Time for happy hours and cocktails

Now yes, I know it seems that everywhere we turn we're faced with some terrible news that we're in a recession, that business are closing left and right and that we might as well bury our heads under our pillows and forget about seeing the sunshine of hope ever again.

Well, for me, that last part is just too ridiculous for words. I think that it's this time where it's more important than ever to get out, spend some time with good friends and take some weight of those stressed shoulders with some good food and spirits. And in turn, support the local economy...just a tad.

Below are a couple of good excuses to get out and give yourself that much-needed break you deserve. Round up a few friends, family members, or your significant other and go spend some time with a few smiles on your face.

Nostrana restaurant recently introduced a new $5 or less happy hour menu featuring savory plates from its hand crafted, local menu offered every night of the week from 9 p.m. 'til close.

The menu includes wine, beer, authentic wood-fired Italian pizzas, the signature Insalata Nostrana and more.The perfect dinner for two for less than $20, Nostrana's happy hour menu boasts carefully selected wines and full-size entrées - culinary treats that won Executive Chef Cathy Whims a James Beard semi-finalist nomination this year.The complete happy hour menu follows below.

l'ora dell'aperitivo - happy hour
Pizza Margherita - house-made mozzarella, tomato and basil - $5
Pizza Marinara - tomato, garlic and oregano - $5
Charcuterie - selection of artisanal and house-made meats with accoutrements - $5
Insalata Nostrana - radicchio and Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary and sage croutons in a Caesar style dressing - $5
Olive Plate - $3
Bar Nuts - $3
From the rooster bar:
Moretti pale lager - $3
Hales' Red Menace amber ale - $3
Campari & soda - $4
White or red wine by the glass - $5

Nostrana's Happy Hour is available nightly from 9 p.m. to close with a one-drink minimum. Nostrana is located at 1401 SE Morrison, Portland 97214. For more information call 503.234.2427 or visit Nostrana online at http://www.nostrana.com/.

House Spirits Distillery, makers of Aviation Gin, have been running a series of Wednesday-night happy hour events the distillery calls Recession Proof Mixology (RPM). Every Wednesday, the House Spirits crew visits a different venue around Portland. The talented bartenders at each venue mix up some of the most unbelievable cocktails you'll ever taste with House Spirits' locally produced libations. Throw in the restaurant's happy hour menu and you'll experience a fun evening of food and drink that won't break your bank.

This week's RPM will be hosted at Bar Avignon located on SE Division Street in Portland. The evenings usually run from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., but I'd suggest calling as each venue's time may be different.

RPM is hosted every Wednesday night, and the venue changes each week. The group plans to continue RPM through 2009. Those of you on Facebook can visit the list of upcoming restaurants where you can catch RPM by typing Recession Proof Mixology in the search box in the top right-hand corner of your profile page. Or for further information on the next RPM contact matt@housespirits.com.


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