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.

Hours

11:00 am - 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Where We Eat Exhibit Features Works By Jane Newman Displayed At Local Restaurants

"Where We Eat," a series of paintings by local artist Jane Newman capturing familiar moments at some favorite local eateries, will be on exhibit June 19-July 28. It will be at Reflections Gallery, 6922 Lee Highway. Gallery hours are  10 a.m.-6 p.m . There will be an artist’s reception celebrating this exhibition on  Thursday, July 13,  from  ... (click for more)

Heaven & Ale Opening 3rd Location On The Southside; Hutton & Smith Plans 2nd Site On Riverside Drive

Heaven & Ale, which has locations on the Northshore as well as in Ooltewah, will be opening a third location on the Southside at 615 E. Main St. in the fall. The old Atlas Bolt and Supply store is currently being renovated for the business. The bar received a special events permit for June 3, 10 and 17, for an introduction opening for the new location. The event, Heaven & ... (click for more)

Live Facebook Video Of Gang Members Displaying Guns Results In No Bond For Rollin 100s Crip

A video that was live streamed on Facebook showing several Chattanooga gang members displaying guns has resulted in one of those shown having a no bond placed on him in court. Judge Barry Steelman made the ruling in the case of Tadarius Hester who is charged in an aggravated robbery in April 2016. "How many other people were out doing that - in a vehicle with that many guns ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Deadly ‘Holy Trinity’

If you have grown tired and calloused to America’s horrifying opioid epidemic, please consider what the epidemic has become. A report last week found that, in the United States, emergency room cases including opioid abuse jumped a staggering 99 percent between 2009 and 2014. It is believed that last year over 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and – far worse – more than ... (click for more)