Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Those Happiest of Hours

Like many people out there, my mind often wanders at the most inopportune times. For example, while my face says that I'm thinking about classwork, I'm actually thinking about what I'm going to be putting in my tummy (unless you're my Professor, in which case I'm definitely thinking about classwork). There are a lot of ways to get food here in PDX. We're a foodie city, or hadn't you heard? Of all the ways I could get food in Portland, I'd have to say that my favorite way of getting food would be happy hour.

Before I go any further, I should probably state that I am a self-avowed happy hour hound. If employers looked at happy hour credentials on resumes, I could have any job I wanted. Alas, this is probably not the case, but this doesn't change the fact that for a year and a half, some friends and I had a happy hour club where we would frequent a different happy hour every week. Paired with my own independent happy hour outings that number multiple times a week, one could say I have a sufficient depth and breadth of happy hour experience.

For those of you who are woefully uninformed on what happy hour is, I suppose I could briefly talk about it. While I could go into the history of the term, Google is a remarkably good tool for learning about these kinds of things. I will say that think the term "happy hour" is a bit of a misnomer because it usually lasts for more than an hour. It certainly is happy though! If you're looking for a happy hour, most places usually host them between the hours of 3-6pm, give or take a half hour. Many of those same places will have a second happy hour after 9-10pm until close.

All happy hours offer some kind of a deal or a discount. This usually involves discounted drinks, discounted food, or both. This is what really appeals to the gourmand in me.  Happy hours give me the opportunity (or perhaps the excuse) to sample the many different kinds of food and drink our foodie city has to offer. At a discount. Who could argue with that?

One of my favorite spots for happy hour is Saucebox. Their happy hour runs from 4:30-6:30pm every day and offers drink specials alongside some very good eats.

Saucebox -Szechuan pork noodles with scallions
Another one of my happy hour haunts would be Nel Centro, located downtown. From 4:30-6pm, they also offer food and drink specials that can be consumed in a great outdoor patio.

Nel Centro - Seared duck leg confit with celery root remoulade

I could post pictures of my happy hour exploits all day long, but the best way to learn about happy hour is to get out there and do it yourself. With so many choices out there though, it can be a daunting task to find out where and when you want to go. Fear not! There are online tools at your disposal to make happy hour hunting quick and easy.

The first website is BarFly. This website offers several listings of Portland happy hours alongside the establishment's offerings. The nice thing about this website is that the online community there allows for dialogue between reviewers regarding the virtues/follies of the restaurant in question. My personal favorite go-to website for happy hour is Urban Drinks. This website offers an extensive list of bars and restaurants, the happy hours offered therein, embedded location information, and oftentimes actual links to the menus. As well, Urban Drinks works very well with the iPhone and looks at markets outside the PDX area.

So now that you have some tools at your disposal to get roaring drunk sample Portland's happy hour delights, what are you waiting for? Get out there and stimulate this economy!

By the way, while I was writing this post, I was actually thinking about where I was going to go for happy hour next.