Last night we went with friends to chef Kerry Sear's Cascadia Lounge for drinks and appetizers. It was an extremely crowded happy hour with a little bit of a frantic feel to it. At first we weren't sure if we were welcome as we were shoved to a walkway and seemed to be in the way of the bussers and waitstaff. However, minutes later we were given a table and we got a tiny bit more comfortable. K and I were in the mood for cocktails that we wouldn't normally have at home so she opted for a blackberry margarita and I decided to get their signature cocktail, the Alpine Martini. My drink consisted of citron vodka with a sweet douglas fir snowball. The drinks were actually pretty fun. The douglas fir had a slightly citrus scent that went well with the vodka and K's margarita was tart and refreshing. I usually go for a straight up Bombay Sapphire martini or Makers on the rocks but it's fun to rock your own boat sometimes.
Cascadia Lounge is known for their mini hanger steak burgers. You can get them topped with the usual suspects but if you're feeling semi-adventurous you can have them topped with black truffle butter, fried penn cove oysters, or even barbecued lobster. We ordered a couple of basic ones with Vermont cheddar and a few more exciting ones with black truffle butter and barbecued lobster. We also ordered a bucket of Kerry's so-called famous fried calamari with chipotle pepper dip. The food was worth the hectic atmosphere. The burgers were perfectly cooked little gems of medium rare ground hanger steak on the type of little soft buns that you get at a southern Krystal Burger. The ones topped with truffle butter were deliciously rich and melt in your mouth. I think truffles are one of the best thing ever to be dug up by pigs. Okay, maybe they're the only things ever dug up by pigs but I truly love the beautiful fungus. Next up was the lobster burger. The barbecued lobster was well worth the few extra bucks. Succulent and juicy with a little bit of tang from the barbecue sauce. Those cute little burgers were the perfect cocktail snack. The calamari lived up to it's famous tag and did not dissappoint. Quickly fried in a light batter with a smokey and spicy hollandaise-like sauce. They were definitely some of the best fried calamari I've ever had. And let me tell you, in Miami where I grew up, you can get some of the best fried calamari you will ever eat. So all in all, Cascadia was a good time with delicious food and drinks. I'm glad we didn't have to hang out in the dish pit to enjoy it. I forgot my camera so the photos are from the Cascadia website.