The Place: DISH restaurant, 734 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada; (818) 790-5355.
The Hours: Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.
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The Deals: Beer and wine by the glass and well liquor cocktails are half off, as are all appetizers.
The Digs: DISH is housed in an old ivory-colored California bungalow, and there is a large mural over the bar colorfully illustrating the area's citrus-growing history. There is a large open "lounge" area of tables and chairs that seat four. It has a classy, albeit perhaps a little too homey vibe--on one recent Monday evening the lounge area was largely empty save for three little old ladies who looked like they had mistakenly wandered in from nearby Descanso Gardens in search of tea and cucumber sandwiches.
The Verdict: The drinks are tasty and suitably strong (the Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar and a housemade mix has a nice spicy kick), and the classic American-style appetizers make you appreciate the space's hominess. There are slight twists on some fairly standard happy hour fare, such as the BBQ pork quesadilla and calamari with spicy-garlic mayo and ginger-honey slaw. Some nights there are wonderful appetizer specials--a particular standout is jumbo shrimp grilled on skewers of rosemary twigs, perfectly spiced and dotted with fresh charred rosemary (although the twigs tend to snap from the weight of the shrimp when you pick them up). The applewood smoked bacon on the mini grilled BLTs is a nice touch. Most appetizers run about $3.50-$4. If you don't mind a less-than-lively atmosphere, the DISH bar is a great spot to fill up on good food without having to shout your conversation. And it is, in fact, a nice place to stop for a cold beer if you have spent the day wandering around Descanso Gardens, whether you're an old lady or not.
Overall rating: B