Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Cheap Vegetarian Happy Hour Eats at Felice

My apologies for being MIA lately. It's getting increasingly difficult to balance work, 50k training, sleeping, and a social life.  Throw in a couple upcoming work trips, and you might not hear from me again until June.  But it's the quality of a post, not the quantity, right?
Felice's 3rd Floor Lounge
Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of dropping by Felice near the Shaker Heights/Cleveland border for their amazing happy hour.  And before I get into the nitty gritty - I can sum up my review by saying this - why in the heck haven't I gone their sooner?

Located in a big old house on Larchmere, Felice embodies everything that I like about bars set in old houses - it's oozing with character, they've made great use of the space, and someone has spent a lot of time and probably money making this a funky little place for people to hang out.  And I shouldn't really be surprised, since the folks behind Felice also own Lava Lounge, my favorite bar in Tremont, and Fat Cats.

After you walk up the stairs and past the sprawling front porch at Felice, you walk into the traditional dining room.  Like I said, I was there during happy hour, so there wasn't much happening on floor one.  Up a short flight of stairs is the bar and a lounge area.  This was packed when I was there.  While my boyfriend and I looked around for any place to sit, a server asked us if we were interested in eating/drinking for happy hour and directed us to the third floor lounge for seating.  Every three story house should have a lounge like this one.  Some interior designers might cringe at all of the funky angles of what was probably an attic at some point.  Not at Felice!  Every little odd nook and cranny has either built in seating or small furniture that perfectly fits the space.

Moscow Mules
I sat down at a built in bench and my boyfriend sat at a chair nearby.  There was a table with ample room for stacking the food and drinks were were about to order.  Why did we hoss out?  Because of the awesome sounding food and even better prices.  My favorite drink of the moment is a Moscow Mule.  (ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice, if you're not familiar)  And it's featured on the happy hour menu for the low, low price of $6.  (almost too low - I could have easily had one too many at that price)  They had a smattering of other mixed drinks, martins, wines, and beer on special, too, but I stuck with my fave.  Because it was good.

The food menu offered up a little bit of everything - including more vegetarian options than you'd typically on a regular menu anywhere else.  I decided to try the butternut squash pesto pizza and a vegetarian taco.  And my boyfriend and I split butternut squash stuffed jalapenos.  Each of these items was $5 or less.  And at that price, you'd expect a wimpy plate of food, but I got a hearty pizza and an overflowing taco. (the peppers were a little underwhelming, but not everything can be a win)

Butternut Squash Pizza
But what good is a heaping plate if the food isn't good?  I wouldn't know, because I was too busy scarfing down every morsel of my food.  The pizza - which was plate sized - mixed some interesting flavors.  I like squash in anything, so I didn't think I could go wrong ordering that.  And I'm also a big black bean taco fan, so the vegetarian taco I ordered was fresh and flavorful.  My non salmon eating boyfriend begrudginly ordered a salmon taco and absolutely loved it, too.  He can be picky when it comes to seafood, so I breathed a sign of relief when I realized he was really enjoying his food.

Vegetarian Taco
I feel like I'm really not doing Felice any justice, so you should really check it out for yourself.  If you can't make it in for their traditional happy hour, they also have a late night happy hour on the weekend.  Why hit up a chain when you can support a local watering with great food?  I also hear that the patio at Felice is really kind of incredible.  On the dreary day I was there, it was hard to tell, but I guess that means I need to come back and scope it out for myself!

Sidenote: Everyone who has been to Felice - except me, apparently, talks about David the bartender.  I don't know exactly why he's so awesome, but if you're there, ask for him to make you a drink.

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