Our good friend John, founder of Social Domain LA, invited us to join him for Happy Hour at Checkers Downtown yesterday. I had only been there once before and was very interested in returning. There was a period in college, undergrad not even grad school, where I would get so stressed out and say, “I need a break, I am going to check myself in.” I didn’t check in to the local insane asylum or anything, I would just randomly stay at a hotel for a night alone. My stay at Checkers was one of my favorites. I ordered a steak dinner and a bottle of champagne to the room, watched trashy TV, took a jacuzzi on the roof, and slept on expensive sheets. That is my high anxiety cure for all; too bad it’s so hard to do that in this economy. Speaking of recessionary deals, I read the happy hour menu and drink specials, which change weekly, and thought it was an incredible value. $4 per item with the choice 4 drink and 4 small plate options. The best part is that this Happy Hour lasts 4 hours from 4-8 on Thursday. This sounded like such a great deal I just assumed that this was something that was only for a special group of people that John happened to be a part of. Josie was tired and unable to attend so I went solo. John is the type of guy with a cigar and a drink always at hand so I knew he’d be on the patio. He was there with his lovely sister and he had a margarita waiting for me. I looked at the menu and naively said, “Wow, John you have the hook up.” He smiled and said, “This is for everyone.”
Well it seems everyone is privy to this awesome menu on Thursdays. First off all the theme of this particular night was “design-your-own margarita” and the plates offered were:
- Fried Hama Hama oysters with a pickled jalapeño aioli
- Scallop and Baja prawn ceviche – served w/ taro root chips
- Karobuto pork belly tostada with salsa verde and black beans
- House-made Churros and Mexican dark chocolate
I had the ceviche, which was excellent, and the churros. It was a meal for me and I didn’t need to eat again until after midnight when I came home for a bowl of cereal and to catch up on The Office and 30 Rock.
Since I have been on a budget lately, I have been eating at home and looking for free/cheap drinks when out. It was the drinks of the night that really pulled me in. Checkers adheres to a great code when it comes to drinks:
Margaritas at Checkers are made from Partida Tequila, fresh hand-squeezed lime juice, and the natural sweetness of pure agave nectar. There’s no nasty sour mix or cheap triple sec in our margaritas – because that’s not what a real margarita is.
Plus, on this night we were allowed to live out our inner mixologist fantasies. We had the option of adding: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mango, peaches, mint, sweet basil, ginger, jalapeno and bell peppers in to our margarita. John started me off with a standard margarita, for the second one I had blackberries added, and for the third round I chose strawberries and sweet basil. John, the foodie, made the smart ass comment that I need some balsamic reduction to go with it. That flavor combination is something all foodies should know and chuckle at.
So for 3 premium drinks, fresh quality ceviche, and a dessert that I didn’t have to share-due to John’s wheat allergy-the total was a measly $20. It’s been a long time since I have had such an affordable night downtown. I heard as I was leaving that next week’s theme will be holiday drinks that include: mulled wine, cider, hot buttered rum, and a chocolate candy cane martini. However, I was three margaritas in so don’t hold me to that drink menu. However, we will let you know for sure next week. Also, in case you need someone more credible to tell you what a great happy hour this is, SinoSoul wrote a post yesterday entitled, Checkers Downtown, Best Happy Hour you haven’t had. We’ll be there next Thursday before the Lazy Ox opening and hope to see you there!