Search Previous Happy Hours

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Six Penn Kitchen


Last week our little happy hour group ventured to Six Penn for some roof top action. If you recall we attempted making a reservation to come to Six Penn a few weeks ago and we were simply told that they, "weren't available." Rather than make a reservation we just showed up. I expected the place to be packed as they, "weren't available" only a few weeks prior, but I was surprised to find only two patrons sitting at the bar upon my arrival. I promptly retreated to the roof deck to find the jolly group of people who make the Pittsburgh Happy Hour so great.

Six Penn has a fantastic roof deck with a full service bar. They even let us order food from the roof (it was a bit slow.) I have been to Six Penn once in the past and I loved my medium rare duck breast. I'm not used to being served medium rare poultry and I really enjoyed it. On this venture I opted for this cheese plate.

As far as cheese plates go, it was underwhelming. The blueberries were kind of sad and I wasn't even sure what I was supposed to do with all the mustard (I'm guessing they just needed to put something there to round it out.) The cheese was about the same quality of cheese you'd expect to get from a prepared, store bought cheese plate. As one of our happy hour goers mentioned, "they are owned by Eat-n-Park, what did you expect?" If you ever head to Six Penn, I'd recommend going with the mussels of the day or possibly the smoked chicken wings. Also, everyone likes pizza!

Six Penn Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ray's Hell-Burger, Arlington, VA

So occasionally, the Pittsburgh Happy Hour goes on hiatus and we take trips to eat at the most popular restaurants around the country. While we were visiting our good friend Sam in Arlington, Virginia we decided to stop by Ray's Hell Burger. 

I had heard that Ray's was good enough for president Obama, which kind of surprised me as the establishment is a simple, strip mall, cash only kind of juke joint. I'm not saying the president is beyond eating at simple restaurants, but if I was president, and wanted a burger I would just have the five different white house chefs cook burgers and eat my favorite one.

Rays is very charming and the menu in particular is rather original. There are about fifteen different cheeses to choose from and ten different non traditional burger toppings such as charred jalapenos and cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms. I went with the diablo style with roasted garlic and muenster cheese. It was not the best flavor combination, but I honestly have no room to complain about my poor decisions.

The burger was very good, but not the best I've ever had. The meat didn't have the crunchy outside char I so adore, but was otherwise cooked exactly right. If you are craving a burger in the Pittsburgh area, I'd honestly say that the Kaya burger in the stript district or Wingharts in market square are on the same level as Rays, minus the creative menu. As a side note, Ray's Hell Burger had the best onion rings I think I've ever had, and I don't even like onion rings.

Ray's Hell-Burger on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NOLA On The Square

I love New Orleans, I love everything about it, even the cockroaches and the way Bourbon street smells after they hose it down with cleaning solution at 4 a.m. NOLA on the square opened earlier this summer and it is run by the same individual who started Nine on Nine on Penn Avenue (another one of my downtown favorites.)

I've been to NOLA somewhat regularly since it has opened. The happy hour scene is fantastic, and always very crowded. In anticipation of the crowd we tried getting a table in the back to accommodate our ever growing group of loyal happy hour goers. No dice, you can't get happy hour prices if you are seated!

So we graciously crowded into the bar because happy hour prices at NOLA are great, $1 gumbo and red beans and rice and $5 flatbreads. I ordered the pissaladiere flatbread because I'm a sucker for gruyere cheese, I've had it several times and I love the tasso (I dare you to find tasso on more than three other menus in the Pittsburgh area.)  Unfortunately, the server didn't understand and I somehow ended up with an eggplant and chevre flatbread (pictured above), still excellent, but not what I ordered. The crust is airy and blackened on the bottom with a thick dusting of cornmeal.

During other visits I've sampled the red beans and rice, gumbo, roast chicken and fried artichokes. All of them were very good and respectfully representative of fine cajun/creole cuisine. One professional tip, if you are at the bar for happy hour with a large group, get a separate tab. At the end of the night I ended up paying for someone's white wine and the server's response was, "can't you just figure it out?"

NOLA on the square on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bar 110

I.C. Light Mango
Bar 110 is one of those great bars where I'm comfortable drinking alone. As a matter of fact I fondly remember an evening about a year ago where I drank alone next to a dancing homeless man. (I called him dancing Pete and threw nickels at him.) I recall another evening where I drank alone and ended up getting interviewed for a local newspaper because the guy next to me was interested in my conversation with the bartender.

If you've never been, Bar 110 runs great daily specials and actually has some very fine bar food. My personal favorite are the cheese sticks which are hand breaded. How many bars honestly take the time to hand bread their cheese sticks?! I'd say one in fifty, but what do I know, I only run the most prestigious happy hour in Pittsburgh.

Also, one of our loyal happy hour compatriots had the courage to try the new I.C. Light MANGO. It honestly wasn't all that bad, heavy on the mango flavor, kind of like drinking old koolaid. The best description I had to go on before trying it myself was from one of the staff members of the Gateway Clipper. He told me very matter-of-factly, "it's like I.C. Light, but with Mango."

Bar 110 on Urbanspoon