Happy Hour with the Yeti at Annapurna Cafe

Annapurna Happy Hour
The Place: Annapurna Cafe and Yeti Bar, 1833 Broadway Ave. E., 206-320-7770, CAPITOL HILL

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

The Deal: $2 off specialty cocktails, which are normally $6-7 and come in just a few, oddly specific categories: 'tinis*, sparkling, and saffron-infused vodka cocktails. While the 'tini menu is a little more comprehensive, it's also just standard fare. The sparkling cocktail menu features lychee and tamarind. The saffron menu, however, is where they really seem to shine, with drinks like the Mango Kashmir: the saffron vodka, mango and pepper. Everything shies on the side of sweet, though, so you may prefer $1 off beer and wine by the glass. A selection of appetizers are $3.99 if you're also buying booze; those include onion bhaji, a momo sampler, and lamb rolls.

*Okay, technically that section is labeled martinis.

The Digs: Holed away in a Capitol Hill basement, Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan restaurant Annapurna Cafe shoulders a ton of expectation. Not only was it a pioneer in revitalizing a wasteland of a block nearly a decade ago, it's Seattle's only Himalayan restaurant and our own Best Indian Food in Seattle for 2012. The Yeti Bar, as far as I can tell, just refers to the capacity for Annapurna to serve liquor.

They make everything that has earned them such acclaim seem effortless. Even their transcendence of a basement space is so successful that it's barely palpable: warm, yellow and red tones, a plethora of easily-blending knick-knacks and some nice, aesthetic twists on track lighting trump its utter lack of windows.

While the food comes out briskly, it's anything but halfassed. At Annapurna, they are true sauce masters, working vegetable magic to make even their vegan options have a slow, creamy bite to them. This also shines through in their appetizers, especially the Spinach Momo, which is soft (not soggy!) and delicately spiced on the inside of dumplings just firm enough to maintain their shape, surrounded by a trio of thick, rich chutneys.

The Verdict: Bustling even at 4 p.m. but not packed, Annapurna is cozy enough to not be out of anyone's comfort zone, but lively enough to count as going out. This isn't really a prefunction happy hour, but because the appetizers aren't just token, fried things, it's a good it's a great excuse to graze on an inexpensive-but-not-cheap, light dinner. Hell, it's just a great excuse to try their momo.

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