Small plates, big bites.
That’s how I like to eat on the weekends. Brunching and happy hours are perfect for eating off your bestie’s plate and trying a lot of little things. Still, you want to chow down just enough to soak up those mimosas.
I have my favorites.Extra Virgin has tapas galore, but go directly for that amazing poblano mac and cheese to get full but not stuffed. And before you head down to Manifesto
for a glass of Stay Wet (it’s like drinking a lemon meringue pie), stop upstairs at the Rieger and put something in your belly. I’m a fan of the rotoli, but it’s no longer on the menu, so your best bet is the braunschweiger mousse with sausage from Paradise Locker Meats, mascarpone, caraway crackers, stout mustard and pickled green tomatoes.
A few more meals to go with your weekend drinks:Drunken Meatballs
The plate might be small, but the meatballs are big. This meal is so good it’s on both the lunch and dinner menus atHotel Sorella’s Rosso
, 901 W. 48th Place. In the day, you get four meatballs atop a bed of bucatini and mozzarella for $12. At dinnertime, you get one mega-meatball for $26. There’s also a short list of pizzas, including the $11 margarita that’s big enough for two.
Rosso is perfect for daytime partying on the Country Club Plaza, especially if you’re feeling very Doris Day or Don Draper. It’s all so very sleek, sexy and chic, done up in red, white and black with curvaceous white banquettes. But when you look around, there are so many kinds of chairs, it’s got an “Alice in Wonderland” wink going on, making the vibe warm and welcoming and defying old-money stereotypes. Make sure your phone is charged, because you’ll want to take pictures. You can sit poolside or in the bar. But I like to dine in the restaurant by the huge windows overlooking Ward Parkway.
And if you aren’t into Doris and Don, you can channel your inner Beyoncé — the drink menu includes a $12 Vojito: vodka, fresh watermelon, lime juice, mint and simple syrup. But we just call it “Watermelon” while we wait for them to add “Drunk in Love” to the restaurant playlist. I’m just saying.HotelSorella-CountryClubPlaza.com Griddled Three Cheese
Everyone wants to be seen at Westport’s new whiskey bar,Julep
, 4141 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 104. But to be clear, it’s technically on Archibald Street and it’s bursting with personality. It doesn’t open until 5 p.m., and it’s worth the wait.
Instantly, I went straight for the peel-and-eat shrimp, $12. And it’s all kinds of delicious with two dipping sauces, but I found myself wandering over to my friend’s plate more than once. She went for soakage in the greatness of the $10 Griddled Three Cheese sandwich (with sourdough bread and arugula). It even comes with a salad, giving you bang for your buck.
As for drinks, of course you want to get a Julep at Julep. (The Traditional is good.) But my pick is the Garden Gun, $13. Hendrick’s Gin, honey, lavender, lemon and Regan’s Orange bitters make this drink the perfect way to end a workday.JulepKC.com Salad No. 2
Bridger’s Bottle Shop, 510 Westport Road, is all the rage right now, with more beers than can you can sing about — but the Preservation Market
inside the shop packs plenty to smile about. This place is as comfy and casual as jeans and your favorite T-shirt. And if you’re going to be buying all of those bottles, you had better not have an empty stomach.
There are snacks, like lamb tartar and deviled eggs. But the lunch salads and sandwiches are $9 and come with a side. The No. 2 keeps it all-the-way light with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette. I got cornbread, too.
If you want something heartier, sandwich No. 6 — a citrus herb pork roast sandwich with pulled pork, Swiss, cilantro, spicy pickles, raisin relish and cumin aioli with a side of chips — begs for a beer.
Every night after 3 p.m. there’s a dinner special. Lately, it’s been the elusive wings. Apparently, the chicken is so good it sells out. I showed up at 4 p.m. on a Friday and it was gone. Can’t wing them all.PreservationMarket.com