Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wading in Hop-less Waters

I'm a beer drinker. It's what I most enjoy, it's what I'm most familiar with and I know how to drink it (I'm looking at you, hard alcohol, you throw me for a loop most times we meet). That being said I'm particularly open to trying wine when I can do so to learn what I like. Mostly this happens at a friends' houses when someone else is drinking it as I'm not committed enough to shell out for a bottle (or even a glass) for something that I might not like. Then there are times like Monday night, The Solo Club's grand opening party, when I get invited to sample an establishment's wares gratis. 

Located in the ever growing restaurant and bar scene in NW Portland, I've driven by their location, next to Besaw's (a sister restaurant) countless times in the course of work and have been watching as the space progressed. Last Friday and Saturday they offered soft opening dinners that a few friends attended, reporting back about the beautiful space and tasty morsels. Having been their now myself I can confirm both and while I was somewhat hesitant to check out a place that has only 1 beer tap I figured it never hurts to keep an open mind, it would help my wine education and besides, I don't have to have beer everywhere...right?

We'll start with the food, because it's never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach.

Mini, open-faced tamales

Fried chicken biscuit sliders

Umami brown butter popcorn, tea brined egg,
salmon jerky, kimchi, pickles, seaside potato chips
Without exception all of the food I tried was delicious, so good that I'm granting them a pass in my book for not having more beer.

So if there isn't beer, what did I drink? Two cocktails - one containing coconut bourbon (fun but boozy) and the other with mezcala (super smoky aroma but less so in the flavor, thankfully, that would be great with a big plate of meat), two wines - a rose and Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verdi (which clearly impressed me enough to snap a picture of the label) and Portland Cider with bitters (of which their were three - Woodland, grapefruit and Orleans).

It's not going to be my new go-to place, in part because the NW location isn't particularly convenient and in part because I really do prefer beer. But I'm definitely keeping this on my radar to suggest to friends who are equal opportunity drinkers and/or love tasty food. In a town (and an area of town at that) that is known for vast beer selections The Solo Club is setting themselves apart by focus on other libations and great food. I wish them the best and look forward to visiting again and starting today you can check them out, too.

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