Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Old Salt Marketplace and Supperhouse

5027 NE 42nd Avenue
Happy Hour Wishlist

During the summer, I have plenty of time to spend researching new restaurants. I check a number of websites, peruse the right magazines and newspapers, and keep a running list of places I need to try. During the school year, it's a lot harder to find the time. Instead of checking out menus and planning back-to-back happy hours, I'm busy grading quizzes and creating new lessons that keep my students engaged. Instead of planning ahead using reliable tools, I have to find the newest places for happy hour the old fashioned way. That's how I found the Old Salt Marketplace and Supperhouse. It is just down the street from Fernhill park, the new afternoon go-to on sunny (or, at least, dry) days. Driving by the Old Salt again and again while driving to and from the dog park put this place at the top of my must-try list. And I am oh-so glad. It is a new favorite, for sure.

Another perfectly located neighborhood bar, the Old Salt marketplace is about halfway between Prescott and Killingsworth on NE 42nd Street making it easy for those in the the Cully, Concordia, and Beaumont neighborhoods. Actually, it's pretty easy for anyone in NE as both Killinsgworth and Prescott provide easy routes to and from both sides of the quadrant. And it's not just a dinner place. The Old Salt is called a marketplace for a reason. They've got pantry items, root vegetables, bulk olive oil, more meat than you can imagine, and salads that are screaming "take me on a picnic." All that, and an actual farmer's market--right there at the restaurant--each and every Thursday afternoon.

The only thing that Old Salt doesn't have is an official happy hour. They do have a bar menu with snacks ranging in both size and price, but nowhere did I see a posting for discounted anything between the hours of this and that. Maybe later in the winter, or after the newness wears down, they will consider adding something of the like. I know it's a draw for me, and I assume other customers as well.

On the bar menu, I found a number of tempting food items. So much so, that I am eager to go back. Soon, I hope. We opted for the pickle plate, fancy potatoes, and a bowl of grits.

The Gouda Grits are cheesy and delicious and perfectly creamy. Not everyone loves grits like I do, but these are most definitely worth the try. The Gouda might be enough to get you through the bowl. For me, it's the texture that I desire the most.

The Salt Potatoes were interesting in color, and caused me to be a touch concerned about the process involved in preparation. After an incident with duck fat-fried potatoes this summer, I have to be a little more careful about what I bite into. According to the menu, there's nothing meaty about this dish. And after walking through the marketplace on the opposite side of the restaurant, I am convinced that their appearance had everything to do with the variety of potato they started with.

Pickle Plates are all the rage in Portland (and probably every other metropolitan city known to please its patrons). This one was piled high with carrots and peppers, cucumbers and beets, eggs and beans, and more. I loved almost everything I tasted. My favorite--mainly because it was something I hadn't encountered in the past--was the pickled kale stalk. It was super sweet. So much so that I thought for sure there was rhubarb on the plate. Thankfully, the bartender was knowledgeable enough (about the cocktails, the beer, and the food) that he could quickly help us to be better informed.

There were a number of intriguing cocktails listed on the bar menu. They had an abundance of beer and wine to choose from too, by the way. I, however, was in the mood (not exactly a craving) for a whiskey sour. I am learning to like them more and more and I have found that these neighborhood bars are the BEST places to order them. The drinks are always made well and the cherry garnish is stellar (almost) every time.

I am ready to return to Old Salt again and again and hope that I can convince others to join me. It's obvious that it's already well known--we were there early enough to get a seat at that bar, but watched as the tables filled and a wait list was started--but I don't want to give them a chance to ever close their doors. I'd prefer a second location, or two, to that.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Exceeds
Value: Meets (although I'd prefer an official happy hour)


Old Salt Marketplace on Urbanspoon

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