happy hour foods

Round Up

I’ve been out on a few happy hours with friends recently and wanted to do a round-up on the places we went in one post. All of these places I’ve been to a number of times before so there weren’t too many surprises.

Night Light

The first place was an old stand-by: The Night Light. I’ve been there with my cousin Anna before and I like it because the happy hour runs until 7 and the food is really good. It’s also conveniently located for both of us and I had a Groupon.

I got there a little early and I posted up at an outside table to read my book (“Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain). While I was sitting there, a runner came by and stopped at the empty table next to me. She looked around, I could tell she was trying to decide something, and then picked up the jug of water sitting on the table. She gulped it all down and then continued on her way. It was so bizarre and funny!

I ordered a glass of red wine. It was a Gran Sasso: Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. It was an Italian wine full of earthy-gritting flavor. It was a very strong wine.

Anna arrived and ordered a Sangria. The presentation was nice with fresh fruit perched on top. I had a sip of it. It was tasty but way too sweet. Anna got the spicy mac n’ cheese from the happy hour menu and I had a bite. I am so ordering that next time!

The happy hour menu is good but I was craving a sandwich so I ordered the BLT. It was the typical sandwich on toasted como bread with garlic aioli sauce. The sauce was fantastic. Oh, and there was avocado on it. Messy, but delicious. I ordered fries with it in a moment of weakness, justifying it because I ate a salad for lunch that day, and then regretted getting them. I almost never crave fries. Thankfully Anna helped me eat them.

It was nice to catch up with her. I hadn’t seen her in awhile because of a crazy busy schedule and vacation.

Hedge House

I met my friend Sam at Hedge House for happy hour–just a light noshing, not a full dinner. I hadn’t been to Hedge House in probably 8 years. They’ve expanded to include an outdoor picnic area and also a covered outdoor area. I snagged a seat outside in the covered area because even though it was warm and dry out, the clouds looked an awful lot like rain.

I got a 10 ounce beer from their rotating “IPA of the Day” menu. For the life of me I cannot remember the name but it was really good. It was “green something”. Wish I could remember because I enjoyed it’s bitter hoppiness quite a bit.

I wanted to share an order of something of the happy hour menu but we ended up getting two things. Sam was on her way to rowing practice after we hung out so she wanted something more substantial.

Sam ordered the Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders. They were super tiny, despite how monstrous they look in this photo (they were about 3 bites). I had one of them. It was good–they put the coleslaw on the sliders and it gave it a nice crunch. The BBQ wasn’t too sweet either.

Then we split the hummus platter. This was fantastic! The hummus was creamy and had a zip. There was warm pita bread, lettuce, cucumber slices, tomato chunks and Kalamata olives for dipping.

There was also some creamy chunks of feta cheese. There was plenty of food to satisfy, and the sliders weren’t really needed. Sam and I spent some time catching up and commiserating various things and then she had to jet to practice.

Bar-Hopping

My friends Jeep and Rachel were visiting Portland for a few days and Michael and I were able to meet up with them one Saturday evening to catch up. We met them at the hotel they were staying at — Vintage Plaza Hotel — downtown. The place was very cool and trendy looking. The lobby was beautiful! The picture below shows the courtyard in the middle of the lobby.

We got happy hour in the hotel restaurant bar. They all got beer and I got a glass of the house Pinot Grigio. We munched on some absolutely delicious bread with olive oil and balsamic. (I was famished! I’d worked out hard that morning and hadn’t eaten enough at lunch time.) The bread was a mixture of focaccia, crusty French bread and a specialty bread that had pimentos baked into it. Michael and I also got the happy hour order of Italian meats and pickled vegetables to go with the bread.

We finished up and did a little club hopping to kill time before dinner. Jeep and Rachel had requested we go to Old Town Pizza for dinner.  I hadn’t been there in years. Supposedly it’s haunted and that’s why they wanted to go there. Unfortunately we did not see any ghosts! We all shared a pitcher of beer and ordered two small pizzas.

And they were very small! Which is probably what I liked best about them. The first was a pepperoni and black olives and the second pizza was artichokes, feta, tomatoes and olives.

The pizzas were alright but nothing special. The toppings were fantastic and tasted great but the dough was chewy and not especially flavorful. Our friends agreed that it was just alright.

With the arrival of summer (finally) I am on the quest for a good happy hour place with outdoor seating. I want to spend as much time as I can outside!

QUESTION: What is your favorite happy hour snack and drink?

A Healthy Balance and Some Confessions

There’s been a lot of stuff going on lately in my life. I feel like I’ve been holding a lot of stuff back from this blog of late and I want to explain the best I can. First, let me say that I hate those oh-so-cryptic Facebook updates or Tweets that are vague and alluding to something going on in someone’s life that they aren’t sharing. I don’t want to do that with my blog but the truth is, there are some things that I just won’t talk about here. At least not right now. So I apologize for some vagueness in this post. Maybe soon I can be more specific.

I’ve been feeling like I’m not on the right path for awhile now. Despite this realization that I might want to do something else, I’m pretty much stuck where I am for now. With Michael unemployed, I’m definitely not going to be leaving any jobs to go back to school–especially since I haven’t decided yet what I want to finish my degree in. Feeling stagnant is not a good thing, though. So I’ve been focusing on other things in my life. Changing my workout routine to add more strength training is a new project that I can focus on and I’m a project type of person.

I’ve started taking a medication that supposedly does not cause weight gain as a side effect and yet I’ve been anxious for a month now because I’m paranoid that I will gain weight. I’m trying to be super diligent with my calories, continue my fitness and hopefully the scale won’t reflect a negative change. Then I stepped on the scale a few days ago. It wasn’t my normal time of the month that I usually weigh-in and it also wasn’t first thing in the morning. The scale showed a 2 pound gain. Seriously? It was so deflating.

Now when I look in the mirror I think “WHERE?” Where is that 2 pounds?? I’m going to wait and check again next week at my normal time and cross my fingers that it was just a fluke.

I’ve also been feeling unbalanced for awhile. I feel like my life is a lot of “I should be doing ____”. Like I go to work, I go to the gym, I do house chores and whenever I DO have downtime to myself, I get lost in Netflix (currently mowing through “The Tudors”). This is not a healthy balance. There needs to be more fun, more spontaneity and more downtime in my life. I’ve been struggling to find this balance for awhile and I’ve been trying to make more plans with friends.

A few days ago I got together with a good friend I haven’t seen in a long time. We text a lot back and forth but neither of us are very good at actually making the time to hang out. Tim knew me “before” I lost the weight and was always supportive and encouraging. He reads my blog but never comments–instead texting me his comments. 🙂

I was in the green, ha! I met Tim at a restaurant downtown for happy hour and Michael joined us. We went to the Red Star Tavern. It was a really cute and HUGE place and worth a try if you’re ever in Portland. The best part: their happy hour runs from 4-8. I like those hours.

The happy hour prices were decent. The menu had a lot of different kinds of things. I ordered a glass of the house red and only had one (trying to limit my liquid calories).

We discussed a million things but the bulk of the night was dissecting The Walking Dead. Both Tim and Michael have read the comics so they were cryptically discussing it, teasing me with no spoilers, and making me crazy! I am definitely going to read the comics.

I ate an order of the ham and brie sliders. They were pretty good but lacking something–I think a different kind of cheese that was melted or creamy would be better because it was a tad dry.

Michael and I split an order of the shredded BBQ beef sliders and maybe even an order of jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon. What I wish I’d gotten was the mini cheeseburger that Tim got. Look at this thing:

I was so happy that I made the time for happy hour, even if I’d been feeling down and tired with my couch beckoning me. We ended up hanging out for over three hours that night talking and I felt like my soul got a boost. Downtime. Spontaneity. Socialization. Taking the time to take care of myself = much better mood.

QUESTION: How to you create a healthy balance in your life?