(Ed. Note: Last April we took our best intern to a journey to Tastease on the advice of our readers. We had some idea what we were in store for but kept where we were going for lunch secret from the intern. SInce the intern was used to dictating almost all terms of dining, etc., the secretive lunch was met with a healthy dose of skepticism to say the least. Tastease, being Tastease, overcame all doubts that we were capable of picking a decent lunch spot on our own and won the day as we enjoyed a couple Cuban sandwiches at the very tables that now have become a point of controversy leading to Tastease announcing they are closing at the end of June.
Today we take a look back at that April 19, 2011 post and a listen back at Hakaan and Craig discussing Tastease on 106.9 WCCC back on April 20, 2011. Hakaan can be heard chatting about Hartford with Craig every Wednesday at about 9:20 PM on 106.9 WCCC.)
At this point we kind of assume we more or less know just about everything in Hartford. So imagine our surprise when Sad City readers Justin Pickman and Sarah Zucker started posting on the Sad City Facebook wall about Tastease on New Park and raving about "the best Cuban sandwich ever" and mini doughnuts. After reading some rave reviews online we were kind of dumbfounded; we had never heard of this place despite driving by it literally hundreds of times and despite that they are in fact selling mini-donuts and good Cuban sandwiches. Plans were made to visit immediately.
We stopped in at about 8:45 AM on a Friday and were amazed by case full of different types of tasty looking mini donuts. We soon learned that these were actually the mid-sized donuts and that the dime-sized minis usually sold out within an hour of opening. There were so many enticing options that we gave up and ordered a dozen of "whatever is good.''
Whatever was good turned out to be really, really good. It would be hard to overstate how much of a treat these were. Flavors ran the gamut from coconut, to apple cream cheese, German chocolate cake, Heath Bar, and a handful of fruit flavors. All pretty awesome. Taking advice of reader Sarah Zucker and the Tastease owner we popped some in the microwave for 6 seconds (10 seconds for two) and yeah, even more awesome.
After gorging ourselves on midi-donuts, we returned a few hours later to try the Cuban sandwiches. We were only slightly offended that we were not recognized as repeat customers from that morning, but the owners are extremely friendly and pleasant. We also took the lack of recognition to mean that Tastease is doing a brisk business.
As for the Cuban sandwiches, they were excellent. Hakaan hasn't had a sandwich like this since he defected on a raft to pursue his dreams of professional baseball. Roast pork, ham, turkey, cheese, mustard and pickles are grilled on a soft flat roll.
We can't believe we missed out on this for so long. Our only regret is that we haven't been stuffing our faces with midi donuts all these years. Tastease is another example to those who say Hartford is boring or has nothing to offer that they aren't looking hard enough. A most enthusiastic Sad City recommendation!
Tastease is located on 70 New Park Ave. Open Tuesday to Friday 7-3, Saturday 8-3, closed Sunday and Monday. We were advised to call ahead and order since they do sell out. 860-233-2235.