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Le Pain Quotidien

382 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
81 Elm Street, New Canaan

“The Daily Bread” or, if pronounced incorrectly, “The Daily Rabbit,” is a delightful organic café (perfect for lunch) with a European flair that, thankfully, doesn’t extend to its service.

Robin’s note: Le Pain was my home-away-from-home in Manhattan. Wonderful coffee, delicious fare and now – a liquor license!

Who you’ll see eating here: Moms with kids at breakfast and lunch, groups of couples 30-55 years old in the evening, and French ex-pats. No kidding.

Their specialty: Artisan bread and tartines (elegant open-faced sandwiches).

What you should order: Bread and tartines.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Each table has an assortment of their delicious signature jams and chocolate/hazelnut spreads to eat with their bread.
  2. Cafés include one or two large communal tables for those of you who enjoy sitting next to strangers or “meeting new friends.”
  3. It’s an environmentally-conscience eatery, with wood flooring from defunct railway cars and efficiently bio-degradable cups and spoons.

Dining     Greenwich     New Canaan    
Friday, November 11, 2011 • Permalink


Roundabout, Westport

606 Post Road East, Westport
48 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich

If $60 Manolo Blahniks and $150 Gaultier suits send a riotous, teeming pack of non-sexual pheromones to your brain, then Roundabout is going to make you very, very happy.

Robin’s note: Try on everything before purchasing and make sure the shoes stay on your feet: just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s wearable. And they don’t return ANYTHING.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Moms who love to shop.

Their specialty: Chanel suits and overstock Shin Choi.

What you should buy: The mint condition Etro/Prada/Gucci/de la Renta (etc.) hiding in the racks on the left side of the store.

What you may not know but should:
1. Consignments are only accepted with original sales receipt.
2. Cut-rate deals are even crazier when they’re clearing out seasonal merchandise, so go late fall/late spring.
3. Chanel rarely, if ever, gets further discounts. So don’t hold your breath.

Consignment     Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 • Permalink


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.

Fashion     Greenwich    
Thursday, June 16, 2011 • Permalink



Counselors to American’s Small Businesses, Fairfield Chapter

It was the late ‘90s. Like most young women in the free world, I decided to start a handbag business. Because I had no clue what I was doing, the handbag venture sort of fizzled. (I did get to tour creepy manufacturing facilities in New York and Fall River, though, so that was a plus.)

In retrospect, I did two things correctly with my business: 1. Consulted a retired businessman through SCORE, who gave me very helpful advice, 2. Folded.

Given today’s economy, thousands of people are starting their own small businesses. I advise them to consult SCORE for help. (Not to be confused with Scores. Biiiig difference.)

What they do: “SCORE… was established by Congress in 1964 as a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and formation, growth and success of small business. … SCORE volunteers use their expertise and energies to implement proven business practices in accomplishing your business objectives.” (website) Counselors offer expertise in almost every skill (IT, General Management, Marketing, PR, Strategic & Growth Planning, etc) and in almost every interest area (Photography, Retailing, Traveling, Gardening, etc.).

Who they are: “The Fairfield County Chapter has 50 volunteer professionals with a very broad mix of senior executive and small business experience. These dedicated men and women include both working and retired executives and business owners.” (website)

Click to read the rest ... "SCORE"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 • Permalink


Mitchells, Westport

670 Post Road East, Westport
359 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich

Connecticut’s highest-end department store, Mitchells is infamous for their apocryphal $450 t-shirt on sale, spectacular designer frippery, and free M&Ms. While Mitchells focuses on popular designers, Richards, the (larger) Greenwich offshoot, tends toward the classic.

Robin’s note: While shopping for my husband, I overheard Brian Williams encouraging a baffled sales associate to visit Iraq.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Men and women who love clothes and have an unlimited budget, and men and women who don’t care about clothes so entrust a stylist with their unlimited budget.

Their specialty: Aspirational designer clothing.

What you should buy: Just one Missoni or Pucci dress can improve your social life, so if you have the funds, buy the frock.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Each season they ship the sales merchandise to the tent sale in Westport and cut off an additional 60%.
  2. They now carry a small collection of more reasonably priced clothing (Theory, Vince, Wang, Burch, etc.)

Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 • Permalink

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, Greenwich

265 Greenwich Avenue

UPDATE: Check out “What you may not know but should” for exciting, new information!

The thing about Greenwich is – and please stop me if I’m stereotyping – no one really loses their money. It simply shifts to some other soon-to-be-resident through an intricate web of financial transactions. Now, even though money never actually leaves this town, the tastes change, causing some smaller boutiques to go out of business. But if we’re to believe Greenwich Avenue reflects the town’s predilections, then one thing is clear: rich people love Ralph.

Yes, while tiny retailers routinely wave teary good-byes, Ralph Lauren has snapped up one of the most lavish retail spaces on the avenue, polished it to sparkling, and packed it full of gorgeous, breathtakingly expensive clothes. They don’t stock Lauren (“Oh, that’s only our department store line.”), but everything from vintage gems to runway collection, home, and all the purple, black and blue labels for men and women are at your fingertips. Just don’t leave fingerprints.

Robin’s note: Am I the only one who never noticed his chandelier earrings before? I love the diamond, ruby and oxidized gold made-to-look-vintage danglers. Holy cow, they’re fabulous!

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 40-60 and men with wives or small children in tow.

Their specialty: Labeled collections, assorted by color.

What you should buy: Jewelry or select items from their athletic-inspired RLX line.

What you may not know but should:
  1. If you’re shopping, associates are happy to make restaurant or salon appointments for you, walk and feed your pooch, run errands, provide your meals, and keep you caffeinated. They’d probably get you drunk, too.
  2. ALERT!!: Sorry, Big Spender: the fabulous earrings on the mannequins aren’t for sale (if they don’t have a price tag.) No, they’re not from Ralph’s personal antique jewelry collection—they’re from Claire’s right down the street for $12.50!


Fashion     Greenwich    
Thursday, May 19, 2011 • Permalink

Consigned Couture

Consigned Couture

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.

Fashion     Greenwich    
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 • Permalink


Lululemon, Greenwich

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.


Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 • Permalink

Glory Days Diner

Glory Days, Greenwich

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.

Dining     Greenwich    
Friday, April 08, 2011 • Permalink


Abilis, Greenwich

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"

Give     Greenwich     Stamford    
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 • Permalink

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