We walked into Carlyle the moment it opened on Portland's hottest day in over 25 years. A sweaty motley bunch of food nerds, we basked in what little cool the AC could muster against the 108º onslaught and spread ourselves haphazardly amidst the classy cherry wood bar. We looked out of place, but with nobody else in the joint (and this being casual-everywhere Portland) we didn't give a damn. Class would soon be found however in the exquisite cocktails and one hell of a burger.
The booze in this cocktail is delicately balanced so as to amplify the refreshing qualities of the lemon and the cucumber. A perfectly soft and easy refresher for a damn hot day.
My favorite cocktail of the night however was the Thyme in a Bottle, a creative riff on the legendary Last Word that substitutes thyme-accented Farigoule for Chartreuse and lemon for lime.
Thyme in a Bottle: Bombay Sapphire, Farigoule, Maraschino, Lemon Juice
(pictured at top)
A sprig of thyme is toasted briefly over flame and left in the glass, bringing the herbal note front and center. With my affection for both the mighty Last Word as well as thyme (I use more thyme than tomato in my red sauces) I knew I'd love this, and sure enough the tart citrus, funky-sweet maraschino, and ample herbaciousness melds right into the big nose full of thyme that hits before the glass even reaches your lips.
Of course, this being a continuation of the burger and cocktail exploration, a burger was ordered. First, I'd like to laud the lack of add-cheese for $X add-bacon for $X bullshit - you're getting a burger with both for $8 during happy hour, $11 any other time. It's also coming with fries at no additional charge. Observe the radient beauty that was placed before me:
We may have a winner. Although she looks a bit out of proportion, she lays down beautifully. That same brioche style bun I love so much at Clyde Common cradles one of the richest burgers I've yet devoured. Razor sharp cheddar, intensely smokey bacon, and 20,000-leagues-deep beef is an accomplishment in synergy as not one of these huge flavors gets in the way of the others, while sweet-tart tomato jam adds a refreshing note. The only thing I found missing was the pickle element, but with a flavor as precariously balanced as it's physical architecture maybe it's best to leave well enough alone.
Slowly other patrons invaded our clubhouse and we moved on to defeat the heat with further liver beatings, but I gotta say that between Jacob's cocktails and the kitchen's epic burger that I'll be trekking into the Pearl's nether regions a bit more often.