Happy Hour at Purple Café and Wine Bar (Woodinville, WA)

Smack dab in the middle of Woodinville’s “wine country” is Purple, a wine bar and café that had its start here and since expanded into three other local venues (Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue). The dining menus are not the same among all four locations, though a few items are shared. For instance, on Wednesday nights, only the Woodinville location has the buttermilk fried rosemary chicken. Within walking distance are over 30 wine tasting rooms, most of which have wineries in eastern Washington. Purple has a prime location.

We were in time for its popular happy hour (3-6pm, weekdays), which has more variety in its snack list than in beverages. Beer in a can, for example, consisted today only of Amstel Lite and Bitburger Pilsner. Selections under Wine are a daily red, wine and sparkling. A wine bar should have a more expansive beverage menu for happy hour, in my opinion.

Still, my wife and I didn’t come here for drinks but to have something to eat after a movie. The HH Snacks include some interesting items, like gorgonzola stuffed dates, house made spreads, bruschetta, crab cakes and a cheese flight. We decided to share grilled broccolini and two sliders (BLTA and burger, both with shoestring fries).

Burger sliders are tricky beasts. The smaller patties make it difficult to keep the ground beef moist, even harder if restaurants want to cook it past the e. coli threshold. Rarely, if ever, does one get a ‘medium’ burger, let alone a ‘medium-rare’ one, to one’s liking. In fact, the waitress didn’t give us a choice. Purple’s patty was almost vulcanized, an unfortunate end result for meat sourced from the much-ballyhooed beef consortium of eastern Oregon’s Painted Hills. Condiments of grilled red onions, lettuce, tomato, sherry vinaigrette and spicy aioli didn’t improve the situation (☆☆). It cost $5. Aah, but the shoestring fries! Those were divine (☆☆☆½), if a bit over-salted.

Painted Hills beef burger with shoestring potatoes
Painted Hills beef burger with shoestring fries

BLTA (BLT with the addition of avocado) fared better. The bacon was nicely crisped between small, seeded burger buns. Again, it’s difficult for a slider to have the same impact as a full-sized BLT between slices of toasted bread, which can support more lettuce and a thicker slice of tomato, even more mayo. Still, for what you get and the price ($4), it is a very good and tasty sandwich (☆☆☆), worthy of ordering again. It too was coupled with those fantastic fries.

BLTA with shoestring potatoes
BLTA with shoestring fries

Also very good (☆☆☆) was the grilled broccolini. It was served after the sliders were almost finished, a reflection of the generally slow and uneven service here. We had to remind them that the vegetables had not yet arrived and (earlier) that we needed catsup for the BLTA fries. The broccolini were perfectly cooked, dressed with olive oil, chile flakes and red onions brightened with vinegar.

Grilled broccolini
Grilled broccolini

Purple Café and Wine Bar
14459 Woodinville Redmond Rd. NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

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