Bleu Squid has been a part of Mystic for over three years now and tout themselves as "not your typical bakery" which stands to reason as they are also a cheese shop and maker of some mighty fine grilled cheese sandwiches plus their name is a bit, well, odd for a bakery! When the shop's owner, Connie Carocari, picked a name for her business she chose a word that would represent Mystic's nautical roots (Squid) and combined it with another word to represent the cheeses that she sells (Bleu) and hence Bleu Squid was born!
Even though the shop had been designated "Best Cupcake" in the Best of Connecticut 2011 Guide that Connecticut Magazine publishes, I didn't know a thing about Bleu Squid until I first stumbled upon the cupcake goodness that is the Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop in East Haven and then started wondering about cupcakeries in the more local area. Even then, it wasn't until the other day when I took a look at Bleu Squid's website that I saw that in addition to cupcakes, they also specialized in grilled cheese sandwiches.
A cupcake shop that also served grilled cheesecake sandwiches? Seriously? It sounded like the perfect place to wander to for lunch so that's exactly what my oldest daughter Amanda and I did though Amanda didn't really know where we were going as I had only vaguely said that I needed to run some errands.
When I pulled into a parking space at Olde Mystic Village, a uniquely different shopping center filled with all sorts of specialty shoppes and eateries located in an Early American Village complete with a Colonial meetinghouse, waterwheel, duck pond (ducks included!), and gazebo as well as lots of picturesque flowers and trees and benches where folks can sit and enjoy an ice cream cone, Amanda looked rather confused and asked,"Why are we here?"
As I've been known to rather dislike shopping, it was a legitimate question so I explained to her that we were going to have grilled cheese sandwiches and cupcakes for lunch at a place that I had heard about and had been wanting to visit. "That means you brought your camera, huh?" Why yes, yes I did as a matter of fact!
The shop was easy enough to find on Journeyman's Row (Building 12D if you happen to have a map of Olde Mystic Village) looking very much like a summer cottage with its big bay window, small dormer, and weathered decking. I believe the look that they are striving for is that of a beach house as they also sell locally-made beach house-inspired gifts in addition to cheese, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, jellies, homemade soups and salads, fresh-baked breads and other goodies.
Bleu Squid's website lists 40 different flavors of cupcakes - which cost $2.50 for regular flavors and $2.75 for "adult" flavors - but they rotate them around a bit each day as their cupcakes are of the bigger variety of cupcake and the shop would require several more large cases to be able to hold all 40 varieties at one time along with all of the different types of brownies, macaroons, and other baked goods that they have on display. Besides, rotating your availability of flavors makes good business sense as it keeps people coming back for more!
Speaking of more, my guess is that as good as the cupcakes are at Bleu Squid, I would be willing to bet that what people come back for even more are the fantastically delicious grilled cheese sandwiches! The menu board is on the wall behind the cupcake case so once you can manage to drag your eyes up and away from the baked goodies in front of you, you can decide what kind of sandwich you might like to order starting with the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese that features Bleu Squid's own blend of Havarti, Fontina, extra-sharp Cheddar, and Muenster cheeses. If you'd like to jazz it up a little, additional items are available to add to your sandwich like cherrywood-smoked bacon, tuna salad, grilled chicken or honey ham for $2 more or caramelized onions, roasted artichokes, sautéed spinach, or roasted red peppers for $1 or maybe even tomato, garlic basil, or pesto for an additional 50 cents.
If you really want to splurge, you could treat your taste buds to Bleu Squid's famous Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich with chunks of fresh lobster meat and their four cheese blend on extra-thick white bread for $10.95 which is a heck of a lot more reasonable than the cost of a lot of lobster rolls I've seen! I'm thinking that a return trip to Mystic may be in order to give one a try but for this trip I chose a Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with tomato while Amanda opted to have Grilled Cheese with no embellishments though had she looked at the bottom of the chalkboard and seen that she could have put bacon on it, I can guarantee you that's what she would have had!
We both chose the house-made sourdough bread for our sandwiches and then took them out to the side deck and sat at one of the umbrella tables in preparation for delicious cheesy consumption.
Go ahead and tell me that doesn't look good but I won't believe you as that was the sandwich that I ate and it was really, really good. Quite frankly, it may have been the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had and at my age, I've had quite a few! Amanda concurred and I've even overheard her telling some of her friends on the computer that she had "the best grilled cheese ever at lunch." Generally speaking, if you can get a ringing endorsement from a teenager, you've made it in this world and that's a pretty ringing endorsement!
As for cupcakes, we picked out a half dozen and brought them home in order to bring them up to room temperature as I'd read that even though they are stored in refrigerated cases, they are best eaten after they've had the chance to warm up and the frosting softens a bit.
From front to back and left to right you're looking at a Bailey's Cupcake - vanilla cake with Bailey's in the buttercream frosting; a Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcake - blueberry cake with cream cheese icing and a dusting of graham crumbs; M&M Cupcake - vanilla cake with M&Ms mixed in along with M&Ms sprinkled on the buttercream frosting; Butterfinger Cupcake - buttermilk cake filled with butterfinger candy and topped with vanilla buttercream; Chocolate Chocolate Malted Cupcake - chocolate cake with milk chocolate malted buttercream; and a Red Velvet Cupcake - delicate light chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.
As you can see, the cupcakes are a pretty good size and more than big enough to share should you have a mind to, not that any of us in my household had a mind to of course! As of this writing, Amanda has eaten the Butterfinger and declared it to be "Sweet but very good" while Jamie had the M&M Cupcake which she said was okay but she was a bit disappointed that all of the M&Ms were stuck at the bottom and not mixed in throughout the cupcake (I wonder if flouring them like you do chocolate chips would keep them from settling before baking?), she did say that she quite liked the frosting though. I had the "adult" Bailey's cupcake which had just enough of a hint of the liquor in the frosting to make it very tasty and not overpowering. The other three are being saved until later so no reviews I'm afraid!
Should you find yourself in the Mystic area of Connecticut and want to sample a cupcake or grilled cheese sandwich of your own at the Bleu Squid Bakery, Cheese Shop, & Take-Out Grilled Cheese Café, you can find them at 27 Coogan Boulevard (the address for Olde Mystic Village) where they are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week during the winter hours and after late June, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays (though that may be subject to change so check their website to be sure!). Additionally, should you wish to order Bleu Squid cupcakes for any special occasion, you can call the bakery at (860)536-6343 and I'm sure they'll hook you right up!
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