Sunlight filters through white lace curtains into Tea with Tracy's tearoom, casting delicate shadows across wooden tables, straight-backed dining chairs, and three-tiered serving plates stocked with sandwiches and sweets. This Victorian elegance befits Tracy's location in the center of Seymour's historic antiques district, and a menu that steeps more than 100 different flavors of tea, including English breakfast, white peach, and hot cinnamon spice from Harney & Sons Fine Teas.
To accompany whistling kettles, cooks also bake sweets such as scones, banana bread, and Swedish brownies, or fill crust-less tea sandwiches with curried egg salad, English cucumbers, and mint-infused cream cheese. In addition to its refined finger foods, the shop also prepares visitors to host their own gatherings by selling elegant china alongside tins of aromatic tea.
The soaring tunes of weekly live musicians and the enticing scents of café fare mingle midair before drifting across the comfy couches and photography speckling Doug's Hideaway Café. The menu offers a who's who of italian meats tucked below a blanket of veggies, oil, and vinegar with the hoagie-roll-wrapped Italian Stallion ($6.99), and the healthful Hideaway wrap's mix of turkey, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts packs fewer calories and more taste than an astronaut’s entire freeze-dried Thanksgiving dinner. Daily rotating soups ($2.79 for a small, $3.59 for a large) accompany made-to-order sandwiches ($5.99) and leafy salads ($3.59–$6.99) with steamy, aromatic draughts.
At HSC, the bread-hugged, gourmet menu items earned the 2010 Best Sandwich vote from the Fairfield County Weekly —a victory achieved through a blend of fresh ingredients and fill-up portions. Positioned front and center on the café menu, the aged Vermont cheddar cheeseburger scores savory points by featuring all-natural patties made from unfussed-with beef. The rest of the menu reads like a musical playlist for diverse tastes. The China Girl jazzes up a chicken wrap with Asian elements such as the ginger-pineapple glaze ($7.95), and the Magnificent Seven tops tomato and mozzarella with pesto and red peppers ($8.50). The smear of Cajun mayo adds spice to the turkey- and ham-stuffed Fire on the Bayou, which is served warm ($7.95). The rest of the options include salads, breakfast food, and an extensive specialty café drink menu packed with sips that sound more like desserts; the Snickers or candy-cane lattes should satisfy a snappy sweet tooth.
Stockbridge's Gourmet Cheesecakes & Café's more than 45 varieties of cheesecake have won Connecticut Magazine's Best Cheesecake in Connecticut award for nine consecutive years and been featured in The New York Times. But even though its vast number of cheesecake and its selection of scones, cookies, and pastries would suggest otherwise, Stockbridge's is not just a bakery. The eatery also offers dishes to sate appetites for every meal, such as omelets, sandwiches, salads, and burgers. And unlike traditional bakeries and DMVs, Stockbridge's has a BYOB policy.
Book Trader Café stacks more than 16,000 titles of gently used books on its shelves, combined with second-hand DVDs and CDs that transform the inventory into multimedia brain food. Literary works and academic books on art, architecture, and paper towels line the store, their spines inviting readers to sink into their vivid and educational worlds. A cult-fiction section assembles an apocrypha of fringe scribes, photography books tempt eyes with their luscious pages, and a children's-book section tempts kids to burrow into a fort of words. Most titles average $4.95, and staff carefully curates each one to ensure a quality recycled collection sans fraying bindings or torn pages. While Book Trader Café's inventory rotates frequently, the online store lists troves of its selections and lets bibliophiles reserve books by phone. With new old books in hand, patrons can stroll over to the café to enjoy them and further sate their appetites for letters by reading the menu.