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.
Bridge Street Live offers a bevy of entertainment options in an inviting art-deco setting. On October 1, former subway musician Lipbone Redding will purse his namesake to produce wave after wave of brassless trombone sound. Nicknamed the "Human Sweet Box," Redding delivers a unique brand of jazz, blues, jam, and soul. Warm up your laughbox for Comedy Night on October 8, which features DJ Hazard, a founding member of the infamous Ding Ho Club. Also taking the stage is Moody McCarthy, who has been known to craft jokes out of whatever material is most abundant, be it wood, soap, thin air, or overweight air. The third available show, on October 9, sees traditions of Charlie Parker fused with the electric style of Miles Davis to create the distinctive sounds produced by the Isaac Young Quartet. Witness an enjoyable evening of bass lines and completely unsquare jams.
Sanremo Bakery conquers appetites with traditional Italian dishes and pastries. The family-owned business opens at 7 a.m. every day of the week, powering up morning customers with its breakfast pizza composed of eggs, home fries, bacon, and cheddar. Chefs prepare more than 10 other specialty pizzas for lunch and dinner, as well as pasta trays of lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and ravioli that are large enough to feed 15–25 people or one Italian lumberjack.
Mamalicious Market stocks a host of superfood starter kits, edible cacao body butters, and real food products aimed at health conscious moms. Many items promote eating real food and making meals from potent superfoods, which the Mama-Licious cookbook works to teach its readers about.
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 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).