With the help of her grandmother, My Dream Cupcake's founder Julie L. learned to bake mouthwatering cupcakes at age 6. She discovered a natural passion for baking, and over the years, family and friends gushed with praise for her handheld treats. Since 2010, she's shared her gift with the public, crafting made-to-order cupcakes using quality chocolates, vanilla bean, and farm-fresh eggs. She eschews shortenings, oils, and prepackaged mixes, which ensures her desserts are free of trans fats and preservatives. In addition to their decadent taste, many of her desserts look almost too appealing to eat, such as her ornate children's birthday cakes and the cupcakes she frosts to look like hydrangeas and roses.
The olive oil advocates at O'Live A Little unveil a collection of more than 45 olive oils and vinegars on tap for visitors to try before taking up flavor commitments. Condiment foodies taste their way across the globe, sampling extra-virgin olive oil plucked from Morocco, Greece, and regions throughout France and Italy. California-garlic olive oil adds pungency to slabs of steak, and mandarin-orange olive oil infuses Asian-inspired dishes with flavors fruitier than Carmen Miranda’s hat collection. Sweeten a bowl of greens with dark balsamic vinegars available in pineapple, tangerine, and fig varieties, or sprinkle salads with shredded up love letters. O’Live A Little’s helpful staff fields questions on condiments’ preferred uses and delicious recipes so that each drizzle reaches its toothsome potential.
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-café, 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 café 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 Puiia family, native New Yorkers, dreamed up Between Rounds' menu in 1990, and ever since they have skillfully prepared its freshly made sandwiches and baked goods, in the process enticing the palates of reporters from Better Connecticut. Each day, bakers whip up signature New York–style bagels in a variety of flavors before pairing them with cream cheese, cobbling them into breakfast sandwiches, or hurling them in impromptu games of ultimate frisbee. Hailing from the lunch roster, freshly baked flaky loaves and rolls surround premium deli meats and cheeses as baristas grind fresh beans for gourmet coffees and specialty espresso beverages. The arena in which the bakers and baristas operate sparkles with the sunlight pouring over the tabletops of the colorful, WiFi-saturated dining room, and a drive-thru window allows customers to enjoy meals without leaving their cars, vans, or sleds.
The batter jockeys at the Sweet Spot Cupcakery and Bake Shop bake up six classic and seven premium flavors of butter-cream-frosted Lilliputian cakes. The classic confections range from chocolate on chocolate to a 10 Carrot creation whose chopped pecans and vanilla butter cream rest atop fluffy cake. Classic vanilla bean, red velvet, and marble cake also preen beneath fascinators of vanilla butter cream. For more lavish licks, premium cupcakes tempt taste buds with chunky pistachio frosting slathered on pistachio cake or rich chocolate cake capped with crushed-Oreo butter cream. Premium rum-raisin cakelets slur songs through their rum-flavored frosting, and neapolitan marble cupcakes maintain dignified poise beneath strawberry butter cream.