Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Cruzroom Happy Hour by Guest Contributor, Dan
As I'm sure you're aware by now, Fooditka and I have moved to Portland, Oregon. And while we are still brand new to the area, some things have made themselves immediately apparent. For example, Portlandians love micro-brewed beer, coffee, and brunch. They (we) love free range everything, Pinot Gris, and authentic Mexican food. Also bicycles, gluten-free options, and composting. Then there's gardening, dogs, fireplaces, bbq, chicken and waffles, fancy ice cream, beards, ironic t-shirts, and The Walking Dead, to name but a few. And in addition to all this, perhaps above all, Portlandians LOVE Happy Hour.
Seriously though, who doesn't love Happy Hour? Fortunately for us, we moved to an area that is overflowing with options of places to eat and drink to our hearts content, and even though we just got here, we aren't wasting any time in that department. Sure we have no furniture in two of our bedrooms, and most of our clothes are still in boxes, but there will be plenty of time to get to that after we are full and drunk. Priorities people.
One of our first stops on the perpetual Happy Hour tour of Portland was a place called Cruzroom.
Conveniently located about a half mile from our house we spotted it just walking around the neighborhood. It looked warm and inviting and also pretty busy, which is obviously a good sign, so we popped in and sat at the bar.
Immediately we were greeted by a friendly, attentive staff, and were informed about their happy hour specials. $2.50 tacos a-la-carte, $5.00 house infused liquor drinks, and $3.00 pints. $2.00 pints of Reinier, which is like the PNW's version of PBR. Well all that sounded good to us so we dove in.
The tacos are not just your standard classic Mexican style tacos, but a wide variety of creative, non-traditional options with some international flair. There are Asian style tacos, Jamaican style tacos, American style tacos, and even a British option. Also, there are several vegetarian options to go along with all the pork, chicken and beef. To start, we each got one taco and a drink.
Bob's Your Uncle - Fooditka ordered this one, the aforementioned British style taco. Essentially a small serving of fish 'n chips on a corn tortilla, it was delicious. The white fish was perfectly fried and flaky atop some french fries with some slaw and malt vinegar thrown in, it was an interesting mix of flavors when combined with the soft corn tortilla around it.
The Mac - This was my first choice - a combination of fried pickles, bacon, and slaw. Also, a cheddar cheese "crisp" rounded out the flavors with the same soft corn tortilla shell. The crisp was melted cheddar, pleasantly burned on the bottom and then pulled from the pan in one piece and laid between the corn tortilla and fried pickles. I never claimed it to be healthy, just delicious.
We also ordered two more tacos, one was The Foghorn Leghorn, a fried chicken based taco, and the other a classic shredded beef number, more traditional Mexican tasting than any of the others. These were not as good or memorable as either Bob's Your Uncle or The Mac.
Drinks - Of course, no happy hour is truly happy without alcohol, so on to the beverage portion of the review. Fooditka ordered a glass of the house Pinot Gris (which was not part of the happy hour) and I got their house infused blackberry bourbon on the rocks with a splash of soda. Both were delicious, and the bourbon was especially interesting. It was fruitier than I had anticipated and actually quite refreshing. Plus, it came with a little plastic Brontosaurus floating amongst the ice cubes. Then I ordered one of the $2.00 pints of Reinier, which I said earlier is similar to Pabst Blue Ribbon, but it is slightly better in my opinion. The price was right anyway, that's for sure.
Service and Cost:
So to sum it up: nice confines, friendly service, unique and tasty food, some interesting adult beverages, and a totally reasonable price tag made for a very happy hour indeed.
Cruzroom - 2338 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR 97211