Best of Connecticut 2009: Food & Drink
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Archie Moore's New Haven, (203) 773-9870, and five other locations, (archiemoores.com).
If you love hot and spicy wings, know this: When 200 gallons of Archie's hot sauce spilled outside their Fairfield location earlier this year, a hazmat team had to be called in for the cleanup! Hot enough for ya? Throw in the fact that Archie Moore's has created some of the most popular wings in the state for 25 years running, and there's really no question where to go for the best.
Grants West Hartford, (860) 236-1930 (billygrant.com)
Attention, all chocolate cake lovers. Here are five reasons to indulge-flourless chocolate, chocolate tiramisu, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mousse and chocolate velvet mousse cakes. If you are having a hard time choosing, we recommend the totally decadent chocolate velvet mousse cake, which has an Oreo crust, is coated on the sides with Oreo crumbs and is topped with whipped cream and milk chocolate shavings. Chocolate paradise is a reality at Grants.
Rosie New Canaan, (203) 966-8998 (rosienewcanaan.com)
Think all carrot cakes are created equal? If so, you haven't tasted Rosie Nammack's, which raises the classic to a whole new level-in fact into the stratosphere. Which is only fitting, since her ultramoist, dense version is topped with "mile-high" cream cheese frosting and mounds of fresh, sweet coconut. Called "an object of cult worship" by locals, it's in a class by itself.
CAKE: FRUIT AND CREAM
Mozzicato's DePasquale Bakery & Pastry Shop Hartford, (860) 296-0426 (mozzicatobakery.com)
We think it's the best of both worlds-fruit and cake. Mozzicato's has perfected this union with its Italian fruit cake, a sponge cake layered with peaches, strawberries and whipped cream that's sure to satisfy the fussiest sweet tooth. Other taste thrills include the bakery's tangy lemon and raspberry mousse cakes.
Modern Apizza New Haven, (203) 776-5306 (modernapizza.com)
You thought they only did pizza? The outstanding calzones here are stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and parmigiano and baked until the inside is all melty and gooey and the outside is the essence of golden-brown perfection. Outstanding becomes magnificent with the addition of crabmeat, broccoli, sausage, meatball, mushroom, pepperoni, spinach or onion. They come small, medium and large, with sauce served on the side.
Sweet Rexie's South Norwalk (203) 853-2513 (sweetrexies.com)
Those with a sweet tooth-or teeth-will be amazed at the embarrassment of riches here: over 200 types of candy. There are chocolate mini pretzels, jelly bellies and all things gummy. There are M&Ms in every color of the rainbow, lots of golden oldies like Mary Janes, Bazooka Bubblegum, Bit-O-Honey and malted milk balls, and on and on. There are also puppets and puzzles, stuffed animals, arts-and-crafts kits and adorable PJs. In short, it's paradise for kids. And a great place to have a very sweet birthday party-with face painting, tattoos, games, pizza, make-your-own sundaes and more.
DelPrete Italian Pastry Bridgeport, (203) 333-6993
You might drive right by this small family-owned Italian bakery if the aroma of freshly baked cookies, cakes and pastries didn't stop you in your tracks. Inside, owner Lou Mezzo and crew bake up their specialties every day at the same shop where his father started more than 60 years ago. The sweetest of the dolci-the cannoli! Each crisp shell is made by hand, fried and then filled with the creamiest sweetened ricotta garnished with chocolate chips. Four to five thousand of the traditional and mini cannoli are sold here every week-it's hard to argue with a record like that.
Luigi's Bridgeport, (203) 374-4225 (luigisbakery.com)
Luigi's has been satisfying sudden sugar cravings since 1968. The bakery is known for its award-winning cannoli pies-filled with cannoli cream, topped with whipped cream and more cannoli cream, and sprinkled with cannoli crumbs and chocolate chips. After your first bite, you are sure to want a second, third, fourth bite and more.
Jordan Caterers Design and Event Planners Cheshire, (203) 272-8213 (jordancaterers.com)
For soup-to-nuts catering, Jordan continues to cop top honors, and if you've attended a Jordan event (at the Guilford Yacht Club, Lyman Homestead in Middlefield, New Britain Museum of American Art or Whinstone Tavern at Stanley Park in New Britain) and tasted their Kobe-beef miniburgers, Gruyere-and-crabmeat risotto and more, chances are you agree. On a growth spurt, they recently opened a Darien location to better serve Fairfield County clients.