At HSC, the bread-hugged, gourmet menu items earned the 2010 Best Sandwich vote from the Fairfield County Weekly —a victory achieved through a blend of fresh ingredients and fill-up portions. Positioned front and center on the café menu, the aged Vermont cheddar cheeseburger scores savory points by featuring all-natural patties made from unfussed-with beef. The rest of the menu reads like a musical playlist for diverse tastes. The China Girl jazzes up a chicken wrap with Asian elements such as the ginger-pineapple glaze ($7.95), and the Magnificent Seven tops tomato and mozzarella with pesto and red peppers ($8.50). The smear of Cajun mayo adds spice to the turkey- and ham-stuffed Fire on the Bayou, which is served warm ($7.95). The rest of the options include salads, breakfast food, and an extensive specialty café drink menu packed with sips that sound more like desserts; the Snickers or candy-cane lattes should satisfy a snappy sweet tooth.
Stockbridge's Gourmet Cheesecakes & Café's more than 45 varieties of cheesecake have won Connecticut Magazine's Best Cheesecake in Connecticut award for nine consecutive years and been featured in The New York Times. But even though its vast number of cheesecake and its selection of scones, cookies, and pastries would suggest otherwise, Stockbridge's is not just a bakery. The eatery also offers dishes to sate appetites for every meal, such as omelets, sandwiches, salads, and burgers. And unlike traditional bakeries and DMVs, Stockbridge's has a BYOB policy.
With its aristocratic origins?it was a custom started by an English duchess?afternoon tea has a bit of a reputation for being stuffy. Tea with Tracy hopes to change that notion.
Though it's located in the historic antique district of Seymour, Tea with Tracy is not quite like some of its neighbors. Instead, it welcomes patrons to plop down on its comfy furniture and sip a hot cuppa while inhaling the aromas of fresh scones. The Connecticut Post said, "it is so comfortable, it feels like home."
Plus, a tea menu with more than 180 options includes such unconventional sips as blueberry-crumb-cake black tea and bubblegum herbal tea, as well as classic teas, including sencha, one of the most popular green teas in Japan. Patrons sip these brews and nibble on finger foods, such as scones slathered with jam and savory tea sandwiches.
Tea with Tracy also hosts bridal showers and parties, in addition to afternoon teas, and it equips guests with everything they need for at-home tea brewing, even tea-pot jewelry.
Book Trader Café stacks more than 16,000 titles of gently used books on its shelves, combined with second-hand DVDs and CDs that transform the inventory into multimedia brain food. Literary works and academic books on art, architecture, and paper towels line the store, their spines inviting readers to sink into their vivid and educational worlds. A cult-fiction section assembles an apocrypha of fringe scribes, photography books tempt eyes with their luscious pages, and a children's-book section tempts kids to burrow into a fort of words. Most titles average $4.95, and staff carefully curates each one to ensure a quality recycled collection sans fraying bindings or torn pages. While Book Trader Café's inventory rotates frequently, the online store lists troves of its selections and lets bibliophiles reserve books by phone. With new old books in hand, patrons can stroll over to the café to enjoy them and further sate their appetites for letters by reading the menu.
The traditional dishes of Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia make their way to Ten Asian Bistro's tables prepared to dazzle any hungry guests who've taken seats inside. Instead of reciting the prologue to Beowulf as they await their meals, diners can watch chefs craft sushi rolls from gourmet cuts of fish and savory accoutrements such as tobiko, scallions, and tempura breading. A panoply of noodle dishes, including pad thai and chow fun, team up with a choice of four meats to sate carnivores, and a steaming wok infuses shrimp and scallops with flavors such as lime, lemongrass, and pineapple. Sake and other spirits inspire toasting before meals, and catering services facilitate noshing in homes, offices, and epicurean mosh pits.