It’s a blessing and a curse when you specialize in something and do it so well that people struggle to think of you doing anything else.
Nobody knows that better than Daily Dose Kitchen & Bar owners Matt and JenLyn Long, who have been killing it at the breakfast and lunch game so long that most people don’t realize they now offer dinner at their Midtown location. And not just dinner – a traditional happy hour (3-6 p.m.), as opposed to their Mid-Day Happy Hour I wrote about last year. I loved the idea and the execution of the Mid-Day Happy Hour so much that I even chose them as an editor’s pick in last year’s Best of the Valley: Best Weekday Brunch.
So, when my PR/social media pal Elaina Verhoff – who works with the Longs – invited me to try the new afternoon/evening happy hour, I squealed (definitely internally, possibly audibly). Eat more of the Longs’ delicious food and get to know Elaina and JenLyn in person after more than a year of pandemic hermitage? YES, PLEASE.
We rendezvoused on Daily Dose Midtown’s spacious, misted patio, which has a mix of high-top tables and lower tables with cushy banquettes and chairs, shade umbrellas and a flat-screen TV. It’s a fun, energetic area of town, and the patio offers nice people-watching in the Camelback Colonnade and some pretty foliage for backgrounds for food pics.
Smartly, the Longs don’t mess around with a separate physical menu for happy hour. Instead, happy hour dishes are marked “HH” on the dinner menu, and are $2 off from 3-6 p.m. While offerings are subject to change as the menu evolves, these dishes currently boast happy hour pricing:
- Buffalo Chicken Dip – regularly $11; HH $9
- Daily Dose Chicken Nachos – regularly $13; HH $11
- Turkey Meatballs – regularly $11; HH $9
- Smoky Mushroom & Chicken Quesadilla – regularly $11; HH $9
- Crispy Polenta Tots – regularly $9; HH $7
- Crispy Blue Crab Cakes – regularly $14; HH $12
- House-Made Southwestern Veggie Chili – regularly $7; HH $5
- Loaded Fries (Garlic Parmesan, Chili Cheese Waffle, Pepper Bacon Sweet Potato) – regularly $9-$10; HH $7-$8
The nachos are so plentiful a family of four could make them a meal: crispy corn tortilla chips drizzled with jalapeño cheese sauce and topped with tomatillo salsa, cilantro sour cream (my fave), pico de gallo, house-made bean salsa, cubes of juicy chicken, pickled jalapeños and green onion, with a large mound of guacamole crowning the lot. JenLyn’s favorite red chile cheese sauce – “I eat it every day. Every. Day.” – comes heaped into a large ramekin on the side for dipping. I love how every bite offers a different flavor adventure, from creamy, herbaceous sour cream to tangy pickled red onions (which Elaina requested as an add-on, a great tweak) to bright, fresh pico de gallo.
Daily Dose Chicken Nachos | Photo by Leah LeMoine
The quesadilla offers a more consistent experience, in the best way – smoked mozzarella entwines earthy cremini mushrooms with pulled chicken for a gooey, smoky and umami-rich filling. The smoked mozz and creminis elevate the quesadilla and bring a surprising sophistication to this usually basic snack.
The crab cakes also feel a little snazzy for our casual, comfy surroundings, and I love it. Two sweet, tender blue crab cakes are nestled on a bed of mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and drizzled with Hollandaise, roasted garlic aioli, chives and lemon. They would be a perfect light lunch or dinner on their own, and at $12 during happy hour, they might be the least expensive (yet still quality) crab cake dish in town? The toasted jumbo pretzel isn’t discounted for happy hour, but it’s only $5 and comes with horseradish aioli and more of that red chile cheese. It’s a soft, delicious, super filling, gloriously carb-y steal.
Beer drinkers enjoy $1 off all draft pints, while wine lovers can order $6.50 wines by the glass and $24 bottles. Daily Dose’s specialty cocktails are also $6.50 – rose lime mojitos, basil and ginger spritzers, raspberry lemon drops and more.
Nachos just put me in the mood for margaritas, though, so I was tickled when our sweet server, Olivia, recommended specialty margs ($6.50). I went with the Tajín pineapple with Herradura Silver tequila, pineapple juice, house-made sour mix, Tajín rim and pineapple garnish. It was perfect – tropical, fruity and sweet, but not too sweet, with balancing tang and light heat from the Tajín. Elaina had the spicy watermelon margarita with Tanteo Jalapeño tequila, fresh watermelon, cucumber, lime and agave nectar. “Woo! I always forget that this is really spicy,” she says. She loves the heat, but if you’re a pansy like me, you can order it mild by subbing El Jimador Silver tequila.
Next time, I’m trying Olivia’s signature hibiscus margarita (Herradura Añejo tequila, hibiscus simple syrup, house-made sour and lime) and raising a toast to the return of restaurants and to fun chats with new friends.
Specialty margaritas | Photo by Leah LeMoine
Happy hour runs Tuesday-Sunday from 3-6 p.m. Dine-in only.
The Longs are committed to giving back to the community, from partnering with Habitat for Humanity to their latest venture, a school supply drive for Harvest Compassion Center. From June 1-July 15, guests who bring a backpack filled with school supplies to any Daily Dose location will receive a free order of any pancakes or a non-alcoholic specialty coffee drink. JenLyn sent out a cinnamon roll pancake for me at the end of our happy hour hang “because you need to try it,” so I can vouch that this act of do-gooding is very worth it on a mouth-happiness level as well as on a soul level.