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What's so special about Elements Bistro? (West Hartford)

Agreed with ChrisM.
Especially since Elements received a favorable write-up in the Courant, all the trendy West Hartfordites flock there. Shame, as they ruined a fun Friday afternoon happy hour spot.

"Don't Open That Bag!!!".....because I'll eat the whole thing.

try the chili cheese fritos dipped in ranch dressing.


Dec 09, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

ANY good Chinese in CT?

I second Butterfly.

Also, China Pan in West Hartford - near the mall.

Los Adobes - Park Road in West Hartford

On the corner of Park Road and Oakwood Avenue - I believe it used to be the Park Road Deli, then maybe something before that?

Anyways, I hear its a mexican restaurant now, and it's apparently open!

I'm itching to try the eats, so I may go sometime this week and report back. I'm excited! There have been no real Mexican restaurants in the Park Road area since BK's / Cajones shut down.

Where to order online dried fruit and nuts?

My fam & I have always had good luck with Pittman & Davis.

It's wonderful to have fresh, juicy citrus in the middle of an awful New England winter!

Dec 02, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

T-day dinner scorecard

Had turkey day with friends this year, as we're all transplants to CT and our families are all far away.

I'm really the only one that cooks (from scratch), so my friends brought lots of run-of-the-mill stuff - green bean casserole, jarred gravy, canned cranberry, frozen rolls - in addition to what I made - roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, herbed turkey breast, honey corn muffins, green salad, blueberry tart, etc.

Everything was pretty good and we chowed down!

One of my girlfriends raved for weeks that a client of hers was giving her a homemade sweet potato pie and she was going to bring it to our Feast. I got all excited - sweet potato pie from scratch - YUM!! Turned out to be a soggy, store-bought pumpkin pie that her client 'made'. Such a disappointment.

Nov 28, 2008
hypertomatoes in Home Cooking

Food options at your workplace?

Just curious, as my building of over 600 people has a full-service cafeteria. They do 2-3 hot breakfast options, and for lunch is normally 4-5 hot entrees and a number of sandwiches, soups and random other stuff. We also have a decent salad bar.

I think entrees are normally $5.99, including two sides. Sandwiches plus chips and a drink is normally $4.99 or so.

I'm a dedicated brown-bagger and have never actually had the hot lunch here, but occasionally will get a salad...or dessert & a cuppa...or a bagel in the morning. Some people eat breakfast & lunch here every day.

It's a good thing we have a caf, as our surrounding area has very few other eateries except for a handful of crappy chains.

It's a far cry from my last workplace. We had a sole vending machine, a dirty microwave and a fridge that people stole others' lunches from! We also had one of those nasty catering trucks that came around. We called it the Roach Coach :)

What do you folks have or do for eats at work? Any interesting eateries around your office? A cafeteria? Catering services? Bring leftovers? Nothing at all?

Nov 26, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

What Dish Is Your State Famous For, i.e., What Was Invented There?

Been here for 5 years and never knew CT had such "claims to foodie fame"!

Pizza, however, I did know about. Frank Pepe's is bliss!

Nov 26, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

Boiled peanuts

LOVE boiled peanuts!! They're just about impossible to come by here in the northeast. Got hooked on them from my South Carolina-bred grandparents. They live in MD now, but anytime they make a trip back south to visit family, I request a few pounds!!! Luckily, they freeze pretty well :)

Nov 25, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

Do you eat American style or European style?

I'm right handed.

Fork in my right hand and knife in my left - no switching. I'm actually pretty good at using my knife in my left hand. I normally keep both hands on the table, holding both utensils - I know some of you may balk at this as it being bad manners (hand not in lap), but I find it helps me eat MUCH neater.

Not sure what's proper for setting down utensils - normally I have my fork (tines up) at 4:00 and my knife at 8:00 if I'm still eating....and both at 4:00 (fork tines down) if I'm finished.

Now I'm curious to break out the Emily Post book...

Nov 22, 2008
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Kitchen Superpowers - have one?

Operagirl - I'm much the same, but my tupperware superpowers are in collecting it! I can't ever have enough - all different shapes, sizes, uses, compartments, etc. Some with rubber snap lids, some with plastic screw get the idea. The round plastic containers that soup from Chinese takeout comes in - those are my favorite as of late.

Other superpowers? Hmm, well I'm pretty good at cleaning up pots & pans while I'm still cooking and baking. I can't stand a cluttered counter, dirty dishes and stuff everywhere when I'm in a culinary frenzy!

Nov 20, 2008
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Best and Worst Cooking Shows

Glad this thread got resurrected, there's been lots of recent changes and new shows on PBS and FN. Probably just reiterating the same...but:

Been enjoying America's Test Kitchen lately, when I can catch it. Kimball has an interesting, informative sarcasm about him and I love it. The taste tests and gadget reviews are helpful too.

The 'Challenge' shows, Dinner Impossible and Ask Aida just need. to. go. away.

Speaking of the 'Challenge' shows - who is that old hag judge that yells that everyone? She looks like she sucks on lemons all day.

Shockingly, I can tolerate Rachel. Her newer shows are a bit more toned down and less cutesy. Her hair is darker, the kitchen set has changed, and it's a good change from the old.

I'm 50/50 on Anne Burrell and Alex Gurnachelli (sp) - I'll watch them and normally will learn a thing or two...but they're not favorites.

Paula. Butter. Sour Cream. Mayo. Cream Cheese. GAG.

Throwdown is getting stale. These experts are picked as being masters of their craft...why does arrogant Bobby have to (more times than not) beat them at it? And HOLY ATTITUDE, Bobby's assistants are the snobbiest, rudest b#tches ever. Miriam and Stephanie? Maybe a drink or five would loosen them up.

Sunny Anderson I like, but she can get a little goofy sometimes.

I've always enjoyed Alton, Nigella and Ina. Giada is too much of a marketing machine - less cleave and more good food, eh?

Guy Fieri's live show is entertaining and that's about it. I'd probably never make anything from it, but I must admit I've laughed out loud a few times. I think this show is too much of a 'new' Emeril Live. Where's the band?! And speaking of Emeril, apparently the BAM catchphrase is now used for toothpaste?

Absolutely love Martin Yan, when I can catch his show. Ming Tsai's show isn't as good, but he gets points for being eye candy. Michael Chiarello too - I like his laid back attitude and easy recipes.

Does anyone else notice the food safety nightmare of Iron Chef America? Maybe they edit those bits out, but GEEZ.

Absolutely fantastic work done by the Ace of Cakes crew, but does anyone else think they're all a bunch of stoners? With the exception of Duff and Mary Alice - I'd love to go out for beers with them.

Bourdain and Symon - everyone knows you hate vegetarians! Get over it!

Neely's - go back to working @ your restaurants.

Okay, better get back to work :)

'fess up, "i'm a hog when it comes to eating ____ ."

Funyuns - then lament that my mouth is all cut up!
Chips & Salsa @ a restaurant. I chow down and normally never even order a meal
Snickers ice cream bars
Hot apple cider
Really good blueberries, watermelon and peaches
Pasta Roni (or any salty, buttery, cheesy noodles for that matter)
Someone said it before - the Knorr spinach dip
PB Twix

Good golly - looks a lot like our grocery shopping list in college after quite a bit of herbal (ahem!) refreshment. LOL

Nov 20, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

ICA: Thanksgiving showdown

His commentary? Yes. Especially when he says something to the effect of "I'd actually pay for this in a restaurant."

But watching him eat? No. There's just something revolting about watching food fall out of his mouth and juice dribble down his chin...

Elements Bistro West Hartford CT

Went there last Friday with some friends for happy hour. Although we didn't try the food, I was happy that the place was jumping! Glad to see that new places are opening in Elmwood and are attracting people. I'm looking forward to eating there one day!

Old school table manners... what were you taught?

Fascinating thread!

My ex and his family had the absolutely WORST table manners you can imagine - so bad that I ran out of excuses when asked to dine with them. A bit surprising that they couldn't conduct themselves properly at the dinner table...seeing as they ran with high society. Even worse is that they didn't tip! Ever! $400.00 meals at exclusive restaurants with impeccable service and not a dime for the waitstaff!

Anyways. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I haven't seen anyone post about not licking your fingers?! I find it as gross as lip-smacking and slurping.

Nov 18, 2008
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

What's The One Thing You Can't Eat, even for money.

I'm meat, poultry, fish. Also:

White Chocolate
Plain tofu...gag!
Lentils....just to spare myself the intestinal distress :)

Nov 18, 2008
hypertomatoes in General Topics

Fleming's Steak House

The service and food are impeccable...and expect to pay for it :)

What do Chowhounds do for a living (besides eat of course)? [old]

I just left the IT Audit field at a financial services provider for a job at a large CT bank, working in the Financial Investigations Unit. I have an MS and a CFE under my belt, and if I had the chance, I'd stay in school forever!

I'm in my mid 20's, living with a roommate and definitely on a budget - I'm a big fan of farmers markets, local produce shops and Trader Joe's...but I absolutely despise Whole Foods.

Nice dinners out with my SO are a rare treat, basically because I'm not really into fancy expensive places. It's nice once in awhile, and that's really all my budget can handle! In all honesty, I'd rather scrounge for change and hit up the local spots for some good ethnic chow.

I'm definitely the "foodie" of all my friends. They're mostly junk eaters, but they never turn down an invite when I'm cooking :)

Jun 06, 2007
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Hartford - Recs for upscale-ish/casual dinner

I'd suggest Braza.

Grab a table outside, sit back, sip on a fresh mojito and people-watch. The food is incredible.

They usually have live music - salsa night, DJ's, latin jazz bands.

Chow-Friendly Diet. It works! For me, anyway.

Hooray for you! I think your approach is just wonderful. I've always thought that those fake diet foods just leave you feeling hungrier and deprived...

I've posted in a previous thread about indulging, and how I believe it should be done with top-quality ingredients and foods. You'll eat less and feel more sated, rather than mindlessly stuffing yourself with fat-free, sugar-free crap.

May 31, 2007
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Any good Greek restaurants in central CT?

I third Tapas in WH!

I'm in heaven with the Greek salad, Falafel and a good bottle of red wine :)

Doritos Fiery Habanero.....YOW!!!!

They're fantastic. Crunchy, salty, spicy....heaven!

May 23, 2007
hypertomatoes in General Topics


Add a splash or three of Worcestershire sauce to your guac. It'll change your life! :)

May 22, 2007
hypertomatoes in Recipes

Food Odors at Work

We actually have 2 vending machines at my work. One with the typical candy & chips, and the other has juices, bagels, yogurts...and microwavable burritos, sandwiches and hamburgers. It's all nasty processed crap and smells pretty bad when nuked.

May 16, 2007
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Food Odors at Work

I'm unfortunate enough to work with people that have absolutely no manners when it comes to food in the workplace. People burn fish in the microwaves, steal others' lunches from the fridge, slurp & slop at their desks, leave sticky trash lying around, etc. Nothing against those who like greasy fried things for lunch, but the smell permeating the cube farm makes me ill.

Luckily, I bring my coolie pack of homemade yummies and have my lunch out in my car or on the bench outside.

May 14, 2007
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Ginza's in Bloomfield, CT

I know this thread is months old, but I tried Ginza for the first time on Saturday night and thought it was wonderful! Our waiter was very friendly, and even offered us a few entree selections that weren't on the menu.

I'd HIGHLY recommend the peanut/avocado roll and the sweet potato tempura roll.

Food, Guilt and Health ...

You bring up a good point here, in speaking about the QUALITY of indulgence food.

When I indulge, I take it to the max. If I'm craving chocolate chip cookies, the bag of crappy, processed Chips O'Hoy is pale in comparison to a homemade batch with real butter, eggs, and good chocolate. Frozen TGI Friday's mozzarella sticks & marinara from a box? Blech! Hand-breaded, soft chunks of fresh mozz fried crispy with a homemade spicy tomato & herb dipping partner? Bring it on!

I tend to eat less of homemade, quality indulgences - they're richer and made with whole, real ingredients, which lets me savor my effort, bite by bite. This way, I can really satisfy my craving.

The store-bought, processed crap just seems like it's made to mindlessly go down the hatch - no real eye-appeal, aroma or flavor.

May 02, 2007
hypertomatoes in Not About Food

Business casual lunch - Hamden, CT area

Sorrento's on Skiff Street. VERY casual, unassuming atmosphere and delicious pizza & italian food.

Dinner in Avon, CT

I'd definitely recommend First & Last Tavern, Puerto Vallarta, and Avon Old Farms Inn.

I've never been impressed with the overly trendy places like Simmer and Terra that are in the Shoppes of Farmington Valley.