Bleu Boheme's Daily Happy Hour is 60 Minutes of Félicité

February 28, 2013

It was 4:55pm on a Tuesday. Seven people were lined up in front of us on the corner of Adams Avenue and Kensington Drive in Normal Heights (maybe Kensington?). The simple fact that there was a line made me salivate with excitement.  It was our first time at Bleu Boheme, and though we've received positive recommendations in passing, we weren't expecting a queue for the daily, hour-long happy hour, especially during the week. Within the hour, it all made sense.

We were meeting new friends in Normal Heights to explore an area otherwise under-attended-to by us at SanDiegoVille.  Bleu Boheme was the point of origin.  The restaurant opened its doors exactly at 5pm, and anxious patrons started piling in and picking out their favorites seats. We were pleasantly surprised by the charmingly rustic decor, creating a casual environment rather than the snooty pretentiousness sometimes characteristic of French eateries.

The interior was designed to evoke the free spirited feeling commonly associated with the old school artistic era of Paris, embracing the creativity of the Bohemians (from which the eatery takes its name) while implementing styles affiliated with more rural areas of France.  Different sections of the restaurant reveal the various influences, but we sat at a table in the informal bar area, enjoying upbeat French music and an hour of half priced offerings.  And for those that prefer to dine with canine companions, like many restaurants in France, Bleu Boheme is dog friendly - if your pup is civilized.

Bleu Boheme's happy hour menu (click on it!)
From 5-6pm daily, in addition to their regular menu, Bleu Boheme offers nine select small plates, 6 styles of moules frites (mussels and French fries), all beers, wines by the glass, well liquors, champagne cocktails and specialty martinis - ALL at 50% off, which is an incredible bargain for what you'll receive (check out that fancy menu!).  We started off with two Tower 10 IPAs by Karl Strauss and perused the happy hour menu while awaiting the arrival of our companions.  When they arrived, we went to town.

You can figure out which is which!
Item after item, we couldn't have been more impressed by the dishes.  The Crepe de Homard ($8.98) was beautifully plated: big pieces of lobster melted with tenderness, and the accompanying smear of truffle-carrot sauce was freakin' incredible!  Although our server tried to stifle our interest in the Gnocchi Parisienne ($6.48), we ordered it anyway and were happy we did as the fluffy pillows of creamy Parmesan dumplings were rich and full of flavor.   The Escargots a la Portugais ($6.48) came with an incredible blue cheese croquette and plenty of meaty mollusks hidden amongst the sausage and chick peas.  Don't be squeamish, just eat!  It's delicious.  We were told the scallops at Bleu Boheme were not to be missed, so we ordered the Coquilles St. Jacques ($9.48), and the perfectly seared scallop meat melded wonderfully with the umami flavors of the wild mushroom, chervil and white wine sauce, making for an incredible offering.

Of the six mussel dishes on the menu, we ordered our moules frites au Roquefort ($7.48). The Carlsbad Black Mediterranean mussels were classically served in a heaping cast iron pot, covered with fresh blue cheese, scallions and white wine, with the thin cut French fries accompanying in a paper lined metal bucket. Here's a tip for eating, pop the mussels from the shells and re-immerse into the incredible sauce that lines the bottom of the crock. Be sure to get some of that chunky blue cheese too!

Bleu Boheme's happy hour is definitely worth visiting, and because it's offered daily, there are no excuses.  Plan accordingly and get there at least 10 minutes early so that you can get a good seat. The hour goes fast and you'll want to make the most out of it, because c'est fabuleux!

Bleu Boheme is located at 4090 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights/Kensington.

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