Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Free House

1325 NE Fremont Street
Happy Hour: 4 - 6 P, Monday through Friday
www.freehousepdx.com



Thanks to my mother-in-law, we were able to enjoy happy hour at one of those places that's been on the list for too, too long. The Free House offers Happy Hour from 4 - 6 during the week, and although we've been there a handful of times, we always walk in just a little too late.


This time we were in for an official taste test. Apparently they make a mean Manhattan at the Free House and provided an opportunity to try out the difference between a perfect Manhattan and one that's not. I was more interested in trying out the many other craft cocktails on the menu, but I did learn that the difference between the two drinks has something to do with how dry the vermouth is.


Happy Hour at The Free House offers a dollar off on everything (that's not already priced at $2 or less). Their menu has a long list of fancy cocktails and plenty of food options. We started with a few snacks but stayed long enough for a full dinner.


It didn't take long before the snacks arrived, but I did have a chance to snap a few photos and take a few sips of my first cocktail, Jumping Shadows. Jumping Shadows is made with Gin, lime, pineapple, Absinthe, Campari, and soda. With pineapple and lime in the mix I was expecting something a little more fruity, but with the anise flavor of the Absinthe and the bitterness added by the Campari it was well-balanced and a great start to the meal.




With four people sharing, the plate of potato chips, french fries, and olive tapenade didn't last long.  The chips were my favorite of the three but the chunky texture of the tapenade was super appealing as well.



For dinner, I enjoyed the mac and cheese and a wedge salad. Both were topped with house-made french fried onions. The added crispiness went perfectly with both the crunch of the iceberg lettuce and the smooth and creamy deliciousness of the macaroni and cheese.


They offer the mac and cheese with or without a sliced frankfurter. My husband opted to enjoy the frankfurter separately (served on a bun with a pickle, house-made ketchup, mustard and more of their house-made chips) and finish what I didn't eat of the mac and cheese.


Also at the table was the house burger--served on a potato bun with cheese, more of those crispy onions, iceberg lettuce and their own secret sauce plus chips and house-made dills. Seriously, so many ingredients made in-house make this place well worth the visit. That and their back patio.


Before leaving I discovered the cocktail that I will come back for again and again. With so many of us at the table, we were able to order a few to try and pick what we liked best to finish. Luckily, we all had different favorites. Mine was the Mean Time Sour. It is made with bourbon, lemon, allspice dram, bitters, and red wine. As long as it remains on the cocktail menu, I will continue to order it. I might try something new now and then...but this is the one to finish with every time.


Food: Meets
Drinks: Exceeds
Service: Meets (but you have to order at the bar)
Ambiance: Meets (more so if you are there to sit outside)
Value: Nearly Meets (slim savings)

-b



The Free House on Urbanspoon

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