Thursday, November 20, 2014

DC Chinatown: Happy Hour at District Chophouse

Last week some coworkers and I headed to District Chophouse for happy hour before the CAPS game. We got there on 4 on a Friday and got the last table in the bar area that held more than 2 people. By 5/530 this place was packed.

Cocktails were on happy hour for $6 so we made sure to take advantage and try a variety of them. The initial favorite was Gary’s Shandy (not sure the official ingredients but it included beer, gin and grapefruit juice). I know it sounds like an odd combo but it was ridiculously delicious. My coworkers all tried it and we agreed it was the favorite. However for our last round of the night we all ordered it and they put WAY too much beer in it. Bleh. Other drinks ordered were the Geisha – very fresh but absolutely no hint of sake/wasabi like the description suggests, the Spice Orange and Cinnamon Martini – the perfect fall/winter cocktail, however it was very strong and took me awhile to drink. My other coworkers ordered the Cosmo, the One Martini and the Margarita. All were happy with their choices.
We also tried and assortment of the food happy hour specials (all $7): Chophouse Brown Ale Meatballs, Shaved Prime Rib Sliders, BBQ Chicken Flatbread and BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders. My favorite was the Chophouse Brown Ale Meatballs – I really enjoyed the sauce (although one coworker thought it was a little too sweet) and the caramelized onions on top. None of the appetizers were standout but they did their job (or would have had we ordered more…whoops!).
Their service was slacking – even before it got busy. Appetizer specials were just ok, but the drink specials were on point. Most of the drinks we ordered were made well and delicious except for the last round of the Shandy’s, which were pretty bad.

Would I come back? Sure, like I’ve mentioned before, I really like it when places have happy hours that include things other than rail drinks - $6 is pretty good for specialty cocktails.

509 7th Street NW
Washington DC
China Town
Gallery Place Metro red/yellow lines 
District Chophouse & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Barracks Row: Happy Hour at Ambar

The other week Amy and I had a late volleyball game and decided to take advantage of one of the happy hours close by. We settled upon Ambar as they had some great drink and food specials. I actually went to Ambar a few years ago for restaurant week and LOVED a couple of their dishes so I was excited to finally make a trip back. 
For happy hour they offer a couple of drinks and small plates for $4. Naturally I had to try all of the cocktails that they offered for happy hour (don't worry, there are only 3!), including a favorite of mine (I had it once 2 years ago and loved it), Mango Lemonade. They also offer a Margarita and a Mojito. All three were great - the margarita was much better then the one I had at the Mexican restaurant across the street recently. I really liked that care was put into their drinks, I watched him muddle each one (at least the mojito and mango lemonade) - it's nice to go to a happy hour that has something other then beer or rail drinks. 
Amy is a vegetarian so we stuck to the veggie happy hour specials and a few vegetarian dishes. Our favorites were the Fries (not on happy hour but according to their online menu they are), Balkan Salad tomato/pepper/onion/aged cheese and the Urnebes Dip cow’s cheese/ajvar/chili flakes/lavash bread. The Balkan salad was light and fresh – necessary to counteract the heavier dishes we picked. The Urnebes dip was flavorful and a must get for cheese lovers – the chili flakes added a nice punch without being spicy and the ajvar (red pepper relish) gave it a lovely color and flavor. We also ordered the hummus which we thought lacked something and will pass it up next visit.
We also decided to try 2 dishes not on the happy hour menu: A flatbread, White “beli hleb” kajmak/cured aged cow’s cheese/fresh herbs/truffle pasta/olive oil and the Cabbage Casuela “podvarak” braised cabbage/dry pepper/yogurt/lepinja. I was not a huge fan of the flat bread but Amy seemed to like it – I was disappointed that I couldn’t pick up the truffle paste. The cabbage dish was different and delicious – I especially liked the addition of the yogurt. While eating this dish I was immediately transported to the Balkan region.
I really liked their happy hour specials and their servers/bartenders were awesome. The ones that we came across were actually from the Balkan region and he helped us pronounce things the proper way. Always a fun experience.

Would I come back? Yes, I really enjoyed their happy hour and would like to revisit for brunch/dinner sometime! 

523 8th Street SE
Washington DC
Barracks Row
Eastern Market Metro
Ambar on Urbanspoon

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