Friday, March 25, 2011

How Do You Roll

This wasn't "date night" per-se because the kids joined us, but I had to give a quick shout out to How Do You Roll. It's quickly becoming one of my family's favorite dinner locations. My son adores miso soup (99 cents for a bowl), I love the edamame (also 99 cents) and might have to start buying two bowls of it so I have enough after sharing with the kids. You can tell them how to make your sushi - which is a blast. Sort of like Subway but with fish, veggies, and rice.

They have a HH which involves great deals on beer and wine (not many choices, especially in the wine department but I have to admit that Barefood Chardonnay isn't all that bad) and deals on the Philly and some other rolls. We had two rolls (10 pieces each), a miso soup, an edamame bowl, two juices for the kids, a diet coke for David and a wine for me - all for $20. Then he took off another $5 because we'd earned a free sushi roll from our frequent sushi card.

It's more of a family place than a true date night place, but they have saki, Barefoot wines, and some good beer choices. Worth a visit on a family Friday night!

Sago - The Triangle - Austin, Tx

I meet some friends from my old job on a semi-regular basis at Sago. I think they bill themselves as "modern mexican" - and their food is definitely unique. I've never been disappointed. David and I had been there for Happy Hour in the past but we went a few nights ago and I realized I should blog about their Happy Hour because it is definitely blog-worthy.

Happy Hour is from 2:30 - 7 each day. (I can't even imagine being able to go to HH at 2:30 in the afternoon but I might have to give that a try one day this summer when both kids are away at the grandparents because it sounds like something someone from the Hamptons would do. I guess. I've never really been clear on what, exactly, the Hamptons are - I just know it involves wealth from up North.) David had their regular frozen margarita and thought it was a bit sweet. I started with a Paloma but the tequila they used tasted odd to me so I asked if I could replace it with a Mojito. Best call of the entire was an awesome mojito. Their Sangrias are pretty good also.

On the appetizer front, they have some good choices - they aren't quite 1/2 off for HH but they're a pretty good deal. As a matter of fact, we made it out of there for $30 (that counts tip!) and we had 3 appetizers and 3 drinks between us. Not bad!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MVP - North Austin

A new bar recently opened up in the shopping center which is walking distance from our house (although we usually drive there). We decided to hit their happy hour tonight because they are close enough that we can get out of the house for 45 minutes and the kids are perfectly fine since we're a mere three minutes away.

So far, from the two appetizers we tried, MVP has some pretty great food. The pulled pork sliders, in particular, were about as good as it gets. YUM.

We'll be back - next time to try their thin crust pizza. Since MVP stands for "Most Valuable Pizza" -- I'm expecting it to be tasty...

Here's the lowdown....two appetizers and three drinks at happy hour - less than $16 before tip. Whoa! Even after I upped the tip to make up for the happy hour difference, we got out of there for under twenty bucks. Tasty food, good drinks, right around the corner from my house....I hope they hang around for a while.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Andiamo Ristorante is such an interesting place because you would NEVER expect to get truly delicious and delicate Italian cuisine at a restaurant in a strip center - especially one "in the shopping center behind the Jack In The Box" (that's a quote from their website).

And yet, you do indeed get some amazing food at Andiamo. I drank a couple of glasses of Refosco (a new varietal for me) and had some truly incredible mushroom ravioli (more artistically named: Ravioli Ripieni ai Funghi).

If you've never made it to Andiamo, it deserves your serious consideration. It's one of the few restaurants in Austin where I can drop $100 and not begrudge them a single cent. Maybe that's because I'm cheap, or maybe it's because too many restaurants think they're "all that" when - really, they aren't. Regardless, you can't go wrong at Andiamo.

There was one young woman there on Friday night who worried me just a bit. She sat at her table for quite a while, waiting for her date. Once he finally showed up, he spent a lot of time looking at his smart phone and CLEARLY did not appreciate her. So...if a sweet 20-something (maybe 30-something) with dark brown curly hair happens to be reading this blog...take it from someone older and wiser - you can do better, girl. Guys like that aren't worth your time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vivos - National Margarita Day

I found out yesterday that today (February 22) was National Margarita Day. That seemed to me to be as good a reason as any for a happy hour date. I set up a babysitter before the date details were finalized and Facebooked a question about where we should go tonight. One of my FB friends suggested the same locale my husband recommended - Vivo. I had to admit - it is my favorite margarita date when it comes to pure ambiance. How can a girl NOT love a place where they not only put a flower into your margarita but also give you a long stem rose when they hand your date the bill? Add in the great sexy paintings on the wall and it's pure fabuloso.

The only thing I was moderately bummed about was the fact that there were no stones and rose petals in the sink at the 620 location tonight. But, of course - you can't have everything in life.

I spent the entire afternoon angsting about the fact that my favorite Vivo margarita is their prickly pear version.  I figured that if it is National Margarita Day, I should be a purist and go for the traditional lime version. But my husband convinced me (hero that he is when it comes to manipulating my emotional logistics) that since he was having a regular lime version, we'd be ok from a purity standpoint. I started with a prickly pear, ended with a hibiscus, and am stunningly disoriented as I write this blog - a good hour and a half after I finished the second margarita.

Truthfully, I'm amazed that anyone could make it home after two Vivo margaritas. I realize I'm a bit of a light weight when it comes to happy hours...but still...yikes! These were some serious margaritas! (Although the fact that my dietary intake during the previous 24 hours consisted of a package of instant oatmeal, a cup of chicken noodle soup and a side salad might have SOMETHING to do with the perceived strength of the alcohol....)

And yet....I digress. Back to the date. I began the date by telling my husband he needed to tell me how fabulous I was. It ended with my philosophical musings about whether my particular version of sensitivity was just the other end of the spectrum from sociopaths who had no empathy for other humans. (i.e. - is it just as problematic that a person is hyper-sensitive as it is that a person has absolutely no feeling for his or her fellow human beings?) I am clearly one hot date, right? Who wouldn't want to end the date discussing the Vietnam War and Quadafi? (Or Gaddafi....I can't really come to a conclusion on the spelling...)

I suppose I should rate Vivo, right? Well - I like it. It's eccentric, it has a great happy hour deal ($2 off margaritas and 1/2 off appetizers), and the margaritas knock me on my @#s (which is all one can hope for on National Margarita Day). Having said that, I'm completely WORTHLESS now that I'm here at if you're looking for a place where you can have 2 margaritas, you weigh less than 140 pounds, and you still want to sound like a normal human being once you get home....Vivo might be too much for you to handle on a school night.

Just sayin'.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jasper's at The Domain

I figured that Jasper's would be an early posting on this blog because it's a little tricky for the two of us to make it to a "normal" Happy Hour. Most HH's are over by 7 (and often don't take place on weekend nights) but Jasper's has a HH menu that you can use any time as long as you're on the patio or in the bar. So no matter what time our date is - Jasper's has some HH options.

Lucky for me, I snagged our babysitter at the last minute and we headed over to The Domain. What a fabulous date. For one thing, I'd just finished my first ever "spa day" where I enjoyed a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, and hair stylin' all on the same day. That's something that might never happen again so I really tried to soak it up. I felt like a million bucks because the hairstylist was able to do amazing things that are beyond my mere mortal capabilities.

I rushed home, threw on some lipstick and mascara, grabbed my black heels and my grandmother's mink (technically, my mink now) and strutted into the bar. I started with the Skinny Margatini - which was perfect for me but probably too tart for most people. After that, I had a sangria. My husband had the house margarita. We split the blue cheese potato chips and two orders of the brisket tacos (appetizer size - each order had two tacos) which was, bar none, the best brisket I've ever put into my mouth. Don't tell my mom I said that. So that's three appetizers and three really fabulous drinks for a grand total of $34 (not including tip).

I'm telling you - if you want some great food, a classy atmosphere and great drinks - Jasper's is a wonderful choice. They have a number of appetizers and drinks for just $5. The menu has enough variety that I'd like to go back soon, but because I want to experience more diversity in my HH hunt, I probably won't rush back because date nights are precious. I'm already looking forward to the week in summer when we'll be on our own - I'll probably be insisting on a HH every least!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enough of a happy hour for my first post....

After dropping our kids off in Bee Caves with the grandparents, we stopped at Berryhill on the way back into town. I decided this outing qualified for my first happy hour post because on Saturdays Berryhill has $3 margaritas. (Cue angels singing and triumphant chorus....)

I adore their fish tacos, which seem to be the only thing I ever order there (except every now and then, when I get the tortilla soup). The margaritas were pretty good - especially for such a bargain price - and our waiter was very charming, but I kept thinking about the fact that he was a lot closer to my daughter's age than my age.

That's a bit of a bummer.

Still - it was a dandy date. We sat in the patio-ish room (I don't think it really qualifies as a patio because I've never seen the windows open) and were quite pleased that we each had a very good meal and a margarita for under $30. Not too shabby.

They have an actual happy hour Monday-Friday. Maybe we'll be able to hit it sometime - but the $3 'ritas make it worth a Saturday visit.

Here's an odd fact. Ever since starting this blog, I keep wanting to capitalize "Happy Hour" - as if it's some sort of royal title. Guess I'm just focused having a bit more of a social life.