Handwriting and Happy Hour: A Beautiful Combination

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to try something new…maybe even educational. You know, part of my new years resolutions and all. I started thinking that I’d like to take some sort of class. A self-interest class to be more specific (no more dreadful algebra or econ for me). My mom has always encouraged me to take a calligraphy class so I started searching for classes online. I soon came across a very talented Portland calligrapher named Alesia Zorn. I browsed her beautiful work before e-mailing her to find out if she was offering any classes. She kindly referred me to Portland Community College (where she has taken courses in the past) and less than three hours later I was signed up for the next class! I’m not impulsive at all…

The two-hour long class was held every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at a community building in Lake Oswego which posed a slight problem for me. I typically leave work around 5/5:30ish so I wouldn’t have enough time to run home, eat dinner, and get back out to Lake Oswego for class. So what do I do with all of that extra time? Stay at work? Ugh. And then it donned on me…happy hour! Duh! Why didn’t I think of that the first two weeks of class? At the time, I wasn’t very familiar with the Lake Oswego area so going to happy hour gave me a chance to get to know the area better and solved my time/eating issues with class. Plus my boyfriend works nearby so we got to have a couple of nice date nights. Here’s a few places we checked out over the course of my class:

Stanford’s – 14801 Kruse Oaks Boulevard, Lake Oswego

Standford’s has a great happy hour menu and good prices too.  Some of our favorites were ribs & rings, pineapple teriyaki steak bites, chipotle meatballs (wow,  it sounds like all we had was meat??) and spinach and artichoke dip. This is a nicer restaurant but we didn’t find it to be too stuffy or overpriced at all. I’ve been here for lunch too and enjoyed a nice flatbread pizza.

Happy Hours: Mon-Sat 3-6 p.m. & 9-Close

Clarke’s – 455 2nd Street, Lake Oswego

This small, quiet restaurant is tucked away on a side street off the main street in Lake Oswego. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the restaurant (besides the modern decor) was the labels on some of the spirits they offer. Ever since my boyfriend and I went on the Distillery Row Tour, we’ve been able to pick out local labels. This is something I love to see. We enjoyed Clarke’s “quiche of the day” and smoked salmon mac and cheese for dinner. We loved the spirits and the food was decent but I’m not sure that we would go running back to this happy hour.

Happy Hours: 4:30-6:00 p.m. M-Sa

Manzana – 305 1st Street, Lake Oswego

I had some trouble finding parking around Manzana (as most of the street parking was full) until I finally discovered the free parking garage across from the restaurant. The garage is tucked inside the buildings that make up “Lake View Village” and didn’t seem clearly marked to me. My evening quickly turned around with a pomegranate margarita and some delicious citrus honey barbecue chicken wings and calamari. The wings were small but flavorful and I really enjoyed the lemon mustard remoulade served with the calamari. I’d love to go back here in the summer when the patio is open for a nice view of the lake.

Happy Hours: Daily from 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close

Tucci – 220 Southwest A Avenue, Lake Oswego

Happy hour seems to be popular at Tucci because there were hardly any seats left in the bar when we arrived. We ended up sitting at the narrow table in front of the windows. This wasn’t such a bad thing because the restaurant is on the main street so we could watch the cars and people go by. I read some reviews before we got there so I knew we wanted to try the risotto fritters. I am not a huge fan of heavily battered fritters so I was delighted when we were served a thin, crispy ball of fried risotto. Although I can’t decide if I like the fritter or the sauce they served with the fritter better. Either way, they were delicious. We also had the margherita pizza and beef skewers. The skewers were good but the pizza was a little flimsy…if the crust is thin I like it to be crispy. I would definitely go back to sample other dishes and enjoy another plate of fritters.

Happy Hours: Daily 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (all night on Mondays)

Look at me going on and on about food. My class was really great too!  I got to learn a new form of art and meet a lot of interesting people from all different backgrounds. Our teacher, Mary Ellen Hartman, is a very talented artist who is full of information about calligraphy from its importance in history to modern uses. Her class was focused on classic italic calligraphy using a dip pen. Our class only lasted six weeks so we crammed in as much practice and information as we could. Many of us are planning to take a supplement class next semester. I never thought I’d be so excited to be in school again! It’s no wonder Tuesdays are becoming my favorite day of the week….happy hour followed by two hours of learning something I actually want to learn and truly enjoy doing. I have included one of my projects below, in memory of my grandmother who recently passed away. Rest in peace, grandma.