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.
Alexandra and Romeo fell in love in France over cups of flour and sugar as Romeo completed his professional boulanger and patissier training. Today, the couple recreates quintessential French flavors in their West Hartford bakery-café, where the menu kicks off with breakfasts of pain au chocolat and almond croissants. For lunch, chefs build sandwiches such as Le Brie with cheese and butter, and the Eiffel, whose roasted chicken breast, carrots, and cucumber stands 324 meters tall. Desserts such as macarons and chocolate-hazelnut mousse cake pair with a cauppuccino or café au lait to round out each meal.
La Petite France also rolls out its portable crepe cart to special events throughout the area, where French-speaking chefs (upon request) whip up sweet or savory crepes for parties of 20 or more.
With the help of her grandmother, My Dream Cupcake's founder Julie L. learned to bake mouthwatering cupcakes at age 6. She discovered a natural passion for baking, and over the years, family and friends gushed with praise for her handheld treats. Since 2010, she's shared her gift with the public, crafting made-to-order cupcakes using quality chocolates, vanilla bean, and farm-fresh eggs. She eschews shortenings, oils, and prepackaged mixes, which ensures her desserts are free of trans fats and preservatives. In addition to their decadent taste, many of her desserts look almost too appealing to eat, such as her ornate children's birthday cakes and the cupcakes she frosts to look like hydrangeas and roses.
The olive oil advocates at O'Live A Little unveil a collection of more than 45 olive oils and vinegars on tap for visitors to try before taking up flavor commitments. Condiment foodies taste their way across the globe, sampling extra-virgin olive oil plucked from Morocco, Greece, and regions throughout France and Italy. California-garlic olive oil adds pungency to slabs of steak, and mandarin-orange olive oil infuses Asian-inspired dishes with flavors fruitier than Carmen Miranda’s hat collection. Sweeten a bowl of greens with dark balsamic vinegars available in pineapple, tangerine, and fig varieties, or sprinkle salads with shredded up love letters. O’Live A Little’s helpful staff fields questions on condiments’ preferred uses and delicious recipes so that each drizzle reaches its toothsome potential.
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.
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.