As ya’ll know by now, I love a good happy hour. Whether it’s cheap drinks or cheap eats, or preferably both, I’ll show up early and order until the very last minute for the sake of helping my young and poor pocket book stay full.
Faithful readers, you also may recall I’m a born and raised girl from Indiana. Now, while Hoosiers have a more sophisticated palette these days than corn and fried pork tenderloins, I still have a solid place in my heart for fried food, most notably chicken tenders and fries.
Yes, folks, if you can make a killer batch of chicken tenders and fries, I will be on your doorstep wanting to eat every last bit. No shame, no regrets (even if I have to work out a bit longer at the gym the next day).
This is where the Plaza Bistro (PB) steps in.
I’ve always enjoyed the PB. It’s laid back, they have great outdoor seating, killer jazz on Fridays, and make one of my favorite dishes in Sonoma Valley: a linguine with housemade Italian sausage, clams, shrimp, garlic, and arugula in a saffron white wine reduction sauce. Oh, and the best dessert in town: chocolate bread pudding with gelato on top.
And don’t forget the pleasantry of owner Martine, who is the only Latino restauranteur with an establishment on the Square, and is always up for a good laugh and that occasional cup of gelato, on the house, for regulars.
PB’s happy hour is full of all those things I love from my youth, including some healthy add-on’s to remind me that life isn’t just about fried food and having to worry about my happy hour caloric intake.
First off, drinks. I was absolutely delighted to score a $3 pint of Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Boont Amber. They have other regional beers on tap, too.
House wines, which are all regional, are $5 and last but not least, martinis are $4.
PB regulars Bob and Christine Flahive were enjoying a few on my most recent visit: “Absolutely delicious!” declared Christine, as she knocked back her olive laden classic cocktail. If the Flahive’s are fans, you know it’s good. I think Saddles has some competition on the martini set.
For food, PB offers well sized appetizers that can fill an entire table and sate the appetite of a four top for under $30. At $5 each, we enjoyed housemade meatballs in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce, fish and chips, and hamburger sliders. You can also get tempura veggies, salads and other, more, “respectable” snacks.
The stand out for the show was the pork slider. When I think pork sliders, I’m generally thinking of B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille. Well, consider holding a battle of the sliders, because PB has came out of the shadows and into the ring.
The sliders at PB are absolutely delicious – the BBQ sauce is the right amount of vinegary tang, sweetness and spice, that enables one to devour multiple plates of sliders, losing your mind because they’re only $5 for two and oh man they are so good. And don’t forget the pickled onions. Mmm. Pickled onions.
Last but not least, chicken tenders with french fries and potato skins are also offered. My craving had been fulfilled. Both were tasty, caloric in a way you would hope, and perfectly paired with my brewski (and the Prilosec I popped earlier).
So there it is Sonoma. I have no shame, no guilt. PB’s happy hour is one of my favorites in the area. Cheap, tasty, and filled with the memories of my Midwestern youth, indulging in chicken tender baskets at my local Max & Ermas.
Plaza Bistro serves happy hour from 4PM-7PM, Mon-Fri, in the bar only. 420 1st St E., Sonoma. 996-4466. theplazabistro.com