Friday, May 6, 2011

Bar #20: Oliver's Twist - Phinney Ridge

Oliver's Twist specializes in high-end cocktails and upscale bar food. Some friends and I tried their happy hour, where you get $2 off cocktails, and $1 off all food items and beer/wine. I started out with a Presbyterian (shown above with Ezra Brooks bourbon, ginger ale, soda water) and moved on to a Duff and Blathers (rye, averna, maraschino, orange bitters, black pepper tincture). I could make a habit of the Presbyterian--it was tasty and refreshing--but not so much The Duff and Blathers. It had a lot of strong flavors going on, with an especially spicy kick to it. Interesting, but not really the sort of thing I'd drink often.

We also ordered snacks--garlic truffled popcorn and duck fat roasted fingerling potatoes with aioli dipping sauce. Both were good and we probably would've tried more things if we weren't saving our appetites for dinner.

Since we had a group of people, we chose table seating instead of the bar. I prefer sitting at the bar to talk to people and take in the atmosphere, but there was no reason to do it here. It's not the kind of place I'd go to drink solo, but I'd come back to meet a group of friends or my lady for a drink or two and some food. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bar #19: Local 360 - Belltown

Local 360's hook is that 90% of their raw ingredients are sourced from within 360 miles of Seattle. This is fine for the food, but doesn't work as well for drinks. I started off with an Alpine Pils. It was one of three taps, along with the Alpine Hef and Pike Double IPA. The pilsner was fine, but with only three taps, I'm not sure why two of them are Alpine beers. Why not mix it up and have more variety (Fremont, Black Raven, etc).

It's pretty telling that I only took a picture of the food at Local 360. The place is much more of a food destination than a place to drink. There are a lot of good eats on the happy hour menu. The tĂȘte de cochon (pictured above with french toast, pig's head, soft cooked egg and maple syrup) was decadent and delicious. The kielbasa corn dog was pretty tasty as well. There were other things I would've liked to try--pulled pork, mac and cheese, deviled duck eggs--and I didn't even get a look at the full dinner menu. I'll be back for a meal at some point.

With beer and food out of the way, I moved on to an Old Fashioned ($5 using Snake River Stampede Canadian Whisky from Oregon as their well whiskey) and a house cocktail called The Pioneer Square (Ransom Old Tom Gin from Oregon, dry vermouth, lemon). The drinks were okay, but limiting spirit choices to Oregon and Washington is a little risky. If I'm gonna spend money on a fancy cocktail, I'd rather go to a place where I'm able to pick from the best of the best, not just the best of the Pacific Northwest. I'll probably stick with beer when I go there again.

The bar itself was fine, except for the uncomfortable bar stools (maybe my ass is just too skinny). There's nothing about it that makes you wanna settle in and stay awhile, but the service was knowledgeable and friendly. Overall, it's a decent spot for a couple drinks and a quick bite to eat.