99 Washington Street, South Norwalk
I looked our waiter straight in the eye and pointedly inquired, “Do they make a good margarita here?” Sensing his hesitation, I mentally prepared myself to bewail a broken dream when he uttered,“Well, I do. I’ll make it for you.”
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s that kind of service which contributes directly to the betterment of humanity and makes this world a nicer place in which to live.
GM is known for its burgers and beer, beer, beer; over 150 beers with charming names like “Toxic Sludge” and “Rogue Dead Guy.” The décor is streamlined pub: not as kitsch as the pub down the street, but not as sleek as The Loft (which isn’t a pub, nor is it trying to be.)
The service is good, the food is fine. Oh, yes – the margaritas are fabulous.
Robin’s note: GM is a good place to bring children: there’s space to run around and the din drowns out their happy giggles and deafening screams… okay, just deafening screams.
Who you’ll see eating here: Families and couples 35-65.
Their specialty: Burgers and Irish pub fare.
What you should order: Burgers.
What you may not know but should: They’ve won a bunch of awards for their food and carry a number of rare and vintage brewskis.
Friday, April 22, 2011 • Permalink
Driftwood Sandwich Shop
325 Pequot Avenue, Southport
This sliver of a diner in the endearing intersection of streets known as “downtown Southport” offers good food, charming atmosphere, and Bloody Marys with Sunday brunch.
Robin’s note: This diner has been around for 30 years, almost as long as you’ll have to wait for breakfast service unless you’re a well-heeled regular.
Who you’ll see eating here: Very Attractive Preppy People, from large extended families, to couples, to small groups of friends.
Their specialty: Sunday brunch dishes, including a shrimp and feta omelet.
What you should order: Bacon and tomato omelet with enough bacon to coagulate the most efficient of bloodstreams.
What you may not should: Each meal is made to order: the cook whips up each individual egg for the omelets and the bacon is fried in small batches. Which explains the long wait.
Thursday, April 21, 2011 • Permalink
134 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
Holy Manolos, Batwoman! Blahniks abound at this Greenwich consignment boutique—Blahniks, Choos, and a Burch Reva or two.
This purveyor of low-priced high fashion garments reflects the sartorial habits of its environs: well-established designers for a slightly older crowd, including lots of fur, suits, shiny gowns and, of course, shoes.
The pricing is arbitrary at times: $175 for barely worn Blahniks, then $295 for a cotton Marni sundress (consigned last June, the owner offered an additional 20% off. Most consignment stores offer greater discounts for such long-hanging garments). However, the selection of rarefied labels is exceptional and the fur section is fabulous, with coats from $295 to $2,500—just watch out for ripped seams.
Other notable buys were a pink leather Prada shirt for $295, gorgeous leather YSL jacket for $975, Chloe sweater for $165, and green Reva flats for $95.
Robin’s note: Leave your kids at home. Dolly, the owner, is easily irritated by the little nippers.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 40-60 years old, primarily.
Their specialty: Shoes and fur.
What you should buy here: Check out the backroom for off-season deals. And, of course, the vintage Puccis.
What you may not know but should: A fellow shopper attempted to negotiate the cost of a coat with a tear, but I’m not sure how receptive the owner was to her bartering. My guess is “not very.” However, I have no concrete evidence to back this up.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 • Permalink
91 Main Street, Westport
151 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
I recently joined a gym. But not just any gym: the cheapest gym I could find. So not only am I on the fast track to physical perfection, I have scads of cash left over to ramp up my workout wardrobe (an old Enron t-shirt and my husband’s boxers was cute five years ago; now it’s just gauche.)
Most of my Lululemon “loungewear” looks surprisingly appropriate on an exercise bike, so I splurged on a few more pieces and may never go back to boxers again. The styles detract from fat patches while their special techno-wicking fabrics support one’s wobbly spots, and the Lulu symbol on each item quietly assures onlookers that you spend a lot of money on your shorts.
Robin’s note: Let’s say that your legs are a teensy bit shy of 36” or whatever their fit models are sprouting nowadays. Lulu will hem them up free of charge.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms. Some dads.
Their specialty: Power yoga attire.
What you should buy: Great pants for lounging or exercising and relaxed fleece wrap jackets.
What you may not know but should:
- Crotches are specially designed to prevent “camel toe.”
- Professional yoga instructors wear and offer designers their feedback regarding each piece.
- Free shipping on all online orders.
- Clothes rarely go on sale.
- They give lots to charities.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 • Permalink
7 Elm Street, New Canaan
I entered this store with my son on a drippingly hot day, more with the intent of drying the sweat off of our bodies than buying something (a detail I decided not to discuss with the friendly owner, Jill). It’s a small shop with excellent air conditioning, the blues and silvers of the fabrics and furniture lending to the cooling effect.
However, it takes self-restraint to not buy something because everything looks so… fabulous. The glamorous mirrored furniture and tastefully embellished fabrics glimmer and glow with just the right amount of understatement. Co-owners Jill and Melissa update the collection/presentation often so there’s always something new to see and covet.
Robin’s note: Most of the pieces are tough to find on the web or elsewhere which, I think, helps justify profligacy.
Their specialty: Mirrored furniture (new and antique) and chic throw pillows.
What you should buy: Mirrors, unique accessories, and gorgeous chandeliers.
What you may not know but should: The customer service is superlative: they’re happy to answer any questions, are unfailingly polite to shoppers and browsers, and are wonderfully accepting of young children who lick mirrors.
Home + Garden
Glory Days Diner
69 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
This diner claims to be cleaner and tastier than all the diners in Port Chester, White Plains and Stamford. That’s a pretty big claim, but I don’t see any other diners putting up a fight so I won’t fall on my sword. They also claim to host a bonanza of celebrities, but I must always be looking the other way.
It is clean. The atmosphere is nice, too, with a solid un-kitschy diner vibe. The jukeboxes at each booth play pop, oldies, holiday, and kids’ songs, and provide minutes of free entertainment for the little ones. The food is good, the service is solid, and the tab is reasonable. Owned by the same man for years, they know their customer and ask resident-friendly questions such as, “Do you want potatoes?”, “Do you want your toast buttered or dry or butter on the side?” and “Where are your kids?”
Robin’s note: According to their My Space page, Glory Days counts dominatrix DJ Fcuk and ForBiddeN among its fans. It also clears over $250,000 a year.
Who you’ll see eating here: Families in the morning, businessmen in the afternoon, and students late-night.
Their specialty: Home-made international cuisine (Greek, Italian, Mexican).
What you should order: Dessert.
What you may not know but should: All desserts are made in-house and the cheesecake is transcendent.
Friday, April 08, 2011 • Permalink
43 Main Street
Acqua has a tiny bistro/bar “overlooking” the Saugatuck River. While the bar itself is airy and elegant, it mostly “overlooks” a parking lot which, in turn, “overlooks” the river itself.
No matter, though. One rarely patronizes a bar to watch a river flow. And after a few of their signature cocktails, the only thing flowing will be your insightful and witty dialogue with whoever will listen.
Robin’s note: My husband and I indulged in the Acqua Toscano and the Acqua Cocktail: each a blend of various flavored liqueurs and sweet mixes. Reflecting upon the ingredients, my husband inquired of no one in particular, “Are these going to be nasty?” Fortunately, they weren’t. In point of fact, they were damn good.
Who you’ll see drinking here: Diners, mostly. PDA couples late night.
Their specialty: Signature cocktails.
What you should order: Great wine list, too.
What you may not know but should: Can’t beat the parking.
Bars + Baristas
Thursday, April 07, 2011 • Permalink
50 Glenville Street, Greenwich
1150 Summer Street, Stamford
Remember when Rain Man wins big in Vegas by counting numbers? What man didn’t wonder, “Wow. If I had autism I could be rich.” But then they see Raymond in the fire alarm scene a few minutes later and decide it may not be so fun after all. Men (sigh).
Because autism isn’t so great. But people with autism can be great with the resources and help they need; resources Abilis has provided since 1951.
What they do: Abilis (formerly known as Greenwich ARC) “has served people of all ages with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities in the Greenwich-Stamford area. We changed our name in 2008 to reflect all that people with developmental disabilities contribute to society.” Their support programs help adults, children, and families, through residential, employment, and community network services.
How they work: “…Abilis meets the myriad needs of people with developmental disabilities - not only in childhood, but throughout their lives.
- Abilis works in schools, civic organizations and with families in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and throughout Fairfield County and into Westchester County in New York state.
- Abilis provides employment services for adults and residential support to adults in more than a dozen homes owned by Abilis in Greenwich and Stamford, as well as to people living more independently in apartments and condominiums.
Many families work with us for weeks or months. For others, the journey lasts years or even a lifetime… Abilis provides people with the support and advocacy they need to build able lives and strong communities.” Services are from birth through adulthood.
Click to read the rest ... "Abilis"
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 • Permalink
126 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
24 Elm Street, New Canaan
145 Main Street, Westport
Hey, guys – J. Crew! Ever heard of it? Of course you have. And if you haven’t, you need to put down your paint-by-number of The Last Supper, straighten your bolo tie, and leave your house for the first time in 15 years.
Begun by two men who peddled discount women’s apparel door-to-door, J. Crew earned a solid reputation as a “classic” casual wear catalog retailer in 1983, the heyday of catalog shopping. The sharp increase in postage and paper forced them to re-think their strategy, leading to their first store opening at South Street Seaport in 1989.
Today, over 200 J. Crew boutiques dot our landscape, clogging Fairfield County closets with cashmere sweaters, ruffled blouses, and pants crawling with embroidered sea creatures.
Robin’s note: I may be cursed by the gods of capitalist consumerism for writing this: everything in this store goes on sale. Everything. But you have to follow the sales in-store and on-line to take advantage of it.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Every red-blooded women in the county under 65.
Their specialty: Cashmere and khakis.
Click to read the rest ... "J. Crew"
Monday, April 04, 2011 • Permalink
Southport Brewing Company
2600 Post Road, Southport
131 Summer Street, Stamford
When I was in Paris one summer I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. That night, I awoke to throbbing pain and thought I was dying of cardiac arrest. Then I realized it was just my chest cavity exploding as lava hot acid conflagrated my heart. I mean, pork fried rice in the land of pâté de foie gras? I have only myself to blame.
Fast forward to the other night when I ordered a glass of wine and a wrap sandwich at a brewery. What did I think when I tried to hack my way through a piece of ligneous chicken? Bad habits die hard. Thankfully, no heartburn.
My husband, however, was wolfing down a fabulous burger and brew, loving life and unaware of my inner turmoil. I’ll never make the same mistake again, I told myself. I just hope I listened.
Robin’s note: SBC is very kid-friendly, offering crayons, masks, and great choices for picky eaters.
Who you’ll see eating here: Families with young children and older couples. Childless couples and people under 35 years old are in the adjoining bar.
Their specialty: Burgers and brew.
What you should order: Black and Blue burger – blackened burger with gorgonzola.
What you may not know but should: Their 27 home-brews are made on the premises, so diners are surrounded by a working brewery.
Friday, April 01, 2011 • Permalink