Friday, March 30, 2012

Shaken Martini Lounge - CLOSED

101 E. Historic Columbia River Highway
Troutdale, Oregon
Happy Hour: 4 - 7 PM, Monday through Friday


We don't spend a lot of time in Troutdale. I'm sure people do, just not us. It's a bit out of the way. This Friday, though, we needed to be out there...and we needed to be out there right after work. Which, of course, means driving through traffic all the way out to exit seventeen. There wasn't much traffic, though...not much at all. And we were in Troutdale with plenty of time to spare. Just enough time, in fact, to enjoy happy hour at the new martini bar.

Yes. There's a martini bar in Troutdale. I remember when there was a martini bar in Gresham. It seemed popular, but didn't last long enough. Hopefully, this one does. It's called Shaken Martini Lounge and it's on the Historic Columbia River Highway in that cute stretch of businesses above the outlet mall.

The menu at Shaken is more like a book than a menu. A picture book, in fact, which pictures of every actor ever portraying Ian Fleming's James Bond. And the drinks are named after the men. Not all of the drinks. You can also order a Pussy Galore or Miss Moneypenny. And the menu comes with some pretty interesting facts about the books, the movies, the men, and the martinis.

Shaken Martini Lounge is open from noon until midnight and offer happy hour Monday through Friday from four until seven. Happy hour doesn't include any discounts on food items, but it does get you a two dollar savings on every martini you order. That brings the prices down to as little as four dollars. And that might be reason enough to drive all the way back out to Troutdale. (When I'm already on the east side, that is...)


I ordered a Tracy Bond to start but also had sips of the Sean Connery and George Lazenby. The Tracy Bond was a Tuaca Sidecar (served up, of course). It was my first martini made with Tuaca and might soon become a new favorite. (It's been awhile since I added something to my go-to list.)


The Sean Connery was a traditional vodka martini and came with a choice of olives or a lemon twist (as usual). I'm not exactly ready for something that strong--I need more sugar, I suppose--but I did have a sip and I do agree that it was, as they say, SMOOTH.


The Lazenby was the greenest martini I've ever seen. It looked healthy, it was so green. (It reminded me of Odwalla Superfood.) It was muddled cucumber and basil with bourbon and ginger ale.


Even without a discount on food items, the prices for snacks aren't too high. They've got soups and salads, flatbread pizzas, and fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. We decided to share a flatbread pizza (yes, we were headed to a tasting event...but I was already hungry AND it's better to include food and drinks in every post, right?) There was only one flatbread option without meat (although I'm sure they would have made substitutions) and so we ordered the one with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and feta. It was good but the tomatoes were like little pockets of heat. Ouch!

It might not be conveniently located for everyone, but if you are out that way (shopping, perhaps...or coming back from a day trip to the Vista House) it might just be the perfect place to stop.

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

-b

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jam on Hawthorne

2239 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Happy Hour: (according to the website) 5 - 8 PM, (according to the door) starts at 4


Jam on Hawthorne is bigger than ever. Seriously, it's practically quadrupled in size. Maybe more, if you measure. Jam used to be packed into a teeny tiny corner space. Now there's space to move. You can slide between tables (with or without a tray full of food) and get to where you are going. You don't have to worry about pushing your chair back too far and landing in someone else's space. And there's probably far less of a wait for breakfast. (But now it's not just about breakfast...they've got happy hour too.) It's still on the same street, still at the same cross street even...just a couple of doors down, is all. They are now in what used to be Imbibe.


Being so well known as a breakfast place, Jam has quite the list of Bloody Marys and Mimosas. I didn't see any option to top your own Mary with pickled veggies of your choosing (I love the idea of a Bloody Mary bar) but you can select from a wide variety of spices and flavors. They've also got the Redneck, which is kind of like a Bloody Mary but mixed with a Pabst instead of vodka. The mimosas include a lot of variety, too. My co-blogger is a big fan of the pineapple mimosa. (She's also a super big fan of Jam!)


I had a hard time making my drink selection and decided, in the end, to go with the bartender's choice. It was the drink of the day, and the cheapest thing on the menu. It was a margarita.


And it went best with a Southwestern Salad. They have a lot of veggie options on their happy hour menu (vegan options, too) but it was the salad that was calling my name. It was covered with black beans, corn, tortilla strips, and a chipotle lime dressing. Cheese, too. I loved every bite.


I also loved every bite of the sweet potato fries that sat on the other side of the table. (I'm lucky to have long arms...and generous friends.) Sweet potato fries are almost always good (in my opinion) but when my fiance said that he liked them, too, I knew that these ones were special. Not too salty, but super crunchy. And the perfect thickness.


At the top of the happy hour food menu sits a food item that I usually only have at the Polish Festival in September. No, not potato pancakes. Pierogies. At the Polish Fest, I have to wait in long lines and am forced to enjoy them from a styrofoam plate. Here, they are browned to perfection and served with grilled onions and peppers. I missed the sour cream, but enjoyed the texture.

I was sad to see that Imbibe had closed earlier this year...but knowing that Jam has increased in size (and with it, added so much to their menu) makes me HAPPY. Next time, if it's not for breakfast, I hope to order a vegan burger. I saw a few delivered during the time that we were there and became exceedingly jealous of their size. They are HUGE.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets (especially if you order a burger, they're HUGE)

-b

Jam on Hawthorne

Bread and Ink Cafe

3610 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Happy Hour: 3:30 - 6:30 Monday through Saturday, 3:00 - 6:30 Sunday


It's been forever since my last happy hour posting. Since November, to be exact...which is a lot like forever when you're talking happy hour. I could go on and on with my list of excuses, but since I'm supposed to be talking food and drinks, not weddings and work...I'll keep it short. This year has been EXHAUSTING. With fewer teachers in the building, our class sizes are ENORMOUS. It also forced us to switch schedules, making the day seem to stretch on and on and on and on. And those twelve furlough days mean a lot less time to teach what we are supposed to teach and a lot less money to spend on the necessities (i.e., happy hour). That, and I'm getting married in October...so we've had a lot of homemade happy hours--which are cheaper, by far, and often contain fewer calories. But it's spring break (and although I can't beat my record of ten-in-one-week set last year) I thought it wouldn't be right it I didn't make it to at least two or three happy hours during the week.

Happy hour on Hawthorne is a lot like Disneyland (without the long lines). You could honestly stay for days and not make it to all the places on your list. (Of course, Disneyland isn't open for only a few short hours every weekday afternoon....it's open MUCH longer) We made it to two before heading home. The first stop was the Bread and Ink Cafe.


They have an awfully inviting menu with all sorts of items that aren't necessarily typical of a happy hour menu. And for those things that are more commonly served at happy hours across Portland, they've added original dipping sauces and a more elaborate serving style.

With another stop on our agenda, we ordered one food item and just one drink each. (I could have easily continued making selections...they looked so good.) Arriving in unison to our table was a plate of popcorn chicken--with dragon sauce--and a pair of arancini (fried risotto balls).


The popcorn chicken was extra filling and led my fiance to order very little at our second stop. (This is good if you're interested in eating dinner at happy hour prices but less good if you are hoping to try more items at more places.) I tasted the dragon sauce to see if it was ridiculously spicy (which the name suggested) and was able to make it without downing a pint of water (not even a sip, if I remember correctly).


The arancini were very artfully served with a perfect drizzling of some sort of aioli sauce. There were two (a good number...and both of good size) and both were filled with a cheese that had melted just enough before being served.


To accompany our food selections, we both ordered pink drinks. Mine was a lavender-infused raspberry lemon drop and his was a basil blackberry lemonade mixed with Maker's Mark. Both were quite enjoyable and would have been better if only the sun had been out. I especially enjoyed the size of my lemon drop. That, and the lack of a sugared rim (they get so sticky).



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

-b


Bread and Ink Cafe