The Messina family started creating fine pastries and baked goods at Dortoni Bakery in Levittown in 1976. Over the years, their business expanded to include a pair of upscale pastry shops (La Bonne Boulangerie), a pizzeria (Red Tomato Pizza), and Messina Market. At the marketplace, visitors choose from a sumptuous selection of cold and toasted sandwiches, fresh fruits, and veggies, watching in awe as chefs prepare omelets, paninis, and burgers without harming a single spatula. A 20-foot display case shows off an impressive spread of housemade quiche, pot pies, and vegetarian dishes, the dinners taunting grumbling stomachs from their safe perches behind the glass. Gift Baskets—such as the candy-stuffed junk-food package or Italian gourmet basket—reward loved ones with parcels of sweets, fruits, jams, and jellies. Also available are catering services that supply weddings, holiday dinners, and luncheons with everything from country-style barbecue to Russian caviar.
Home to more than 1,000 marine animals, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk entices visitors of all ages with glimpses of the Long Island Sound’s rich ecosystem. Pintsize adventurers thrill at the touch tank, which puts friendly rays and other inhabitants of the Sound at arm's reach. Sharks swiftly navigate a glass-enclosed exhibit, giving visitors an up-close view of the powerful creatures without having to disguise themselves as bigger sharks. The friendly staff members feed seven harbor seals three times a day, inviting landlubbers to watch and ask questions as the whiskered inhabitants chow down. A six-story screen displays larger-than-life images in the IMAX theater, as educational tales of seafaring critters and jungle dwellers inspire folk ballads about the family cat. The behind-the-scenes tour steers visitors through the jellyfish nursery and fish kitchen before piloting toward the Open Ocean exhibit, where participants can toss in fish to feed the sharks, and then after-dinner mints to curb the indecorous effects.
Every sandwich, soup, or salad from Jimmy's Mediterranean Deli packs a colorful wallop of imported ingredients. Fresh soups ($3.50–$6.50), breakfast platters, and piping hot daily specials furnish visitors with an island of variability within the meatball-flooded ocean of life. The deli’s specialty Greek- and Italian-style cuisine parades proudly in their sandwich menu. Encased meat-seekers can escape to the boot-shaped birthplace of Pinocchio with the italian classic decked with genoa salami, rosemary, ham, provolone, tomato, and onion ($6.25), or sink into a gyro or chicken souvlaki served on a bed of pita and blanketed with sheets of tomato, onion, and a comforter of cucumber sauce ($5.50). Meanwhile, the sandwich-averse can grab pizza by the slice ($1.75+) or pie ($5.25+).
Outfitted with spas and treadmills, Pooch Hotels are nearly the same as human accommodations, with one key difference: your dog might get a tummy-rub with their turndown service. These venues were all designed by dog-lovers whose main priority was canine comfort, regardless of the length of each guest's stay.
Dogs on daycare visits, for example, are sorted by size and temperament before entering one of multiple play areas. Monitored by human "Pack Leaders," they socialize amidst toys, treats, and wading pools at select locations, or run outside if the weather and facilities permit. Those who have booked a room for the night can relax in a private suite, outfitted with a glass door rather than bars. These range from standard to presidential and even palace suites?rooms outfitted with luxury bedding and flat-screen televisions tuned to dog-friendly programming. Customers might also schedule a spa appointment for their pooch, choosing from services such as baths, "pawdicures," and even facials.
The hotels pursue peace of mind for owners as actively as they pamper their dogs. Certain locations have installed web cameras in the play areas and suites, enabling people to check in on their pets and guilt them about the time they napped instead of writing a postcard. Staff remain on-hand at all times to welcome newcomers and care for already-snoozing pups.