The traditional dishes of Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia make their way to Ten Asian Bistro's tables prepared to dazzle any hungry guests who've taken seats inside. Instead of reciting the prologue to Beowulf as they await their meals, diners can watch chefs craft sushi rolls from gourmet cuts of fish and savory accoutrements such as tobiko, scallions, and tempura breading. A panoply of noodle dishes, including pad thai and chow fun, team up with a choice of four meats to sate carnivores, and a steaming wok infuses shrimp and scallops with flavors such as lime, lemongrass, and pineapple. Sake and other spirits inspire toasting before meals, and catering services facilitate noshing in homes, offices, and epicurean mosh pits.
It takes but fresh fruit and a bit of ice to make many of Rita’s of Bridgeport’s signature treats, whose ingredients are made daily. More than 50 rotating flavors—such as Swedish Fish and mango peach—come in standard and sugar-free varieties to cool down most any craving. Customers can order their ices straight up, fill kiddie pools with them, or blend or layer them with decadent frozen custard in seven flavors, such as strawberry, coffee, and light vanilla. The custards come Italian ice-free as well, spiraled into cones or cups with sprinkles and hot fudge or blended with candy mix-ins.
When not serving the masses, Rita’s tends to the needs of local groups and organizations with fundraising opportunities. Sports teams and schools can organize money-raising “scoop nights,” sell quarts of custard around town, or purchase gift cards.
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.
In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
The dedicated culinary team at Marisa's constructs menu items, such as hearty steaks, pastas, and seafood, amid an elegant atmosphere accented with ivory tablecloths and soft lighting. An appetizer, such as the imaginative four-cheese-stuffed mushrooms ($8), puts makeup on the stomach before its main performance, the gargantuan 36–38 ounce porterhouse steak ($38), which cannot fit into many medium-sized pieces of luggage. Entrees also include the chicken marsala, which fuses marsala wine and a demi-glace with mushroom risotto ($18), and the butternut-squash ravioli and lobster, buttressed by shallots and wine ($25). In addition to pleasing tongues, Marisa's Ristorante assuages jealous ears with live music every Saturday and Sunday night.
Upon entering Tuscany Ristorante, guests are greeted by the sweeping country landscapes that pepper the bright-yellow walls, evoking summers spent under the Tuscan sun, sipping wine and dancing the tarantella until the INS showed up. The warm interiors paired with crisp white linens and hardwood floors infuse the restaurant with a casual elegance to match its classic, flavorful fare. The chefs whip up rich Tuscan dishes, including hearty pasta; prime, dry-aged steaks; and decadent housemade desserts. Pasta and risotto entrees showcase carb sculptures such as the rich rigatoni boccelli, which, like any marble statue, comes doused in pancetta and light vodka sauce. As guests dine, they can indulge in a bottle of wine plucked from the floor-to-ceiling wine rack that lines the walls with rustic wood planks and elegantly displays hundreds of bottles.