Category Archives: Dining

Tea Roses Tea Room

I just had tea at Tea Roses Tea Room in Cromwell, CT, and it was lovely. I think the little guy inside me liked it, too, because he’s currently doing somersaults!

It’s a charming place — lovely place settings, great china, fun variety of teacups. The food was fabulous. It started with delicious heart-shaped scones with cream, lemon curd, and jam — SO GOOD! Then they had tea sandwiches — cucumber, turkey salad, brown bread with fig spread, and humous and red pepper wraps — all in delicate tea sandwich form. Then dessert was wonderful — poundcake dipped in ganache, lemon tarts, cheesecake, and shortbread cookies with jam.

The tea we were served was the house blend, and it was excellent. I highly recommend this place. The proprietor and hostess, Peggy, was extraordinarily welcoming and explained everything. We had a really lovely time.

It’s My Birthday!

I just had a lovely birthday. Sujal and I initially had plans to spend the day in Northampton, one of my favorite towns ever. Alas, plans did not pan out. Sujal has not been feeling well the past few days.

We decided to grab breakfast around here — drop by Harry’s Pizza because they have a great breakfast on the weekends, and we hadn’t been there in awhile. The website says they serve until 2PM on Sundays. We got a late start and arrived at about 1:20. Sadly, it turns out the changed their hours. After driving a round a bit, Sujal and I settled on bagels at Bruegger’s, which, frankly, hit the spot. Then we did a little B-day shopping. I got a cool Eagle Creek travel purse (I love Eagle Creek bags!!), and Sujal got a Travel duffel. We picked up a cake and went home to do some tidying up around the house.

At six, we met up with our friends Joe, Lara, Rita, and Mike at one of our favorite restaurants, Bricco. Delish! Then everyone came to our place for cake. It is so lovely to spend your birthday with friends and loved ones. I could not have asked for a better day!!

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Bombay Olive in West Hartford

When the focus has recently been on businesses springing up in the center, we cannot forget the Elmwood area.  Last night we went to Bombay Olive for the first time.  We had a great time dining there.  We were a anxious to see what the decor would look like in a former IHOP building — and once you get inside, it is so lovely! I loved the detail work — especially the pressed tin ceiling. The paintings of Everest or various Himalayan scenes are also lovely.

We began with samosa, which were light and fluffy — really good.  After reading that they cook with olive oil (hence the name of the restaurant), I can see why they tasted a little different than I was used to.  It was a nice change.  Sujal and I had the black dahl and the paneer tawa masala with roti and paratha.  It was all very good.  The dahl was creamy and perfectly spiced.  The paneer was a new dish for us.  The veggies in the dish still had some crunch to them — perfectly cooked.  After dinner, I ordered the masala tea.  It was not quite like the masala tea (chai) I’ve had in the past.  It did not contain cream, but it was still good, even though I am partial to an authentic masala chai.

The service was friendly, yet they seemed to be forgetful of our tea and dessert order (our friends had dessert).  This was fine because we were with good company, but that could be an area for improvement.  On the way out, I grabbed a bit of mukwas — it was an interesting mukwas.  I can’t say I loved it — I’m partial to green mukwas — but it was decent.

Finally, I’d have one suggestion for the  menu.  Sujal and I recently ate at the great Indian restaurant in NYC (though they threw away our leftovers, a crime for which I shall never forgive them), and they had tandoori paneer tikka.  It was so tandoorilicious!

I recommend Bombay Olive.  They have a mix of indian, american (western), nepalese, and persian food.  They even have breakfast — which I’d love to try someday.

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Maple Sugar Season!

Those of you who know me well know that one thing I love about March is that it is maple sugar season. Once of my favorite things to do is to go up to sugar shacks that serve breakfast. Yum. Last weekend, my friend Amy and I went up to Davenport Maple Farm, which is a great place — my favorite — in Shelburne Falls, MA just north off of Route 2. Part of the reason I love it is because it is high up on a hill, and it has beautiful views. Normally, the breakfast there is great. Last weekend I got a batch of waffle that wasn’t mixed enough, but Amy had very yummy pancakes. Of course the maple syrup was spectacular!

Perhaps next weekend I will drive back up to Shelburne Falls to visit Gould’s Sugar House, another lovely place in northern Mass.

Or I may visit the North Hadley Sugar Shack again.

Sadly, I have not been able to find a sugar shack that serves breakfast in the state of Connecticut. Get with it, CT sugar shacks! I have to go up to Massachusetts if I want my fix. Here are some great websites if you are looking for sugar shacks that serve breakfast:
Mass Maple
The Valley Viewpoint

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Our First Anniversary

Sujal and I took a quick weekend trip down to Washington, DC for our first anniversary. Here is a little “anniversary blogging” by the White House. Those of you who know Sujal well know that he has quite an affinity for the current White House resident, as do I.

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Our intent was to go to the National Mall and see a few museums in the Smithsonian. I wanted to do a quick detour to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On our way, we stopped to see the new World War II Memorial. Here is a photo:

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It was a beautiful memorial, and it was very traditional, but Sujal and I both felt it lacked something. For me it lacked the personal quality the Vietnam War Memorial has. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful piece of artwork.

While there, I read an inscription that was a quote (now I don’t remember the particulars) about the naval force (I think?) being victorious. I mentioned to Sujal that I know that the US was “victorious” in WWII, but that I had never really thought of it in those terms. I don’t really think of wars as ever being victorious. Of course I know wars are fought to be won, but I don’t believe that wars have winners. That is not to say that I don’t believe the US should have been involved in WWII. Hitler needed to be stopped for sure! But I still do not think of the US as being “victorious.” Yes, we “defeated” Hitler, but we lost a lot. I think of the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. These potential semantics made Sujal question me on my comment.

This line of thinking demarcates a zone where Sujal and I do not think alike. We have very different ways of conceptualizing and perceiving the world, thus it led to a bit of a confrontation. Being the established married couple we are (we are not newlyweds anymore), we easily weather all disagreements.

After we passed the WWII Memorial, we walked past the reflecting pool that separates the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. One end was pure sludge — algae and whatever else might have been growing. It was just disgusting, stinking muck. And yet, we saw this:

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These two ducks were in the sludge with their little beaks in the muck. Somehow it just seemed like a metaphor for the state of our current administration. Sujal and I had been talking about Dickens on the ride down, and this was just too Dickensian of a symbol to pass up.

After a long, hot walk, we finally arrived at the History museum, to find out it was closed for renovations. We then headed to the National Gallery. I really wanted to see one of my favorite paintings — it hangs there. I saw it twice before, and I love it. So we went to find it in the wing of American art — also closed for renovations. Then I recalled that sometimes the artist is groups with the French Impressionists. I asked at the info desk, and yes, Mary Cassatt is grouped with the French Impressionists. The clerk asked which painting I was looking for, and I told her that it was Child in a Straw Hat. She looked it up and said that it was not on display at this time. I was a little heart broken, but I somehow managed to go on.

We went to the Air and Space Museum next. After seeing a few exhibits, we went to see an Imax movie called Adrenaline Rush which was about skydiving and base jumping. It was decent — the camera shots were beautiful, but the script was really cheesy. Then we went to see Cosmic Collisions, a planetarium show narrated by Robert Redford, which was also decent.

After getting our space ice cream, we hoofed it back to our hotel. We stayed at the Topaz Hotel, a very trendy and eco-friendly hotel in DC. It is part of the Kimpton Group, trendy, eco-friendly fairly upscale hotels. We really liked the place a lot. It is decorated in a modern and eclectic fashion, so it is kind of funky. We definitely recommend it, especially during a summer weekend, because we got a really cheap rate!

We then went out for a lovely dinner at Raku — An Asian Diner. We were so hungry, that it tasted like one of the best meal we’ve ever had. It was good, too. We each had pad thai. I also had the vietnamese spring rolls. I love them! I used to order them whenever I went to Lotus, a restaurant in Minneapolis. Vietnamese spring rolls are tough to find around here.

The next morning, we met Sujal’s friend Kim for a lovely brunch at another Kimpton hotel. Then we headed home on another traffic-filled highway. Of course we made a pit stop in New Jersey where Sujal got me a great anniversary gift (I’d already given him his). All in all, it was a pretty great first anniversary. We’ve both been fairly busy (he more so than me), so it was good to spend some time together.

Taking a Little Sample

I came home last night with takeout from the new Ambassador of India Cafe in West Hartford Center. It’s a vegetarian restaurant that boasts Jain Cuisine. This strikes me as odd — like saying something like Catholic Cuisine. But my very smart husband said it is probably sans garlic and onions — roots you’d have to kill in order to harvest. The first words out of Sujal’s mouth were, “Oh boy — Govind is gonna be mad at you.”

Well, he has no need to worry. As if it were not enough that his location is WAY more convenient, the food cannot compete. I ordered the saag paneer (palak paneer), and it was very salty. I think Sujal and I will give Ambassador a second try, but it simply cannot beat our favorite, India Oven.

Pintu’s

We had dinner with friends at Pintu’s, an indian restaurant in West Springfield, MA. My friends Lara and Joe live in Springfield, and they found this great place a few years back. Part of the reason they keep coming back is because of Pintu himself, the gregarious restauranteur. We’ve now been there several times, and it is a great place — rivals India Oven. Their Saag Paneer is great, as is the Nav Ratten Korma. I like India Oven’s Shahi Paneer Korma a bit better.

As I said, one of the great aspects of the restaurant is the owner himself. He always remembers us, no matter how silly I’ve been during my last visit. He remembered we were getting married in Maine and asked us how it was. He is also great at suggesting wines, as we had a great shiraz with our dinner. The low lighting and rich colors of the decor make for a great dining atmosphere. So when in West Springfield, stop in and try it out!

India Oven

We go there all the time, so I figured it is time to write a review. We love India Oven, an indian restaurant in West Hartford, CT on Park Rd. It’s very close to our house, so we go there often, and sometimes in the summer we walk there for a date. The owners are very nice. I’m the one who usually picks up the food, and Govin always asks how Sujal is. It’s kind of fun to be a regular. When we first moved here, it was tough to find a place we liked. We don’t like the Taste of India in West Hartford — far too oily. We liked New India, a place in Simsbury, but it’s a drive for us. I really liked Kashmir in Hartford. The take-out at Cosmos International is also good, but India Oven is our clear favorite.

We highly recommend the paneer shahi korma. It is SO good! Their saag paneer is also good, as is their chana masala. I’m also a fan of the dal makhani. The interior is small, but the dining room is nicely decorated. The Hartford Advocate has a review, albeit by someone who’d never been to an indian restaurant. I can’t say I love the review itself, but the writer does a nice job of describing the owners. Here’s a slightly better review. Anyway, we love the place. I’m about to go pick up our dinner now.