The Pine Social
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.
Bars + Baristas
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 • Permalink
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.
Monday, October 25, 2010 • Permalink
CSA - Community Supported Agriculture
My husband and I decided to go organic when we started a family. Now that our kids are older, they really appreciate all the trouble and expense I go to to serve top-quality organic produce. They also fold their own laundry, balance my checkbook, and hold hands while singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” when guests visit.
If your kids aren’t perfect like mine, but you still want to go to the trouble and expense of serving them organic produce, I have good news: it’s no longer expensive.
Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, has opened a Southport branch. It’s a wonderful way to support local farms and literally reap their harvest of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Who they are: A core group of dedicated volunteers and certified organic local farmers.
What they do and how it works: “CSA is a means for consumers to buy a share in a farm’s seasonal production directly from the farmer. Consumers benefit from buying local, farm fresh, high quality produce at an attractive price and farmers benefit from pre-selling the harvest. CSA members pick up their weekly shares either at the farm or a location in their community.
Click to read the rest ... "CSA - Community Supported Agriculture"
Friday, October 22, 2010 • Permalink
Nicholas Roberts Fine Foods
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"
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 • Permalink
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.
Friday, October 15, 2010 • Permalink
The Zuckerbergs (Click to enlarge)
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"
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 • Permalink
98 Washington Street
I don’t shower in the mornings. With 3 children awake and ready for action at 5:45 AM, I hit the ground running and, unless I’m going to be in close proximity to celebrities and movie producers, don’t shower until evening.
So it was last Saturday. The day was exhausting and moments before our sitter arrived I was weighing the pros and cons of bathing before date night. Bathing won, as looking like a slob does precious little for one’s sex appeal.
We decided to paint SoNo red and, after a watery cocktail at a hip bar, decided to cut our losses and eat at Match.
Ah, Match. The bartenders’ smiling faces, the exceptional (potent) cocktails, and the excellent New American cuisine. Every time we go there we wonder why we don’t go more often. Then we remember we have 3 kids who wake up before dawn. And we marvel at how we manage to get out at all.
Who you’ll see eating here: Couples mostly, ages 30-60 years old. Some groups of girlfriends ages 35-50.
Their specialty: Appetizers and anything wood-oven roasted.
What you should eat: “Carpgetbaggers” –fried Blue Point oysters and bunch of other stuff. Mmm…
What you may not know but should:
- They’ve won every award from every local and food magazine in the country, from “Best Appetizers” to “Best Overall Restaurant.”
- Maybe it’s the name, but Match tends to attract a lot of cougars and those who prey upon them.
Bars + Baristas
Friday, October 08, 2010 • Permalink
Sherwood Mills Pond
When we first moved to Fairfield County I thought it’d be fun to grow our own Halloween pumpkin in our little garden next to the fence. I planted one or two seeds and watched its first baby leaves peep out and, eventually, take over the entire patch. In no time, it had clambered up the fence, crawled into the neighbor’s garden, and was poised to take over their entire yard before I hacked it down with an axe. The next day it had become bigger and stronger and was clearly preparing itself for world domination.
Long story short, my husband is now in charge of the vegetable garden.
So when Sherwood Mills Pond (SMP) called out for volunteers to plant flora and fauna around the preserve, it piqued my interest. “No experience needed” they explained, “snacks provided,” they promised. Sounded like a great way to hone my kick-a** gardening skills and enjoy some free treats. Too bad I missed the date by about a month, but I did learn some wonderful things about the project.
What it is: Once the site of a beloved clam shack at 191 Hillspoint Avenue, the tidal wetlands “is one of Westport’s great natural assets. It covers over 80 acres of unspoiled surroundings and comprises over 1% of the total area of the Town of Westport. It is home to over 70 species of birds and is an integral and unique part of the town’s landscape. The pond was also significant to the settlement and historical development pattern of Westport. The tidal flow from Long Island Sound into and out of the pond was an important source of power in the 18th century and lead to construction of one of the earliest gristmills in the area (rights granted ca. 1705 by the town of Fairfield).
Click to read the rest ... "Sherwood Mills Pond"
Thursday, October 07, 2010 • Permalink
Red Lulu Cocina and Tequila Bar
128 Washington Street
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.
Bars + Baristas
Tuesday, October 05, 2010 • Permalink