Elemental – Plenty Potent Punch

Friday, November 1, 2013 - by Willie Mae

While casually searching for places to eat for a late lunch one day, I had driven by Elemental and it was not open so I planned to go back to try them for dinner sometime when I could get Lois to go.

The door said they opened at 4:00 so we showed up at 4:00 on the dot, but when we went in, the manager informed us that even though they open at 4:00, they don’t serve dinner until 5:00. That didn’t make sense to me… why would anyone go to a restaurant, if they don’t plan to eat? I understand that most people don’t eat dinner as early as the older folk, but why not just open at the time when you are allowed to order? I didn’t know what Lois and I would do for an hour.

I started to head back out the door, but then Lois said, “Couldn’t we just wait? We could have a cocktail and just relax before we eat.” That sounded okay to me as we had been out shopping and could use the rest.

I figured that it would be okay since we had to wait an hour before ordering our meal. I would just sip on something, but I couldn’t imagine sitting on the hard bench at our table for an hour before we even got to order our food. They did offer a few bread appetizers, but we wanted to just wait for our meal.

When our waiter came to our table I just knew that his hair wasn’t real. It was yellow-blonde with waves. I thought he was a little funny and then I saw a snake around his neck! Lois didn’t quite know what to think of our strange friend, but then it dawned on me - he was dressed for Halloween. He said he was a crocodile hunter.

When Lois asked if they had margaritas, he told her they didn’t offer those but he could make her one - it just wouldn’t be as tart. I ordered a Tom Collins – that’s just lemonade with a kick. When he brought our cocktails, Lois’ drink was chilled but with no ice. It was in a small glass, so it was quite deceiving when she began to feel it go to her head. Mine was fine and had a lot of ice, so I wasn’t too worried to be driving in a couple of hours after having our meal.

Lois couldn’t understand why she felt a little light-headed from such a small glass. My guess was that she had no ice and that may have made the difference. When our waiter came to check on us, I asked if we could order an appetizer, because we still had 30 minutes before we could order dinner. I mentioned that the margarita had gone to Lois’ head a little and the boy told us that when they got their liquor license, they made it to where they could put two ounces of liquor as opposed to one and a half ounces that most places serve.

They really should tell people that up front. If customers don’t expect that (and they didn’t walk to the restaurant) I would think it is just a responsible thing to let people know the drinks pack a punch!

I didn’t want Phil to get upset with me for bringing his wife home schnokered, so we ordered warm goat cheese with bread and foraged mushrooms. We were the only ones there and our waiter was so attentive that I could not take notes to remember the prices. I think our appetizer was around $7.00 and we both spent around $30.00 for our meals and drinks.

I never had goat cheese warmed before and it was good. The plate was garnished with arugula and the waiter said that most of their food comes from local farms. After getting something in her tummy, Lois insisted that she could handle another margarita since they were small.

We were finally able to order and Lois chose the stuffed rabbit dinner. It came with rainbow carrots, smashed potatoes, and kale. I had the trout with rainbow carrots, kale and it was garnished with watermelon rind.

I had never thought of eating water melon rind before, but it seems these restaurants nowadays are finding uses for everything – and it’s actually good! I loved my meal. I think Lois’ punch was doing its job. When the waiter came to check on us, she said to give ‘congra-shoo-ay-shuns’ to the bartender. I got a little tickled, but I knew she was just being funny.

We began to feel a little lonely because it was after five and there still weren’t any customers in the restaurant.  At first, I thought maybe this place was mostly for drinkers, but they have such good food and I like their concept of using local growers, it didn’t seem like a place just to have a bar. Then I remembered it was also Halloween, so that is probably why we were their only customers. I told Lois that most people don’t eat dinner as early as she and I do and she said, “Shoot, country folk are usually done with the dishes by six!”

I wanted to try the rabbit, so I asked Lois if I could cut a piece off and give her some of my trout. In doing so, I spilled a few of the smashed potatoes from her plate and I tried to scoot them under her plate where she couldn’t see my mess.

Lois kept telling me her squirrel was good and I had to remind her that it was ‘rabbit’. She just smiled and said, “I don’t care”. My carrots had a different flavor and were light in color. Lois told me they were turnips. Just to be sure, I asked the boy what they were and he reminded me that they were ‘rainbow’ carrots and they come in different colors. Lois had thought she was eating turnips all that time. When I told her that hers were also carrots, she just smiled and said, “I don’t care.”

She enjoyed her margaritas so much that she really didn’t have an opinion on the squirrel…er… rabbit, but I liked the food and I liked the way it was prepared. They didn’t cook the nutrients out of the vegetables and you could taste the freshness!

I teased Lois that she better eat a little more so she could walk straight when she got home, but she just smiled and said, “I don’t care.” The more she would say that, the more I got tickled. I knew she was putting on, but she sure did smile a lot.

I enjoyed my meal and, if I offer any advice, it would be to open for dinner when you plan to serve it. And… just to be safe - let people know before they order a cocktail that it has more alcohol in it than what is usually served.

As we left the place, Lois and I discussed our dinner bill and she joked, “I sure got my money’s worth with the margaritas!”  If you go, just be aware of the plenty potent punch.

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