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Nuggets by Judy Henderson

Effie’s Theory of Relativity.
Keeping everyone happy in a family restaurant may not be child’s play, but Effie’s knows how. First, they provide excellent service you can count on, because no long waits means no long faces. Second, they offer the kind of genuinely good cooking that keeps everyone chewing and smiling — except for the occasional “geez, that’s tasty” in between bites. Finally (and this is big), breakfast is served ALL DAY! Why? So their customers can start the day whenever they feel good and ready to. How smart is that? I mean, if things can’t be a little relative in a family restaurant, where can they be? — J.H.
Effie’s Place Restaurant
91 Park Rd., West Hartford
860-233-9653
effiesplace.net

 

Do yourself a flavor.
No matter where you’re going, slow down, hang a left (or a right), and head directly for West Hartford’s award-winning East-West Grille, because this little Asian restaurant — at home in a vintage ‘50s diner — is aptly named for offering a truly authentic Eastern dining experience despite the Western setting. Indeed, their superb “fusion dishes” from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China all feature that delicate balance of spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty flavors connoisseurs crave. And how’s this for real hospitality: Mindful of how much we Americans like to start the day with our trusty old standbys, East-West’s breakfast menu includes plenty of bacon-and-egg basics, as well as pancakes, waffles, and French toast right alongside some tempting Asian selections. And you’ll be glad to know East-West not only caters but also offers cooking classes every Monday. So hit that blinker and turn yourself into an East–West Grille fan by discovering what everyone else already has: That extra “e” in “Grille” is for excellent. — J.H.
East-West Grille
526 New Park Ave.
West Hartford
860-236-1627; 860-236-3287
eastwestgrille.com

 

Let’s face it.
In business, getting ahead starts with getting a head shot. You know, one of those small, informal portraits that you can share online or in print with real confidence — because believe me, holding that phone as far away from your face as your arm will permit and snapping a selfie is not going to get the job done. And that means you might not get the job. Or that new client. Or an interview with what’s his name. Or a date with that good-looker on your new dating site. Whatever. So how about this? You focus on being good at what you know how to do and let Face Forward — the hot shot in head shots — focus on focusing, lighting, a bit of composition, and the final editing necessary to not only tell your story but give it a happy ending. — J.H.
Face Forward Headshots
860-937-2124
faceforwardheadshots.com

 

Sea for Yourself
Located just above the borough of Fenwick, Saybrook Point sits at the mouth of the Connecticut River, its vistas of Long Island Sound, historic Saybrook Breakwater Light House, and the river itself splendid — the endless parade of fishing and recreational vessels in every shape and size mesmerizing. So it’s no wonder Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa is one of the best seats in the house for those who love the smell of salt air, the cool touch of a sea breeze on a warm summer afternoon, the sounds of sails luffing when the tide is slack and the air still, the muffled hum of inboards and outboards, and the sound of halyards clanging on the sloops and catboats and daysailers docked nearby. If all of that isn’t enough, this luxurious resort also offers exceptional spa services at Sanno Spa. Superb dining at Fresh Salt or lighter fare in the Marina Bar — both with menus featuring locally sourced, seasonally fresh ingredients and tables with stunning views. The Inn features stylish accommodations, from cozy rooms to impressively spacious suites, with close proximity to a host of other shoreline attractions you can enjoy right away — or save for your next visit. Or the one after that. Because once you’ve discovered Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, you’ll be back. — J.H.
Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa
2 Bridge St., Old Saybrook
800-243-0212
saybrook.com

 

Branching Out
Sotil Tree Service, family-owned and operated since 2007, has long been a good resource for anyone needing a certified arborist to remove a tree (or two or three), growing sick or old — or simply growing in the wrong place. But there’s more to the Sotil story than making trees disappear because this is one tree service that can also make them reappear. Indeed, Rick Sotil’s reverence for trees and the wood they yield has taken an interesting turn, leading him to branch out into custom-designing and building superb tables from beautifully grained woods of all sorts. Kiln dried and burnished to perfection, they begin a whole new life as coffee, side, dining, night, and accent tables, as well as bars, countertops, and islands, thanks to Tables by Lasa, Rick’s newest venture. And according to Rick, when “the next generation” receives his license as a certified arborist, as will happen quite soon, he will become the new head of Sotil Tree Service — and Dad will be turning his full attention to creating more of his extraordinary tables, already in great demand. Check them both out. — J.H.
Tables by Lasa
426 South Grand St.,
Suffield 203-906-6001
www.tablesbylasa.com

Sotil Tree Service
P.O. Box 428, East Granby
860-844-8259
www.facebook.com:
Sotil Tree Service

 

Putting the “Din” in Dinner
There’s only one place we know of where you are guaranteed actual sizzle with your meal, and that’s Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Fact is, Ruth’s Chris Steak House learned a long time ago that broiling the finest cuts of beef to perfection, topping them with a buttery mix of freshly chopped parsley, then serving them on a 500-degree plate so customers can actually hear the savory flavor isn’t simply the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart. It’s the shortest route. And when they discovered that they could make chicken and chops and seafood deafeningly delectable, it sort of lit a fire under them — and before you knew it, Ruth’s became an international favorite. The good news is there’s one close by in Newington. Where? Just follow your ears. — J.H.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
2513 Berlin Tpke.
Newington
860-666-2202
ruthschris.com

 

A bit inland.
And out of this world.

It’s true. Canton is not very near the Connecticut shoreline. But a meal at Saybrook Fish House makes you pretty sure that when you finish your dinner and walk out the door, you’ll see the tide rolling into the parking lot — seagulls circling above, sand at your feet, and some little kid with a brightly colored pail and shovel digging his way to China. Well, at least for a minute, anyway, and that’s because this place is, as they say, simply fresh fish. And lots of it. Alphabetically: Calamari. Clams. Cod. Crab. Escargot. Mussels. Oysters. Salmon. Scallops. Scrod. Shrimp. Snails. (*See Escargot.) And sole. But landlubbers! Fear not! Their beef and chicken entreés are guaranteed to make hanging out with fish fans tastily tolerable. So if you’re missing the beach, head for Saybrook Fish House. It’s a close second. And you won’t need sunscreen. — J.H.
Saybrook Fish House
460 Albany Ave., Canton
860-693-0034
saybrookfishhousecanton.com

 

Sip. And savor.
Oh sure. Bar Louie offers a luscious list of libations, including perfectly made Martinis, classic cocktails, some sassy Sangrias, and myriad Margaritas and Mojitos. But where would all of those delicious drinks be without an equally marvelous menu of fancy flatbreads, bodacious burgers, scrumptious salads, seriously stuffed sandwiches, and persuasive plates — all in need of being washed down. So what you really have at Bar Louie is a place where eating and drinking go together like Blackened Fish Street Tacos and a Me and Julio Margarita…a Backyard BBQ Burger and Strawberry Lemonade Sangria…their Voodoo Sandwich and a Cucumber Gimlet…or the Chop Chop Salad and an Orange Mule. Add a few friends, some good conversation, and a slice of their chocolate cake — described as “six epic layers of chocolate on chocolate hedonism” — and you’ll see why Bar Louie is more than just a bar. It’s the place to go when you want to Eat, Drink, and Be Happy. — J.H.
Bar Louie
51 Isham Rd., West Hartford
860-969-5770
barlouie.com

 

The Hole Truth
Who doesn’t love a good bagel, right? And while almost any bagel is better than no bagel at all, there’s no “settling” at Goldberg’s Gourmet Bagels, Deli & Café, because Goldberg’s bagels are primo — all 20-plus varieties bigger and better than just about any bagel anywhere else. And they swear there’s no secret ingredient either — just a commitment to making their bagels the way bagels were meant to be made: boiled first, then baked. And since that’s how they’ve been doing things for half a century, they should know. Of course, Goldberg’s has more to offer than bagels, and it’s all just as good. From great breakfasts to robust sandwiches, tasty salads, satisfying sides, and some seriously sweet baked goods, their stuff is terrific. Kids have their own menu. And they cater, too. So go. And enjoy. Everyone does. And that’s the truth. The hole truth. — J.H.
Goldberg’s Gourmet Bagels, Deli & Café
38 Isham Rd., Blue Back Square
West Hartford, 860-967-3783

1131 New Britain Ave.
West Hartford, 860-231-8688

114 Vernon St., Trinity College
Hartford, 860-297-4155
goldbergsbagelcafe.com

 


all nuggets copyright Judy Henderson