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New Canaan

Cava Wine Bar

Cava Wine Bar, New Canaan

2 Forest Street, New Canaan

Forest Street is a small stretch of road littered with restaurants offering patio dining. It’s a crowded place to see and be seen, especially the former, as heads to turn to follow every pedestrian or loiterer. So look your best because you’ll be noticed.

Cava counts among these eateries. Here, you’ll find that diners here tend to focus more on their wine and repast than the passers-by. The food is delicious and elegantly prepared, and the wine list—over 120 Italian and California wines, some hard to find— is comprehensive, varied, and of very good value. Our oenophile friend was impressed and ordered a couple of excellent bottles.

Robin’s note: Careful not to stumble to your car or say something stupid like, “Wow – let’s hope I’m not too drunk to drive!” There are plenty of people listening; most of them look humorless and they all have cell phones.

Who you’ll see eating here: Groups of friends, mostly couples ages 30-70 years old.

Their specialty: Homemade pasta, especially panzotti (filled pasta “pillows”) and grilled calamari.

What you should order: Papardelle with chicken and truffle oil, scallops and lobster.

What you may not know but should:
  1. The owners, two brothers, are expanding into Darien (Scena) and also own 55 Degrees in Fairfield.
  2. If you’re, like, really excited about great service you may be disappointed. On the up-side, the long waits afford quality time for eyeballing your neighbors and sipping vino.
http://www.cavawinebar.com

Dining     New Canaan    
Thursday, February 10, 2011 • Permalink

Fund for Women and Girls

http://www.fccfoundation.org

Last August, Jennifer Aniston assured women everywhere that we don’t need men to have babies. Okay, aside from piffling matters like the biology of human reproduction and male role models, she kind of has a point. I mean, a women pulling in her kind of coin can replace a father with a fleet of nannies, a night nurse, a maid, a vegan chef, and todder wardrobe full of designer clothing.

But, sadly, the lights on Hollywood Boulevard seem to have blinded her from reality. First, she has no children and, therefore, no clue what she’s talking about. Second, most single moms do need help: that’s where a baby daddy comes in pretty handy. And if he isn’t around, and money is tight, then they need someone – and I’m not referring to a casting director or personal assistant.

That’s where the Fund for Women and Girls comes in handy.

Who they are: “Established in 1998 by women for women, the Fund for Women and Girls is a permanent Field of Interest fund of the Fairfield County Community Foundation… (and) has become the largest women’s fund in New England.”

What they do: “In 2007, the Fund published the first research study on the status of women and girls in Fairfield County… Our research confirmed what was expected… too many women are living at the poverty level because of limited education, low-paying jobs and the high cost of child care.

Since the Fund’s establishment, it has awarded $1.4 million in grants to Fairfield County nonprofits that address the unique needs of women and girls. Our investments and collaborations aim to

Click to read the rest ... "Fund for Women and Girls"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Wednesday, February 09, 2011 • Permalink

Design Solutions

Design Solutions, New Canaan

146 Elm Street, New Canaan

Listen, I totally get the “Oh, my life is so hectic I want my house to be a beige Zen haven where I can relax and look at white walls and a smattering of dark antique furniture” thing. But if you crave fabulous pops of gorgeous color so riotous that the kids’ toys seamlessly blend into their surroundings, then this is where you can go for all your home décor needs.

Robin’s note: DS is owned by Mike Wallace’s daughter, the former president of that Mecca for whimsical practicality: The Conran Shop. While DS focuses on home interiors, they also carry Marimekko accessories and novel children’s items.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women ages 35 to 60.

Their specialty: Living room décor, from furniture to rugs to fabrics.

What you should buy: Special one-of-a-kind items from around the world.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Among their special items are pieces from Haiti, including colorful papier mâché birds and a fabulous pink birdcage chandelier, which now hangs in my kitchen.
  2. When I fell in love with the aforementioned chandelier, I wasn’t sure if it would go with my décor. They happily delivered it to my home, carried it inside, and stuck around until I decided to buy it, if I decided to buy it. All of this at no cost, no obligation, and they had no idea I was going to lavish praise upon them in a website at a later date. Now that, my friend, is good old-fashioned customer service.
http://www.designsolutionstore.com

Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Thursday, February 03, 2011 • Permalink

The Silk Purse

The Silk Purse, New Canaan

118 Main Street, New Canaan

You can’t throw a rock in New Canaan without smashing the plate glass window, mirrored console and white ostrich-skin sideboard of some tony home décor boutique.  So it was all the more delightful to enter this traditional, neatly cluttered furniture/jewelry consignment store. This town’s cast-offs are pretty swishy and the prices are delightfully affordable.

Robin’s note: Dear old auntie isn’t hocking her Tiffany baubles at the corner store, so manage your expectations before shopping for cut-rate jewels here.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women, ages 30 – 60 years old.

Their specialty: Dining chair sets.

What you should buy: Baker coffee table, good as new, for $715.

What you may not know but should: Their website lists most – but not all – of their items and is updated daily.
http://www.thesilkpurse.com

Consignment     Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 • Permalink

Mason

Mason, New Canaan

48 Elm Street, New Canaan

An empyrean for mid-century Modernist-philes, this chic boutique stocks a thoughtful selection of delights for decorating (lighting, furniture, accessories) and décolletage (estate costume and fine jewelry, including my favorite Cartier-designed icon: the boneless panther).

Robin’s note: The store, opened in Fall ’09 by gorgeous ex-fashion publicist Courtney Mason and her interior design partner Kristin Gallipoli, caters to the underserved slew of Frank Lloyd Wright homesteaders and enthusiasts.

Their specialty: Original ‘50s chandeliers.

What you should buy: I love the Babe Paley/disco ball chandeliers.

What you may not know but should: Attention Unattached Straight Men: Ms. Mason is single, so ask her out before the SoNo Baking Company hunk snaps her up (if, in fact, he’s single. Which I suspect but haven’t confirmed.)
http://www.masonstyle.net

Home + Garden     New Canaan    
Monday, January 24, 2011 • Permalink

L’Armoire

image

102 Park Street, New Canaan

I’ve shopped 95% of the clothing stores in Fairfield County. Which, admittedly, tap-dances the fine line between commitment to my profession and soft addiction. Be that as it may, I’m always thrilled to discover something different, such as L’Armoire.

L’Armoire is a fabulous wardrobe full of everything one needs to, say, tour the Pacific Rim for 6 days with one duffel bag and an itinerary full of hiking and black tie*. Diane, the owner (whose forearms sparkle with antique bracelets), and her associates create outfits for special occasions and assemble chic seasonal wardrobes for busy executives (and their lucky, lucky daughters). The wardrobes can include everytyhing from a winter scarf to the enormous antique diamond chandelier earrings I desperately want. She regularly dispatches associates to the city to find the perfect estate jewelry for clients and was currently dressing an unnamed (despite my prying) producer for the Emmys.

Christian Siriano swings happily from the same rack as Gossip and Gerard Darel with price points from ~$100-1,500 (or more for the swishy duds) but don’t fret: they’re tactfully sensitive to clients’ budgets.

Robin’s note: While I was there, a woman wandered in, looking for a sophisticated mother-of-the-bride dress while bemoaning the couple’s choice of groomsmen attire. Diane listened and offered her sympathies as well as attire suggestions, turning the experience into a sort of shopping excursion-cum-therapy-session. The perfect person, I realized, to help me with my shopping addiction.

Click to read the rest ... "L’Armoire"

Fashion     New Canaan    
Friday, January 21, 2011 • Permalink

Garelick & Herbs

Garelick & Herbs, New Canaan

48 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
1799 Post Road East, Westport
97 Main Street, New Canaan

This full-to-bursting shop smack-dab in downtown New Canaan is a veritable funny farm of fine foods and colorful confections. Iced cookies, taffy, big-as-your-head cookies and hundreds of chocolate-covered pretzels with different toppings surround you. Further on, there’s a banquet of over 50 different prepared foods, from salads to entrées to even more sweets and baked treats. It’s flagrantly indulgent and slightly excessive.

If you think you’ll pop in for a quick cup of coffee, guess again. Few can tear themselves away unburdened by a sugar-high inducing cholesterol fix.

Oh, and the large crock greeting you at the door is not the Soup du Jour, it’s oatmeal. Yeah. Kind of odd.

Robin’s note: This location is nicer than the Westport store, which reminds me of Miss Havisham’s feast in the middle of a department store (but without bugs).

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women shoppers, 25-60 years old or older men buying themselves dinner.

Their specialty: Prepared dinner entrées, including chicken Cordon Bleu, lasagna, rice and cranberry salad, etc.

What you should buy: Fruit Loop/Marshmallow/Chocolate Rice Krispy treat because… well, you’re not getting it anywhere else.

What you may not know but should:
  - They specialize in catering, featuring stations such as “Yogurt”, “Pancake,” “Kiddush,” and “South of the Border.”

 

Dining     Greenwich     New Canaan     Westport    
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 • Permalink

Skirtin’ Around

33 East Avenue, New Canaan

Lousy location, but the private label apparel—think Lilly Pulitzer colors, DVF patterns and J. McLaughlin styles—is worth searching for a legal parking spot.

Robin’s note: The owner/designer doesn’t use a fit model, so try on everything before buying.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 30+ who wish to sport something a tad different in Nantucket this season.

Their specialty: Silk blouses in colorful prints.

What you should buy: Jersey wrap dress.

What you may not know but should: Very reasonable prices and fabulous sales. Plus, it’s a one-of-a-kind boutique.
http://www.skirtinaround.com

Fashion     New Canaan    
Thursday, January 06, 2011 • Permalink

Magical Music for Life Foundation

76 Elm Street, New Canaan
(203) 966-178

Robin’s note: If your boys are anything like mine, they watch Star Wars, “cut off” each others arms with lightsabers, and say cute things like, “I’m going to kill you.” So sweet. As an antidote to the harrowing images and stories in modern media (children’s shows, nonetheless), a group of parents and artists pulled together to form a foundation that brings a positive, musical message to kids.

Who they are: “…a team of professional musicians, actors, writers and producers (founded in 1999 by Carter and Chris Norton) [who] develop and produce a wide range of musical projects that can bring a positive approach to everyday life to young children and their families. ...each of these projects are designed to enable children to perform / participate in the professional productions.” (website)

What they provide: Their traveling show, The Adventures of Zak, consists of 2 adults actors, 3 child actors, a rudimentary set, and sound equipment. The show can include the local school/organizations children’s choir in the final number. Zak is about “daily struggles and frustrations” and is most appropriate for children age 4-11.

What you may not know but should:
  1. The touring production of Zak has played at a many impressive venues, including The White House Egg Roll and The Tribeca Film Family Festival. The larger production has played at many major theatres throughout the US.
  2. The touring production may be used to raise money for other organizations and charities.

For more information, please contact:
Carter Norton, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Give     New Canaan    
Monday, January 03, 2011 • Permalink

Crumbs

Crumbs

48 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
89 Elm Street, New Canaan
1067 High Ridge Road, Stamford
40-44 Post Road East, Westport

Those of you who prefer your sugar plums be cellutically affixed to your inner thighs, rather than dancing in your head, already know about Crumbs.

Note: I know cellutically isn’t a word. I just don’t know why.

Crumbs is the charming cupcakery sweeping Fairfield County. And only a hardcore funsucker would sap the delight from a visit to Crumbs for one of their notoriously big and decadent confections.

There are over 50 flavors of homemade cakes, such as “Baba Booey” (chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate cream cheese frosting or something to that effect), “Cookie Dough” (vanilla cake with fudge center, cream cheese frosting and cookies), and the all-time favorite of children who love any abnormally bright food with a cartoon on top, “Pinkalicious.” You can also enjoy the cupcake-of-the-month and seasonal specialties like Peppermint Hot Cocoa.

Each whimsical gateau will set you back about $4.50. Sound like a lot? Maybe. But it’s nothing compared to your gym membership.

Robin’s note: I’m not going to lie and say they’re the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. They’re not bad, though, with an impressive frosting/cake ratio. Plus, your options are limited. The best cupcakes are the smaller “classic” cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate. Cheaper, too.

Who you’ll see eating here: Couples and moms with kids. Teenagers descend upon it after school lets out.

Their specialty: Baba Booey, Artie Lange, Red Velvet, Cookie Dough, Squiggles, Devil’s Food, and Peanut Butter Cup.

What you should order: Vanilla with chocolate frosting.

What you may not know but should:
  1. Don’t like cupcakes? (Is that humanly possible?) But if you really don’t, they carry a tasty selection of cookies and muffins.
  2. They’ll create cupcakes for weddings, birthdays, and other fabulous occasions.

http://www.crumbs.com

Dining     Greenwich     New Canaan     Stamford     Westport    
Thursday, December 30, 2010 • Permalink

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