Darlene Delaney and Sue Bisesi are best friends and cousins who also describe themselves as the Lucy and Ethel of the cupcake industry. That's because they each bring a special skill set to SuzieCakes, the bakery they opened together after months of planning from opposite coasts. Darlene pilots the business side of the operation and researches new products, and Sue expertly mixes the batter and buttercream frosting for the shop’s signature cakes and cupcakes. Today, the team is united in their “neighborhood boutique cupcakery,” where customers can peruse a menu of nearly 100 flavors with deliciously creative twists. Examples include a chinese-five-spice cake with brown-butter frosting, and the Balsamic Blast, a cake that melds sweet strawberries and strawberry-balsamic buttercream with the gentle bite of a balsamic-reduction glaze. Cake pops, whoopee pies, and buttercream truffles are also ideal for commemorating special occasions, and frosting shots deliver sweet buttercream pick-me-ups perfect after hard days spent stealing John Wayne’s footprints.
Located inside the CT Post Mall, Sakura Garden seats over 400 people, plus space for another 80 in their private party room, and uses warm lighting and exposed-brick walls to surround a decorative indoor tree that plays host to cherry blossoms and the occasional Cheshire cat. Experienced chefs decorate dishes with colorful pieces of sushi and hot hibachi entrees, and the sleekly sneezeguarded buffet arranges a long line of dishes brimming with a rotating selection of nearly 100 different sushi and traditional entrees. At the full-service liquor bar, which is highlighted by blue and purple lighting, customers can occupy their hands with martinis, sake, and beer while keeping an eye on the flat-screen TVs in case a public-service announcement comes on while enjoying happy hours every Monday through Friday.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Rita’s Italian Ice has won over many customers with its gelati, a top-selling treat that sandwiches a layer of italian ice between two layers of frozen custard. Infused with fresh fruit, the shop’s ices evoke Italian desserts much more pleasantly than pasta drizzled in hot fudge, and silky frozen custards and cream slide effortlessly down throats. Blendinis commingle frozen custard with chunky mix-ins for a hearty summer snack, and Mistos combine italian ice and custard in drink form. The shop not only supports cooling patrons down during heat waves but also supports other causes, such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, for which it hosts frequent fundraisers.
Inhabiting a wedding-white Victorian building, Rainbow Gardens invites patrons to dine in quaint yet funky surroundings, either inside among sponge-painted orange walls or outside on a covered porch. The menu of American fare is littered with punning names, such as the Untoucha BLT sandwich or the Beauty and the Beef grilled tenderloin fillet. The cocktail lounge offers views of the Milford Green through stained-glass and picture windows, as well as mixed drinks such as the pineapple- and cranberry-infused Rainbow Flirtini.
At Zach's Deli, a straightforward selection of sandwiches, salads, and wraps beckons guests. That selection ranges from the leftover sandwich stacked with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry-infused mayo to the nutty gorgonzola salad tossed with mixed nuts, roasted peppers, onions, and gorgonzola. Zach's Deli also brews coffee daily, and does so with beans it grinds onsite.