Today Rusko has found a new place for coffee. We are visiting family in Hartford Connecticut and stayed at the Comfort Inn of East Windsor. Close to the hotel is It's A Grind Coffee House in East Windsor. The cafe is close to an exit of the road in a tiny plaza with stores and restaurants. This place also has a McAuto addition to its big lounge seating. We liked it because it was more of a big chain and also had a lot of options in their coffee drinks and tea. We had the chance to try 3 different drinks: Hazelnut Toffee Crunch that was refreshing and tasty , lemon chamomile tea and a creamy latte . It's A Grind also has a selection of pastries including cookies, brownies, rice krispy treats, donuts, bagels, etc.. Although we did not try any food they all looked tasty! The environment is pleasant. In fact, the store strives to put games and toys in a corner for kids along with a sophisticated yet relaxed environment for adults. The room is large and has chairs, a faux fireplace and contemporary art. The music was jazz and blues and helped us relax after the long journey. Overall, we enjoyed our experience at It's A Grind and prefer a coffee because the service is more personal. In fact, the barista (by associating with waiters Starbucks) brought drinks to the table in exchange for having to wait in the bar. It was just what I wanted after a journey of 5 hours with jams from Pennsylvania.
Libby’s Italian Pastry Shop is a traditional Italian bakery located in the heart of the New Haven’s Little Italy. They sell gelato, cakes, and cookies by the dozen. They do not sell single cookies (other than cannoli) so be prepared to purchase a box to go. Expect to find traditional Italian cookies flavored with anise seed, and an amazing selection of cannoli, pasticciotti, spumoni, and Zeppole di San Guiseppe cookies. After gorging on pizza at Frank Pepe’s Pizzaria, you should head to Libby’s for a sweet treat - or a dozen - which is the perfect close to a meal. They have ample indoor cafe-style seating that has a 1950's or 1960's feel and several outdoor benches.
I read a lot, so of course I am a huge lover of bookstores and cafes. Atticus Bookstore Cafe, located in downtown New Haven, is the perfect mix of the two. In addition to selling a wide selection of books for both children and adults, they also serve delicious coffee, tea, soups, sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats. They have ample room to sit and have special take-away coffee deals. Atticus Bookstore Café has been open for over 30 years and has become the destination for students, locals, tourists, and celebrities. On your next visit to New Haven you should add Atticus Bookstore Café to your must-visit list.
The city of New Haven is diverse, historic, cultured, and home to the venerable Yale University. But what it’s really known for is pizza. New Haven-style pizza, derived from Neapolitan pie and sometimes spelled “apizza” (and pronounced a-peetz, though this is hardly required when ordering) has a thin, charred crust and less cheese than other regional varieties.
There are numerous places to get your pizza fix in New Haven. The most famous, and the first (it dates from 1925) is Pepe’s. Next is Pepe’s long-time rival, Sally’s. Modern is frequently the third spot mentioned. So why do I recommend Bar? First of all, the space is cool yet comfortable. Second, though Bar might be packed, it’s less likely to attract long lines of tourists ve read one line about Pepe’s vs. Sally’s in a magazine. Third, you can multitask here: it’s not just a restaurant but a nightclub and, unsurprisingly, a bar (with house-brewed beers.) And most importantly, the pizza – which comes with a vast array of topping choices - is delicious.
Burn it off with a walk around the green, the boutique-lined streets surrounding the Yale campus, or one of the parks on the waterfront.
Eating at the Singapore Grill makes you feel like you have been transported across the sea for a tropical vacation in Singapore. The food is incredibly authentic, as the owner and chefs have come directly from Singapore and have made an effort to not alter their cooking style. The Singapore Grill also offers delicious sushi and a full vegetarian and vegan menu. For any dietary restrictions or with questions, just talk to the friendly owner, as he will do anything he can to make your meal as enjoyable as possible. Despite the funny location of the Singapore Grill, the meals are unexpectedly delicious.
The New Haven Pizza scene is dominated by a pizza war between Sally’s and Frank Pepe's. As in any pizza war there is always a flavorful winner. In this case it is Frank Pepe's by a long shot. The pizza at Pepe's is served on a giant tray that practically covers the entire table. I love the spinach and salami topped pizza but there are numerous other toppings that you order to create your perfect custom pizza. There are now several locations of Pepe's but the original remains the best and is located on Wooster Street in New Haven’s Little Italy. The pizza tastes just as it did in Italy.
Planned B Burger Bar serves beef from cows that are treated humanely, and not filled with antibiotics, dyes, or hormones. Beef is ground daily and the burgers are always made fresh and served with the best possible beers and bourbon. Planned B Burger Bar has an extensive and unique menu that serves specialty burgers, with toppings such as mozzarella cheese, jalapenos, caramelized onions, avocados, and wasabi mayonnaise. They also serve large meals, smaller snacks, and a variety of fries and salads. If the weather is nice it is best to grab a seat outside, but be sure to check out the beef-themed indoor decor.
The Pita Spot, located in downtown Mystic, serves authentic Mediterranean food. The waitresses are incredibly friendly and are dressed in colorful skirts adorned with bangles and bells. If you do not know what something on the menu is they will gladly explain it to you. The La La Chicken, which is sold in a variety of sizes, is a crowd pleaser, and the kebabs, falafels, and grape leaves are amazing. I love to order the appetizer sampler because then you can try several of the amazing Lebanese dishes. If you have a larger party you can call ahead and the waitresses will save a table for you.
The Green Marble is a cafe in downtown Mystic that has been around for as long as I can remember. The Green Marble has casual indoor and outdoor seating areas that are strewn with reading material and games, which makes it a popular hang out for locals. They serve numerous coffee beans from all around the world, delicious bagels, and several delectable pastries. The Green Marble is a coffee addict’s heaven as they have locally roasted coffee beans from different regions and their menu describes the flavors and specialties of each coffee bean. The Green Marble also sells locally roasted coffee in bags that are designed in collaboration with a local illustrator. This is a perfect place to spend the day.
Noah’s is a sun-filled restaurant located in the quaint Stonington Borough. Notably, the movie, Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones filmed a scene in Noah’s. Noah’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner - but is known by locals for their incredible weekend brunch. They have delicious French toast, pancakes, omelettes, and many other delicious American and Portuguese - inspired breakfasts. For lunch and dinner they serve local shellfish, fish, meats, and vegetable dishes using local foods when possible. They also offer an additional gluten free and vegetarian menu. When visiting Noah’s be sure to check out the walls, as they are lined with local paintings and drawings that are for sale.
The Tibetan-run Northern Indian Restaurant on State Street in New London is delicious. During lunch on weekdays they offer a reasonably priced unlimited lunch buffet. When you sit-down for a meal you are always served delicious papadum, an Indian crispy bread, which is served with a trio of fantastic dipping sauces. I really enjoy their samosas, naan, and chicken saag. They also allow their customers to choose the spice-level and if asked make their food as spicy as the authentic dish should be. Additionally, they have numerous vegetarian and vegan options. The owner, who also acts as the server, is very nice and always willing to explain any dishes. The restaurant is very clean, casual, and relaxed.
Open seasonally from September through December, B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill is the oldest steam powered cider mill in the US. Clyde's is really a hidden gem that draws tourists and locals alike. While the kids learn about making apple cider the adults could easily sneak some 'adult' hard apple cider - the kids will be none the wiser. Don't forget to stuff your face with their incredible apple treats (the donuts are my favorite) or purchase jams, jellies, and cider to enjoy throughout the year. Go ahead, have more than one, it's only open for a short time each year!
Michael’s Dairy must be added to your New London, Connecticut itinerary. Michael’s Dairy is only open seasonally in the spring and summer; check their website for the current schedule. Michael’s Dairy has been open for over sixty years and was the last milk-processing dairy in New London. Now, Michael’s Dairy is located next to Mitchell College and is now managed by the college and is used to teach hospitality and tourism to college students. Michael’s Dairy balances traditional ice cream flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and cookie dough with northeastern specialties such as Graham Central Station, Moose Tracks, and Maple Walnut.
Flander’s Donut and Bagel Bake Shop, located near the East Lyme High School, opened in 1972 - I am sure to everyone’s delight. Flander’s Bake Shop opens very early (4 am) in the morning to sell their delicious homemade donuts, bagels, pastries, and coffee. The shop offers very little seating space and typically you purchase your goodies to go. Flander’s Donut and Bagel Bake Shop only takes cash, but their baked goods and coffee are very reasonably priced. Every time I am in the area I make sure to pick up my favorite - a crumb donut and coffee to go!
Fred’s Shanty in New London is an outdoor casual dining food stand. At Fred’s Shanty you order from a window, wait for your number to be called and then take your food to one of their outdoor tables. From the outdoor tables at Fred’s Shanty you have views over the New London Marina and portions of Electric Boat. This restaurant is a favorite for locals after a day at the beach or in hot weather and is often crowded. Fred’s Shanty serves grilled and fried foods for very affordable prices. My favorites from Fred’s Shanty are onion rings, long hot dogs, chicken fingers, and seafood.
Though Jack’s Pizzeria is not anywhere near a tourist destination it is worth a visit. Jack’s Pizzeria serves delicious New York style pizza that is made in a brick oven. Jack’s is a relaxed restaurant with a full bar and extensive menu that includes grinders, sandwiches, burgers, calzones, salads, and Italian specialties. Jack’s Pizzeria also offers a children’s menu with smaller portions and cheaper prices. Jack’s Pizzeria also offers a special deal, so if you purchase three pizzas you get one free. I have often ordered take out pizza from Jack’s and the pizza is always prepared on time, is hot, and is prepared with quality ingredients.