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Whiskey Soda Lounge


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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:59 AM

From the O/Karen Brooks:

http://www.oregonliv...w_bar_with.html

He's opening a bar across the street and taking the name "Whiskey Soda Lounge" with it. Construction is now underway in the old McGraw Marketing building, kitty-corner to Pok Pok at 3131 S.E. Division St.

When it opens after the New Year, Pok Pok will become the sole name for "the shack," the take-out window, outdoor eating huts and the adjacent basement dining space (now called Pok Pok/Whiskey Soda Lounge).

But don't think new restaurant or even an alternate Pok Pok dining room. The new WSL, says Ricker, "will act as a waiting area for Pok Pok and a neighborhood bar for others" with Pok Pok's cocktails and a small collection of Thai drinking snacks.

In addition to the 49-seat lounge, Ricker and partner Kurt Huffman are adding a larger prep kitchen for Pok Pok. "It's going to make life and work easier at 2pok for customer and employee alike," says Ricker. "The kitchen crew won't have to battle it out for space on the hot line, as they do now, or carry hundreds of pounds of chicken up and down a flight of stairs every day."

Ricker's idea of a "small menu" still means an excitement of flavors. Deep-fried chicken tendons, sour sausages and dried beef are already on his think-out-loud list, and he will undoubtedly dip into his vast repertoire from ongoing street-food journeys to Asia.


More at the link above...
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#2 m5570

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:21 AM

since its up on their site now, Andy acquired the place across the street and is opening the new Whiskey Soda lounge over there. The p2 site says it will open in a couple weeks. Should be interesting to see what he comes up with in the way of new for over there.... \m/OO\m/

#3 Calabrese

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:14 AM

http://www.oregonliv...nge_to_ope.html Brooks

Andy Ricker's new Whiskey Soda Lounge 3131 S.E. Division St. now has an opening date (Dec. 7th), official hours (5-midnight daily) and an almost official menu with nearly two dozen Asian drinking-food snacks.

** See more at link above **

#4 m5570

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:55 PM

I took John to Pok Pok for his birthday dinner. We had an early dinner. I had the salty plum vodka collins and John had the Full Sail Wassail Ale, which he said was good (that's the only time I've ever heard him say a good word about anything that came out of that brewery, but, you know, he's a dark beer kind of guy so it would stand to figure.) We got Khao Soi to share (perfect for a vvvvveeeerrrrry cold night. He got the wings for dinner and I had hoi thawt. Everything was wonderful. Only a few other people were in the place, which was unusual. We were there right at 5:00, but even so it's usually been full or close to it by the time we leave. Maybe the weather is keeping people snug as a bug in their homes. I didn't mind going out last night, though. Pok Pok has always been consistently excellent for us and it remains that way.

Afterwords we went over to the new Whiskey Soda Lounge to have another drink and to check out the space. It's wide open, bright, airy, high-ceilinged (or so it seemed to me), and the music - Thai pop, maybe - seemed pretty irritating and loud. The room didn't feel particularly warm, though it looks like it would be from the outside. It wasn't cold, though, and it was much nicer to be in there than outdoors. Maybe it's the concrete floor or something that seemed chilly to me. Who knows. It's probably just me.

All drinks are the same as Pok Pok has, yet, aside from the wings, the food offerings are totally different. The menu is nothing like either Pok Pok or Ping. Most food items are under $10 so I imagine they are small plates. The only thing I saw anyone eating was what I believe were the pumpkin fritters. If so, they looked light, crunchy, and delicious. Sometime I may go back and try the food, because a number of things sounded promising, particularly the squid salad, but I'd probably do so without John because of the noisy music factor. Going across Division is a bit of a dicey run for your life kind of deal (it even says to be careful crossing the street on the menu), and there are trailers for a Gus Van Sant movie being filmed in the area so the street a lot of people normally park on is closed off.

Each of Andy's (and Kurt's in two cases) dining spots have a completely different feel and different menus. They all have something unique going for them. A bowl of ramen at Ping is always nice and the intrigue of discovery at WSL may draw me back there. Our hearts still stay closest to Pok Pok and it's warm, cozy, lovely, environment, and its ever-enticing, satisfying food.

Best regards,

Amanda


what was on the WSL menu besides the fritters and wings?

#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:59 PM

The menu is online here:

http://whiskeysodalounge.com/menu.htm

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#6 m5570

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:42 AM

^apparently they had Dancing Shrimp on the menu initially, but its off already.

#7 ExtraMSG

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 02:22 PM

As in the actual live shrimp version? I've only seen it on TV. Seemed better than the partially fried live fish that was going around the internet a while back, but I don't need my food to be that fresh, thanks. Raw is close enough.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#8 truth

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:50 PM

How does the seating work at the new WSL? Is it wait-list etc or first come first serve like a real bar?
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#9 ExtraMSG

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:01 AM

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As noted in the Mee Sen thread, a Thai food loving friend was in town and so we hit some places he hadn't been. First up was WSL, which I hadn't been to yet.

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Walked in and Ricker was there to welcome us. He noted the pig ears were on special. Unfortunately, I've had pig ears with my friend before and he didn't like the texture.

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Getting there early, the interior felt very uncrowded, much less so than the original WSL, where the tables are a bit close. Maybe when you have a bunch of people standing, waiting for their table at Pok Pok, it would feel more crowded.

We got a bunch of items: dried and fried beef, fried pork ribs, chicken gizzards, frog legs, 5 spice chitterlings, and hot & sour soup, plus an iced tea and drinking vinegar.

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I didn't eat in bars often in Thailand, but when I did, this is exactly the type of thing I expected, except with a much spicier dipping sauce than WSL's (which wasn't mild). The beef tastes of lemongrass and lime leaf. It's dried before being fried, slightly chewy and very beefy. This was my favorite item. In Thailand, though, the dipping sauce would be so spicy your teeth would throb. That's not the type of authenticity my GI tract needs, however.

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The riblets were my least favorite item. For one, they're just not a good value. There's very little meat on them and there aren't that many for nearly eight bucks. Further, these were dry and a little chewy. Same dipping sauce as the dried and fried beef.

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The gizzards were fine. Very simple. Gizzards have always been my favorite chicken giblet, though. They're in a tempura batter and served with a sweet chile sauce. Torn on the batter. It's a little heavier and not as crisp as I would like. I never had anything tempura battered in Thailand or SE Asia, but I mostly ate fried things on the street.

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Not sure exactly what they do to make the frog legs, but these were excellent. The meat is very tender and juicy, plus have a lot of flavor. Tasted like more than just garlic (see menu) to me. They're also tempura battered. I just feel like the tempura gets in the way as much as anything. Maybe if it was a really light, almost transparent, tempura batter that was very crisp I'd like it better. The frog legs were so good themselves, though, that it didn't matter as much.

Posted Image

The 5 spice chitterlings were darn tasty. Sweet and aromatic, crisp, with the occasional layer of fatty meat.

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Hot and sour soup was the favorite dish for both of us, though. Bright and fiery with a good variety of tender pork offal. My friend did mistake a piece of galangal for potato which turned him off to the soup at first, but once he started eating it again, he had a hard time stopping.

I appreciate the approach. It's a bar and the food is bar food. Not being a drinker, I'll probably only hit it when I'm waiting for Pok Pok. It's just too snacky overall to ever go there for a meal with my wife.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#10 Angelhair

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:31 AM

Here comes my sweeping, and yet still true, generalization: The cocktails suck.

They are usually watery (poorly made) and lacking when it comes to composition (poorly conceived).

The food begs for great drinks, and they can't swing it. I still eat there and at Pok Pok, but I stick to beer. They need to bring someone in and shore up their cocktail program.

#11 LionRock

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:25 AM

Here comes my sweeping, and yet still true, generalization: The cocktails suck.

They are usually watery (poorly made) and lacking when it comes to composition (poorly conceived).

The food begs for great drinks, and they can't swing it. I still eat there and at Pok Pok, but I stick to beer. They need to bring someone in and shore up their cocktail program.


I haven't been to the WSL yet (maybe tonight, though) but I have found the cocktails at Pok Pok to be pretty disappointing. Which is fine, as I don't really think of it as a cocktail destination. I do know a lot of people who like the vodka collins, to be fair (not my thing.) I too usually stick to beer or straight whiskey.

Seems like the WSL is trying to be more of a cocktail place, so I agree that they might want to step it up.

#12 Amanda

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 07:36 AM

I'm no expert on cocktails, as a general rule, so maybe most of their cocktails don't thrill. However, the Salty Plum Vodka Collins is my absolute favorite mix of spirits in town.

Best regards,

Amanda

#13 Angelhair

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:17 AM

I'm no expert on cocktails, as a general rule, so maybe most of their cocktails don't thrill. However, the Salty Plum Vodka Collins is my absolute favorite mix of spirits in town.

Best regards,

Amanda


Au contraire! It's cool that you found something to like on the cocktail menu. I'll have to give the Salty Plum Collins another shot.

#14 Le Lapin Noir

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 10:58 PM

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#15 Angelhair

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 12:21 AM

Welcome to the site, Le Lapin!

#16 Le Lapin Noir

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 07:53 PM

Welcome to the site, Le Lapin!


Thanks. I read it a lot, but I finally decided to register to throw down my opinions. I'm pretty entwined in the industry here in Portland as well...

#17 ExtraMSG

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 06:01 PM

http://travel.nytime...l/07bites1.html

But in food-centric Portland, it doesnít take long for something new to become a trend. Whiskey Soda Lounge, which opened in December, is the work of Andy Ricker, whose first restaurant, Pok Pok, across the street, is famous for helping to bring the sour, funky, grilled flavors of Southeast Asian street food stateside. It is also the newest in a growing sub-genre of Portland restaurants that have made Asian drinking snacks a lifestyle as much as a menu item ó a group that also includes the raucous hole-in-the-wall sake bar Tanuki, and Mr. Rickerís pan-Asian skewer house, Ping.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#18 Flynn

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 07:21 AM

Here comes my sweeping, and yet still true, generalization: The cocktails suck.

I agreed with that sentiment when it was posted. But I think they've done significant work to get the cocktails dialed in. The salted plum collins has always been good, but I had something at Ping last night called the Slow Monday - Gin, Punt e Mes, Fresh Grapefruit, bitters, salt/sugar rim. Usually not a big fan of any rims on drinks, but this one worked great with rich skewers like the quail eggs.

Same story at WSL based on recent experience. Tamarind/tequila sours and and Old Fashioned both made with skill.

The phat thai at WSL is my new favorite late night drinking food. I had something like three plates of it last weekend. Pretty much the polar opposite of the gloppy pile o' noodles that are usually steaming with regret. The dried toasted shrimp alone will make you swear off standard issue phat thai for the near future.

I hit both Ping and WSL twice each in the last couple of weeks, and pok pok in the last month or so. I'm still impressed with how consistently great they all are, given what expanding the empire can do to either the flagship or the new outposts. They've clearly taken steps to make sure quality doesn't slip, despite the crowds at each place. Undoubtedly a hell of lot of work put in by Andy and the staff. They'd crush it in any city, and we're lucky to have them here.

#19 Angelhair

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 07:31 AM

That's good news. Thanks for the report, Flynn.

#20 Amanda

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 07:35 AM

I agree. We are lucky to have them!

Best regards,

Amanda