Featured by Paul Stern on Mansfield-StorrsPatch in 2011—just months after its opening—Coriander Cafe & Country Store has hatched quite the name for itself in Eastwood. According to Stern, brothers Scott and Brett Laffert run the show with Brett, a former chef and self-proclaimed “country person at heart,” transforming local ingredients into gourmet sandwiches, burgers, and straw hats. The shop makes all their breads—from ciabatta to whole wheat—in-house before stacking them with fresh-carved turkey and cranberry sauce or homemade black-bean patties. Yet the cooks don’t stop at handheld fare; the menu changes daily and can include anything from pan-seared haddock over corn-and-chive griddlecakes to braised pork belly with a side of chipotle grits.
Coriander Cafe also welcomes early risers into its country confines for a cup of fair-trade and organic coffee from Red Barn Coffee Roasters, a homemade bagel, or a decadent pastry such as a raspberry scone or cinnamon-sugar donut muffin, which guests can enjoy inside or amid fresh-picked oxygen molecules on the backyard deck. A fully stocked country store outfits fleeting customers with all the necessities, from homemade cookies and Red Barn coffee to gourmet jams and hot sauces.
Alexandra and Romeo fell in love in France over cups of flour and sugar as Romeo completed his professional boulanger and patissier training. Today, the couple recreates quintessential French flavors in their West Hartford bakery-caf?, where the menu kicks off with breakfasts of pain au chocolat and almond croissants. For lunch, chefs build sandwiches such as Le Brie with cheese and butter, and the Eiffel, whose roasted chicken breast, carrots, and cucumber stands 324 meters tall. Desserts such as macarons and chocolate-hazelnut mousse cake pair with a cappuccino or caf? au lait to round out each meal.
La Petite France also rolls out its portable crepe cart to special events throughout the area, where French-speaking chefs (upon request) whip up sweet or savory crepes for parties of 20 or more.
The café menu at Hartford Baking Company displays a slew of sandwiches framed in fresh artisan breads and pastries baked from scratch. Fluffy multigrain bread cushions the roasted turkey slathered in cranberry-sage mayo and caramelized onion jam ($7.45), and the flavor of roast beef emerges full-force when coaxed by a blue-cheese spread and caramelized onions, all resting on a rustic roll ($7.95). Hartford Baking Company counts among its doughy dominion a variety of weekly rotating bread selections as well as everyday flavors including honey whole wheat, walnut raisin, and french peasant bread that longs to eat cake. A slice of signature chocolate arrives swathed in either cream cheese or mocha frosting, and scones or biscotti compliment steaming cups of Harney & Sons tea ($1.89) or Stumptown coffee ($1.50–$2.12).
Consuming between 9 and 13 servings of vegetables and fruits each day can seem like a daunting task. But Robeks turns what could be a chore into a delicious pastime with fresh juices and blended smoothies that incorporate oranges, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, mangos, and other fresh fruits. Elsewhere on the menu, fresh salads, tasty muffins and cookies, and gourmet sandwiches help customers adhere to a healthy lifestyle without hiring an apple tree as a personal trainer.
To unpack everything 226 Jazz Art Java has to offer, it's easiest to work backwards through the name, starting with java. At 7 a.m. each day, baristas begin crafting organic, free-trade coffees into classic beverages such as cappuccinos and espressos. Gluten-free goodies like muffins, bagels, and cookies complement cups of joe in the morning, while entrees of salads and wraps appear around lunchtime. By day, patrons can enjoy these meals while taking in 226's surrounding art shows?panoplies of local paintings, photography, and mixed media that rotate monthly. The final part of the equation is live jazz, which transforms the space on two Saturday nights each month.
The chefs at River's Edge Bistro culled their recipes from the culinary traditions of the 21 countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. They make hummus from scratch and flame-broil skewered chicken and shrimp doused with classic Mediterranean spices. Lamb gyro tucks into a pita with a dollop of tzatziki sauce, and crispy falafel balls are drizzled with tahini sauce.