Saturday Spirits: Andina’s Cocktails

Saturday Spirits: Andina’s Cocktails

This past June I celebrated my ten year anniversary with my husband. We celebrated at Andina Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. In order to find the perfect party drinks we tested many of Andina’s cocktails to find the best ones!

When I landed on Andina as an option for hosting the event I instantly knew from previous experiences that it would give the fun vibe we wanted. In order to be completely sure it was the place to go we had to visit again with friends to taste as much of the food and drinks as we could! Between our visits and the party I finally have a list of my favorite cocktails from Portland’s Andina Restaurant.

Photos are by the amazing Mary Boyden Photography unless otherwise noted. Disclaimer note: This is not a sponsored post. I am a consumer of Andina and am sharing because I feel that it is awesome. I always share when I have a sponsored post and only share what I love. See my policies on sponsored posts for more information. 

Best cocktails at Andina - Photo by Mary Boyden

Photo by Mary Boyden

 

Andina is a Peruvian restaurant that as founded in Portland, Oregon in 2003. My first visit was sometime in 2013. It was one of the nicest dates I had ever been on. We ate an amazing meal complete with cocktails and glasses of wine… but, I would be hard pressed to remember what we had that evening beyond the words delicious and engaging. The whole meal was an experience! It absolutely made a special place in my heart for Peruvian food which I believe lives up to the Andina mission.

“As a cultural ambassador, Andina’s mission is to prepare both a table and a feast around which all guests can gather and find the warmth and richness of the Peruvian spirit in its truest forms. The dishes and flavors carry stories of their own; as do the music and art. Above all, the staff at large convey what is most essential about Peru: its profound hospitality, a delight in sharing its stories, and pride in presenting food born out of love.” — from www.AndinaRestaurant.com 

 

The restaurant has beautiful spaces that can be rented for parties and events. Their Tupai room was perfect for our anniversary party! A catering menu was provided with ample choices and great selections… but, it had been so long since we had visited that we had no clue what we wanted to order!

We did a double date with a couple of our most adventurous friends with the plan to try as much on the menu— that also appeared on the catering menu— as we could. That night we tried multiple cocktails (in total, not each) to nail down a couple of signature drinks we wanted to offer at our party.

 

Best cocktails at Andina from A Well Crafted Party

Photos taken by me via my iPhone

 

Andina’s head bartender, Eddie Johnson, actually tended bar at our party. During the party he was mixing up another cocktail that he was testing and I got to have one of the first ones. It was FANTASTIC— like, gin and watermelon fantastic. While I don’t know if that drink ever ended up on their menu I do know from trying that and trying a different Bartender’s Choice that you won’t go wronger ordering that option if you are dining in the restaurant.

 

My favorite cocktails at Andina

The bar area in Andina’s Tupai room photo by Mary Boyden

What cocktails to order at Andina:

We had several favorite cocktails that we tried. However, the ones we decided to offer along with beers and wines ended up being:

  • Pisco Sour — This drink was basically our “HIS” drink at the party. We loved that it was sweet and sour and not too much for the pallette. The egg whites made it frothy and wonderful.
    Andina’s Pisco Sour is made with Macchu Pisco pisco puro mixed with lime juice, sugar and egg whites. It is then served up, topped with a dash of bitters and a squeeze of key lime. This drink is perfect if you don’t want really strong flavors. It is delicious, but pretty mellow.
  • Sacsayhamán— I fell in love with this drink the moment I tried it… but it was SPICY. I love me some spice so I easily sipped on this sweet and hot cocktail. When planning drinks for the party I kept coming back to this drink, but was unsure if it would be a crowd pleaser. I was told over and over again that this was actually their most popular drink. I just could see many of my party taking a sip and putting it down and ordering another drink due to the spice factor (which becomes expensive). However, I ended up choosing this drink when I heard the pronunciation— “Sexy Wooman.” Of course this had to be the “HERS” option! I am so glad I chose it. The guests loved it. I loved it. This drink is made by shaking habanero pepper vodka with pureed passionfruit and cane sugar. It is then served up with a sugar rim and cilantro leaf garnish.
What to order at Andina from A Well Crafted Party, photo by Mary Boyden

My reaction to the Sacsayhaman cocktail – photo by Mary Boyden

 

We had chosen to do a his and hers option really just to streamline the bar process at the party. However, in finding the right drinks we tried several others. Here are some more favorites that were HIGH contenders:

  • Horchata de Café— This almond-hazelnut horchata layered with shots of golden cinnamon rum and rich café de olla, served tall, dusted with powdered cinnamon was the perfect pair for our dessert.
  • Ron-yki-on— This was a refreshing cocktail that had such a nice flavor profile… the cardamom-sugar rim paired perfectly with the grapefruit juice, ginger rum, and lime juice.

If you are taking a trip out to Andina I hope this list helps you find a new favorite cocktail! Still can’t decide? Bartender’s Choice is a great place to start! Looking for dinner while in Portland? Please let me suggest this fun experience with great drinks.

 

Have you been to Andina? If so, what drink was your favorite?

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

Portland: St. Jude Autumn Harvest this Saturday!

St. Jude Autumn Harvest Event in Portland Oregon // A Well Crafted Party

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, is the Autumn Harvest fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Some of Portland’s top chef talent will join together to give a progressive Autumnal tasting in hopes of raising funds and awareness for the hospital. The evening will feature live entertainment, flights from local mixologists, and an auction and the chance to experience St. Jude first-hand through local patients. It will also showcase Portland’s finest during a tasting led by 2014 James Beard Award recipient Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. Other featured chefs include:

  • Aaron Barnett, St. Jack
  • Jason French, Ned Ludd
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure
  • Josh McFadden, Ava Gene’s
  • Sarah Schafer, Irving Street Kitchen

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel or food. They believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Personally, I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is… this last year we have been dealing with possible health problems with my toddler son. Our doctors thought he had Cystic Fibrosis . We spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and even more time on the phone trying to get in to see specialists and dealing with insurance. Now we will be paying off those bills. It has been a lot of worry and stress in our lives. We recently got the news that he does not have Cystic Fibrosis, but they aren’t sure what is causing him to get sick so often and so badly. I felt a small (minuscule) part of what many families are feeling and my heart will be forever changed because of it. Any and all support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will go far in helping families who are in a world of hurt and worry.

I’m excited to be able to share my experience with readers. Look for a blog post about it soon! But, in the meantime… check out more information about St. Judes by visiting the St. Jude website or click over to donate to this cause today.

Meatastic Restaurant in Portland Oregon: Fogo De Chao

Meatastic Restaurant in Portland Oregon: Fogo De Chao

Fun Experience at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party

**Lots of pictures of meat coming up. My vegetarian readers may want to jump back in to the mix another day… unless you think photos of delicious, well-prepared meat may sway you to the dark side!**

Recently I had the pleasure of trying out Fogo De Choa. Fogo De Choa is a Brazilian restaurant chain with a gaucho-style steakhouse feel that recently came to Portland, Oregon. My husband and I were invited to try out the restaurant for their recent opening. It was fun getting dressed up and heading out for an evening of fun… it isn’t something we get to do often!

I have always been the person that googles “theme restaurant” or “restaurant with an experience” when I search for special occasion dinners. I like enjoying the whole she-bang of an experience (give me fondue or traditional moroccan cuisine over a fancy schmancy restaurant that I enjoy a dinner in an hour and leave). Fogo De Chao is an experience! It isn’t just sitting down to order a meal and leave. You get to be a part of your meal experience in a dynamic way.

Fun Experience at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party

The meal started off with signature caipirinhas and a trip to the salad bar. This is not just any salad bar. There are mounds of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and sides. Guests go and grab their own selection of side items… beware, don’t fill up on all the sides! There will be so much meat that you’ll kick yourself if you’re too full. I was glad that I chose to fill my plate with things that I wanted to eat with my meat and I waited as meats came around so that I could enjoy it all together. We also ordered a shrimp cocktail that was one of the largest shrimp cocktails I’ve seen in my life. Big, beautiful pieces of shrimp!

Traditionally Prepared Meats at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party Traditionally Prepared Meats at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party

And then came the MEAT. Oh me, oh my. Meat that is seasoned with sea salt and prepared over the fire is brought around to the tables and sliced right onto your plate. You simple flip over a small coaster when you want meat and flip it back over when you don’t. Flip as many times as you like! Nearly all the meat was made to perfection. One of the chicken dishes I tried was a tad dry– however, I tried it again when a different skewer came around and it was great! So much amazing meat though…

And, then… when we didn’t think we could eat ANY more came the dessert menus. My husband’s face in the photo below entirely describes how we were feeling about this whole dessert thing.

Desserts at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party Desserts at Fogo De Chao in Portland, OR // A Well Crafted Party

Whatever you do… save room for dessert! I had one of the best key lime pies I’ve ever had.

I obviously enjoyed my experienced at Fogo De Chao. The food was great and it was a lot of fun. Some things you should know if you are going:

  • It isn’t inexpensive. But, I felt like it was totally worth the price. This isn’t some place my husband and I could go on a regular basis, but will certainly be added to our special occasion restaurant list.
  • It isn’t quiet. If you are looking for a quiet meal for two this is not the place to go. There are people up and around the entire time. You’ll have people coming to your table a lot (though, on your cue mainly).
  • This would be a blast with friends! Looking for a special and fun restaurant to bring a couple of friends or visiting family members? Fogo de Chao would be a great place for a dinner with friends. It is lively and there would never be a lack of conversation material.
  • I’m not sure I’d bring my toddler. I did read on the menu that there were pricing for kids. I’m sure they even have high chairs. I just don’t think my son would have done well there and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable bringing him or other young kids. So, dinner out with the gals? Yes. Play date venue… likely not.
  • You don’t have to be in Portland to enjoy Fogo de Chao—they have several locations!

Have you been to Fogo De Chao or another Goucho-Style Restaurant? Tell me about it in the comments!

* Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dinner at Fogo De Chao to experience the restaurant for possible review. All opinions are my own.

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