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Sunny Daes

Sunny Daes, Westport

808 Post Road, Fairfield
30 Riverside Avenue, Westport

There’s a world of fabulous ice cream awaiting you here: hard ice cream with gobs of candy (United States), rich gelato (Italy), creamy soft serve (Britain) and frozen yogurt (back of my freezer, sealed shut with frost.)

Robin’s note: Strange name, awkward Westport location. Not great prognosticators of success. But stranger shops (design upholstery, Asian antiquities) have survived here, so I’m rooting for them.

Their specialty: Hard ice cream with rivers of chocolate and chunks of candy.

What you should eat: Specialty sounds good.

What you may not know but should:
  1. VERY limited seating, so go at off-times or plan to eat standing up.
  2. They’re generous with their toppings and gave my son a cup of gummy bears when he learned they wouldn’t stick to his cone.

Dining     Fairfield     Westport    
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 • Permalink

The Lamp Shade Store

The Lamp Shade Store, Norwalk

371 Westport Avenue, Norwalk

Perhaps you noticed: the name of this store lacks nuance. No matter. Despite the dull appellation, this place could inspire a vampire to reassess his lighting needs.

Robin’s note: Beautiful assortment of reasonably priced shades, excellent customer service, and super-easy returns.

Who you’ll see shopping here: People who need light, typically 30+ years old.

Their specialty: Extensive selection of shades and expert lamp repair.

What you should buy: Guess.

What you may not know but should: For $100 they’ll turn almost any vase into a lamp and any shade into a light fixture or pendulum lighting.

Home + Garden     Norwalk    
Monday, March 29, 2010 • Permalink

Rosie’s

Rosie's, New Canaan

27 Elm Street, New Canaan

As its names suggest, Rosie’s is a small-town Mom and Pop eatery. Granted, the “small town” is one of the wealthiest towns in the US and “Mom” is a professional New York City chef. And it shows.

Robin’s note: Unlike most charming area bistros, Rosie’s is actually open and ready for service at opening time. Also, they serve tea in blue and white china cups, which is so totally British and way cool.

Who you’ll see eating here: Young families and hungry shoppers.

Their specialty: Carrot cake with mile-high frosting.

What you should order: Never say no to mile-high frosting. Also the avocado/ham breakfast burrito.

What you may not know but should:
  1. They’re closed on Monday.
  2. Rosie’s is attached to a delightful little bookstore with an impressive selection.
http://www.rosienewcanaan.com

Dining     Bars + Baristas     New Canaan    
Monday, March 22, 2010 • Permalink

Salon Serein

Toni and Lauren, Westport

208 Post Road West, Westport
(203) 454-8588

Salon Serein
208 Post Road West, Westport
(203) 454-8588

  When I was young, the Great Sleepover Ritual was “styling” each others tresses. Sometimes we’d incorporate scissors… well, one time. Long story. It wasn’t about the styling, really. It was about Girl Time, with nothing but friends, gossip, and hair viscid from Dippity-do and particles of whatever we happened to be eating at the time.

If you share the same memories, and you aren’t a man, you’ll love my new favorite salon: Salon Serein. It’s sophisticated, elegant, and deliciously cozy. The stylists make you feel as though the party can start now that you’ve arrived. It’s the Sleepover Ritual Girl Time feel, all grown up. But the only ones wielding the scissors are the professionals.

Once seated, they ask questions and actually listen to the answers (How often do you wash your hair? How do you wear your hair? How long do you spend styling it in the morning?) before offering suggestions (hint: take their advice).

Click to read the rest ... "Salon Serein"

Look Good     Westport    
Thursday, March 18, 2010 • Permalink

Turning Water Into Wine

1053 Boston Post Road, Darien
(203) 656-9463

Turning water into wine (preferably chardonnay) is a beautiful, beautiful concept. But the guys over at Nicholas Roberts are proving the converse, turning wine into potable drinking water in impoverished countries, trumps it. Contaminated water kills hundreds of people each day and contributes to cyclical grinding poverty throughout the world.

Who they are: After learning about the severe hardships befalling billions of people without access to clean drinking water, Nick, Paul and Peter of Nicholas Robert Fine Wines (and Fine Foods) began donating a portion of sales to build wells in Zambia.

What they do: To date, they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through wine sales (10% of select purchases, $50 per wine club), donations, and events to build sustainable water and sanitation facilities in Makungwa, Zambia’s poorest region. They work with World Vision to build and train area residents in the construction and maintenance of wells and sanitation systems.

What you may not know but should: If you’re interested in throwing a fundraising party, Nicholas Roberts is happy to help provide wine, food, and setup.
http://www.turningwaterintowine.com

Give     New Canaan    
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 • Permalink

Solaia

363 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich

This chic subterranean “wine cellar” enoteca devotes itself to indulging imbibers of the bubbly.

Robin’s note: I was thrilled to note an extensive list of by-the-glass champagnes, including vintage champagnes for $30 each. But don’t be surprised if your waiter is as bubbleheaded as your wine.

Who you’ll see eating here: 30+ year olds, mostly couples dressed up for a night out.

Their specialty: Quail with seasonal preparation, homemade pastas.

What you should order: Fried artichokes.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Diners receive a complimentary flute of champagne upon arrival.
  2. They’ve won several “Best of the Gold Coast” honors.

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Greenwich    
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 • Permalink

Sister City Project

(203) 846-9288

In 1986, a few people in Norwalk decided to befriend Nagarote, an impoverished barrio in Nicaragua. They thought a simple communication between them and the residents of an economically dysfunctional town thousands of miles away would transcend “the violence, politics and propaganda which often characterized ‘official’ relations between the two governments.” They were right.

Who they are: Today, many in Fairfield County contribute to the project, including New England Biolabs Foundation, the Tauck Foundation, and The 22 Haviland Street Gallery.  Ciudad de Nagarote, the government of Nagarote, is an active partner in the project, as is SosteNica, a Nicaraguan micro-lending organization.

What they do: People and businesses do what they can to educate, micro-finance, and help the people in the Nagarote slums become financially, culturally, and socially self-sufficient. For instance, New England Biolabs funded a Youth Project to plant 10,000 trees in the area and train residents to care for them. SosteNica has dramatically reduced their double-digit unemployment. Fairfield County clothing stores have held fashion shows to raise money for scholarships (at $50 a year, many can’t afford school tuition) and clothes. And much more.

What you may not know but should: Individuals have provided Nagarote with everything from eye exams to guitar lessons. If you have a special skill or business you think would help, contact the organization and let them know.
http://www.sistercityproject.org

Give     Norwalk    
Thursday, March 11, 2010 • Permalink

Splash of Pink

Splash of Pink, Westport

275 Post Road East, Westport

A Lilly Pulitzer signature store, this store carries more than just lady Lilly. Designers may include Beth Bowley, Elie Tahari, and others. But mostly Lilly.

Robin’s note: The sales assistants are lovely and consistently gracious.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms buying vividly printed clothing for themselves, their kids and, if theirs is a marriage based on implicit trust and interdependence, their husbands.

Their specialty: Lilly sundresses.

What you should buy: I always root for Lilly sundresses, and her tunics are looking pretty good this season.

What you may not know but should: You may be tempted to patronize their annual “fabulous blow-out” sale. Don’t. It’s lame. The discounts are far better on the store’s sale rack, located in the kiddie section.
http://www.splashofpink.com

Fashion     Westport    
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 • Permalink

Viva Zapata

Viva Zapata, Westport

530 Riverside Avenue, Westport

I have friends who say this is the best Mexican food in Westport (granted, there’s not a lot of competition.) But go for the outdoor patio: everything tastes better al fresco.

Robin’s note: Decent margaritas. Potent. Yeeaahhh.

Who you’ll see eating here: Singles and groups of friends age 20-40 years.

Their specialty: Endless variety of nachos (Spinach? Ech.)

What you should order: Filet con Queso.

What you may not know but should: There’s a Zapata cam on their website, so don’t pick your nose or get too drunk unless you want to re-live the experience via video download.
http://www.vivazapata.com

Dining     Westport    
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 • Permalink

Da Pietro’s

Da Pietro's, Westport

36 Riverside Drive, Westport

One bite at this cozy high-end Italian restaurant and your tastebuds will be thanking you for days. But make sure to go with someone attractive: there’s not a lot to look at other than your food.

Robin’s note: It’s the worst kept secret in Westport and, arguably, the best restaurant in the county.

Who you’ll see eating here: Couples, couple-friends, and longtime business associates.

Their specialty: Wild game and fresh, fresh fish.

What you should order: Baby artichokes sautéed in butter.

What you may not know but should: The wine list is full of wonderful, hard-to-find wines at surprisingly reasonable prices.
http://www.dapietros.com

Dining     Westport    
Friday, March 05, 2010 • Permalink

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