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


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