Today I am in Los Angeles to help throw my sister’s wedding shower tomorrow. Later, there will be a bachelorette getaway in Montreal, Canada in September. Unfortunately, there is no shindig here in Portland, because I might have proposed some martinis at Bartini. Still, if you have a special occasion coming up soon, you might consider Bartini and Urban Fondue.
Ideally, you will start next door at Bartini. There, you will peruse their menu of 100 martinis and pick one to kick off your date – be it a romantic date or friend date. If like my friend and I, you come after work, you can practically be stealing these martinis at the happy hour prices (half off) making them in the range of $3-4 but still at full price pours! A huge deal!
The happy starts at 4pm and goes to 6:30pm Tuesday-Saturday and again 9:30pm-close, but is all night on Sunday and Monday.
There are a large variety of martinis to choose from here, for instance:
- Cosmopolitans varying from Lavender Cosmo, Pomegranate Cosmo to Plum Cosmo, Sparkling Mandarin Cosmo, and Watermelon Cosmo
- Lemon Drops, varying from Sweet Tea to Violet Lemon to Tuscan Rosemary and more flavors
- Fresh and Fruity Martinis, including Very Mango, Bird of Paradise (shown below, a combo with coconut rum, mango puree, and pineapple juice and a bit of cinnamon), Hypnotic Strawberry, Peartini, etc with various fruit possibilities
- Aromatic Martinis such as White Elderflower, Ruby Rose, Sweet Nasturtium and a few others
- Clean and Serene Martinis such as Bellinitinis with 8 possible flavors shaken and topped with champagne, Blue Eyes (with simple vodka, blue curacao and lemon twist), French Kiss or English Cucumber Martini. Below, you see the French Kiss martini, vodka swirled with a hint of strawberry puree and topped with champagne
- Herb Martinis, varying from Basil Berry and Lemon Basil to Rosemary Grapefruit and Juniper
- Spicy Martinis, my favorite being the Diablo with habanero pepper infused vodka, passion fruit puree, cilantro and fresh lemon
- Bold Martinis, which I question how martini they are as they include ingredients like tequila and bourbon in here.
- Decadent Martinis, which seem to mean desserts turned into martini form, given the list that includes Bananas Foster, Caramel Apple, Chocolate Kiss, Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie, Oatmeal Cookie, Rainbow Sherbetini, Snickertini etc. The Oatmeal Cookie Martini really is like liquid oatmeal cookie, I can never resist getting one. It’s concocted from butterscotch and Irish creme liqueurs shaken with cinnamon liqueur and cream
After 1 or 2 martinis, go next door to Urban Fondue where you have made your reservation. Make sure you do make a reservation- you never know if it will be a busy night because of a celebration of an anniversary, birthday, bachelorette party or any girls’ night out.
You can order each fondue a la carte, or you can choose to have a 3 Course Dinner at Urban Fondue that starts with your choice of a cheese, then a broth, and then a dessert fondue. I think the best fondues they offer are the cheese and the chocolate ones, so you can certainly just come here for appetizers or for dessert if you wanted. We ordered the 3 course.
They have other options of cheese combos, such as a simple smoked cheddar, brie and gorgonzola topped with hazelnuts, tomato basil with smoked cheddar, or a white cheddar with roasted caraway. All yum right? The cheese fondue only comes with bread, but you can add for additional cost extras such as asparagus (which is what we did), mushrooms, sausage, or fruit (pears, grapes, apples).
For the entrees, it is a broth fondue, and you have the choice of 5 different broths and half a dozen kinds of meat/seafood combination plates that you can dip in the broth for cooking, varying from baby lobster tails or Carlton Pork to New York strip loin or Tiger Prawns, and they also have a vegetarian option with tofu and other vegetables. All the meat options do have a few vegetables and a couple raviolis to balance out all the meat and seafood on your plate.
This is nice in that even though you are sharing the broth, you can customize your selection of what you want to eat. It may not look like much when it first comes to the table, but it does add up as you eat each piece 2 at a time (using your 2 skewers). Make sure you use the skewers for dipping in the fondue, and then when it’s cooked transfer it to your other plate that you eat with a fork so you don’t cross-contaminate!
To the left you see the Chef’s Cut entree with thin sliced Carlton pork and local New York strip loin seasoned with marjoram, extra virgin olive oil and spices, and the one to the right is the East Meets West entree with Carlton pork, local breast of chicken, east coast scallops and Tiger prawns.
To further customize the experience, they bring out all these dipping sauces for you to try with your broth cooked meat/seafood. There are a whole bunch of different ones, complimenting the meat and seafood in different ways:
- Lime Chili
- Wild Mushroom Demi Glace
- Bavarian Balsamic Grain Mustard
- Au Poivre Peppercorn (really good with the steak)
- Thai Peanut Sauce
- Blackberry Ketchup
- Basil Pesto
- Meyer Lemon Hollandaise
- Smoked Tomato Aioli
- Lemon-Garlic Butter with Parsley and Caper
I was pretty full but we still had dessert to go! One of the strengths of Urban Fondue is their dessert fondue options- they have almost a dozen options, varying from simple chocolate with whipped cream or chocolate with hazelnuts to more complex chocolate combinations such as a Rocky Road Fondue with chocolate with marshmallow ganache and peanuts, a Heathbar version with chocolates and chunks of Heath bar, Marionberry Cheesecake Fondue with cream cheese with marionberry and lemon puree and graham crackers, or a Caramel Cognac… yeah. We picked the Tiramisu fondue with creamed chocolate swirled with espresso and topped with lady fingers
One thing Urban Fondue does is do special occasions right- in addition to the normal accompaniments to the dessert for dipping like banana, cheesecake, cookie dough, and pound cake, they brought out a special birthday lit plate that included pretzels, strawberries, more cheesecake and a bit of caramel sauce!
So that summarizes a happy hour at Bartini followed by our 3 course dinner experience at Urban Fondue. Thank you S for taking me out for this wonderful dinner for my birthday. Sometimes they have Groupons so be on the look out for that too!
Have you been to Bartini or to Urban Fondue? What do you think you would want to try?