photo: fb @SPOyster Fresh Air and Great Food in Mystic Warmer weather in New England…
Each bakery in Mystic offers great coffee and tea along with freshly-made pastry. Here are favorite offerings from ten different businesses. Some offer sandwiches, soups & salads but all of them make great breakfast sandwiches. We couldn’t sample every treat from every bakery. Did we include yours?
Bleu Squid Breakfast & Bakery Cafe’s (above, photo by Elizabeth Saede) most popular pastry is the cupcake; 80 flavors of them! Winning TV’s Cupcake Wars draws attention from afar but superior quality and flavor create new fans every day. Salted Caramel is the most-popular flavor, moist with a homemade density and complex flavor that renders me powerless to resist. The caramel icing, caramel drizzle and dash of sea salt are balanced and not too sweet. Berrylicious has vanilla cake with real blueberry & raspberry pieces, and vibrant blackberry buttercream. Chocolate Caramel has moist chocolate cake topped with caramel buttercream, chocolate shots, caramel drizzle, chocolate ganache drizzle and chocolate buttercream crunch.
Bleu Squid, is in Olde Mistick Village and serves full breakfasts and lunch, Twisted Bene’s (eggs Benedict), gourmet breakfast sandwiches, freshly-squeezed juices, gourmet grilled cheese, sandwiches, soups and salads.
Tips: If you plan to consume fewer than three cupcakes maybe eat real food first. Let each refrigerated cupcake warm a bit for maximum eating pleasure. Okay, now try again with your second cupcake.
Bleu Squid is in Olde Mistick Village: 27 Coogan Blvd (bldg 16), Mystic
SIFT’s classic butter croissant is a flaky, buttery, tender mouthful of ethereal goodness with a crunchy golden-brown exterior owner, Adam Young, won the TV title of “Best Baker in America” last year And SIFT is undergoing a huge expansion to better serve the adoring public. But don’t let publicity fool you, the French-inspired bakery items are even better than the hype. Individual cakes are crafted into delectable miniature works of art. Expertly-crafted bread, cookies and brownies are divine. But those croissants! Oh, my! They are easily the most popular items.
81 layers of croissant dough transform into 13 creations such as chocolate croissants, Cinnamon Sugar Ebbieoche (named after Adam’s wife Ebbie) and Cheese Guava Danish. Try smoked ham and Swiss or a veggie combination that includes spinach, roasted tomato, shallot, garlic, Parmesan, Swiss, and Feta.
Another shape is covered in frangipane and toasted almonds, baked, split, and filled with almond and brown sugar whipped cream. Chive omelet, turkey, or chicken salad are sandwiched into butter or “everything” seeded croissants. The sticky bun is topped with toasted pecans. Window counter seating is available but stay tuned for so much more.
Tips: GO! Parking spaces behind and closest to SIFT are designated for 15-minute take-out. On-street parking is usually 2 hours.
Sift is at 5 Water St, Mystic
Li’s Bake Shop has freshly-baked soft chocolate chip cookies bursting with chocolate and responsible for countless smiles. Also popular are toasted almond chocolate chip scones, apple donuts, flaky fruit turnovers, muffins, gingerbread, cheesecake, layer cakes, bar cookies and brownies.
Cinnamon Rolls bursting with cinnamon filling and are topped with vanilla glaze. Moist cupcake flavors include tangerine, Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Caramel, Coconut and more! Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish, Asiago cheese bagel, and Salted Caramel Chip Cookie are perpetual favorites but the Devil Dog’s chocolaty moist cake wrapped around cream filling has a crazy following. Chorizo and egg on a bagel is a great way to start any day.
Tips: great coffee with $1 refills encourage on-site eating…few indoor seats or sit on the patio outside! Prior to 10:00 a.m. parking may be available in the lot behind Engine Room. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone I said so.
Li’s is at 15 Holmes St, Mystic
Deviant Donuts appear each weekend inside Vault Coffee Roasters (in Olde Mistick Village facing the highway) for a 10-flavor limited engagement. Marketing coordinator and donut fryer Maegan Foisie divides her time between studying digital media and business at UCONN and applying that education in this one-year-old business. The classic yeast dough proofs for up to 20 hours for a balanced, light texture and flavor. The classic cake-style donut comes in vanilla or chocolate then creative, homemade details are added. All donuts are huge and big enough to share but you won’t want to.
Vanilla Glaze is pillowy tender with vanilla glaze and is a clear favorite. Samoa is equally loved with toasted chewy coconut, vanilla cake, vanilla glaze, and a drizzle of dark chocolate glaze. Orange Chocolate has vanilla cake covered in orange glaze with crunchy chocolate bits affixed to the bottom and dark chocolate drizzle on top. A dark chocolate bon-bon rests on top.
Recent Favorites include French Toast, Unicorn (vanilla cake with multi-colored marshmallow buttercream and twisted white fondant horn), Peanut Butter Cup, Candied Bacon, Mixed Berry and Maegan’s favorite Coffee Cake.
Tips: Go early to secure favorite flavors. Menus are posted Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. on Instagram and Facebook. Open 8:00 a.m. Friday-Monday in the winter; every day in summer.
Deviant Donuts is in Olde Mistick Village: 27 Coogan Blvd (bldg 7b), Mystic
Mystic Market has 3 locations but I visit 63 Williams Ave. near the YMCA which is a full-service market with a busy bakery. The Flourless Chocolate Torte is divine. Layers of creamy ganache, whipped ganache & other delectable details melt in my mouth with a jolt of dark-chocolate flavor. The friendly couple sitting next to me is enjoying oatmeal raisin cookies and mention carrot cake is a favorite dessert. If you’re taking cake or pie to go the freezer case has local ice cream, gelato, and sorbet.
Layer cakes, bar cookies, special-occasion cakes, wedding cakes, cream puffs, pies, tarts, cheesecake, cannoli, and cookies beckon. A separate case holds International cheeses Taleggio, Manchengo, Humbolt Fog, Raclette, and jars of clotted cream. Cheese is a thoughtful nod to guests who aren’t fond of sweets.
Freshly-made sandwiches, creative salads, self-serve coffee and full dinners to go simplify any meal.
Tip: check online for daily specials which are posted a week at a time.
East location: 63 Williams Ave, Mystic / West location: 375 Noank Rd, Mystic
Lighthouse Bakery’s European-style pastry includes naploeans, cream puffs and tiramisu. Adjacent to the Mystic post office and tucked at the quiet end of a driveway a few seats are available to enjoy freshly-baked treats, coffee, omelettes, or breakfast sandwiches. Roulade-style cake slices, and cheesecake fill refrigerated glass cases. Massoud and his helper Tyler continuously process dough on a flour-lined table into assorted shapes. Most of these freshly-baked goods supply local restaurants which explains why the simple space is geared toward work rather than dining.
At Massoud’s suggestion I taste a puff pastry napoleon with vanilla custard center. The creamy flavor fondly reminds me of old world treats from Brooklyn and I hear the raspberry napoleon is even better. I take note of the sign for made-to-order pies but ultimately leave with still-warm bagels. My car smells great for the rest of the day.
Tip: Look for the sign and OPEN flag as the building is not easy to spot from the street. A few parking spots and patio seating are available.
Lighthouse Bakery is at 21 E. Main St, Mystic
B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill has generations of fans of their freshly-prepared apple cider donuts. The cinnamon sugar covered donut is the clear favorite. Beginning in late August, truckloads of fresh apples are converted into apple cider using the oldest steam-powered cider press in the United States. Cider and apples are transformed into pies, turnovers, dumplings, breads and other delicious treats. Colorful rocking chairs beckon from the wrap-around porch. For some kids, the best thing about a new school year is a trip to Clyde’s. Hot cider drinks, 100% apple slushies (man, are they good!), coffee and samples of hard cider are available. Don’t miss the specialty food items and gifts.
Tips: Clyde’s is open September 1st through December or whenever they run out of apples. Please observe “no parking” signs on local roads. For maximum education and fun, plan your visit to coincide with scheduled cider pressings.
B.F. Cyde’s is at 129 N. Stonington Rd., Mystic
Just Outside of Mystic
Indulge’s Lobster Tail is a shell-shaped pastry with lots of thin, flaky layers, a snowy coating of confectioner’s sugar and a moist ricotta citrus filling. Flavor and textures are delicious together and not overly sweet. Funnybone is a moist chocolate cake with an Italian peanut butter buttercream center and luscious dark chocolate ganache coating. This, too, is not overly sweet which makes it easier to enjoy dark chocolate flavors without feeling too indulgent. A variety of cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and pastries are also available.
Geri Moran and her staff serve breakfast sandwiches, nautically-named creative salads, sandwiches and coffees. Relax in overstuffed chairs or grab and go. Located directly across from the entrance to Stonington Library with on-street parking.
Tip: don’t forget that container of homemade dog biscuits for your furry friend.
Indulge is at 17 High St, Stonington
Loveridge Place is tucked away in an industrial section of Pawcatuck (Stonington). Despite the day’s rain, the butter croissant’s exterior is crunchy with pillowy interior layers of butter and melt-in-my-mouth flavor. The whole thing disappears in a self-indulgent flash. A huge scone has incredible light texture and a crisp exterior despite being packed with blueberries. Every mouthful is deeply satisfying. Buttery croissants in all shapes, sizes and flavors share baking racks and a display case with bagels and cookies among the intoxicating aroma of real butter. Owner Carla Gennuso produces superior pastries for our eating pleasure. Two men stand at a tiny counter eating breakfast sandwiches because there’s no room for tables in this serious work space.
A variety fruit tarts, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, homemade soups and self-serve coffee are available but don’t leave without croissants.
Tips: Currently open Friday-Sunday 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. but actively looking to expand into a larger space in a more visible location. Use your GPS if you must but GO now, GO often!
Loveridge Place is at 2 Prospect St. Pawcatuck (Stonington)
ZEST Fresh Pastry is tucked inside The Velvet Mill in Stonington Borough where owner Gabriella Winthrow sources ingredients from local farms. Local carrots are processed into a spicy, sweet, moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting but the Amazing Bar is a favorite of Shania who helps me. A graham cracker crust is piled with layers of dark chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, pecans, and white chocolate with a top garnish of sea salt. The chewy, sweet bar would pair well with coffee procured from Ashlawn Farm in Old Saybrook.
The industrial space has bar stool seating and long reclaimed wood tables with bags of toys to occupy kids while Mom & Dad relax. Assorted cakes, cookies and truffles are available including hand-painted wedding cakes. Beautiful amber bottles of vanilla beans in vodka or bourbon have transformed into vanilla extract for the discerning baker.
Tips: visit the winter Stonington Farmer’s Market inside the Velvet Mill Saturdays 10-1. The whole brick building is packed with interesting shops and artists who are open various days and times.
ZEST is in the Velvet Mill: 22 Bayview Ave. Stonington
Some final thoughts:
Bakers are hardworking, creative craftspeople who begin work in the middle of the night so our mornings can be sweeter. Please seek out these wonderful places and share your epicurean adventures with others in person, on social media and on YELP. Follow your favorite bakeries on social media for insight and inspiration. With our support they’ll continue to bake the treats we crave.