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.
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.