Trebol Restaurant and Tequila Bar

On Saturday, Sam worked from 1-9 pm and we met up when his shift was over for a late-night happy hour date. Before I reminisce about how incredible our meal was, I do want to mention that I hate that Sam has started working nights to supplement his Grad School income (or lack thereof).

I should also mention that Sam and I live together in a one-bedroom, 500 something square foot condo. On the rare occasion we dress up, there’s certainly no “ta da!” element to start the night off. I usually know what shirt he’ll wear because I’ve ironed it; and he knows what dress I’m wearing because he had to excavate it for me from the far top of the closet where I can’t reach. That said, I can’t remember the last time I got dolled up in the condo alone, outfit options thrown all over the bed, singing along to The Weepies playing on full volume. It felt like a real date.

We met at Trebol in NE Portland, which has been on our “must try” list since reading about it in Bon Appetit magazine (who named Trebol as one of the country’s most exciting Mexican restaurants).

Trebol’s late night happy hour runs from 9-close, and I was surprised to see that when I arrived at 9:30, the restaurant was fairly quiet for a Saturday night. I was seated right away, although I did have to wait for Sam  – who had trouble finding the place. You know what they say about men and directions.

I noticed right away the sophisticated, hip feel of the restaurant. Red and orange walls, funky lighting, lots of artwork, and many, many bottles of tequila filled Trebol’s interior. Chef Kenny Hill and his wife started Trebol in May, 2007. The restaurant is 100% seasonal and furthermore, incorporates as many organics as possible. Trebol also happens to be the largest tequila provider in town (HELLO!), with over 95 100% agave tequilas onsite. The dinner menu changes every few weeks, but there are several consistent entries including the tacos.

The Happy Hour menu at Trebol is not your typical burger, fries and nachos or humus spread. Think instead: enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, soup and more. Impressed yet? And to top it all off, the happy hour menu included a variety of margaritas for $6 including Casa, Tamarindo, Prickly Pear, Mango, Blood Orange or Wild Berry. These margaritas are all made with Luna Azul tequila, which is 100% agave (read my words: no hangover!) and absolutely delicious.

After talking to the waitress  – who was totally kind and patient with us as we asked questions and shot photos – I ordered the Mango Margarita and Sam ordered the Lado Norte ($5), which was made with Gin, fresh lime, white peach and agave. Both drinks were delicious and fresh-tasting. No pre-maid mixers here.

Mango Margarita
Lado Norte

Although neither us of were too hungry, we couldn’t resist the Happy Hour dishes and ended up ordering the following items to share:
–    Masa Cakes Topped with Black Beans and Smoked Port ($5)
–    Chorizo & Bean Taco (2) ($5)
–    Fish Taco Filling (2) ($5)

I was surprised when our food items came out. They looked minuscule on the plates they were served on. But, man each item really packed a punch and made the items worth ordering. On this particular night, the Fish Tacos were made with halibut covered in crushed Mexican-seasoned pumpkin seeds. As if that wasn’t good enough, they covered the taco in Trebol’s famous guacamole. And it was taaaaasty!

The clincher came when Sam took a bite of the Chorizo and Beans Taco and declared, “this tastes like home!” [For reference, Sam is of Hispanic descent and his mom is an amazing cook. This is the ultimate compliment to any chef; and he’s certainly never said it to me!]

Masa Cakes w/ Beans & Smoked Pork
Tacos w/ Chorizo and Beans
Tacos w/ Halibut

Just when we thought life couldn’t get much better, our waitress came by with the dessert menu. I’m slightly frugal by nature and Sam doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so normally we decline ordering dessert. This time though, something caught both of our eyes: the Tequila and Caramel Flan. Flan is, perhaps, Sam’s only dessert downfall. We ordered one to share ($7). The flan was not your typical thick custard; it was light, refreshing, with a hint of citrus – and perhaps even our favorite dish yet.

In total, we spend $35 – well worth the money for a real date night, great food, dessert, and of course, a delicious margarita. And Sam and I are actually thinking about going back for our joint birthday party (we are both August babies) and ordering off of the real menu. We promise to keep you posted 🙂

3 Responses to "Trebol Restaurant and Tequila Bar"

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  1. Did I read birthday party?? 🙂

  2. Wow, someone read my blog. It’s a miracle!

    Sam and I are having a pre-birthday fiesta this weekend while my family is in town. But all we really want for our birthdays is a taste of Tyler’s home brew! 🙂

  3. Jessica


    Look at you! You are so awesome doing this blog. Its great! Can’t wait to hear more. Miss you!


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