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Fairfield Women’s Exchange

Fairfield Women's Exchange, Southport

332 Pequot Avenue, Southport

I had heard of this place and avoided it, as “Women’s Exchange,” for me, conjured up images of crocheted toilet paper covers, second-hand throw pillows that read “I Love My Grandchildren,” and Christmas ornaments made of googly eyes and dried starfish. In short, I assumed I wasn’t their target market.

But assuming makes an ass out of u and me, which is something I read on a plaque in a Women’s Exchange.

So I was very, very surprised to note the chic tableware and sophisticated linens I’d see at any upscale boutique. Their great selection of baby and toddler clothes are darling and unique, including name sweaters and rain gear. Further, the back room boasts an impressive selection of antiques, prestige china and sterling serving pieces. The FWE routinely holds trunk shows for high-end accessories and tableware and scouts NYC shows for artisans and consignors.

A not-for-profit store, FWE donates all of its profits to women’s and children’s charities, making it the perfect storm of retail and charity. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, the prices are very reasonable.

Robin’s note: They sell a brand-name handbag, spotted on numerous well-heeled FC residents, for about $45 less than a neighboring shop.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 30-75 years old.

Their specialty: Beautiful hand-knit baby wear, consigned from all over the country.

What you should buy: A stack of 11 dinner plates of Rosenthal Eminence-Cobalt blue china* for $395. These retail for about $175 a plate.

What you may not know but should:
  1. The 30 year-old store is run entirely by women volunteers.
  2. Currently, they sell embroidered items made in Haiti, to benefit women and children in Haiti.
*I’m not a dinnerware expert, but I’m 99% sure I’m right about the pattern.

Consignment     Home + Garden     Give     Fairfield    
Friday, December 03, 2010 • Permalink

Athena Diner

3350 Post Road, Southport

Named after the goddess of love and beauty, this diner evokes neither. It does, however, serve a good breakfast and endless coffee in a clean, respectable environment. Which is fine, because no one goes to a diner looking for romance. And if you do, then you may want to re-think your dating strategy.

Robin’s note: They keep a stash of candy to quell screaming children. How do I know? Because they offered all of my kids lollipops within moments of our arrival. Why were they screaming? Because there are two stuffed animal machines/games in the foyer.

Who you’ll see eating here: Fathers with their children and older couples.

Their specialty: Greek specialties.

What you should order: Pancakes and cheesecake.

What you may not know but should: It’s open 24/7 and their list of daily specials is longer than most menus.

Dining     Fairfield    
Tuesday, November 02, 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.

Dining     Fairfield     Stamford    
Friday, October 15, 2010 • Permalink

The Lilly Pulitzer Litmus Test

The quality* of a Fairfield County vintage/consignment store directly correlates to the average price of its Lilly Pulitzer sundresses:

  1. Roundabout, Greenwich & Westport: $69, if available.
  2. DWR, New Canaan: $65
  3. Designer Label Consignment, Westport: $45
  4. Twice is Nice, Southport: $20

*Quality includes store atmosphere, ease of shopping, price, and rarefied designer selection.

Consignment     Fashion     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Westport    
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 • Permalink

Café Lola

Cafe Lola, Fairfield

57 Unquowa Road, Fairfield

Whenever I hear the name “Lola” I think of transgender prostitutes and aged alcoholic showgirls. Such ignoble associations are unfortunate because if Café Lola was a person, she’d be less Slattern in the City and more Bohemian in the Southern Provence; a winsome maiden for whom few ‘70’s hits were penned (except for everything Air Supply ever recorded.)

This cozy café boasts lovely French comfort food and fresh salads with an impressive, but not unwieldy, selection of affordable wines and wine-by-the-glass. The attention to detail is evident from the unique and eclectic specialty cocktails (“The Muse in Red Heels” with lychee liqueur, “Madame Pigalle” with elderflower liqueur and champagne) to amazing baguettes. Yes, I’ll take this Lola over a decrepit muse any day.

Who you’ll see eating here: Business people lunching, couples 30-60 years old, and small groups of friends.

Their specialty: Croque-Madame Frites (Croque-Monsieur with a fried egg.)

What you should order: Fresh salad with large, perfectly grilled shrimp.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Tout le pain is from Billy’s Bakery in Fairfield and many other ingredients are locally sourced.
  2. Open since 2008, they’ve already won a bunch of awards.
  3. Sunday brunch is supposed to be incredible.

Dining     Fairfield    
Friday, May 28, 2010 • Permalink

Circle Diner

Circle Diner, Fairfield

441 Post Road, Fairfield

A big, big diner with good food and fast service.

Robin’s note: The waiters are amazingly efficient. The order was wrong, but holy cow they brought it quickly.

Who you’ll see eating here: Fairfield residents and college students, mostly couples, some tourists. And, inexplicably, a lot of young women with long blond hair.

Their specialty: All day breakfast, Greek coffee.

What you should order: Eggs benedict.

What you may not know but should: BIG portions and one of the very few early brunch spots in Fairfield.

Dining     Fairfield    
Thursday, April 01, 2010 • Permalink

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


2420 Post Road, Darien
841 Old Post Road, Fairfield
50 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
564 South Avenue, New Canaan
370 West Avenue, Norwalk
909 Washington Boulevard, Stamford
59 Post Road East, Westport
404 Danbury Road, Wilton

Robin’s note: The personnel at the Westport Y are thoughtful, helpful, and committed. I’ve had many positive experiences with them for my own children and Fresh Air Fund children.

Who they are: “The… Y is dedicated to building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities, while promoting healthy lifestyles through camps, swim lessons, gymnastics, sports, and childcare. [They] emphasize caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in [their] programs and services.”—http://www.westportymca.org

What they provide: The Y offers scholarships and financial assistance for families and individuals with needs and/or financial constraints. Further, the Y’s programs are offered to all members of the community regardless of their ability to pay for membership or programs.

Approximate number of employees: Differs

Biggest fundraising efforts:
From Golf Classics to Annual Galas, benefits differ according to location.


Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Westport     Wilton    
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 • Permalink

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