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.
21 Lois Street, Norwalk
There are good real estate markets and there are bad real estate markets, but there will always be bad taste. Everyone has a “they sponge-painted their yard furniture and put it in the dining room next to the litter box” story, but who has actually purchased a home containing such atrocities? Exactly. Which is why savvy brokers enlist interior designer Barbara A. McEntee to “stage” (fully furnish and decorate) empty or visually offensive homes for maximum show-ability and quick sale.
But here’s the kicker: after the house is sold, all of the fabulous furniture, accessories, lamps and linens are homeless. So BAM was born: a warren-like warehouse in Norwalk where you can buy all of this stuff at 30-99% off regular prices. It’s like a glamorous, sheltered garage sale that changes weekly. If you enjoy the hunt, and you don’t bring children that like to push large paintings to see if they fall off the wall, you can find some amazing treasures.
Robin’s note: The women working in the store are lovely and patient: when my kids unburdened a chandelier of its light bulbs, Jane, a designer at BAM, chuckled and asked me if they’d like some candy instead.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Primarily moms from Westport.
Their specialty: Lamps, coffee tables, and sofas.
What you should buy: A new Carver’s Guild mirror with tags for $895, normally retails for $1,175.
What you may not know but should: Upon my departure, they loaded me up with free home design magazines.
Located next to “Sugar & Olives” (see “Sugar & Olives”)
Home + Garden
256 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
If Lucky Jeans and J. Crew had a fully-formed love child, Madewell would be it.
Robin’s note: Their striped cardigans are perfectly roomy.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 20 to 50 who want something more casual (and cheaper) than J. Crew, but less “I wish I were a hippy” than Lucky.
Their specialty: Jeans and boots.
What you should buy: Long striped cardigans and Hunter rain boots.
What you may not know but should:
1. Madewell and J. Crew share a CEO: Mickey Drexler.
2. In Greenwich, the longest inseam measurement is 34. In Manhattan it’s 36. Evidently legs grow longer in the city.
Thursday, June 16, 2011 • Permalink
48 Post Road East, Westport
A lovely boutique with pricey day-to-evening attire and a solid designer selection. I wish someone would re-write their website copy, but I digress.
Robin’s note: I bought a pair of Paige Denim jeans at a whopping 13% discount. Their sales rarely qualify as such.
Who shops here: Moms who need a cocktail dress for themselves or a hip, expensive prom dress for their daughters.
What’s their specialty: DVF dresses and colorful silky tops.
What you should buy: They have an impressive selection of chic hard-to-find blazers and jackets.
What you may not know but should: Girls’ Night Out! Lucy’s will entertain you and your friends while you shop with drinks, snacks, and mini-manicures. Yes, manicures. While you try on clothes. Not sure how that works, but I trust their judgment.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 • Permalink