Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cupcakes in West Hartford, and other tasty treats.

Much has gone on in the world of food lately. I've been bad with pictures, so my cookies will have to wait, but I'll tell about some things that have no accompanying pictures anyway.

Cocoa, on Farmington Ave in West Hartford (where Puerto Vallerta, and before that, Edelweiss, used to be) opened on December 23rd.
We (my parents and I) went here for lunch the day after Christmas, after Mom and I had spent 4 hours at Westfarms in the midst of after-Christmas sales. We were looking for something calm and quiet, and on our way to CVS and Larry's (aka The Greeting Shoppe), we passed Cocoa, and I wanted to at least check out the menu.

The restaurant itself is very spacious and calm. The bar area was fairly posh, a place I'd want to go for drinks in the evening. They were decorated for Christmas, with simple lighted garlands high up on the walls. We sat near the back, near the french door. It was cold, and I was glad I'd worn a sweater. Mom and I split the ham and cheese (prosciutto and mozzerella on foccacia, and I asked for the basil vinaegrette on the side, with a side salad) and the beet and chevre (with red cabbage) salad. Dad had a turkey sandwich. Prices were decent. We split the mini cupcake plate (coconut, red velvet, chocolate with chocolate frosting, and lemon meringue). The presentation was lovely, but the cupcakes themselves were a bit dry... all in all, we liked the place, and while the dinner prices were steep (around $25 per entree), we'd go back for lunch. The dessert menu had about 8 things we wanted to try.

After some more shopping (where we picked up a feather-on-a-stick toy for Pansy, which is about 3-4feet long, and had to carry it around WH center), we stopped for gingersnap (gingersnap, not gingerbread... not sure if it's actually different) lattes, we went to the Front Street Bistro (I think that's the name) for cupcakes. We had coconut, which was very, very good: moist and dense, not very sweet cake with coconut in it, with a really good vanilla buttercream with coconut on it. We also had a vanilla cupcake. The cake was the same as the coconut (minus the coconut), but the frosting was not worth eating. It was the kind of frosting that made me hate bakery cakes back in the 1980s. But I'd definitely go for another coconut cupcake.

Clint's mom made caramel popcorn that she sent up to us, and I need the recipe. It's delish! We've dined mainly on Christmas cookies and Christmas dinner leftovers (roast beef, salmon, leek and gruyere bread pudding (which turned out much, much better this time.... and I never blogged about it last time, that'll come), jello, salad, mashed potatoes and green beans).

I also made a semifreddo for Christmas dinner, which had some issues (in making hte custard, I overcooked it and essentially scrambled the eggs. Custard #2 was much better) but turned out great in the end. It's supposed to make enough for one 9x5 loaf pan, but I split it into two shorter loaf pans, so half the recipe was the perfect amount for 11 diners on Christmas night. We'll eat the other later this week.

I need to go to the gym daily in January.


Jen said...

I'm interested in trying Cocoa--it is really cute on the outside. We might have to give it a go one of these days.

Congrats on finishing your thesis--I defended mine (in history) last summer. What a relief. I live in W. Hartford now after having attended grad school in Boston for many years. Your blog is a lot like mine ( cook and sew a lot and have only recently taken up knitting. There's something about working on a PhD that begs for side interests and hobbies!

sara said...

we ate at Cocoa the other night and had the cupcakes too. I thought they were moist and delicious. The red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting was my favorite. It was VERY pretty and yummy!

Actionman said...

Planning on going to Cocoa this weekend, but trying to find their phone number to inquire about their hours, as they don't have a website up yet. Any help? The place sounds delicious from your review...

sara said...

cupcakes aren't on the dessert menu anymore! boo hoo! had banana tartlette instead with caramelized bananas, YUM, vanilla bean pastry cream=heaven!