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Gallo Blanco: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: Gallo Blanco, 401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix,
(602) 274-4774
www.galloblancocafe.com

The Hours: 3- 6 p.m., everyday.

The Details: The Clarendon Hotel's eccentric in-house eatery offers an awesome daily happy hour menu that includes a total of 6 appetizers ranging as low as $3 to $6, such as their award winning guacamole for only $5, queso fundido (veggie or chorizo), their yummy Elote Callejero (sweet grilled corn on the cob with cotija cheese and smoked paparika), "chx" and pork quesadillas and $3 chips and salsa. The list also includes a $6 salad, The Ensalada Cortada, with chopped kale, cabbage, avocado and corn nuts and their infamous Taqueria street tacos-- pork ($1.50), carne asada ($1.75), Halibut (2.50), Verduras de Temporada or veggie ($1.25) and our shrimp ($2.25)-- knocking $1 off their regular menu prices.

And, ohhh, their booze. Choose from four "coctels" priced at a cheap $5, each just as authentic, inspired and thoughtful as the next. With a Bloody Mary mix that's infused with dill and a ginormous garnish of jicama, celery, a lemon and lime, green beans and olives, Gallo's Mary is a meal in itself. Their white sangria screams "guilt free buzz," with its accompaniment of a tooth pick that makes it easy to fish out ripe pieces of booze infused mango, apple and orange slices. Cerveza is only $3 and their Michelada-- fresh lime, tecate and a spicy salt rim-- is only $4.

Wines by the glass are $5 each and include four red, four white and one "vino espumoso" (or "sparkling wine," for you, gringo.)

The Interior: Gallo Blanco is located inside CenPho's Clarendon Hotel, a funky boutique style hotel known for its retro decor, bright colors and hip downtown "it kid" crowd.  But don't think the clientele is all hipster brats. GB caters to all, even families with small children and yuppie out of towners.

The servers fit the atmosphere perfectly, all very hip, fresh-faced and friendly.

The Cost: Three coctels, 5 tacos, chips and quacamole and grilled corn on the cob came out to $33.25. Killer deal for our bellies and buzz? You better believe it.

The Conclusion: Mulling over GB's happy hour menu makes us smile. Everything about this spot promises quality at a bargain. From their food and drinks to their trendy yet relaxing setting, it's clear that GB cares about their happy hour guests. The menu isn't too big but big enough to be delighted by all of its options.

We had not one complaint about our food options (the shrimp taco was easily our favorite), and their mouthwatering drinks blow your mind, especially when considering their generous price. We could argue GB has the best Bloody and White Sangria in town and their spiked watermelon agua fresca might just be the perfect summer beverage; water, watermelon and vodka-- hydration (check), fresh fruit flavor (check) and a buzz (double check). Yep, it's all here.

How could we forget their free homemade red and green salsa, served in squirt bottles to make dousing each Mexico-City- style dish with their creamy spice easy.  Our server told us we can buy these habit-forming accompaniments by the jar for only $5, perfect for cheating dinner party guests by calling it our own.

Prior to this particular happy hour venture, we've had a few instances of below average experiences with Gallo's service. However, we were pleased to note that the only thing we anticipated this spot to lack, lacked no longer. The entire staff was on point with plate clearing, menu knowledge and overall attentiveness and care. Happy hour at Gallo Blanco temps us to partake daily and considering their every day offering, the choice is ours.

Looks like it's Happy Hour Teacher's Pet status for this Hotel Restaurant gem.

Overall Grade: A

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