BECAUSE I’M HAPPY By Shannah Compton Game & Jeff Game
Happy Hour: The name does not exactly invite a cornucopia of culinary thoughts — we tend to put happy hour in a corner, throw out some chips & salsa, maybe some dried up wings and cheap beer. We are on a hunt for a great meal with happy hour prices — sans the nacho bar. Budgets everywhere die a slow death each day and the number one suspect is, you guessed it, eating out. With the surge of cooking shows combined with mouth watering pictures of “the best meal ever” on Facebook, our desires for fine dining have taken over any sense of reality of what we can actually afford. However, there is always a way to balance your desire to fulfill your foodie palate with what your wallet will allow. Designer dining can be achieved by thinking outside the box. Restaurants in California and around the world are serving guests gourmet appetizers and handcrafted drinks, yet still giving them a great dining experience at a great price. So let’s rethink our game plan. You are craving an amazing meal. You don’t want to pay amazing prices. Meet the “new and improved” happy hour solution. Shift the time you go to dinner by an hour or so and enjoy virtually the same meal at a fraction of the price. This is sure to make your stomach and wallet do a collective happy dance. We decided to find places in our city, Long Beach, California, where we have already eaten and put “happy hour” to the test. Shine A Light Parker’s Lighthouse has been an institution in fine dining for decades in Long Beach and is a place where you can have some great fish or a steak; however, Parker’s is really changing the landscape of the traditional happy hour and offering some great meals. According to General Manager, Michael Cole, guests have been respond-
SPRING 2014 //
ing to the happy hour at Parker’s Lighthouse, “once we shifted our happy hour downstairs, added sliding doors to our patio, opening up the view, offered great menu items, people were blown away.” Normally, we might save Parker’s Lighthouse for a special occasion meal, so finding their happy hour with a long list of items we could order was a score for us. Don’t let a traditionally higher priced restaurant intimate your wallet. Parker’s happy hour is a great example of fine dining delivered at a budget-approved price. Our Happy Hour: 2 Parker’s Jalapeno Margaritas, 2 Sapporo beers, 1 Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, 1 California Roll, and 1 Kobe Beef Burger. If it weren’t for happy hour, we would have spent $35 more, proof that this happy hour really does deliver a dose of happy! Cold Brew Some places are just better with friends and Belmont Brewery was our choice to hang out, watch the Lakers game and have a couple micro brews with our friends Jane and Kevin. Belmont Brewery makes their own beer and is another great restaurant in our neighborhood serving up some great food at happy hour prices. Of course the best part of hanging out with friends at a brew restaurant with happy hour prices, is that we all get to order many items and pass them all around. Sharing is the name of the game at Belmont Brewery where appetizers are all 50% off and a pint of high quality beer is just $3.50. Our Happy Hour: Six Specialty Beers, 2 Traditional Margaritas, 1 Brews Wings, 1 Spinach Artichoke Dip, 1 Calamari, 1 Baja Fish Tacos, and 1 Side of French Fries. All in all, we saved $27.00, which makes it possible for all of us to enjoy another meal out without having to look for loose change in the crevices of our couch.