3.07.2011

Must-Try Happy Hour: Viceroy's Cameo Bar

First, I have to apologize because I've been off the radar for a week or so. Sorry, but I'm back! I started an exciting new full-time job that's basically consuming most of my time, but the good news is that I love it. The other good news is that (most) days my work hours -- from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- are basically tailor-made for happy hour. A few weeks ago I wrote about how much I love the happy hour at Oliverio inside Olympic Blvd's Avalon Hotel, and now I have another favorite hotel happy hour, this time at Cameo Bar inside Santa Monica's Viceroy Hotel.

Get Comfy at Viceroy's Cameo Bar
What's so great about Cameo Bar's happy hour? Seven of Chef Tony DiSalvo's most popular appetizers and seven of the bar's most popular cocktails are only $7/each from 4-7 p.m. Making it even more clever, the folks at Cameo Bar are calling it the "7 Before 7" happy hour. Works for me! I'm particularly excited because a few months ago I had the opportunity to interview Viceroy's Executive Chef DiSalvo and taste some of his fourth-generation Italian dishes, like from-scratch veal and pork meatballs simmered in a homemade tomato sauce; crispy saffron risotto balls; and steamed mussels with chorizo, tomato and Sambuca. Lucky for happy hour lovers like you and me, all those goodies are on the "7 Before 7" menu in addition to drinks like the Ocean Avenue Punch (made fresh daily), Hurricanes (Bacardi Superior Rum, dark rum, 151, orange juice, grenadine), as well as a selection of Italian wines, beers and even bubbly. Again, all for $7. You really can't beat that.

Crispy Risotto Balls

DiSalvo's To-Die-For Meatballs
So if you're in the Santa Monica area and looking for a great place to chill out after a long day, stop by Viceroy and head to Cameo Bar. Sink into one of the oversized chairs and enjoy one or two (or seven) of Chef's appetizers. If you're still hungry -- although I can't imagine after so plates of apps you would be -- move into Whist's dining room for DiSalvo's Moroccan lamb shank with baby eggplant and farro. Still one of my fave dishes this year.

Cameo Bar's "7 BEFORE 7"
*All items $7 - Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.

BITES
Meatballs | Pork and veal, shaved Parmesan, extra virgin olive oil
Crispy Risotto Balls | Crispy saffron risotto, marinara
Chicken Wings | Romesco sauce, grilled scallions
Steamed Mussels | Chorizo, tomato, sambuca, scallion
Hummus | Crudite, grilled pita
Crispy Tuscan Potatoes | Herbs & aioli
PB & Jam | Peanut butter cookies, JAM red wine

COCKTAILS
all well drinks (Martinis +$2, Red Bull +$3)
Ocean Avenue Punch | Housemade daily
Hurricane | Bacardi Superior Rum, dark rum, 151, orange juice, grenadine
La Rosette | Louis de Grenelle Brut Rose, St. Germain

WINE
M.V. Trevisiol – Prosecco – Valdobbiadene, Italy
2009 Clos LaChance – Chardonnay – Monterey County
2006 Clos LaChance – Cabernet Sauvignon – Monterey County

BEER
Old Rasputin
Delirium Tremens
La Fin Du Monde
Trois Pistoles
Allagash White

1819 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-7500

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