Sunday, April 14, 2013

23 Hoyt

529 NW 23rd Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6, daily

The goal of any happy hour--in my opinion--should be to convince customers to return, whether for another round of discounted eats and drinks OR for a full-fledged dinner. 23 Hoyt has officially met that goal, in my opinion...but they've also got me thinking about what I want to try next in my own kitchen. (I am determined to pickle my own vegetables.) I will never be able to master all of the flavors as they there's no worry about me not returning. And the more I return, the more I will find, the more I will try, the more I will love, and so on.

23 Hoyt has one of the most consumer-friendly happy hour menus I've seen in a long time. It's perfect for just about anyone. They've got price-points for food items starting at just one buck (for shareable snacks) to eight dollars (if you want to make it a meal). And the variety of flavors seems to be endless. Plus, they have many "_____ of the day" items listed, so you can almost always try something new.

We were there early enough to find a table inside without issue, but opted to take an outdoor seat. We've had a lot of those sunny-rainy-sunny-sunny-rainy-sunny-hailing-sunny Portland days lately...making outdoor seating a bit risky but so very worth it if it lasts. It's a greater location for people watching. And if you get the right table, you might even be able to watch the line at Salt & Straw grow longer and longer. And longer.

The menu was so lengthy, we thought it best to start with drinks. I ordered the wrong drink. Mine was good and all. It was made with Pimms and I almost always love Pimms. But after sipping the second cocktail to arrive, I knew I should have gone with the bartender's choice. It was infused with something I expected to taste a bit too flowery. It was so not what I was expecting. Now if only it weren't a daily specialty cocktail. I suppose this will remind not to judge a beverage by its description alone and to venture out every now and then to try something I haven't already fallen in love with.

For one dollar, we were able to purchase a plate of pickled green beans. I don't love green beans, but I am starting to love pickled vegetables more and more. So much, in fact, that I am in the middle of researching how and what I should pickle first.

Because I couldn't stop at just a simple snack, I ordered the creamy polenta and the flatbread of the day. We were sharing, after all. I love love love polenta. In fact, there is just one place that I haven't loved it (and they have since closed their doors). This was creamy and delicious and could have been served on its own but came topped with a mushroom ragu and was sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan.I absolutely loved every bite.

The flatbread was super thin and quite a disaster to eat but tasted so very delightbful. It was the perfect pairing of goat cheese and onions. It was topped with greens and currants that added a lot to the presentation but not a lot to the overall flavor. Not for me, at least, but that's only because the onions were so perfectly caramelized that that's really all I tasted.

There are about four flavors pulling me back to 23 Hoyt and another five or six menu items that I still want to try. I feel like this will be one of my first stops when the sun comes back out and I have more time to relax. The last day of school is in the middle of June, so anytime after that should work.

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


23 Hoyt on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 08, 2013

Tasty n Alder

580 SW 12th Avenue
Happy Hour: 2 - 5:30 PM, daily

Another Tasty location. Bright idea. Now that there are two, there should be less of a wait to get in, right? I don't really think so...but it's fun to hope.

I've only been to the Tasty locations (including Toro Bravo) a handful of times. With even that little experience, though, I would have to say that they are all worth the wait. And maybe even worth the price. (Remember, going for Happy Hour--or what they call the Mid Day Menu--is a most excellent way to avoid a hefty bill. It's part of why we do what we do...)

We stopped in at Tasty n Alder during Spring Break. We were the last to fit at the bar, and therefore the last to take advantage of the Happy Hour discounts (before any other seats opened up, that is). Happy Hour starts early at Tasty n Alder, so if you want a guaranteed seat you might want to plan ahead. (And if you end up with a wait time that is longer than you are willing to wait, there are plenty of places within walking distance to try. Just don't forget to come back another time.)

I love the big glass bowl salads that they serve at Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, and Toro Bravo. It's one of their many signatures, I've decided. The Radiccio Salad is beyond delicious even without the lardons. It's seven dollars--even during the Mid Day Menu discounts--but can easily serve two or more.

After a quick inquiry about the exact contents of the hush puppies, we ordered a set. They come three to a plate and are just four dollars. I can't be certain that they are always served piping hot, but these were definitely as fresh as fresh can be. And the herbed whipped butter added just the right amount of flavor.

To drink, we each tried one of the seven dollar cocktails. I was impressed with both and will have a hard time choosing between them in the future. The Tasty Sour is made with vermouth, a multitude of bitters, and a little fresh citrus. And the Alder Club Cocktail mixes gin with combier. Both with very different flavors, but both perfectly sip-able during a Mid Day Meal.

Before leaving, we opted to end things right with an order of the Bruleed Banana Panna Cotta. Any Happy Hour menu--even if they don't necessarily call it Happy Hour--that ends with dessert options deserves extra credit. I love a discount. I love dessert. So it's natural that I would love love LOVE a discounted dessert. This is one that will have me coming back for more. Panna Cotta is fancy, yes. But this one--with its bruleed banana and that crisp sugar coating--was ridiculously delicious. I want more. And I want it now.

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


Tasty n Alder on Urbanspoon