Consuming between 9 and 13 servings of vegetables and fruits each day can seem like a daunting task. But Robeks turns what could be a chore into a delicious pastime with fresh juices and blended smoothies that incorporate oranges, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, mangos, and other fresh fruits. Elsewhere on the menu, fresh salads, tasty muffins and cookies, and gourmet sandwiches help customers adhere to a healthy lifestyle without hiring an apple tree as a personal trainer.
When you think of a typical convenience store, you likely think of shelves stocked with unhealthy grab-and-go snacks, questionable premade food, and old, watered-down coffee. But though it’s technically a convenience store, Harvest Country Store has none of those things.
First of all, it’s full of local, organic, and natural groceries, including quinoa and organic chocolate bars. An article in the West Hartford Patch says the community-minded owners want to “serve the needs and special desires of their neighbors, in an ethnically and racially-diverse part of West Hartford that doesn't have many other retail establishments within walking distance.” That's why they stock ready-made sandwiches and salads and infused organic waters.
In addition to its healthy groceries, Harvest Country Store offers sustenance in sweet and savory forms, from soft bagels and artisan pastries to Connecticut-born ice cream in pretzel cones. And its coffee bar only serves all-organic, fair-trade coffee, which can be topped with syrups that are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly and free of high-fructose corn syrup.
For those who wish to sit as they sip or snack, there's free WiFi and indoor and outdoor seating.
The café menu at Hartford Baking Company displays a slew of sandwiches framed in fresh artisan breads and pastries baked from scratch. Fluffy multigrain bread cushions the roasted turkey slathered in cranberry-sage mayo and caramelized onion jam ($7.45), and the flavor of roast beef emerges full-force when coaxed by a blue-cheese spread and caramelized onions, all resting on a rustic roll ($7.95). Hartford Baking Company counts among its doughy dominion a variety of weekly rotating bread selections as well as everyday flavors including honey whole wheat, walnut raisin, and french peasant bread that longs to eat cake. A slice of signature chocolate arrives swathed in either cream cheese or mocha frosting, and scones or biscotti compliment steaming cups of Harney & Sons tea ($1.89) or Stumptown coffee ($1.50–$2.12).
The Puiia family, native New Yorkers, dreamed up Between Rounds' menu in 1990, and ever since they have skillfully prepared its freshly made sandwiches and baked goods, in the process enticing the palates of reporters from Better Connecticut. Each day, bakers whip up signature New York–style bagels in a variety of flavors before pairing them with cream cheese, cobbling them into breakfast sandwiches, or hurling them in impromptu games of ultimate frisbee. Hailing from the lunch roster, freshly baked flaky loaves and rolls surround premium deli meats and cheeses as baristas grind fresh beans for gourmet coffees and specialty espresso beverages. The arena in which the bakers and baristas operate sparkles with the sunlight pouring over the tabletops of the colorful, WiFi-saturated dining room, and a drive-thru window allows customers to enjoy meals without leaving their cars, vans, or sleds.
Jitters Café deftly intermixes locally grown, organic ingredients whenever possible to fill empty stomachs with a toothsome menu of soups, salads, and baked goods. Lavish neglected spice yens with a pungent bowl of veggie or meat chili flanked with stacks of crispy tortilla chips ($3.75/cup, $5.75/bowl), or spoon up savory destiny with a cup of the rotating soup of the day ($3.50/cup, $5.50/bowl). A vitamin-kissed mixed greens and spinach salad laced with candied walnuts, grape tomatoes, and judicious sprinkles of feta cheese ($6.75) hones jaw muscles and rabbit impressions. Guests can opt to eschew greenery entirely for the primal chew of cheese, pepperoni, or veggie pizza by the slice ($4–$5). Congo lines of freshly whipped desserts fill sweet teeth with bites of strawberry-topped cheesecake ($5.50), vegan cookies ($2.50), and frosty glasses of ice-cream-kissed frozen coffee ($3.50).
Passiflora’s eco-conscious menu brims with more than 140 varieties of tea and wholesome fare prepared with local and seasonal ingredients. For breakfast, a flourless veggie mini quiche sparks dozing synapses with the help of sourdough flax or gluten-free toast ($6.99). Patrons access free WiFi after fashioning an impromptu mouse pad out of lunchtime options, which include a basil pesto chicken panini ($8.99) or a homemade veggie burger ($8.99). Meanwhile, black, oolong, green, and white herb bundles from the vast tea menu bathe luxuriously in cups ($2–$4.25) and pots ($3.75–$6.75); smoothies such as cardamom-ginger-mango lassi ($6.50) tempt palates with flavors as smooth and complex as a calculus class taught by Marvin Gaye.