The Sugar Bowl
1033 Boston Post Road, Darien
My husband and I were so excited to discover this wonderful breakfast spot in Darien. Turns out it’s one of the most popular cafés in FC. Who knew? I mean, besides us.
To the handful of you who haven’t been here: the first thing you notice is the Bowl’s festooned with so much holiday gewgaw you may confuse it with a souvenir shop at Mystic Seaport. For each of the past 7 years they’ve decorated for 8 occasions: Memorial Day/July 4, Beach, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and Mother’s Day/Spring. Halloween is their biggest undertaking, usurping the time and talent of 4 grown men for sixteen hours. Impressive.
The second thing you notice is friendly staff, swift service, and satisfying food. They make wonderful homemade lemon, apricot, or plum cake and animal-shaped pancakes for the kids (the chocolate chip ones of which contain so many chips, it’s like eating a candy bar with a fork.)
Robin’s note: The third thing you notice, or we noticed, is the large glass candy shelf is not enclosed on the sides, affording certain small children easy access to fistfuls of Nerd Ropes and the like.
Who you’ll see eating here: Young families and loyal locals of all ages.
Their specialty: Bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll, eggs benedict without the hollandaise sauce, and “…we make lots of pancakes.”
What you should order: Chocolate chip pancakes and eggs with grilled tomatoes.
What you may not know but should:
1. The Bowl has been owned by the same family for 52 years, Bob being the latest in a small string of familial proprietors.
2. The man who bakes the cakes works at the Bowl on weekends. During the week he’s a sommelier at the River Café in Brooklyn.
Kids in Tow
Friday, September 16, 2011 • Permalink
The Black Duck Bar
605 Riverside Avenue, Westport
All hail our brave little eatery/watering hole featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. It caused a sensation, and rightly so. However, it’s better at night when the conviviality and darkness obfuscates its imminent slide into the Saugatuck River.
Who’ll you’ll see drinking here: Used to be the local cognoscenti and fishermen. It still is, actually.
Their specialty: Beer so cold it could remove a wart.
What you should order: Fresh lime margarita (beg for it) and request the good tequila.
What you may not know but should:
1. When it snows, the Duck reduces drink prices.
2. Consider patronizing the Duck on karaoke night if you enjoy crooning with people who wear: 1. ripped denim devoid of irony, 2. tight clothes, 3. cigarette company apparel.
Bars + Baristas
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 • Permalink
Coleman Brothers Foundation
Coleman Brothers Foundation
What they do: Founded in memory of two Westport brothers, Keith and Scott Coleman, who died in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, the Coleman family and the Westport Soccer Association “support soccer players and others actively involved in youth soccer programs, who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to sportsmanship, leadership and integrity on and off the field.
Support provided by the Foundation includes college scholarships to graduating high school seniors and grants to provide opportunities for boys and girls from families with financial needs to participate in travel and other youth soccer programs, coaching or refereeing.” (website)
Who they are: “Keith and Scott Coleman grew up in Westport, Connecticut, playing soccer, baseball and wrestling. As adults, Keith and Scott worked together at Cantor Fitzgerald as colleagues, brothers and friends. Keith and Scott died in the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.
Click to read the rest ... "Coleman Brothers Foundation"
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 • Permalink
Graze(Click to enlarge)
So this goat farmer walks into my house…
That could be the beginning of a great joke or a bad porn flick. But it’s neither. It’s actually true. He comes to my home on Monday mornings and delivers fresh milk, eggs, chef-prepared meals, and other organic treats directly from artisanal farms in Vermont. And the price? No more than what you’d pay at Whole Foods.
Graze, the brainchild of Christy Colasurdo, a Westport mom and former New York magazine editor along with husband, Doug, and Vermont friends Julianna and Steve (a former CFO of Heineken Americas. Yes, male readers: beer) allows Westporters, and soon Fairfielders, to enjoy delicious farm-to-table foods to which they would otherwise have little or no access (farmers aren’t necessarily great marketers and, to be fair, vice-versa).
Chef Neil whips up a weekly menu of prepared foods, including a soup, adult dinner, kids dinner, grain salad, vegetarian alternative, tea bread, cheese, and much more. His meals and soups are beautifully prepared from local ingredients (Misty Knoll chicken, grass-fed angus beef, freshly picked vegetables) and are surprisingly, and refreshingly, well-seasoned (whoever decided that organic meals must be low-sodium should be locked into a room of hungry pre-schoolers. And their moms.)
Christy tells me, “We have taken great pains to make sure every ingredient we use and every product we sell is not only delicious and nutritious and wholesome, but also sustainably and humanely produced. (We) work with small farmers who know and love their animals and treat them with respect.
Click to read the rest ... "Graze"
Thursday, June 30, 2011 • Permalink
4 Brothers Pizza
Darien – (203) 662-9373
Westport - (203) 341-0505
Sure, we all adore the “wood-fired broccoli rabe/salumi assortito pie with a hint of pesto cream sauce,” but if you want to fire up the margarita machine and gluttonize until your arteries are begging for mercy and your brain cells are about to top the endangered species list, then this is your pizza.
Robin’s note: Pepperoni. It looks like plain but, ooh baby, it’s not.
Who you’ll see eating here: No one. It’s all about delivery.
Their specialty: Pizza.
What you should order: Pizza and grinders.
What you may not know but should: Check the website for coupons. They never verify them, so you can use them as often as you wish.
Thursday, June 23, 2011 • Permalink
56 Post Road East, Westport
A gorgeous interior design boutique, yes, but lets focus on the key attraction: luscious, scrumptious, over-the-top and just-perfect jewelry.
Robin’s note: Many of the designer collections are rare birds for this neck of the woods, so whims of comparison shopping are just that: whims.
Their specialty: Statement bracelets and necklaces.
What you should buy: Delicate drop necklaces and chandelier earrings.
What you may not know but should: You’re probably familiar with Dovecote’s near-legendary warehouse sales. If you decide to fight the maddening throngs for cut-rate prices on home décor, do so—but know the best baubles never go bargain basement. http://www.dovecote-westport.com
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 • Permalink
570 Riverside Avenue, Westport
Chummy, eclectic coffee shop catering to early morning commuters and people who need an impromptu meeting space.
Robin’s note: Tribal masks adorn the walls. Not sure why except, maybe, to scare off sensitive children.
Who you’ll see eating here: Art-Smart moms, local politicians, cycling clubs, and die-hard fans.
Their specialty: Coffee & various egg sandwiches.
What you should order: Coffee & huge, homemade biscotti.
What you may not know but should: Rumors of a teardown have been flying for over a year. Word is: condos. They’re bound to be popular with trolls and others who might enjoy living beneath the I-95 overpass.
Bars + Baristas
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 • Permalink
107 Main Street, New Canaan
Boutique with gobs of terrific jewelry (much of it designer, some if it fine) at all price points, and drips and drabs of almost everything else.
Robin’s note: Fun store, but crowded and lacking focus: jewelry, dishes, glassware, a few racks of clothes, cluttered wall o’ baby gifts, etc.
Who’ll you’ll see shopping here: People who need gifts for women of all ages.
Their specialty: Jewelry.
What you should buy: Jewelry or baby gifts.
What you may not know but should: I found the exact same shirt I admired in a store a block away - $8 less at Wave.
Monday, June 20, 2011 • Permalink
Bedford Street Diner
935 Bedford Street, Stamford
Stamford is studded with retro diners, some better than others. Such as this one. Owned by three sibling offshoots of a diner dynasty, they serve delicious and relatively health-conscience fare. I say “relatively” because no amount of non-hydrogenated oil is going to make a donut healthier. But, damn, it sure tastes good. More on that later. The menu is a creative mix of Classic Diner and, inexplicably, Mexican dishes. The staff is friendly and helpful, probably because they all have kids and and/or are currently expecting. Oh, and a shout out to their dad who rolls in at 4 AM to scrub the place until it sparkles. For free.
Robin’s note: Our homemade donuts were served amid the chaos that is Phase 2 of the Saturday Morning Pre-Breakfast Meltdown (SMPBM). After one bite, all three of our screaming offspring became silent and forgot what they were fighting about. The owners’ dad makes them every morning, for free, simply because he loves his kids. And given how melt-in-your-mouth fabulous they are, I suspect he loves us all.
Who you’ll see eating here: Locals of all ages.
Their specialty: Eggs with corned beef hash, Eggs Benedict.
What you should order: Homemade cinnamon-sugar donuts, croissant french toast with chocolate chips and bananas.
What you may not know but should:
1. Arrive before 8:30 to avoid the breakfast rush.
2. If possible, park on the street and enter through the front door. There’s a parking lot in back, but seeing it on Trash Day won’t whet your appetite.
Friday, June 17, 2011 • Permalink
Association of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
When asked why he created Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Paul Newman replied, “I wanted, I think, to acknowledge Luck; the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”
It gives me goose bumps, too.
Paul certainly had luck but, more important, he was a good man and a hard worker. To credit luck with his achievements wouldn’t be giving him enough credit, and his camps are further proof of his success and largesse.
What it is: Movie buffs may recognize “Hole in the Wall Gang” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, referring to a “ragtag group of bandits.”
Each camp is for “children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia and other serious and life-threatening conditions enjoy more than they or their parents ever thought possible. Activities include archery, mini golf, swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, sports, theater and camping; all are designed to include every child and ensure that no child will fail. A zero-entry pool provides water fun for all campers, regardless of any mobility challenges they may have. A special warming room or ‘French fryer’ allows children with sickle cell anemia to enjoy swimming – many for the first time in their young lives. An exceptional tree house, mini golf course and multiple trails are specially designed to be wheelchair-accessible, ensuring an inclusive experience for all youngsters.”
All campers attend free of charge.