Happy Hour is a place to vent daily frustrations and unwind, a time to reconnect with friends and coworkers you don't mind seeing beyond the boundaries of Cubicle Land. It's is also the ideal time to score a deal on your favorite gustatives and gulpables. Although my work scenario has me behind a kitchen prep station rather than a desk, I can appreciate HH just the same. For this feature, I'll hop bar by bar to HHs across the area and report back to Meal Ticket every Tuesday.
If you've been to this week's featured HH, tell us about it in the comments. I want recommendations for future trips, too!
Let's delve into it at Chifa.
WHERE YOU AT?
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Last week, I was invited to a media unveiling of the new happy hour menu and outdoor dining patio at Chifa (707 Chestnut St.). My last visit was in the restaurant's opening months, so I was surprised to note the change in scenery. In addition to the six tables arranged on Chifa's sidewalk, the front dining room has undergone a restyle: Inserted along the banquette are wooden posts draped with transparent white curtains that create groupings of tables. The new setup creates a bit more privacy. I was happy to see the most stunning visual element of the room still remained: the blue and white ceramic vases propped on individual shelves. The bar, positioned opposite of the cabana-like seating, has room for 10.
WHAT'S THE SCENE?
I can't provide an all-the-way accurate take on the crowd at Chifa's HH due to the fact that this was a media event packed with bloggers, tourism professionals, writers and their guests. (Jose Garces
himself was in the house, mingling his way around the room.) Obviously this won't be what you'll uncover at every Chifa happy hour, but regardless I can say that the scene is lively and the food and drink selections are served up by a friendly, attentive staff.
WHAT'S THE DEAL?
Chifa, Garces' Peruvian-Cantonese hybrid, serves the happy hour crowd Monday to Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
, offering a menu priced in the $4-$9 range
. We inadvertently ended up by the back of the room, which, in most instances, puts you close to the kitchen. Good move on our part because we had first dibs on the goods heading for the masses: soft, melty pork belly buns, tangy Ecuadorian ceviche, Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce drizzle and crisp scallion pancakes
. These nibbles were ideal for HH small enough so not to ruin dinner but flavorful enough to satiate. We paired a few specialty cocktails with our samplings, but if that's not your bag, there's beer and wine on the menu, as well (Garces enjoyed a glass of white). I like it hot (see HHH: Farmicia
) so I had a couple Spicy Margaritas ($6)
with Thai chili garnish. We also sipped on the Lychee Sangria ($5) and Freseca ($6)