By morning, it's a breakfast hub known as The Good Egg Café. During lunch and dinner, the festively colored space, draped in twinkling string lights, turns into Pepperclub Restaurant. Entering the eatery is like stepping into a crayon box; the walls are painted in a lively palette of oranges, purples, blues and reds. Though the globally inspired menu draws on local seafood, beef, and lamb for Indian curries and Greek recipes, vegan and vegetarian dishes such as baked and stuffed jalapeños, veggie burgers, and asiago risotto cakes with portobello are also plentiful. After finishing off complimentary homemade bread, patrons ease sugar cravings with a handmade chocolate cake, or ease sunburns by applying cool vegan tapioca directly onto the sun.
Modernity has permeated both Thistles Restaurant's cuisine and decor, and helped earn it a Certificate of Excellence in 2013 from TripAdvisor. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Alejandro, whose kaleidoscope of culinary skills includes dishes popular in Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Contemporary fixtures shine light down on the smorgasbord of selections, and red, black, and white accents fill the dining space just as accent marks fill the menu.
Eschewing modern mixes and thickeners, the dessert designers at Maple's transform fresh milk, eggs, and cream into a host of more than three dozen gelato and sorbetto flavors crafted in-store in front of salivating patrons. Maple's ice engineers buy ingredients directly from Maine's local family farms and embrace traditional artisanal methods such as working with microbatches and running chunky cream through a cotton gin.
Each autumn, the tree branches at Ricker Hill Orchards begin to bow under the weight of a new generation of McIntosh apples, as they have for more than 200 years. Since 1803, the same family has cultivated the orchards, which today nurture several varieties of apples, pears, and peaches. Along with produce aisles along the East Coast, the fruit fills the baskets at Wallingford’s Fruit House, where shoppers just may save them from another fate: the bakery. There, raspberries, peaches, and blueberries tuck into pies or turnovers and hand-rolled crusts envelop apples to become fresh dumplings. The store also bakes fruitless sweets such as donuts and cookies and bottles fresh cider for pouring over a coach’s head after he wards off all the crows from the field.
In the fall, visitors can explore the orchards and pick apples themselves, hunting down such varieties as Cortland and Red Delicious. Wallingford's Fruit House’s backyard lets youngsters lose themselves in a variety of ways, from the corn maze to the petting-zoo animals’ thought-provoking lectures about delicious grass.
Frothy mugs of nine different draft beers and a belief that you can never use too many peppers complement chef Jon Russell's surfeit of steak, seafood, and pasta. He tosses hot peppers into his Peppers chicken dish and sprinkles peppercorns onto his signature steak, which is then flambéed in brandy. When taste buds are craving the saltiness of seafood and licking snowplow trails won't suffice, he grills Atlantic salmon, rubs sesame onto sushi-grade tuna steak, and weaves fettuccine around bits of lobster, shrimp, and scallops. He rounds out his menu with a selection of burgers, Mexican fare, and homemade desserts that guests can enjoy on the restaurant's patio or in the casual dining room with exposed brick and tropical stained-glass artwork.