237 steps (my steps, and I have a long-ish stride) from my sister's house. I can't remember exactly what the place used to be used for. It was definitely a car place--like a garage or something--but it had been sitting half-finished for so long, that I kind of forgot. It was obvious that someone had started a new project...but then something happened and it just sat there for what seemed like forever...and then all of a sudden there's a new restaurant. And all of a sudden, it's packed.

And I mean packed. We were able to fit just fine with our party of six on a Sunday evening. But when just the two of us went back on a Thursday (and the neighborhood had all of two weeks to recognize that this place was finally open) it wasn't easy getting a seat. I'm fairly certain that this place is going to stay busy. The neighborhood needs it. I know that there are other places within walking distance...but this place is a pretty good fit. (And the neighborhood's been missing something ever since Roux closed a couple of years ago.)


The OG (as the door says) has some pretty fantastic snacking food. We absolutely LOVE the white bean dip. Sounds boring, I know. But it's NOT. This dip is full of flavor. It's served with crostini (that may or may not be a bit too crunchy), carrots, and celery. The celery is just so-so as a dipper...but I still ate some. (The dip is NOT a happy hour item...but still a good price for the amount of flavor busting through with every bite.)

Also not included on the happy hour menu (but a great price) is the big bowl of popcorn. It is big, I promise. And it comes with three different sprinklings. We prefer the olive oil and salt...but enjoy it as you will.


During happy hour, sandwiches are a dollar off. I had the Tofu Banh Mi sandwich (again). This time I noticed a little bit of a heavier appearance was being made by the jalapeno. (I'm a bit of a wimp.) The flavor and texture combination was still so close to perfection that I ate every bite (and dealt with the pain).

My fiance had the elk burger (again). He seemed to love it (again). Both sandwiches are served with chips (but you can add a couple of bucks to switch out to a salad or fries if you so choose).


To help wash down the spiciness of the sandwich, I finished both a vodka gimlet (which was a little sweeter than I'm used to--and I have quite the sweet tooth) and a glass of red wine. My fiance started with the gimlet but moved onto a pint of beer instead. All of these beverages were discounted during happy hour, bringing our total to a very reasonable number.

If you pay any attention to the time line suggested by my writing, you will have already pieced together that I went to the Old Gold TWICE within one week. (And that's totally okay.) It should be quite obvious that I'll be back...and not just because it is SO very close to my sister's house.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets (but you have to order at the bar)
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets

-b

The Old Gold