If you stumble over a few of the ingredients in Life Alive’s signature Goddess bowl, don’t worry—you’re not the only one. That’s why the restaurant’s website keeps a glossary of its menu’s potentially baffling ingredients and their health benefits. The Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce, for example, may seem outlandish to Americans but “the Champagne of Soy Sauce” shouldn’t be. It’s 100% organic and non-GMO, ages for four years in cedar kegs with less salt than traditional soy sauce, and is completely raw. Ginger adds an extra dose of healing, since it naturally eases digestive issues and nausea, as well as ulcers and inflammation. In this particular dish, the potent sauce flavors a medley of carrots, beets, broccoli, dark greens, tofu, and short-grain brown rice—a nutritional powerhouse all on its own. The Goddess bowl epitomizes Life Alive’s approach to vegan food: it should be organic, whole, and therapeutic, and use ingredients that come from local farms. And, it should meet these requirements without sacrificing flavor or convenience. In addition to nourishing the body, Life Alive believes that cuisine should also benefit the environment and the community. That’s why the restaurant sources its ingredients sustainably, recycles and composts scraps, and uses biodegradable packaging and cleaning materials formulated without chemicals or bacon.
Helmed by experienced chefs Caitlin Adler and Christopher Vuich, Sweet Bites tantalizes taste buds with delectable baked goods, coffee, and lunchtime eats. While sitting in the cozy, wood-beamed dining room, diners can ogle paintings by local artists as they choose a joy-inducing indulgence from the bakery’s breakfast and lunch menu or fully stocked dessert counter. Delve into the fresh-baked goodness of mini or regular-size cupcakes ($2.50–$3.50), moisten a mouth with an individual quiche ($7), or abandon a boring nine-to-five for a whirlwind romance with a donut muffin ($1.95). Bite into layers of ham, mortadella, salami, capicolla, muenster cheese, and spicy olive and roasted pepper relish with a muffaletta sandwich ($9). Flavorful salads such as the cobb ($12), caesar ($8), or the crispy duck, sprinkled with herb goat cheese, roasted peppers, sweet 'n’ spicy nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette ($15) are sure to enchant, while the toasted tuscan bread bruschetta, spread with mascarpone cheese, fresh fruit, and honey, offers sucrose-rich portions to please sugar-starved palates ($8). Sweet Bites is a kid-friendly eatery, so pintsize companions can be treated to a grilled-cheese sandwich ($6) or pizza bagel ($6), while their fully developed wardens recharge with a cup of Java Tree fair trade coffee or Two Leaves and a Bud organic tea.
Honey Dew Donuts founder Dick Bowen didn’t expect anything special to happen one winter morning in 1978. He simply arrived at his shop in Plainville, greeted his co-baker, and waited for the day's customers. Instead, what showed up was a devastating storm, known henceforth as the Blizzard of '78. The two bakers were snowed in and had nobody to serve their signature donuts to. Making the best of an unfortunate situation, they began experimenting in the kitchen and ultimately came up with the cinnamon stick, a helix of cinnamon and fried dough that would help their business reach even greater levels of popularity.
The snow ultimately melted, and Honey Dew Donuts went on to open several additional locations throughout New England. In addition to Bowen's signature cinnamon sticks, each shop serves steamy coffee drinks, freshly baked muffins, and dozens of other donut varieties.
The bean grinding gurus at True North Coffee steam, mix, and pour creative coffee beverages, as well as serve a delectable menu of freshly-baked pastries and sandwiches](http://gr.pn/g6VlHt). Patrons can recharge after a long night of werewolfing with a foamy cappuccino ($2.70–$3.60) or throw back a shot of carefully pulled espresso ($1.60–$1.80). Mochas ($3.05–$4.65), chai teas ($2.85–$4.30), and lattes ($2.70–$4.45) come steamed or chilled while True North Coffee's duo of pastry wizards whips up freshly baked treats such as sugary brownies and bars ($1.95), as well as berry-infused scones and muffins ($1.95). While visitors kick back and soak in the relaxing atmosphere and become hypnotized by the alternating colors of the lustrous wood floor, they can munch on classic café sandwiches ($2.50–$6.75) to silence midday hunger roars into satisfied belly meows.
You might say Nu Cafe is leading a double life. During the day, it's a classic neighborhood hangout, serving up simple, fresh wraps and sandwiches alongside a variety of smoothies and juices and espresso and coffee drinks. By night, it transforms into a hipper, slightly more sophisticated version of itself, a place where guests can come to mingle, not over their laptops, but around shared tapas plates, cured meat and cheese boards, and a selection of wine and craft beers. But regardless of the time of day, a few things remain the same: the vibe is always laid-back and friendly, the food is always crafted using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and the Wi-Fi is always free. And, adding to the community-oriented vibe, the cafes also host regular recurring events, including live piano players, painting parties, and chess groups.