Jamba Juice blenders whirl together fresh fruit for healthy smoothies liberated from artificial flavors, preservatives, and high-fructose corn syrup. From the classic menu, the Aloha Pineapple thickens straws with pineapple sherbet and bananas or, with a different inflection, bananas and pineapple sherbet. All Fruit smoothies invite just 250 calories of Peach Perfection or Pomegranate Paradise into a fruit-exclusive clubhouse, while Pre-Boosted creations introduce natural supplements. The immune-boosting Açai Super-Antioxidant. Light smoothies bear fewer than one-third of the calories and half of the sugar of a Jamba classic, so mango-, orange-, and peach-infused sips of Mango Mantra cause less guilt than forgetting your mailman's birthday.
Tapping into the storied tradition of Lebanese baking, Zen Bakeries lets customers sample the fruits of a wood-fired brick oven in the form of artisanal flatbread and pita treats. Patrons can choose from either white or whole wheat for nearly all of the baked morsels. The shop's kitchen wizards mix and knead both varieties daily, ensuring that outdated dough such as yesterday's pita and two-dollar bills have no place in this world. Early risers can stop by for a freshly baked egg-and-cheese pita pie ($3.50) or side with sweet in its epic battle against savory by ordering an eye-opening Nutella-and-banana pita pie ($1.50–$3.50).
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.
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.
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.