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The Pine Social

The Pine Social, New Canaan

36 Pine Street, New Canaan
Bar/Lounge Review Only

Door opens: Enter, sit, [bartender approaches] order, sip. All of this in one seamless, fluid motion, and by the time my husband enters (fielding a call from friends who can’t find the restaurant) I’m happily enjoying a Chardonnay and trying to edge in on my neighbor’s conversation.

That alone would win me over, but wait: there’s more: The Pine is New Canaan’s latest farm-to-table hot spot, bustling with patrons and a chatty, fun vibe. Sure, it’s located a block or two off the main drag and, yeah, on a cold night the trek seems a bit Elie Wiesel-ish, but that’s only because Fairfield County residents are spoiled by centralized downtown areas. Or maybe it’s just me. Whatever. 

Robin’s note: My husband is the only patron who’s ever ordered “very good sipping rum” there. They did not have rum that qualifies. So if you go for the sole purpose of sipping rum, prepare to be disappointed.

Who you’ll see drinking here: Right now, every New Canaan resident dying for a new place to reconnoiter. Mostly couples ages 40-7 and girlfriends out on the town.

Their specialty: Wine-by-the-glass from their list of 15 international wines.

What you should drink: Wine or a stand-by cocktail: right now there are no house specials.

What you may not know but should: Around 8:00 a man with a guitar shows up to quietly entertain the loungers and nearby diners.
http://www.pinesocial.com

Bars + Baristas     New Canaan    
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 • Permalink

Soleil Toile

Soleil Toile, Westport

24 Post Road East, Westport

A quick perusal of downtown Westport’s mall-shop collective is enough to make a girl throw her hands up in despair and scream, “Where the hell can I buy a $498 white strapless bathing suit?!!”

Yes, it’s easy to find affordable things we can live without (Gap, Pottery Barn). But when it comes to finding pricey unmentionables we have absolutely no use for*, but still desperately want, thank goodness we can rely on ST for their sexy-yet-tasteful selection of lingerie, negligees, and bathing suits (Eres, Wolford, Le Tarte, Manuel Canovas), and inconvenient location between an ice cream parlor and cupcake bakery.

*Information based upon informal poll of women. Men held opposing views.

Robin’s note: Conservative pajamas, undergarments, and swimwear are also available, from Lilly Pulitzer, Calvin Klein, etc. But… yeah. Not as exciting.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 35-70 years old.

Their specialty: Fine and functional lingerie.

What you should buy: Bikini and a fun, colorful cover-up (if you’ve eaten too many cupcakes).

What you may not know but should: ST has an amazing heart. Their discreet “special needs” department has a excellent selection of pre- and post-surgery mastectomy bras, camisoles, and prostheses, including false nipples.
http://www.soleiltoile.com

Fashion     Westport    
Monday, October 25, 2010 • Permalink

Nicholas Roberts Fine Foods

NRFF, Norwalk

75 Main Street, Norwalk

About a year ago I took the family to NRFF for breakfast. I wasn’t smitten. But seeing the legions of zealots who wait hours for a dinner table whetted my appetite for another try.

So I took the family to breakfast again (the wait for dinner was too long). Here’s my conclusion:

Go. Please go. Everything from the coffee to the fruit to the breakfast burritos and the pancakes are excellent, organic, and fresh. The only thing left on our plates was an orange rind that my youngest tried to eat and gagged back onto the plate. The prices are very reasonable and the selection was great.

However, don’t bring kids. The service is slow-borderline-disinterested and the only thing to entertain a child is a sink lined with black rocks in the bathroom. And a rock can entertain a child for only so long. Granted, once you’re served you’ll forget their plaintive declarations of starvation and the fact your coffee cup has been empty for 15 minutes. But until then…

Who you’ll see eating here: Couples ages 25-70 or single diners.

Click to read the rest ... "Nicholas Roberts Fine Foods"

Dining     Norwalk    
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 • Permalink

Colony Grill

Colony Grill, Fairfield

172 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford
1520 Post Road, Fairfield


Here’s what they’re serving: pizza. You can choose from the list of toppings painted onto the exposed brick walls. I share a similar philosophy when feeding my kids: here’s what I’m serving, you can choose between ketchup or no ketchup. Except CG’s fare is delicious and mine is, to quote our oldest son, “the worst in the world.” Which would hurt my feelings if it weren’t true and make it more difficult to rationalize why we eat out so often.

Robin’s note: Expect great-tasting thin pizza, but don’t expect anything else. Plates? Paper. But before the eco-disciples among you get your organic cotton panties in a knot, they use the flimsy “barely there” kind which buckle beneath the weight of a cheese puff. Utensils (fork and a butter knife) are proffered only upon request.

None of which explains why they named it “Colony Grill.”

Who you’ll see eating here: Crowds of people all afternoon into the evening, all types, from grandmas-who-lunch to large families.

Their specialty: Thin pizza with a limited selection of toppings.

What you should order: Thin pizza with a limited selection of toppings and glass of beer or wine.

What you may not know but should:
  - To avoid crowds, arrive before 6. Otherwise expect a long wait.
  - Fairfield is co-owned by Rangers captain Chris Drury, a childhood friend of the original owners.
http://www.colonygrill.com

Dining     Fairfield     Stamford    
Friday, October 15, 2010 • Permalink

Cuf Cakes

Zuckerbergs
The Zuckerbergs (Click to enlarge)

http://www.cufcakes.com

In the early days of the Tom Ford/Gucci love-fest, his feather-cuffed jeans made me froth at the mouth with desire. Those were the heady days of the dot.com era and I, not being of dot.com employment or paycheck, was a ready and willing victim of DIY fashion. So I hacked off the bottom of my Wal-Mart jeans and tricked them out with strings of red feathers and embroidered ribbon. Then I stepped out for a night on the town looking like an idiot.

But when someone else makes cuffs from a cut-up Burberry trench coat she gets compliments. Granted, they look a lot better than did my molting knee-sheaths and she makes them for a far more noble reason: to help eradicate childhood disease.

Who she is: Courtney Zuckerberg is a Westport mother of two whose son has juvenile diabetes. After his diagnosis in 2005, Courtney decided she needed to do more than take care of her son: she needed to take care of every boy and girl whose childhood is marred by disease or ailment.

Click to read the rest ... "Cuf Cakes"

Fashion     Give     Westport    
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 • Permalink

Red Lulu Cocina and Tequila Bar

Red Lulu, Norwalk

128 Washington Street
(Bar review)

It’s SoHo in SoNo: cacophonous, fun, sexy, red, and packed with well-dressed people and over 150 premium tequilas. So what if the crowd is pulling 40 instead of pushing 30 and the speakers are pumping some sort of loud yoga music? You are in Norwalk, folks. And after 5 or 6 weak margaritas, your friends will be pulling you off the cocktail tables and, most important, grateful they’re not driving you 1 ½ hours home.

Robin’s note: The margaritas – though cleverly named – are weak. Yes, they’re made with fresh juice, but a cocktail’s not going to make you healthy no matter how many “fresh” drinks you throw back, so stiffen up that bad boy and drown it in preservatives if necessary.  It’s a new lounge with (by all appearances) rooky bartenders, so I’m sure a little experience (and well-placed editorial) will promptly rectify the situation.

Who you’ll see drinking here: Residents of surrounding towns ages 30-55. Many are waiting hours for a table at the Cocina.

Their specialty: Tequila shots.

What you should order: Try something other than Patron.

What you may not know but should: If you drink long enough (until midnight) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday you’ll see the dining floor transform into a sort of a thing that RL hesitates to call a nightclub per se. But you can shake your wild thang and max out your credit card until 2 AM.

http://www.redlulu.com

Bars + Baristas     Norwalk    
Tuesday, October 05, 2010 • Permalink