Friday, August 02, 2013

Urbanspoon Urbanhour at The Bent Brick

The Bent Brick
1639 NW Marshall
Happy Hour 4-6 p.m. daily

Disclaimer: Our food and drinks were complimentary, but all of our opinions are our own.

We were lucky enough to be invited to another Urbanspoon Urbanhour event. There were a few things that were really cool about this Urbanhour. The first was that we had already met just about everyone who attended because most of them were at the last one. The second was that most of the food that we tried is available on the Happy Hour menu, which makes it easier for us to do a true Happy Hour review.

O and I were the first ones to arrive (B was on a trip to Bend, as you will soon see with Happy Hour posts from Bend), so we took advantage of the chance to enjoy a drink, look around, and take pictures. We met Jannie and Chloe from Little Green Pickle, who were both taking photos of the event. We also talked to the server a lot about drink recommendations. There are so many unusual cocktails on the menu, and although many of them didn't sound that appealing to these two vodka drinkers, they actually ended up being quite good. We each started out with a blackberry mint house soda (O's was mixed with vodka, as usual, I couldn't partake!) I enjoyed having more festive options than ginger ale or lemonade, and I ended up ordering their strawberry shrub soda as my second drink of the night. O was surprised to find she really liked the Old Fashioned. The twist was that it was made with a blackberry infused bourbon, which she seemed to really enjoy.

Once the others arrived, the table was served a variety of snacks, most of which are available during Happy Hour. First we were served the popped beans, which were a crunchy mix of what looked like garbanzo beans and black beans. These were just okay to me. The others commented that they would be really delicious on a salad; to me, they were a bit too strong on their own. We also had the salmon chips. These looked similar to pork rinds, and as one person at the table pointed out, they tasted very similar to the shrimp chips you can buy at an Asian market. I am a big fan of shrimp chips, and I ate more than my fair share of salmon chips. I think I even took the last one on the plate, something most people are reluctant to do, but I figured I had the whole hungry-pregnant-woman excuse going for me.

 Also on the menu was Ken's bread and lardo. I had not had lardo before, but it was like a smoky whipped butter. I really enjoyed the flavor more than I thought I would. Another big favorite were the duck fat jojos. These brought back happy memories of going to Safeway for lunch during middle school and ordering jojos at the deli (although I have always hated the word jojo, so I call them potato wedges). I would definitely order these again.

 The smashed chickpeas would probably not be one of my first choices if I was ordering off the menu, but I was so glad that I got to try them. They were really, really good. They tasted almost cheesy, and it turned out they had sour cream in them. When I go back, I will get a serving all for myself. Next was the hotdog. Everyone agreed that this was one of the best hotdogs they had had. I don't know what it was, but the flavor was unbelievable.  We also tried the tea sandwiches, which I found both cute and tasty.

The final two menu items are ones that I don't believe are on the Happy Hour menu. One was a charred squid/seaweed salad. I loved this dish. The other was a hamburger hot dog. The owner told us a funny story about how he swore he would never have a $%#@#@ hamburger on his restaurant menu, but his compromise ended up being this hot dog that was actually hamburger inside of a hot dog casing. This was really an unusual flavor that was hard to wrap my head around. I really liked the relish, but I am not sure that hamburger hot dogs are for me.

What was so cool about this event was that we got to try to so many of the flavors from the Happy Hour menu, when normally I would only have ordered a few things. Some of the more unusual sounding items were ones I probably would not have ordered on my own, and they ended up being some of my favorites. Honestly, I don't know that I would have chosen this place for Happy Hour based on looking at the menu online, but it ended up having really, really great food! I would love to go back for Happy Hour and dinner in the future.

Another cool thing about this restaurant is that they grow so many of their own plants right outside on the patio. So not only are they committed to using local ingredients, they actually use ones that they grow  themselves!

Service, of course, was really great. We got to try any cocktails from the menu that interested us, and we also got to watch the bartender make a special cocktail just for the event. It was fun meeting the owner and Urbanspoon representative, and I enjoyed getting to talk to other food bloggers again, including @Pickypuppy, and The other food bloggers are even more into great restaurants and food than I am, so I always hear about great places that I need to try!

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


the bent brick on Urbanspoon

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