Fascia’s Chocolate began nearly 50 years ago as a family endeavor and it remains so today, whipping up white, milk, and dark-chocolate delights in small batches using a superior Swiss-style chocolate. Sink saccharine-seeking teeth into traditionally salty snacks made sweet, such as chocolate-covered potato chips and pretzels ($7.95+), while assorted truffles and cordial cherries make easy friends with even the most standoffish of taste buds ($16.95 for 8 oz.; $29.95 for 16 oz.). For a classic romantic gesture, pick up a medley of milk and dark-chocolate morsels in varied shapes and designs, some stuffed with timeless fillers such as caramel, nuts, creams, and more ($13.95 for a 15-piece box; $24.95 for 32-pieces), or, for truly special relationships, like the one between an irresponsible driver and a bribable parking enforcement official, are strengthened with a gift of specialty Fascia’s goodies, such as pecan turtles, truffle meltaways, and buttercrunch toffee ($14.95 for 8 oz.; $26.95 for 16 oz.). Moms deserve edible recognition with chocolate-dipped strawberries, especially on May 8, a holiday known to sneak up until it’s too late to get anything but a lame greeting card and a pet rock for the woman who brought you into this world ($19.95 for eight-piece box).
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.
Ever since Liberato and Guiseppina Dell’Amura opened their small Wooster Street bakery in New Haven’s Little Italy in 1922, the business has stayed in the family. Son and daughter Fortunato and Mae—followed by granddaughters Jo-Ann, Dolores, Marie, and Leona and great grandson Salvatore—have all taken on the family tradition of baking cookies, biscotti, and traditional Italian pastries daily.
In-store cases and trays are filled with traditional pastries such as cannoli, bigne donuts, and éclairs. The team can also wrap, box, and ship assortments of 24 types of Italian cookies and nine flavors of biscotti, as well as treats such as chocolate-dipped caramel apples, pretzels, and marshmallow pops. The team also hand-decorates sugar cookies in shapes such as shirts, shoes, and crowns in case an emperor is celebrating the first time he wore clothes.
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.