Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hawthorne Hophouse

4111 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Happy Hour: daily from 3 - 6 and 9 - close, all day starting at 2 on Sundays

Poutine. What an interesting food. Honestly, it's a fairly interesting word too. I had been waiting SO long to try it--really try it--and got so excited when I learned that the Hawthorne Hophouse had earned the title of BEST vegetarian poutine in all of Portland. Apparently, poutine is something that only those who haven't established food texture issues can consume. (Consume, as in eat every bite...not just the first few fries on top.) My guess is that poutine is best for either A) those who love salt and will eat whatever just to get some, or B) those who need some serious alcohol-soaking calories, stat.

The poutine might not have been as impressive as I had hoped, but that doesn't mean that the Hophouse wasn't. Parking's not great, but the service makes up for it. The happy hour menu is long, long, long. And they have a sampler tray that includes ALL twenty-four beers. Twenty-four!

We opted for the six-pour sampler tray, to share. I'm not a beer drinker, but they have three ciders on tap. And I liked one enough--the cherry cider--that I opted for a full glass instead of something more my norm (the traditional--gin and tonic, extra lime). Loved it. I even liked the sip I had of the "black cherry" made with a mix of that same cherry cider and a stout.

Although I had a hard time getting past the texture of the poutine, I kept at it until the plate was nearly half empty. I thought maybe I needed to experiment with the cheese curd-to-gravy ratio. I also explored the uber-melty versus still squeaky cheese curd combinations, just in case. In the end, I was more a fan of the sweet potato fries than anything else. They were crisp on the outside but perfectly cooked in the middle.

I don't regret trying the poutine. I needed to experience the plate of cheese curd and gravy covered fries. I just don't think I'll become a regular. The wasabi deviled eggs didn't do it for me, either. But that's because I'm a wimp. There was some serious horseradish backing those little green hard boiled halves.

I might not have made the best food choices this time, but I will be back again soon. I spotted what looked like the most delicious beet and chevre stacked salad while we were on our way out. It looked amazing. So pretty. And I'm sure so tasty. (And this, coming from the girl who used to hate beets.)

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


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