By Tara Redfield
A recent April evening had me thinking it was July. The air was warm and the daylight was shining eternally. I needed a happy hour that was going to let me enjoy it in perfect comfort and ease. I would need a patio, a cute dress, a glass of chilled white wine and pleasant company.
I texted Jillian and Gio, who hadn't joined me for a happy hour in months, to see if they were up for an outdoor happy hour at Bar Bouchon in Beverly Hills. After their attendance was confirmed I called Bouchon to inquire what exactly was on their happy hour menu, since it wasn't posted on their website. The hostess read to me a list of items that sounded just fine!
Bouchon's downstairs patio is tile floored and faces a psuedo-Tuscan courtyard opposite the Mirage Hotel. When I arrived, most seats were taken with laughing people thoroughly enjoying themselves in the summer-like light. I managed to find a table with three chairs and gladly took over. I ordered the Verre de Vin de Carafe, Blanc, from the happy hour menu, exactly what I had been craving. My server returned promptly to see if my other guests had arrived yet. They hadn't, but that didn't stop me from ordering the Boeuf Sliders, braised beef short rib on toasted brioche with Gruyere cheese.
Jillian and Gio arrived shortly after my sliders disappeared. We all agreed how nice it was to be outside on a warm evening. As we caught up on each other's lives, Jillian ordered the same wine as me and Gio went for a Vodka Cranberry, well drinks were on the happy hour menu too! Then, Gio thought that the Truffle Popcorn sounded too good to pass up, so we settled on an order of that, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Canapes, which were slices of grilled bread with tomato, burrata and nicoise olives.
I'm sure you're most curious about the Truffle Popcorn. Bluntly put, I've never had better tasting popcorn. Truffle oil makes a lot of things taste better: the rich flavor atop a light fluffy crunchy piece of popcorn was a decadent pleasure. If this was an option instead of butter at the movie theater I would be in serious trouble. The other plates were good too, but not outstanding.
I give Bouchon high marks for atmosphere. The patio is perfect for an early evening retreat. The wine was great and you already know how I feel about the Truffle Popcorn. If it's amazing happy hour dishes you are searching for you might want to go down the street to Nic's Martini Lounge, but if you're happy with food that's good and a grassy view, proceed to Bouchon.