Saturday, April 05, 2014

Rum Club

720 SE Sandy Boulevard
Happy Hour: 4 - 6:30 PM, Monday through Saturday
ALL NIGHT Happy Hour: 5 - midnight, Sunday

I spend the majority of my day trying to convince eighth graders that they can do math. That they can be good at math. And that they can even like math. It's not easy. But it is a lot easier when I supply them with something that makes sense. Something they can see. Something that they know outside of the classroom. Next week, we start our work with transversals. One of the most common examples used to make better sense of transversals--at least to kids in this area--is Sandy Boulevard. Looking from above, Sandy--or at least the majority of it--cuts through the coordinate grid that is NE Portland. At the end of that transversal--on the corner of Stark, Sandy, and 8th Avenue--is the Rum Club. You probably drive by it all the time. Maybe you didn't even know it was there.

Rum Club isn't big but offers big flavors. The Happy Hour food menu--which changes with the seasons--incorporates fresh produce and bold flavors in a way that makes me feel like I'm back on vacation. And not just any vacation, but one that includes long stretches of sand, fresh coconut, and too many mojitos. Even on a rainy Portland afternoon, the mix of Mojo Shrimp Skewers, Ginger Soup, and Homemade Spiced Rum might be enough to keep you from complaining about just how grey the days can be.

Having already stopped for one happy hour before hitting up Rum Club, I was most excited to see a menu with so few fried items. There are no fries on the menu. No fritters, either. Instead, the menu is a long list of items that will fit perfectly into your healthy eating plan (if you've got one). We opted for the Mojo Shrimp Skewers (served on a bed of black beans and avocado), the Roasted Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup, and a bowl of the Tamarind Spiced Nuts.

Toasted with coconut and fresh mint, the bowl of Tamarind Spiced Nuts were a great pick for the table to share. It's a mix of hazelnuts, peanuts, and cashews that are more than just dusted with a little of this and a little of that. These things are quite bold. Not as bold, however, as the soup. If you love ginger, this is one that you've got to get in for before the menus change again.

The Ginger Soup was green in color, had great flavor, and came garnished with green onions and crispy sweet potato strings. At only $4 per bowl, I would have expected a little less soup or a little less attention to detail.

Also at the table was an order of the Mojo Shrimp Skewers. They were served on top of a salad made with black beans, chickpeas, red peppers, scallions, and big chunks of avocado. This was the most expensive item on the food menu but considering the cost of the ingredients, the six dollar price tag made complete sense.

There are a number of discounted drinks available during happy hour, including the daily punch. After much debate, I decided on the Chilcano. It wasn't easy to decide, but the pisco won me over. I'm fairly certain that I haven't found a pisco drink I didn't like. Cocktails at Rum Club range in price from 8 to 14 dollars, but during happy hour you can get a number of the same drinks for under seven bucks.

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