City News caters to stogie-savvy shoppers with its well-stocked humidor, filled with a wide selection of cigars from a variety of brands. Patrons looking for sturdy materials can build a smokeable bunker out of Brick House Robusto cigars ($6.50), and imported Lochem ($12.50) lip logs, hand-rolled by master cigar-makers in Nicaragua, please choosy palettes. Puff on selections from Davidoff Marrakech ($18.50) and the Avo Heritage series ($9.50), or pair a bold Ashton VSG ($17.50) with a special brandy or a very special Brandy single.
Every Sunday, the culinary commanders at The Mansfield General Store line the shop’s wooden clapboard walls with classic brunch dishes. French toast serves as a crispy pedestal for scrambled eggs and bacon, which patrons can garnish with syrup and butter slung from dainty cut-glass dishes. Strawberry rivulets cut channels through fluffy pancake stacks and cornbread. Additionally, health-conscious diners can concoct a wholesome fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait. For dessert, forks pierce a crackly crust before sinking into the apple crisp’s gooey center.
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.
Stillanos Pikos has gone from watching stock prices fall on Wall Street to watching cakes rise in the ovens at Fusion Bakery & Patisserie. The bakery owner—who is originally from the Greek island of Rhodes—found his original career in finance to be less than fulfilling. After resisting the urge to follow in the footsteps of his family's food business, Pikos decided to enroll in the Connecticut Culinary School. He worked at an exclusive hotel restaurant before assisting friends with their bakeries, which gave rise to the development of Fusion Bakery & Patisserie. Jeff Mill of The Middletown Press notes that the name represents "a combination of European and American desserts,” and that the establishment "is a throwback to a time not so long ago when every town had a bakery, and often more than one."
Pikos and fellow pastry chef Jen McGuinness bake cinnamon rolls, brownies, danishes, baklava, and scones from scratch every morning. They prepare decadent wedding and specialty cakes, including The Very Best Carrot Cake with cream-cheese frosting and optional nuts. As reported by Cassandra Day of Middletown Patch, the bakery ran a "Where's Ginger?" holiday promotion in which patrons guessed the location of a gingerbread man shown in photos around town to win a free pound of cookies and a year of icing-based vinyl siding repairs.
The brilliant baristas at Klekolo pour steaming cups of joe and craft specialty drinks in their funky Court Street location. Using beans from a variety of roasters—most of them organic and free trade—the staff brews each cup ($1.30–$2.25) from the drip bar. Expertly made espresso ($1.25) steams in tiny mugs stolen from caffeinated elves, and specialty drinks such as the Witches' Brew transfix taste buds with a spell of caramel, hazelnut, chocolate, and espresso. Combat severe cases of indecision by filling tankards with smooshies ($5.75), a combination smoothie-slushie that dallies in fruit flavors as well as java incarnations. The pastry case houses a rotating selection of scrumptious sweets ($1.80–$4.95); recent offerings have included rich turtle-cheesecake bars and flaky lemon danish. While sipping from mugs, patrons can gaze at the local artwork dotting the richly hued purple walls, use free WiFi to email lonely houseplants, or admire the 10 cents they saved by bringing in their own bean-juice receptacles.