Tag Archives: ace hotel

A Taste of Portland

A few weeks ago, we read about The Beagle, a new restaurant in the East Village.

The menu and concept (is it a restaurant with great cocktails or a cocktail bar with good food?) were immediately appealing to us, but we were especially intrigued when we learned that The Beagle’s owner, Matt Piacentini, is the co-owner of Clyde Common, the restaurant in Portland, Oregon’s Ace Hotel.

Additionally, The Beagle’s chef, Garrett Eagleton, has worked at Portland favorites Le Pigeon and Lincoln. (And he’s also a Texan, so we automatically love him.)

We love the Ace and Portland has been on our trip radar for awhile now, so we headed over to The Beagle to see what we have to look forward to when we make it out West again.

The space is really well-done, without feeling precious or overly kitschy like so many new restaurants in the city are. The walls are a deep, lush blue, paired with crisp white paneling and European-styled light fixtures and dining tables. The Beagle is small, but not at all cramped—in fact, it’s one of the few restaurants of its kind where you could easily take more than four people.

Since they really tout their cocktails, we spent entirely too much time poring over their very thorough and creative drink menu.

We eventually settled, but it wasn’t without great debate. Ryan got the Queimada Swizzle—a take on our favorite, the Queen’s Park Swizzle—made with Rhum Agricole, lime juice, orgeat and pineapple, and I had the Daisy de Santiago, a refreshing, tart blend of white rum, lime juice, yellow Chartreuse, and chilled seltzer (served from one of those great antique bottles).

A final drink, the Prince of Wales, combined rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, champagne, pineapple and angostura bitters.

While the drinks themselves hinted at the impending summer, the blue-and-white striped paper straws gave me an immediate rush of sandy beaches, salty hair, and scorching sun.

Our first “tidbit” plate continued my summer flashback: mini-corns, skewered, and slathered with mayonnaise, lime and cilantro. There isn’t too much to say about that plate, because, really, what could possibly be wrong with that combination?

The next dish was equally successful. Bitter radicchio came together with rich blue cheese, thick-cut bacon, briny Castelvetrano olives and the nutty crunch of farro.

We shared another small plate—the squid. The tender squid packed a punch, as they were served with green chilies and prosciutto, atop a bed of crisp frisee. Squid is one of those things that is so easily overcooked, so it’s always nice when it melts in your mouth.

My favorite course of the evening (Ryan’s, too!) was the confit pork cheek, a large plate that we also shared. The pork cheek was served with braised pork belly, applesauce and a pork reduction.

The cheek was beyond juicy and fork-tender—it’s easily one of the top five best things I’ve eaten this year. The pork reduction was tangy and the applesauce mellowed everything out with its mild sweetness.

I’ve also neglected to mention the broccolini it was served with. I’ve been enjoying the beautiful yellow-budded broccolini at the greenmarket recently and The Beagle did it full justice—the tops and stalks were crisp and the yellow flowers added some great floral notes.

For dessert, we shared the chocolate custard with grapefruit and crispy cornflakes. This was also fantastic—the grapefruit was fresh and tart, the cornflakes were indeed crispy, and the chocolate was rich without being too sweet. It was almost like eating a chilled ganache, which I’ve admittedly done in my own kitchen on more than one occasion.

The Beagle impressed us every level—our server was attentive and friendly, the space feels excellent and the food matches up.

If you find yourself in the East Village, or are simply in need of somewhere new to try, head over to Avenue A. (And be sure to report back and tell us what you think!)

– Laura

The Beagle on Urbanspoon

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Ryan’s Birthday

For Ryan’s birthday this year, we decided to have a staycation at the Ace Hotel, right up the street.

However, before we checked into the Ace on Saturday night, we had a little party of our own at the house. Despite the dreary weather on Friday, I trudged over to Milk Bar in the East Village to pick up one of their delectable (and quite famous) birthday cakes that I had ordered earlier in the week. I made another stop after picking up the cake:

On Saturday, we grabbed the dog, hailed a cab and headed to the Ace. We check into our room, complete with an amazing view of the Empire State Building, and then headed downstairs for some pre-dinner tipple at the John Dory Oyster Bar, Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield’s newest restaurant.

When we arrived back into our room, the Ace had left us a little birthday surprise.

After relaxing in the room, we had a delicious dinner at The Breslin (where Ryan actually works). Of course, we were already pretty full from some of the most decadent oysters ever at Dory, but we still managed to stuff ourselves with scrumpets, a terrine board, day boat scallops, sweetbreads, oxtail, seafood sausage, and brioche doughnuts, to name a few. (It was seriously gluttonous.)

After an hour or so in the room to let our dinner settle, we headed down for a nightcap at the Dory. It was relatively quiet in the bar—the only other patrons at the time were the Arcade Fire—but we enjoyed watching the long line of people outside queuing up for the LCD Soundsystem after party through the massive windows.

Thanks to the resulting food coma, our night ended earlier than expected, but we woke up to next morning to a full-on breakfast in bed, courtesy of the hotel. Before departing our staycation, we relaxed (read: recovered) in the hotel lobby for a couple of hours before heading out.

Ryan has exuberantly claimed that it was his best birthday ever and I’m inclined to agree. This year’s festivities will make next year hard to top.

– Laura

Us, pre-The Breslin. (Note that Ryan had multiple costume changes throughout the day and into the evening.)

The Birthday Boy

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