HARWOOD tapped Dallas foodie, Dallasites101, to head over to Happiest Hour with a key mission to uncover six adventurous food and beverage pairings. Read on to get the dish. But, beware, you may have an unrelenting appetite.
When you think of a Dallas patio bar, you think of summer beer, live music, friends and fried food. But do you think of good food? Redefining the traditional Dallas patio bar offerings, Happiest Hour should be top of mind. While you will still find your typical burger and fries on its menu, you will find that Happiest Hour has many creative and mouth-watering dishes sure to delight any of your cravings. I tried six different courses from the menu paired with a beverage from Happiest Hour’s extensive beer, wine and cocktail menu to show you how your next trip to Dallas’s patio bar can be more than you expected.
First Course: Kung Pao Cauliflower paired with the Simi Sauvignon Blanc
One thing that I am always commenting on is the lack of great Chinese take-out restaurants in Dallas, yet as I sat down in my circular booth at Happiest Hour, this plate of golden goodness was placed in front of me. Happiest Hour is not a Chinese take-out restaurant in the least, but the flavors of the kung pao sauce and crisp outer layer definitely invoked those memories. However, then I took a sip of my sauvignon and was immediately reminded of Happiest Hour's upscale, industrial surrounding.
What stuck out to me the most was that initial shot of ginger from the sauce. Paired with the bitter wine, the flavors were on point. I loved the change up from the usual chicken to the oh-so trendy cauliflower. As my friend put it: this dish is definitely how adults do veggies.
Second Course: Baby Beet Salad with the Miraval Rosé
Oh do I love rosé: the perfect drink to go along with a warm summers’ day. Even though it was raining outside, I still closed my eyes as I took a sip and imagined walking outside on the grandiose Happiest Hour lawn, rosé in hand. Insider tip--Happiest Hour will be available in big sizes during the spring and summer! Let’s not forget the beet salad. Another summer staple, it was paired perfectly with my wine. The two together were fresh, colorful and light. A welcoming contrast from my first dish, the Kung Pao Cauliflower.
Third Course: Charcuterie Board with the E16 Pinot Noir
Meat, cheese and red wine. Three classic combinations you really cannot beat, especially on a wintry day. During this course, my friend and I took our time, slowly savoring the prosciutto, salami and coppa while chatting through life, and periodically often taking a sip of Pinot. The cage aged white cheddar had a great sharp taste and contrasted nicely with the cheddar-crusted goat cheese. My favorite, though, was the candied fig. It tasted delicious with the dark red and invoked feelings of comfort and autumn. This is definitely the go-to pairing for when you and your friends want to spend hours talking and laughing and enjoying life without thinking of time.
Fourth Course: Half Chicken with the Longhorn Libation
This pairing felt the most Southern, from the use of “longhorn” in the cocktail name to getting a big plate of meat and sides. There's an interesting story behind the preparation of the Half Chicken entrée at Happiest Hour. Chef Steven Beegle uses several tactful culinary processes to both draw out and create the smoky, savoring flavors you taste in the Half Chicken. First, the chicken is slow smoked then the sous-vide method takes place. It is French technique of cooking in which meat is vacuum-sealed and placed in a water bath for up to 96 hours. This retains the meat’s moisture.. The chicken is then baked over the course of 24 hours. The result is the tenderest chicken I’ve ever had. It literally fell apart when I dove in with my fork.
The cocktail complemented it perfectly with its fall apple flavors. The bourbon was subtle, too. As my waiter said, “There’s just enough bourbon that even non-bourbon drinkers will like it.” A very true statement! And the sides? You can't go wrong with waffle fries and the Caesar salad has an amazing dressing. Be sure to let your waiter know if you'd like it to come on the side, though.
Fifth Course: Kuby Sausage plate with a Revolver Blood + Honey
Sausage and beer: the German in me loves this combination. Blood + Honey is one of my favorite beers. As it turns out, it’s a fan favorite at Happiest Hour. Blood + Honey is the second most popular beer at the patio bar and lounge and bartenders cruise through nearly 10 kegs a week of it!
I sampled three different types of Kuby’s Sausage: Jalapeno Cheddar, Hickory Smoked Beef and Venison Chipotle Jack. They all had a little bit of a bite, which I thought went well with the bitter beer. I loved to see the return of the Kung Pao sauce that accompanied the fried green beans as a side. My favorite side was the loaded sweet mashed potatoes. They were creamed to perfection and were topped with bacon, sour cream and onions.
This entrée had a great fusion of flavor from the spice in the sausage to the Asian flavors in the dipping sauce for the green beans. The Blood + Honey really finished the meal off.
Sixth Course: Apple Pie and the Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
They say they leave the best for last, which rang true last night as the dessert and porter turned out to be my favorite pairing. The warm and thick apple pie crumbled as I took a bite and swooped a dallop of whip cream. A sip of the porter post-bite really brought out all the vanilla flavors from the pie. You'll definitely taste the vanilla notes in the porter because it's actually brewed with Madagascar vanilla beans. I usually associate porters with the taste of coffee. However, this porter was different. Even though it did have that bitter beer bang at the first sip, it melts away to bring out sweetness. This was the perfect finale to a great evening at Happiest Hour!
Happiest Hour is the newest addition to the HARWOOD District. The two deck restaurant and bar features 12,000 square feet of space with outdoor garden games and a rooftop patio on the second level showcasing the best views of the Dallas skyline from the district of HARWOOD.