Art de Vivre

Those in search of stylish home upgrades—from sconces and chandeliers to rugs and accessories—will find a chic selection at Interieurs, a new design studio in Cos Cob owned by designer Francine Gardiner. The French-born tastemaker, who had a shop in SoHo and later in New York’s Design District for more than twenty years, has moved her business closer to her home in Stamford, though she is still working with clients in the city and internationally.

“I really wanted to be in this area,” says Francine of the new location. “I like to discover and create, and this place has a more intimate type of feeling.” The soothing 800-square-foot shop displays vignettes that reflect Francine’s eye for design, her travels and her modern European sensibility, but the inventory represents only a fraction of the furnishings she sells (larger items such as tables, sofas, beds can all be ordered). A few of the accents you can view in person: sconces and fixtures from Tekna lighting, a range of rug samples from luxury Belgian line Limited Edition (LE), exclusive to Interieurs lighting by Jose Estevez, hand-blown glass pendants by Siemon & Salazar as well as art, textiles and gifts such as fabrics woven by an artist in Senegal, gold-leaf glasses and Belgian jewelry.

Though Francine has designed for big names and her installations are featured in Hollywood homes, she also has a passion for helping younger clients get started. Influenced by her twentysomething sons and their friends who are settling into their first homes, she is working on a concept for Millennials called “Design in a Box.” She will create packages with three or four options for pieces of furniture that all work together visually, representing different looks. Her edited choices will make it easier for people to furnish their spaces. “I want to help younger people have a design vision.” 238 East Putnam Ave.,

Hey, Good Lookin’

Isn’t it high time to treat yourself to some beyond-the-basics care: a rejuvenating, volumizing facial to perk up your skin or a luxe treatment to repair overprocessed locks, perhaps? The top talent at our town’s spas and salons can help you bring your beauty A-game, but which treatments should you book? We indulged in a few and talked to the pros to get their advice on the latest and greatest, the beauty secrets of those who always seem to shine.

Glowing Skin

The Spa at Delamar
500 Steamboat Road; 203-661-9800;

Thanks to advances in the technology, MICRO-NEEDLING is one hot skin treatment right now. The process involves the tiniest of needles, often applied using a roller-type device, that inflict very minor injury to the top layer of the skin. This triggers your skin to create new collagen (part of its normal healing process), and also allows serums to reach deeper into the skin, helping plump the face in a more natural way. Although some needling treatments can be painful and require numbing cream prior to appointments, The Spa at Delamar manages to blend relaxation and results with its new MICRO PUNCTURE LAB, using a machine and serums from Biologique Recherche.

During the procedure, special serums are applied using the micro-puncture machine. Then, while a cooling marine-based collagen mask soothes your skin, enjoy a relaxing neck, shoulder, arm and hand massage with an antiaging, hydrating moisturizer that contains essence of yams, an ingredient that also helps balance hormones. Finally, the aesthetician applies chilled cryo-sticks along the contours of the face for further cooling and lifting while also closing the pores. Bonus: Throughout this treatment, you’ll lay on an amethyst biomat, which promotes relaxation and eases muscle tension. End result? Brighter, smoother, firmer skin and a relaxed state of mind. Another cutting-edge skin plumper at The Spa at Delamar is the HYALURONIC ACID STRIPS that the aesthetician applies directly to the skin to target fine lines. The special strips are created using a 3-D printer and imbued with skin-boosting serums; you can request them as an add-on to a facial.


95 East Putnam Avenue; 203-340-0790;

If you fall into the dull-skin-but-no-time-for-a-facial camp, GLOsquad has created a lineup of QUICK SKIN FIXES BASED ON PROBIOTICS. “People need to balance their hormones and provide the essential nutrients needed for their skin to glow,” says Michelle Baizer Cooper, GLOSquad cofounder and health and wellness expert, who recommends an at-home regimen to clients to complement the treatments offered at their skin lounge. This is the only area salon to carry Wellco, Elle McPherson’s super elixir of plant-based protein, and it’s been selling out, Michelle says. For maximum results and a refreshed face, try the GLOBIOTIC YOUTH BOOST FACIAL, which uses topical probiotics to stimulate collagen and brighten and tighten the skin. The service takes just twenty-five minutes.


10 Railroad Avenue; 203-661-0107;

Though Hopscotch is known for its hair expertise, clients are also rejuvenating their skin here with the new DERMAPLANING service with aesthetician Suzanna Kudzinowski, who has been written up in Vogue. Once a trade secret in the modeling biz, dermaplaning gently removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells and fine facial hair. This skin refresh requires no downtime and can be done as frequently as every two weeks. Suzanna also does REJUVENATING MICROCURRENT and LED LIGHT TREATMENTS in addition to her signature brow shaping.

Body Work

The Spa at Delamar

Celebs swear by detoxing treatments, and now you can indulge in a DETOX BODY WRAP at The Spa at Delamar. The ninety-minute treatment combines massage techniques with Biologique Recherche algae and seaweed, plus essential oils, applied to your body, which is then wrapped in a heated blanket. The effect is detoxifying to help with slimming and cellulite control. The aesthetician selects a blend of essential oils tailored to your body’s and skin’s needs. For overall skin toning and firming, the DELUXE BODY LIFT is a facial for the body that involves exfoliation and micro-current therapy for toning and skin tightening.

Dream Spa

151 Greenwich Avenue; 203-629-2525;

Ever book a pedicure just for the foot massage? At the new Reflex Lounge at Dream Spa, you can skip the polish but still enjoy a half hour to hour of STRESS-RELIEVING MASSAGE AND REFLEXOLOGY. The word “CHILL” is painted in white on the lounge’s gray wall, and chill you will as your feet, arms and hands receive the royal treatment. You recline in first-class leather seating with an oversized terry-covered cushion propping up your lower legs. Depending on the service you choose, legs and feet will be scrubbed with essential oils and then treated to a soothing masque followed by a hot stone massage. The aestheticians are trained in reflexology methods and apply pressure to appropriate points on your feet and/or hands to promote energy. The lounge’s four chairs are separated by long white drapes that close to create privacy when you want to bliss-out solo or open up for friends who want to catch up and relax at the same time. Short on time? Two therapists can work at once to treat both your hands and feet in half an hour.

For a straight-up massage that’s not only relaxing but healing, ask for Dalia at Dream. She has just the right touch—even her voice is soothing—and she’s skilled at locating your most tense muscles and coaxing them back into shape.

J House Spa

1114 East Putnam Avenue; 203-698-6980;

Need head-to-toe rejuvenation? The PURE ZEN SERVICE at the J House Spa, a newer boutique spa and wellness center within the hotel, combines a classic Swedish massage with a foot-refresher treatment that includes a sugar-scrub exfoliation, soothing wrap and foot massage. End with the ANTI-AGING FACIAL using products by Natura Bisse, customized to your skin.

Dream Hair

Warren Tricomi
1 E Putnam Avenue; 212.262.8899;

At Warren Tricomi, the latest hair fix centers around new technology. “We have some exciting innovations heading to our Greenwich and NYC-based salons,” says Edward Tricomi, stylist and cofounder of Warren Tricomi Salons. The game changer is a new STEAM-CONDITIONING TREATMENT that leaves hair looking and feeling its best. “This steaming machine treats damaged hair with microscopic water particles that go deep into the hair follicles. The mist is not only amazing for your hair, but it’s a relaxing experience that we know our clients will love.

Jaafar Tazi Salon

149 Greenwich Avenue; 203-340-2525;

If you’re tired of dealing with damaged, lackluster hair from years of coloring or environmental wear-and-tear, the beauty buzzword to know is OLAPLEX. “It’s changed my whole career as a colorist. It’s the most innovative product being used,” says veteran color pro Lea Arpell of Jaafar Tazi Salon, who raves about Olaplex as part of her custom color process. Created by two University of California chemists with multiple patents pending, Olaplex repairs broken bonds in the hair (which make up elasticity and tensile strength) to keep hair shiny, healthy and strong, even when you’re opting for the latest ombre look or going from brunette to light blonde. “All of our art looks better as a result,” says Lea. Another top treatment involves FUSIO-DOSE BY KERASTASE and its various boosters and concentrates as part of a hair transformation that’s completely custom. For instance, the stylist could mix a blend that adds body and moisture or protein and shine, depending on your hair’s needs.


380 Greenwich Avenue; 203-340-9550;

Becker is known for delivering top-notch cuts and color at his namesake salon. Now clients can treat themselves to his BECKER SIGNATURE TREATMENT to retexturize hair and add major shine. “The formula created by Becker is tweaked to the individual depending on the hair’s look, feel and texture,” says Danielle Torres, salon manager. His cocktail of four products remedies hair troubles by demineralizing (taking out chlorine and well-water residue), strengthening texture, repairing damage and adding keratin. Schedule the treatment for one week after your cut or color.


Ladies who like to stay on trend are expanding their color palettes for hair, increasingly turning to fashionably gray/silver as well as other colors, says Christian-Angel, manager of Hopscotch Salon. He notes that clients are also seeking long-term solutions for manageability. “Clients want their results to expand beyond the typical life span that Keratin treatment can provide,” says Pam Wade, senior stylist and thermal reconditioning specialist. “JAPANESE RECONDITIONING is an easy, permanent solution to smooth locks with minimal maintenance.”

Toni & Guy

181 Greenwich Avenue; 203-869-4500;

For precision cuts with European flair, talk to the Pirri brothers who command the stylists’ chairs at Toni & Guy. Piero and Luigi Pirri have been doing hair in town since 1992 and recently became associated with the Toni & Guy salon group. In a modern space above Greenwich Avenue, they work with clients to determine the ideal cut and color. “Right now people are being more playful with their color,” says Piero, who does specialized looks such as OMBRE AND BALAYAGE. “It’s reminding me of Madonna and the ’80s.” To improve the condition of your hair, ask for the Pirri treatment: A blend of natural ingredients, including extracts such as carrot and wild cherry bark, is applied to the hair to achieve different results depending on the need, boosting shine, moisture and volume.



The Fab Five

Photograph: Cai Pandolfino, co-owner of Green & Tonic

So many of us vow to eat well and live healthier in the New Year that it’s become a resolution cliché—but also a worthwhile goal. For motivation we turned to Cai Pandolfino, co-owner of Green & Tonic (a plant-based food and drink spot with five Fairfield County locations including Cos Cob and downtown) and a busy mom of three. “January in Connecticut presents conflicting urges,” says Cai. “We want to get out there and be healthy, trim, light … all the while craving things that keep us cozy, warm and satisfied. I like putting together a balanced portfolio of wellness goals—some easier, some involving a bigger stretch.” Here, a few of Cai’s tricks.

  1. Hydrate  

    I cut a lemon into eight slices in the morning and keep them in a Ziploc bag, putting one wedge into each big glass of water I drink during the day to keep count. Lemon water is a natural way to detoxify and get vitamin C.

  2. Embrace healthy fats

    Avocado, nuts (milks, butters, oil), coconut (milk, meat, oil) make a meal more satisfying.
    I add coconut milk to smoothies and soups, dice up an avocado into black bean soup and add almond butter to my morning oatmeal. Healthy fats support digestion, hormones, vitamin absorption and blood sugar—all essential to hitting those weight-loss goals.

  3. Take a brave leap

    January may be the best month to try something new on the exercise front because if you’re new to it and a little nervous, you’ll find plenty of company. Be brave and swing for the fences! This past year, a few weeks after giving birth (post-forty pregnancy and recovery is a whole different ball game), my husband Jeff challenged me to try Crossfit. Greenwich CrossFit is awesome at scaling workouts to all levels.

  4. Bring the heat 

    Our bodies naturally slow down in winter, so any kind of circulation and metabolism support is welcome. Cayenne pepper brings the heat (it’s a natural immunity and metabolism booster), and the subtle warmth from fresh ginger is a great anti-inflammatory. I use both in smoothies and hot tea, and they’re also combined with lemon juice in my absolute favorite, the G&T Fireball.

  5. Go with your gut 

    Good digestion is the starting point for building a strong, balanced body (think strong immunity, balanced hormones, glowing skin, reduced inflammation). To kick-start any health resolution, make a habit of taking care of your gut. My go-to is Fire Cider, an ancient New England brew of raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey and citrus with a spicy kick that’s a natural source of probiotics. It supports immunity, digestion and circulation, and wards off bacteria. I take a shot in the morning, use it in vinaigrettes, and as a secret ingredient in the best-ever Bloody Mary.

Chic Bites

Photographs by Julie Bidwell

Set inside an impeccably restored 1912 Victorian, this chic shop-and-nosh spot can satisfy your taste buds and your holiday gift list in one fell swoop. Like Greenwich’s smaller version of Freds at Barneys, the place owned by Lisa Lori blends a luxury goods boutique with a tiny but charming café. The Perfect Provenance is stocked with handpicked items you can’t help but covet: fashion finds like velvet sneakers and gold leather cage sandals, luxe French fragrances, copper cocktail shakers, and even colorful Martone bicycles. Too many businesses toss around the term “curated” these days, but at Perfect Provenance it’s accurate, reflecting Lisa’s personal selection and ongoing art exhibits (Rock ‘n’ Roll launched this fall). The café features an evolving menu, too, recently shifting from French bistro favorites that paired with the exhibit We’ll Always Have Paris, to American classics with a twist to accompany the Rock ‘n’ Roll theme.

Given Lisa’s eye for detail, it’s fitting that she attracted Arik Bensimon to serve as her chef. A Culinary Institute of America grad, Chef Arik developed a serious following at LeFarm in Westport and Napa & Co, not to mention stints at Le Cirque and Picholine. Now in this café setting, he’s cooking for just five or six tables (plus a few more on the porch in season) and his pared-down menu showcases his talent. This is truly intimate dining.

Lunch here draws downtown shoppers to the café, which feels like its own destination. With its deep Hague Blue walls, brick walkways built from an old chimney and a refurbished original front door, the space could be an outpost in Litchfield or Vermont. From the latest lunch menu, some popular dishes include the Lucky Lobster Club, more decadent thanks to the black truffle mayo; a curried chicken salad on sourdough; the perfect grass-fed burger with bernaise sauce and a truffle macaroni and cheese. The chef gets creative with Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped dates with blue cheese) and whips up seasonal soups, among many tasty starters.

When I visited “47” for dinner recently, it was a warm fall evening and we were able to sit outside on the porch. Dinner is served only on Thursday and Friday nights, and the brief menu comprises whatever Arik dreams up that week. We sampled and savored almost everything he cooked that evening. That night’s salad mixed a variety of greens with haricot vert, kohlrabi and currants along with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a fresh combination that picked up a nutty flavor from the seeds and a hint of sweetness from lime–crème fraiche dressing. Another app that drew raves: a flavorful and not-at-all-chewy octopus plated with bites of chorizo, red pepper and potato topped with a fresh herb sauce and sprinkling of smoked paprika. We also enjoyed a starter of spicy lamb sausage with peppers and eggplant. The mains we tried were devoured with gusto—an Alaskan salmon with summer squash topped with sorrel in a bright, lemony sauce, and a tender beef brisket that’s not overly sauced and served with butter beans and char.

We enjoyed iced tea with our meal, but if you prefer wine, you’ll have to bring a bottle (there’s no liquor license) and pay the $10 corkage fee. Service was on the slow side considering the small number of tables. Also, we were disappointed that there was no decaf coffee to go along with the excellent desserts: chocolate budino (a mousse-like pudding with whipped cream and chunks of chocolate) and ice cream sandwiches with homemade chocolate chip cookies and strawberry ice cream.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself shopping between courses. After dinner we wound up trying on tops and shoes upstairs at 10 p.m. In the end, some Scandinavian tableware proved irresistible. But whether you cap your meal by purchasing a wood-and-glass salad bowl or diving into a bowl of pear-ginger sorbet, you’re bound to leave with all cravings sated.

Café 47
47 Arch Street, 203-900-1131;
Lunch/All-Day Menu,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dinner, Thursday and
Friday, 6–9 p.m.

Join the Club

For lifelong learners, digital exchanges such as online classes don’t come close to offering the same rewarding experience as watching live play readings, listening to speakers in person, or attending movie screenings with a group followed by an open and honest dialogue.

The Nantucket Project (TNP), headquartered in Greenwich, has created
a venue for thinkers to interact in at its annual “ideas conference” held in September on Nantucket. This year’s event attracted attendees with a diverse group of presenters: Deepak Chopra, Norman Lear, Christy Turlington Burns, Seth Godin,
Larry Gordon, Monica Lewinsky and dozens of others. The goal? “To exchange ideas, build strong relationships and share groundbreaking insights.” But for those
who aren’t able to attend this intellectual summit, local programming lets you experience TNP throughout the year.

A membership at TNP’s Mason Street Library ($500 annually) includes invites to a robust lineup of events as well as exclusive access to speakers, actors and scholars. “The library is similar to how Starbucks created that third place between work and home,” says Scott Williams, TNP president. The space, which opened during the Greenwich International Film Festival last June, is a spot where members can drop in for espresso, chat with founder Tom Scott and fellow members, use the speedy Wi-Fi and read any of the “world’s best magazines,” among other resources. Members are automatically invited to all of the ongoing events and can attend TNP speaker rehearsals. Though most of the events are free to the public, members receive priority and also have the chance to network with some of the area’s most creative people.

“Our hope is that we create this fellowship, a community that is 200 strong, and that they stay with us,” says Williams. “It’s for those who have
a curiosity that’s insatiable.”

Drama Club

The American National Theatre presents readings by actors Kelli O’Hara, Gabriel Macht and Jacqueline Antaramian. Des Moines on Thursday, November 10 and Famous Blue Raincoat on Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m.    

Science & Health 

Dr. Richard B. Lipton, a brain expert and professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will present “The Aging Brain: Use it or Lose it” on Thursday, November 3.

Politics and History 

A special Election Night event is in the works. And on Tuesday, November 22, the anniversary of JFK’s assassination, author Paul Wolfe will read from his upcoming novel, The Book of Mary based on JFK’s lover and confidante Mary Pinchot Meyer.

Tech Films

Watch We Live in Public, a documentary about internet pioneer Josh Harris and the loss of privacy in the Internet age. Harris will then speak from Las Vegas via Highfive after the film on Thursday, November 17.  (Other recent viewings include the documentary Screenagers, covering tweens and teens who are addicted to screen time.)


A new parenting group for dads only will meet every other Tuesday to discuss topics such as raising resilient kids and regulating our emotions as parents.

Teenage Dream

Land of Nod
Satellite pendant; $179.

RH Teen
Illuminated chalkboard oval speech bubble; $289.

Rio tall basket; $283.80.

Blaney 23”x 11” pillow with feather-down insert; $39.95.

Easton secretary desk in oceanfront; $5,795.
Greenwich, 203-518-8068;

Jonathan Adler
Puli pouf in natural; $495.
Greenwich, 203-622-1476;

Dotty nailhead bed; $1,699.95 —$1,899.95.

All images courtesy of designers/brands



Birkenstocks Not Required

Above: Salmon avocado toast

If you’re the type who’s a healthy eater most of the time but craves a good old-fashioned bacon, egg and cheese now and then, the new Granola Bar has you covered. This casual breakfast and lunch spot founded by Westport moms Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily features a menu that speaks to what these food entrepreneurs felt was missing in the market. “When we started to create the café and granola bar, we realized we were hungry for a certain type of food, not a diner, not a white-napkin place but something with clean, simple food,” says Julie.

Though the new eatery on the Avenue has its roots in granola, which was the pair’s original business, the resulting menu is anything but crunchy. Instead, expect a lineup of all-day breakfast options, smoothies, avocado toast, salads and bowls, and satisfying sandwiches and wraps, most items with a health-conscious spin, such as the vegan roasted cauliflower chowder, power matcha smoothies and homemade paleo muffins.

Kale and turkey salad in a citrus vinaigrette
Kale and turkey salad in a citrus vinaigrette
Assorted yogurt parfaits
Assorted yogurt parfaits

Julie and Dana, both New York City transplants who now live in Westport, first partnered on a homemade granola line called Oats. It was started in Julie’s kitchen and quickly expanded, with the pair renting a kitchen space in Westchester and driving there at night after their kids were asleep. “It was quite the Thelma and Louise adventure,” says Dana. Soon, all of the Whole Foods stores in the Northeast were carrying their Oats granola line. When they opened a café in Westport with plans to make granola in the kitchen in back and serve coffee, yogurt and granola out front, the small restaurant took off, so much so that the granola biz took a back seat.


Today in the restaurants, the granola is made daily in the kitchens, while other items are sourced from local purveyors, such as the organic yogurt from Glenview Farms and sausage from Fleishers used in a breakfast wrap and the Modern Farmly bowl. Everything is made to order, so you can also customize any dish. In a hurry? The grab-and-go case stocks popular items—all made that morning—so you can be in and out in two minutes. Of course, granola is still part of the mix, with five varieties made daily and several yogurt parfaits such as the Crunchy Elvis with vanilla-almond granola, almond butter, honey and banana. Also, don’t miss the new vegan cashew yogurt with mandarin oranges, toasted coconut and chia.

Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain
Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain

Popular dishes on the breakfast menu include the breakfast burrito and The Dana wrap with egg white, spinach, avocado and turkey bacon, while lunch favorites are avocado toast with different toppings, the Brussels and kale salad, the Buddha bowl with quinoa and eggs and the blackened salmon wrap.

The space has quickly become a hot spot for coffee, serving Toby’s Estate and Rise Nitro cold brew on tap. (There’s also a coffee bar for lingering with your java and recharging your devices.)

41 Greenwich Avenue,


Portrait by Bruce Plotkin; salad and parfaits by Crissi Grimaldi; coffee by Kyle Norton

Drinks that Dazzle

When you’re planning a party, festive drinks count as much as the food. A bespoke cocktail caterer called The Cup Bearer, run by Justin Pasha, aims to elevate the home bar and cocktails to an art form. He helps to plan events with distinctive drinks and all the luxe accessories that go along with them, bringing his full cherry-wood bar with him to party locations. “We can transform your living room and backyard into a Manhattan cocktail lounge,” says Pasha, who has served at parties at The Greenwich Polo Club and Baccarat as well as many private fetes. “We show up and create an experience. The drinks are a small part of what we’re doing.” With his white-glove service, details matter: crystal glasses, old-fashioned soda syphons, copper tools and hand-chipped ice. Before any party, he meets with clients twice: first to discuss signature drinks and then again for a tasting. In addition to classic cocktails, he can re-create memorable vacation libations—that Painkiller from the BVIs or Pisco Sour from Peru—or put a twist on a favorite, such as a passion fruit mojito with bitters. Hot right now? Think Havana-inspired beverages and tiki culture, such as an expertly prepared mai tai.


A mix of Crop organic cucumber vodka and fresh lemonade with muddled mint and a spritz of rose water



The Cup Bearer can pre-batch cocktails and deliver them for self-service in crystal beverage dispensers. An aficionado of tools of the trade—“I have a complete obsession with cocktail gear,” he says—Pasha can also outfit your home bar so you’ll be well-equipped for any type of gathering. Here’s what you need in order to mix, shake and stir like a pro.

  1.  A yarai, which is a Japanese mixing glass (available at
  2. Quality hand juicer, zester and paring knife: “Freshness of ingredients is key,” he says.
  3. A Lewis bag, which is a canvas bag that you hit with a mallet to create crushed ice.
  4. Large metal bucket for storing ice and a metal scoop for transferring ice to glasses. It’s much more efficient than tongs, which can only move a cube at a time.
  5. Mixing glasses for Manhattans and martinis. (Rule of thumb: If a drink is just liquor, stir it; if it contains juice, shake it.)
  6. A martini stirring spoon
  7. Short-handled Hawthorne strainer
  8. A few types of bitters

Vermouth should be refrigerated once it’s opened. It’s a wine and will go bad over time.

Photos: Trisha Keeler Photography

On Pointe

Above: Kayla Mak, daughter of a Beam & Barre employee, danced in the most recent Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Dancers in town have long sourced their leotards, shoes and accessories from BEAM & BARRE, and the new Post Road location in Cos Cob gives them more to twirl about. The store catering to dancers, gymnasts and yoga moms has doubled in size, says owner Cara Milo, who’s also a part-time teacher at Greenwich Dance Studio and grew up dancing in town. She purchased the business two years ago when the former owner retired. Beam & Barre carries top-quality lines such as Ainslie leotards for dance, GK Elite for gymnasts and Vimmia yoga wear among others, with sizes for kids and adults. Well-known for its pointe-shoe fitting (Cara was helping with pre-recital sewing when we visited), Beam & Barre also stocks footwear and gear for hip-hop, jazz, tap and lyrical dance.

A party room with a hand-painted mural where Cara has started hosting birthday celebrations, ranging from dress-up and crafting for girls as young as four to yoga, pointe-shoe decorating and cake for tweens and teens.

Check out the edited selection of items for dancers: jewelry, fairy wings, puppets, wands, books and more. 241 East Putnam Avenue, 203-622-0591;



Lights Fantastic

Above: Place de Rome at Night, 1905 oil on canvas by Theodore Earl Butler

“Artists have been fascinated by light for centuries,” says Margarita Karasoulas, a curator at the Bruce Museum. So have scientists. Now the latest exhibits at the Bruce look at light and electricity from both perspectives, showcasing the museum’s focus on the relationship between art and science. Electric Paris explores the ways that nineteenth-century and turn-of-the-century artists responded to oil and gas lamps and newer electric lighting, while Electricity is a hands-on, interactive exhibit that brings the science and history of electricity to life. Viewed in tandem during a single visit to the museum, the effect is brilliant.

Au Café, 1888 oil on panel by Willard Metcalf
Au Café, 1888 oil on panel
by Willard Metcalf
Paris at Night, 1889 oil on panel by Charles Courtney Curran.
Paris at Night, 1889 oil on panel by Charles Courtney Curran.


Paintings from the Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection


Paris was dubbed the City of Light long before electricity was widely used because it was a center of ideas and illumination, but the title stuck because of the beauty of its street lights. As the novelty of electric light was spreading around the city, many Impressionists were as fascinated by night scenes as they were with changes in natural outdoor light viewed in their en plein air paintings.

The art selected for Electric Paris includes fifty works: paintings, drawings, prints and photographs by noted artists such as Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Pierre Bonnard, Jean Beraud, Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent, depicting famous public spaces from Luxembourg Gardens to the Eiffel Tower as well as gaslit boulevards and private homes.

The whole gallery space is painted dark gray and dimly lit, in keeping with the theme and emphasizing the art, which is organized into four sections. Nocturnes reveal nighttime imagery, such as the striking gaslight from lampposts reflected in the rain in Charles Courtney Curran’s Paris at Night. The Lamplit Interiors section looks at the dramatized effect of light and shadow in the home, while the Street Lights calls attention to the fixtures themselves. Finally, In and Out of the Spotlight addresses light in public gathering places such as cafes, theaters and dance halls.

The Plasma Tube is a big hit for kids of all ages.
The Plasma Tube is a big hit for kids of all ages.

On the other side of the museum, Electricity, an exhibition developed by the Franklin Institute, is sparking interest in the science behind the force. While learning about how electricity is generated, kids and adults can touch the Plasma Tube with its colorful lightning tendrils and play with the Jumping Ring, where the electrical charge causes a ring to fly up and over a metal pole. Many camps and summer school classes will visit throughout the summer. For information on upcoming lectures, films and musical performances that complement these exhibits, go to


Super Bowls

Above: Spicy Miso Ramen

When chefs talk restaurants, people listen, especially when they’re dishing about food other than their own. After several top local chefs revealed that Mecha Noodle Bar is one of their go-to spots, we had to see what the raves were about. Mecha’s original location is in Fairfield and now there’s a second one in SoNo, both featuring a simple two-by-four décor—literally boards of unfinished wood on the walls and hanging from the ceiling to form sculptural art. Both family-run spots serve Japanese-style ramen noodles and the Vietnamese version with rice noodles called pho. You can pick different types of broth and add-ons ranging from greens or tofu to shrimp or short ribs. These bowls make a satisfying, affordable meal at $10 to $13. My favorite bowl is the spicy miso ramen with red miso, mushrooms and chashu (braised pork belly), and a hot chili oil mixed into a flavorful broth with a serious helping of noodles. If you’re not as hungry or have children in tow, you can request a kid’s portion—it’s not on the menu, so you have to ask for it.

Pork Belly Bao
Pork Belly Bao
Red Oil Dumplings
Red Oil Dumplings
Shrimp Banh Mi Sandwich
Shrimp Banh Mi Sandwich


The variety of Southeast Asian snacks and baos at Mecha can’t be found elsewhere in our area. Red-oil dumplings stuffed with pork and shrimp are the most popular dish. Topped with a heap of cilantro and resting in red-oil sauce, this dish is the ultimate Asian comfort food. The equally tasty roasted mushroom dumplings with miso have a nutty flavor. Veggie lovers will also appreciate the Brussels sprouts, which are crispy on the edges and mixed with fried shallots, peanuts, mint and nuoc mam sauce for an addictive combination. A Vietnamese crepe speckled with shrimp and ham is made with rice flour, crispy rice and coconut milk so it’s gluten-free. You break off pieces of the crepe and wrap them in lettuce leaves then dip into the nuoc mam sauce—amazing taste and very filling. The baos, mini Chinese sandwiches on steamed buns, are a must-order, especially the KFC (Korean fried chicken) and the shitake, which layers cucumber and Japanese kewpie mayo onto the mushroom sandwich.

Between 3 and 6 p.m., Mecha offers drink and food specials during its affectionately named Pho-king Happy Hour. Top deals include the KFC baos for $3, “pony” draft beer for $2 and cocktails for $6. Try the Love Potion #9.

116 Washington St, South Norwalk


Making Perfect Scents

Developed by Parisians William Bouheret and Anne-Cecile Vidal, Parfums de la Bastide is a fragrance line that captures the authentic essence of the South of France. But thanks to three Greenwich natives, beauty and fragrance-industry veterans Theresa Plavoukos and Alison and Charlie Leigh, the perfume and a new bath and body line are being marketed in the United States. The trio has worked together on top fragrance lines and recently formed Artisanal Collections, a company focusing on niche fragrances. Theresa and Alison traveled to Paris and Aix in Provence to select the fragrances to be sold stateside.

Charlie Leigh and Theresa Plavoukos
Charlie Leigh and Theresa Plavoukos

The Bastide line is named for Provencal country homes dating to the 1600s. The owners go to great lengths to preserve the integrity while adding modern touches. This concept inspired the perfume, which is sold in basic bottles with ochre caps that replicate the color of the hillside clay deposits. “This is the opposite of a designer fragrance,” says Theresa. No jewel-like vessels or gold tops, just subtle, elegant scents. Natural essences are the basis for the fragrances: lemon of Menton, lavender of Sault, rose of Grasse. There are six scents plus a Côte d’Azur-inspired bath and body line launching this month.

A 3.4 ounce bottle of perfume is $120; scented candles are $48. Available locally at Lily in Old Greenwich and the perfect Provenance in Greenwich.



Classic Style

Above: This stately mid-country Tudor by VanderHorn Architects fits right into the historic Khakum Wood neighborhood, which is filled with English-style brick and stone houses.

Doug VanderHorn
Doug VanderHorn

When someone mistakes a new house for an elegant older estate, it may be the best compliment an architect can hear. The words “this looks like it’s always been there” have been used to describe homes designed by Doug VanderHorn, an architect who’s been practicing in Greenwich for twenty-nine years and strives to blend classic style, appropriate details and good proportions with modern comforts. Doug enjoys studying the history of buildings and surrounds himself with a rich library of books on the subject. As a builder’s son who worked on job sites and for a carpentry shop during his teen years, he has a keen appreciation for the effort that goes into fine craftsmanship. We caught up with Doug to talk classic architecture in Greenwich and what gives new homes character.

DV: Greenwich was originally a farm community, and early architecture was very basic. The colonists were building timber-frame homes covered with wood boards for siding and wood shingles for roofing. As things evolved, New Yorkers came here and gentlemen farmers built “farms” that were more like weekend retreats. It was about making a beautiful place to escape the city. Those included very large estates like Conyer’s Farm, which used to be one estate; the Rockefeller Estate on Lake Avenue; and a host of others in The Great Estates. What we think of as the Greenwich Estates came around the turn of the century when New Yorkers decided to build mansions out here. This led to properties like Horse Island (a spectacular Tudor castle built in 1921 on Mead Point on Long Island Sound) and Old Mill Farm (an Elizabethan-style stone country house and horse farm in northern Greenwich).

DV: For me it’s the quality of the design. That means if you’re designing a Georgian Revival house, you don’t mix Italianate with it. You don’t mix and match styles. There’s a design purity to it. It incorporates fine craftsmanship and appropriate detailing of staircases, mantelpieces, doors and trim. Those things all match the style of the house. When people look at our work, whether it’s a shingle style or a Georgian or a French Normandy, they know what it is. They feel like they’re getting a classic design, and there’s value to that.

One of Doug’s favorite historic Greenwich homes is Horse Island—a Tudor Revival-style home that features a graduated slate roof, stucco with half-timber upper walls, and ornate patterned brick and stone chimneys.
One of Doug’s favorite historic Greenwich homes is Horse Island—a Tudor Revival-style home that features a graduated slate roof, stucco with half-timber upper walls, and ornate patterned brick and stone chimneys.

DV: People associate these fine old homes with successful people. They want to be perceived in that way and don’t want to live in a mishmash house. A lot of people will not spend their entire lives in their home. When sellers come along, they say, “Oh, this is a really fine old home.” It may be a new home, but it has that look and that has value in the marketplace. I think that building a classic home is a safer investment. It takes on significant meaning when you’re building on land that may cost $2 million or more and you’re going to invest millions in a home. Having something that other people will appreciate is important.

DV: One of many…we worked with a family that bought a small Tudor house in Khakum Wood, a historic neighborhood in mid-country that was laid out by Olmstead Landscape Architects (established by Frederick Law Olmstead). The deed stipulated that the houses should be masonry and of a certain quality, and that led to a lot of English brick and stone homes with slate roofs. The Tudor house was very small and right on the perfect spot for a house. We did make the decision to demolish it and build this substantial Tudor. The quality of the new home is superior to that of the previous home. This is one where people truly feel that this was a renovation; they think that we renovated an old Khakum Wood house. It fits right into the neighborhood. Tudor was the obvious choice, contextually.

We have been lucky enough to work on many beautiful renovations of older homes as well. We’re currently doing a fine brick Georgian Revival on North Street that was built in 1898. We’ve done an extensive renovation, and we will be relocating the driveway back to its original location, and we also added a garage in what would have been the same period as the house.

Chimney Corner is another one of Doug’s favorite homes in town. This exquisitely detailed Georgian-style home was built during the Colonial Revival period of the 1920s. It features cut granite quoins, a wood bracketed cornice and an ionic columned portico.
Chimney Corner is another one of Doug’s favorite homes in town. This exquisitely detailed Georgian-style home was built during the Colonial Revival period of the 1920s. It features cut granite quoins, a wood bracketed cornice and an ionic columned portico.

DV: Incorporating handcrafted elements—such as antique pieces, carvings or leaded glass—helps the home to have an older feel. Getting the detailing correct. One thing that makes a very substantial difference is stonework. A lot of the stonework done now looks artificial to me, cut into perfect rectangles by gas-powered cutters, fitted on the wall like puzzle pieces. This does not look handcrafted at all. That’s one of those things that can really make a difference. Take that saw away from your mason if you want your stonework to look old. It also pays to preserve larger trees, which make a big difference in making the house look old. I’m a big tree guy.

The stone base, painted blue shingle upper story and natural shingle hip roof of this VanderHorn home are hallmarks of the classic Shingle Style. The paired Tuscan columns add formality to the graceful front porch.
The stone base, painted blue shingle upper story and natural shingle hip roof of this VanderHorn home are hallmarks of the classic Shingle Style. The paired Tuscan columns add formality to the graceful front porch.



Art of Living

Above: Isabella Garrucho and Alex Trimper

Isabella Garrucho Fine Art and Fairfield County Antique & Design Center, formerly of Westport and Stamford, opened initially as a pop-up shop in the Design District on the Post Road and they’re now putting down permanent roots in the space. Born in Spain and educated in Brazil, Isabella Garrucho has been in the business for thirty-five years and was, at one time, the number-one corporate art dealer in Fairfield County. “You couldn’t walk into a Fortune 500 company and not see her hands on the walls,” says Alex Trimper, who is managing director of business development and also Isabella’s son. She later worked on numerous residential installations, partnering with designers and architects, many of whom were eager to see her open a gallery where they could bring clients.

Now these designers and all art enthusiasts can check out the top contemporary paintings, photography and sculpture on display or attend one of the curated shows, with new collections being showcased every six weeks. Coming soon, Manzur Kargar, a pop artist, whose oil work on canvas blends the artistry of the genre with social commentary. 45 East Putnam Ave.;


Isabella Garrucho and her team deal in an international portfolio of art with prices ranging from a few thousand to multimillions: Calder, Picasso, Chagall and others at this level. “A lot of Greenwich residents have been going to New York for art buying, but we’re pushing the envelope of what’s available here, offering access to high-end investment pieces,” says Alex Trimper.

Catering to buyers’ and sellers’ desire for discretion, the gallery will host some private events and dinners, affording exclusive access to very special pieces.

Buyers get a sense of how pieces will work in a home environment at this gallery because pieces are hung in relation to the mid-century furnishings on display, which are also for sale. These include coveted originals such as a G-Plan Blofeld lounge chair, Milo Baughman olivewood credenza and Eero Saarinen tulip dining chairs.



Chef’s Special

Those who have a taste for creative events and fresh, delicious food probably know Marcia Selden Catering—a Fairfield County favorite and a winner of Best of the Gold Coast. Now the local firm has been recognized on a national and international level. Robin Selden recently won the Chef of the Year in the CATIEs, the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, and was also made president of the International Caterers Association. “It was this double-whammy moment in my career and I’m really, really proud of it,” says Robin, who owns the business with her brother, Jeffrey, and mother, Marcia, and gives credit to her whole team.

To be considered for the CATIEs, Robin had to submit a portfolio of recent work, and she’s had plenty on her plate. Among the many events she’s catered recently: The Knot’s Wedding Gala in New York City, a gathering of 1,000 top wedding pros from around the country who’ve seen just about everything. To wow this potentially jaded group, Robin created a “Mystery Wall of Love,” a giant black-draped wall with white-gloved hands poking out offering up fun appetizers and little shakers of martinis, all named with a bridal theme such as Appley Ever After and Some Like It Hot.

The media tapped Robin’s expertise recently, as she and her team created a spring menu for a Martha Stewart Weddings feature focused on the color chartreuse, and she was also a key source in a Forbes story on food trends.

Of her career and recent accolades Robin says, “I don’t want to say it defines me, but it definitely comes close. I wake up and I can’t wait to get here.”

Pan seared salmon with snow peas and asparagus
Pan seared salmon with snow peas and asparagus
Custom cocktails

Marcia Selden is based in Stamford, but the company also opened a space in New York with Ron Ben-Israel, a judge on the Food Network’s Cake Wars who is famous for his couture cakes. They share a loft-like space called Above Twelve in the fashion district. Both food pros have offices in the space, which has been the setting for all of the New York tastings as well as small weddings, cocktail parties and a surprise birthday dinner for Robin herself.

“Dinner by the bite is still really huge,” says Robin, as are dramatic chef “action” stations, such as having a chef pulling mozzarella in front of guests or stretching noodles for a ramen bar with different broths, veggies and meats. “People get excited. It’s part of the entertainment,” Robin says. One food of the moment is poke,
a Hawaiian cousin to sushi and ceviche—raw fish laced with tropical flavors.

Spring salad bundle with goat cheese and herbed olive oil
Spring salad bundle with goat cheese and herbed olive oil

Family photo: Studio z photo; Food photography courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning



Gold Nuggets

Putting the chick(en) back in Chickahominy, Garden Catering on Hamilton Avenue has been rebuilt after being damaged in a fire. This favorite hub for chicken nuggets reopened in the spring with a new logo and a fresh look. “We’re setting the standard for what our stores could look like,” says Frank Carpenteri Jr., who is co-owner with his sister Tina, of the modernized decor. “As soon as we reopened, all of the regulars streamed back in. I grew up in this neighborhood and this is a special store for me.”

Frank and Tina’s father purchased the original Garden Catering in Old Greenwich in 1991, and they’ve expanded to seven locations with two in Westchester and others in Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield. Though the menu now includes a grilled chicken salad, kale salad, as well all kinds of breakfast foods, hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, the number-one draw remains the seasoned chicken nuggets. GC’s signature sandwich is the Hotsy—a bacon-egg-and-cheese on a roll or wedge with chili made from the secret recipe of Frank “Hotsy” Bertino. Hotsy, a longtime employee at the flagship location, opened that store every morning at 4 a.m. into his early nineties and became a local food legend.

In support of charities and sports teams, Garden Catering hosts frequent “give-back nights,” where a percentage of sales goes to the cause; they are currently planning an event for Kids in Crisis and will donate 100 percent of sales.

As the name implies, the business does plenty of catering, too, with Tina Carpenteri overseeing corporate lunches, parties and barbecues. “We do everything but weddings,” says Frank. But, he adds, they have had frequent orders for post-wedding deliveries to clubs and venues around town. “When the party’s over, we bring in the nuggets and cones,” he says, smiling. “It’s fun comfort food.” 177 Hamilton Avenue, 203-422-2555;

Photo by Jecek Dolata



Ada’s Kitchen & Coffee

Above: Mike and Krista Pietrafeso

Most Riverside natives have a soft spot for Ada’s and memories of brown paper bags filled with penny candy. Today the historic Victorian house, which was the local post office in the late 1800s before later becoming Ada’s Variety Shop, has been completely remodeled and reopened as Ada’s Kitchen and Coffee. The building is still in the family, owned by the Romaniellos, Ada’s nephew and niece. But the new location dishes out much more than candy and newspapers. You can still satsify your sweet tooth from the self-serve bar of gummies, sour twists and other faves, but most people are there to fuel up on coffee (made with beans from local roaster Path in Port Chester), breakfast and lunch from Chef Mike Pietrafeso.

The new Ada’s retains its old-school feeling, as interior designer Katie Watson kept the original bead board and window moldings and added a few rustic accents, such as vintage pendant lights, natural wood counters and a giant chalkboard displaying the menu, which changes weekly. Breakfast lovers will appreciate the fact that the morning meal is served all day. A must-try: the Ada’s English muffin sandwich, a farm-fresh egg on a baked-in-house English muffin with bacon, Grafton cheddar, arugula and bernaise sauce, one messy and delicious sandwich. There’s also avocado toast, homemade maple-almond granola and a power green smoothie, as well as freshly baked pastries.

While these breakfast choices were expected to be a hit with commuters (the location is so close to the train), families are big customers here, too, and Saturday is the busiest day.

A French Culinary Institute grad, Mike has spent time working at Napa and LeFarm, and his attention to detail shows. For a healthy lunch, try his roasted carrot hummus bowl that’s a rainbow of veggies with avocado, purple cabbage, chickpeas, roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes over a bed of kale. The popular grilled chicken sandwich is served with caramelized onions, arugula and fontina on sourdough, while a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich dabbles in Southern flavors with homemade barbecue sauce, ranch, dill pickles on brioche. His finesse extends to sweets, too, and to the ultimate treat: a homemade ice cream sandwich. It melts quickly. Plan to eat yours sitting out on Ada’s front porch. 112 Riverside Ave; 203-637-1956;




Wedded Bliss

As we’re in the midst of the festive wedding season, we chat with Rosinne Chlala who, along with her brother, Executive Chef Bill Kaliff, have owned the Festivities events and catering company for thirty-two years (and have been honored as Best of the Gold Coast wedding planner several times). In addition to planning the perfect day, Roe also makes giving back a priority through a foundation called Pass on the Love. Recently adding 2,000 square feet to their space in Norwalk, she’s opening a store that stocks nearly new entertaining ware, and all proceeds benefit the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport.


A: Years ago you got married at a five-hour event at a reception hall and you were done. Now we’re often celebrating for three days and having multiple parties. Last year I did a four-day destination wedding in Westport with shopping, a beach party, brunches and more. In terms of décor, rustic and vintage are everywhere. Blush is everywhere. For venues, farms, barns and historic locations are really on-trend. People also love being by the water. I’ve put together a portfolio of twelve unique venues in the area and created catering packages for them, so that you can use these venues—a farm, a barn or a historic site—with a complementary menu (see

A: I had a dad who was so concerned about his dance with his daughter that we set up the room for him ahead of time and he mapped out his steps, 1-2-3-4. On the day of the wedding, he was weepy and yet so intent on counting his 1-2-3-4. It was so very sweet. Those are the moments. That’s what makes it special.

A: When there was lightning near the tent at a New Canaan wedding, a fire marshal wanted us to evacuate. I held him off and the lightning went away. The most important part is to be responsible with all of the officials. They trust me, so they give me some leeway. When they come, we salute.

A: At a wedding in Southport we had Grucci fireworks let off from a barge. I had to move the guests to the site near the water just in time. And I had to coordinate with JFK and LaGuardia, also spending many hours getting permits and working with the fire marshal. It was awesome.

A: No. Well, she is and she’s not. Navigating the wedding process is not for sissies. It’s very emotional, even more so now because Pinterest has put so much pressure on couples. I ask our brides to allow themselves time to process all the information. To avoid the Bridezilla syndrome, I try to help our couples navigate families. When you honor your mother and father, stepparents, or whoever is a trigger in your life and include them from the beginning, they get off your back. A Bridezilla happens when a bride gets overly emotional, so you have to see what’s bothering them and help them figure it out.

Wedding photo: Craig Warga Weddings








Players to Watch

Above: Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras

Greenwich Polo Club’s home team, White Birch Polo, also happens to be one of the most successful in history, having won more high-goal tournaments in the last twenty-five years than any other team. Recently, White Birch made it
to the semifinals at the USPA U.S. Open in Palm Beach. Other top teams competing in town include Audi, Airstream and McLaren (Peter Brant’s son Christopher plays on this team). Here, a look at the players to cheer for.

GM-TN-PlayerstoWatch-2PETER BRANT

Founder of White Birch and the Greenwich Polo Club, Peter Brant was one of the top-ranked amateur polo players in the world. In the ten years between 1979 and 1989, he rose to a seven-goal handicap—at the time the highest in the world of amateur polo. He has also enjoyed success as the breeder of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner, Thunder Gulch. He continues to be an avid player for White Birch.


A living legend of the sport, Mariano Aguerre reached ten-goal status in the U.S. in 1994 and in Argentina in 1998, an achievement that’s particularly remarkable because Mariano is left-handed; per the rules, you can only swing the mallet with your right hand. Mariano and Peter Brant have been playing together on White Birch for thirty years. He is currently rated at nine goals in both countries. A nine-time winner of the Argentine Open at Palermo, he is also an award-winning breeder of polo ponies and his horse, Califa, was named to the Polo Hall of Fame this year.


Hilario achieved ten-goal status in Argentina in late 2015, and all eyes are watching to see if he will obtain the same status this season in the U.S. He won the 2014 U.S. Open and was also named the World Polo Tour’s Most Valuable Player that same year. He divides his time between Greenwich in the summer and Argentina during the rest of the year.


One of the youngest players in last year’s East Coast Open, Santino is the son of Matias Magrini. They will play on competing teams this season (one of a few father/son players this season). Matias will play for Airstream this season along with Greenwich’s Peter Orthwein, who is patron for that team. Santino made his U.S. debut last year at the age of fourteen playing for White Birch.


One of the sport’s most famous players, Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras is a polo icon and model who’s helping to popularize the sport. If his rugged good looks seem familiar that’s because he is the face of all Ralph Lauren men’s fragrances and one of the most photographed men in the world. He’s played many matches at Greenwich Polo Club, both when he was on the White Birch team and also during the Sentebale Cup. The Argentine player went pro by age seventeen. In 2000 he started modeling for Ralph Lauren. Still a top-100 player at thirty-nine, Nacho is currently captain of Black Watch Polo.

Photographs: Ignacio ”nacho” Figueras, Courtesy of Greenwich Polo Club; Peter Brant, Hilario Ulloa, and Santino Magrini  by ChiChi Ubina/;  Mariano Aguerre by Juan Lamarca; polo mallets by pteshka



A Perfect Catch

Above: Oysters on the Half Shell with Saltaire signature sauces
Photographs: Gus Cantavero

In the seafood business, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Saltaire owner, Les Barnes, has personal connections at the Fulton Fish Market that date back fifty-five years. He began shopping the market with his father at age five and guarding the best catch: He recalls how his dad would sit him on top of a tall stack of metal “cans,” each filled with twenty-five pounds of fish, hand him a donut and tell him, “Don’t move until I come back.” Today things are run a bit differently at the market. But Les still procures seafood and whole fish there for his father’s original restaurant, London Lennie’s in Queens, and for Saltaire, which is located in a historic building in Port Chester and named for a favorite oyster from Prince Edward’s Island.

Dining in style
Dining in style

Whether you sample the oysters at the bar or enjoy a full meal in the dining room, this expertise is evident. We started our evening in the spacious bar room, which is inviting enough that many guests also eat dinner here. It’s decorated with framed maritime signal flags and photos of old sea captain,s and houses high-top tables, two flat-screen TVs and a three-sided marble-topped bar with a huge display of fresh seafood on ice in the center.

“The first commandment of the raw bar is, ‘Let me see you shuck,’” says Les.

The bartender here is ready to talk oysters and preps everything in front of you. He gave us a rundown of that day’s selection—there are usually at least a dozen varieties available—and we opted for the big and briny Onset oysters and the smaller, wild Falmouth that paired perfectly with the apple cider mignonette. Other raw-bar options include Jumbo Florida Stone Crabs, Jonah Crab Claws, Chilled Lobster and the “Hook,” “Line” and “Sinker,” towers of assorted seafood, depending on the season.

The main dining room evokes Nantucket or the Cape with its blue-painted wooden booths in the center of the space and colorful nautical charts on the walls. Booths line the perimeter of the room, but we wanted to move to an ordinary table. At first we were told that you need to reserve these in advance, but a few minutes later a hostess granted our request. Menus are printed daily to reflect changes, depending on what’s freshest. We started with one of the four varieties of Mussels in a Pot (with pommes frites), the Smoked Bacon, a hefty portion of plump and very tasty mussels with big pieces of fennel, sundried tomato and a smoky tasting broth—a hearty dish. These mussels are from a Dutch grower in Maine and they’re a must-order for the table. Among the small plates, the Vietnamese shrimp noodles were a surprising and refreshing starter, the cold noodles made from shrimp and flavored with mint and nuoc cham. In addition to classic apps such as steamers and fried clams, Saltaire dabbles in non-seafood starters with a roasted pork belly and hanger steak tartare.

For mains, the Top of the Catch section of the menu is like a seafood mix-and-match, where you choose your favorite with different preparations (seared or grilled) and sauces, as well as from a variety of greens and grains. Halibut with the beurre blanc sauce was decadent, while the grilled yellowfin tuna was best sans sauce, though it came out more rare than we ordered. We swooned over the Atlantic John Dory, a sweet and buttery dish with carrot risotto and cauliflower and garden cress on top. There’s an Italian-style preparation of whole branzino, white and flakey fish with peppers and big pieces of artichoke.

Seafood restaurants and stellar desserts don’t often go hand in hand, but we loved the banana pudding with richness and texture from pieces of chocolate, caramel and brittle; the layered butterscotch cake was another sweet ending.

Service slowed around dessert time—yes, we were deserted at dessert—but eventually the waiter and check appeared. By that time, we were already plotting our next visit to this restaurant well worth its salt.

Les Barnes
Les Barnes


Nantucket Bay Scallops, Clam Chowder, Mussels and Soft Shell Crabs. For drinks, he suggests, “Talk to our wine director, there are great gems on the list.”

The restaurant’s building is more than 100 years old and once housed a grain company; during the renovation, an old road was discovered beneath the bathrooms. An adjacent private dining room can seat sixty guests for parties or corporate events.

The Fishinista cocktail, a blend of citrus vodka, Aperol and fresh-squeezed orange juice, is named for the owner’s wife, Beth, who works in the fashion industry.

55 Abendroth Ave. Port Chester

Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

Sun.–Mon. 4–9 p.m.
Tues.–Thurs. 4–10:00 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 4–11 p.m.



Polo Primer

POLO 101

Polo is one of the only sports where professionals and amateurs play side by side. Each team has four players who ride on different ponies throughout the fast-paced match. Players numbered one and two have offensive positions while three and four are defense. The ponies are trained for speed, endurance and quick response time and they’re smaller than average (in the early days of polo the horses had to be fourteen hands or less) with manes shaved and tails wrapped or braided to keep them from getting tangled with players mallets or reins.

After the throw-in, the imaginary line of the ball (the path of a traveling ball) determines play. The line can’t be crossed until the ball is struck by a player’s mallet and a new line is formed. Players must use their right hands to hold the mallet and hit the ball with the side of the mallet, attempting to score by sending it through the goal post. Once a goal is scored, teams change ends on the 300-yard-long field to account for any wind advantage.


Fashion is definitely part of the equation on polo Sundays and your choice of outfit may depend on whether you’re picnicking or attending a private VIP lunch. For ladies, flowy sundresses or chic summer tops and white pants are popular on the lawn while at the Town & Country and Audi VIP parties, many opt for more formal clothes such as fitted day dresses. Wedges or flat sandals are best if you want to take part in the divot stomping. Men look sharp in linen or Bermuda shorts. Sunglasses are a must and hats are big too, both for the look and the sun protection. Children and dogs are welcome, their cuteness factor completing the scene.

Easy breezy Sundays are best spent on the sidelines with a cocktail in hand.
Easy breezy Sundays are best spent on the sidelines with a cocktail in hand.
Every day at polo is kid-friendly.
Every day at polo is kid-friendly.
Pack a picnic or hit the gourmet food trucks.
Pack a picnic or hit the gourmet food trucks.
The pooches get in on the fun too.
The pooches get in on the fun too.
Floral prints and floppy hats are never a fashion fail.
Floral prints and floppy hats are never a fashion fail.


When the umpire starts (or resumes) a polo match by rolling the ball down the center of a lineup of players

In a polo match there are six periods called chukkers, each lasting seven and a half minutes. Typically, each player will ride a different pony for each chukker of the match.

During play, the fast-moving polo ponies thunder down the field, tearing up small patches of grass and dirt as they turn, start and stop. At half-time, between the third and fourth chukkers, it’s a tradition for spectators to come onto the field and help to stomp the divots back in place.

The U.S. Polo Association assigns a handicap to every player based on thier level of skill, horsemanship, strategy and knowledge of polo. The handicaps range from a low of -2 for a beginner and up to 10 for the most skilled player.

When a player directs his pony into the side of another pony to break the other player’s concentration or ruin his shot

If there’s a tie score, after a five-minute rest, an additional chukker will be played to determine the winner.



Gracefully Intense

Above: Joao Paulo Gannon keeps his eye on the ball. – Photograph by Bob Lubash

On certain Sundays between June and September, the Greenwich Polo Club becomes to backcountry what the Avenue is to downtown: the center of the action. The club, which is celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary this year, attracts thousands of spectators on match weekends, including celebrities and dignitaries (Prince Harry selected the club to host the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup a few years ago). The tradition will continue this season as the Conyers Farm home team, White Birch, vies to win back the Perry Cup. “It should be a very exciting, high-goal season,” says Peter Brant, founder of the club and one of the top ranked amateur players in the world who continues to play actively for White Birch. “We have the East Coast Open, which is the biggest tournament in the eastern United States, and we’re expecting seven or eight teams from all over the country and players from all over the world.”

left: Joao Paulo Gannon; right: 2015 East Coast Open
left: Joao Paulo Gannon – Photo by: Juan Lamarca; right: 2015 East Coast Open

The club is expanding the reach by mentoring up-and-coming players and by making the matches even more accessible and enjoyable for fans. Though polo is an expensive sport due to the number of horses involved—each team has twenty-four to thirty horses per match—Greenwich Polo Club works to reduce the costs for young players. “Once they get interested in the game, we provide jobs for them as grooms. They get to play and they get handicap support and are put on different teams as their skills improve,” says Brant. “We give them horses and make it affordable for them to take lessons to try to get new entrants to the game.”

For fans, there are new ways to enjoy match days. Last year, the club added food and beverage options, including polo-inspired cocktails and new food trucks, so you can grab lunch from the truck or bring your own picnic. For a VIP experience, there are options for grandstand boxes and private cabanas. Unique to the club is its adjacency to the Brant Art Study Center with outdoor sculptures by Urs Fischer and Richard Serra on view from the fields. An upcoming exhibit about the presidential election, Occupy Greenwich by Jonathan Horowitz, can be viewed during Open Houses on the Sundays of the East Coast Open. With the combination of sport and art, the club is becoming a multicultural destination as well as a host to charity events such as the Polo for Children Benefit on Sunday, June 12, with proceeds going to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

“We encourage as many people to come as possible,” says Brant. “It’s a great day for kids and a great day to have a picnic. It’s just a wonderful thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.”



»Pre-polo lunches can range from sandwiches on a blanket to catered affairs for private cabanas or VIP lunches under the tent. A few options and tips.

»Food trucks this year include the popular Dough Girls, La Fenice Gelato, Caffe Bon, and Follow That Cupcake.

»Stop by the Greenwich Polo Bar for specialty craft cocktails. Last year, the Throw-In, a blend of vodka, elderflower, lemonade and blueberry, was most popular.

»If you’re buying lawn tickets and want to get a good spot on the grass to watch the match, plan to arrive promptly at 1 p.m. when the gates open. Matches begin at 3 p.m.


Sunday, June 5

Monty Waterbury Cup Butler Handicap The East Coast Open

• $40 for lawn seating (price is per car)
• $300 for grandstand boxes (for four guests)
• $500 for cabanas (for eight guests)
• Season tickets beginning at $300 (for lawn seating)
• VIP tickets incuding catered lunches and cocktails under the tent, with tables available from $2,500 (available at certain matches only)



Big Rigs

The wheels are in motion for Touch a Truck, the Greenwich Junior League’s fundraiser held every June at Town Hall. Each year more than 3,000 people turn out to climb aboard all types of trucks, ride the Rolling Train around the parking lot, and visit the petting zoo and other attractions. Proceeds from the event, which is the Junior League’s second-largest fundraiser, will benefit the group’s community projects: Young Women’s Breast Cancer Support Group, Positively Me!, Positively More, Done In A Day, and the Greenwich Pool and Byram Park. This year Touch a Truck is bringing in new activities to appeal to all ages. “Our target audience is younger kids, but we’re trying to attract older kids, seven-, eight- and nine-years olds,” says Patricia Gallardo, who is cochair of the event along with Martha Agarwal. Those attractions include a remote-controlled monster truck and a mobile shopping boutique for little ones more into fashion than four-wheeling. Pizza Post helps to fuel up participants by donating pizza to all truck drivers and volunteers.

$30 per family or $40 at the event
Sunday, June 5
10 am to 2 pm


The Perfect Fit

Above: Pan-roasted halibut –  Photographs by Wes Tarca

When a restaurant opens with a splash, it faces the challenge of living up to the initial hype. The owners of Eastend took the opposite tack, quietly letting in guests in December and relying on word-of-mouth to work its magic. Those owners are
Z Hospitality Group, who also created Terra and Mediterraneo in Greenwich and other popular spots around Fairfield County, so they know a thing or two about running successful eateries. Unlike the group’s other Avenue restaurants, which have an Italian-Mediterranean emphasis, Eastend is all-American, a sophisticated melting pot of ingredients and influences (everything from a spicy shrimp-and-andouille chowder to a spa salad with avocado and edamame) on a moderately pricey menu created by Executive Chef Albert DeAngelis.

Bourbon-glazed pork belly
Bourbon-glazed pork belly
Pea and prosciutto arancini
Pea and prosciutto arancini

In contrast to that under-the-radar beginning, on a recent Friday night crowds had descended on the dining room and the bar, with its gleaming, backlit display of bottles and view to the filled tables and kitchen in back. We arrived ten minutes late for our 7:30 reservation, after circling the block in search of parking, and the hostess offered us a table in the bar immediately or a short wait for the main dining room. We opted to wait while one of our friends squeezed her way through the four-people-deep bar crowd to fetch us drinks.

Crispy calamari
Crispy calamari

Within five minutes we were ushered to a comfortable booth in the stylish, understated dining room, which features caramel leather banquette seating, wood farmhouse tables and a trio of mirrors. Giant artsy photos of farm scapes give a subtle nod to the cuisine and the seasonal menu. I like the simplicity of that menu—printed on light brown paper with one column for starters and one for the main course—as well as the rich selection. You can find an enticing dish whether you’re a vegetarian on a diet or a carnivore on a mission. Since our party of four falls into the latter category, the bourbon-glazed pork belly made our short list of appetizers, along with calamari and arancini, all recommended by our server. We were happy with his suggestions. That pork belly is decadent and satisfying served over “popcorn” grits with pickled red onion on top. Wild-mushroom arancini with a crispy coasting and warm, hot rice inside pick up extra flavor from black truffle butter and shavings of parmesan—pure Italian comfort food. Better-than-average, crispy calamari derive interest from a coleslaw-like side that’s actually celery root salad with harissa vinaigrette.

Owners Ramze and Adam Zakka, and director of operations Joseph Hamboussi
Owners Ramze and Adam Zakka, and director of operations Joseph Hamboussi

Among the seventeen main courses available (not including entrée salads with a range of greens and protein options), our meals reflect the variety here. Scallops a la plancha came heaped with pomegranate seeds along with butternut squash and pistachios that bring crunch to the equation. Duck tacos are served on a round silver tray with a solid black rice and beans side, pico de gallo and salsa verde; the chipotle braise gave the meat a pleasant kick. Spicy lobster spaghetti is a colorful rendition that blends cherry tomatoes with ample pieces of lobster and a bed of arugula on top. For those craving a simple steak, that’s available too: This one came out medium pink as requested and paired with crispy fried onions on top of broccoli rabe and baby potatoes. Throughout the meal, our servers were knowledgeable and speedy. Our only gripe was the noise level, which made it hard at times to carry on a conversation.

One restaurant trend I applaud: retro desserts. Who can resist a Baked Alaska? This one looks like a mini igloo of meringue that surrounds chocolate cake and ice cream; it was quickly devoured. We also enjoyed the old-school banana split (though the bananas are caramelized) with vanilla ice cream, nuts, cookie pieces and chocolate sauce. Like the desserts here, this new restaurant is comforting but cool, a place that seems as though it should have been here all along.

Spicy lobster spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and arugula
Spicy lobster spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and arugula


Sunchoke and crabmeat stuffed shrimp, stout-braised short ribs, spicy lobster spaghetti, Niman Ranch pork chop with Brussels sprouts and apple mustard.

The bar crowd can’t get enough of the Don Johnson (a blend of Tito’s Vodka, grapefruit, lime and mint) and the Round Hill Road Martini (with Grey Goose Le Poire, Gruet sparkling brut, St. Germain and apple).

French doors in the front of the restaurant fold to open the area to the sidewalk, and there are plans for at least four to six outdoor tables once the weather’s warm.

409 Greenwich Ave.

Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
Mon.–Sun. Bar open late

In Full Bloom

Above: Roses by Julie Bidwell

Dreaming of a yard filled with beautiful flowers and plants but don’t have time to garden? We talked to Sam Bridge of Sam Bridge Nursery to get his picks for easy-care plants and shrubs that will give you maximum interest, foliage and flowers with the least amount of upkeep. Before you plant, healthy soil is key. “Time and effort spent prepping your soil really pays off,” says Sam. In particular, he notes, in yards where there’s been construction, the soil gets stripped and compacted, often leaving it in poor condition. Sam advises digging in the soil to loosen it up and adding compost (he likes Coast of Maine) and a natural supplement for plants called Biotone. Once your soil is ready, find places on your property for some of these low-maintenance beauties.


New dwarf andromedas (such as the Dorothy Wycoff and Valley Valentine) are among the first flowers to bloom in spring. They’re deer resistant and grow in partial shade. The foliage takes on a reddish tint in the cooler months and flower buds remain on the plant, giving this shrub four-season appeal. Hellebores also bloom in the earliest days of spring. These hardy, deer-proof perennials grow in shady spots, and their flowers change color over the course of the seasons.

Super-hardy Knock Out roses and Drift groundcover roses are consistent bloomers that are resistant to black spotting and don’t need deadheading. Since Knock Outs were introduced more than a decade ago, the breeder has produced new colors and varieties such as Double Knock Outs for twice the blooms or the White Out Rose collection with snowy colored blooms as well as blush, pink, sunny (yellow to cream) and rainbow (pink with yellow center).

Spirea are deciduous shrubs that produce cascades of flowers in white, pink, red or yellow depending on the variety, and many have attractive fall foliage. Spirea thrive in sunny spots. Yak rhododendrons are compact versions of the rhododendron
that does well in a shady spot. The flowers are big, beautiful and showy but the plant can fit in a three-by-three- foot space.

Boxwood Vardar Valley or Green Gem are tougher varieties of boxwood that are deer resistant and can thrive in shade. The Vardar Valley has pretty bluish-green leaves and works well as a low hedge, while Green Gem has more yellow-green leaves and a globular shape.



Let It Go

Above: Orange accents, a furry rug and contemporary art modernize this den.

Designer Carey Karlan learned firsthand about scaling back and updating a living space when she moved from a seven-bedroom house to a three-bedroom cottage years ago. “I can appreciate how difficult it can be, but also how rewarding,” says Carey. Today she works with many clients on a range of interiors projects, helping people to modernize their homes and downsize to smaller ones.

One of her clients had moved from Bedford to downtown Greenwich—where the family could enjoy the convenience of living close to town—and wanted to consolidate furnishings from several homes into their new house. They called on Carey to help them pare down their possessions and inject fresh style into the home while preserving cherished antiques and favorite items.

A Bombay chest was coupled with a contemporary mirror; their traditional dining room table and Chippendale chairs were paired with a Swain sideboard, a silver-edged mirror and a shapely bench to give the space a more transitional look. Whether you’re going through a lifestyle shift or plan to move to a smaller home, Carey’s got some great ideas.

A Barbara Barry bureau with contemporary styling in the master bedroom
A Barbara Barry bureau with contemporary styling in the master bedroom


What works in a very large house may not fit in a townhouse or smaller home. “I measure every piece of furniture that I think clients want to keep,” says Carey. If the style and size of the pieces work, you can reupholster. Otherwise it’s better to start new.

In a smaller home, flow becomes more important and having paint shades or wall coverings that connect one room to the next can be key. “It’s more relaxing to have a more monochromatic scheme.”

A geometric sisal warms up a neutral room
A geometric sisal warms up a neutral room

Multilayered window treatments overwhelm a smaller space. Tailored, minimalist panels or plantation shutters add interest while taking up less room. You can still opt for beautiful, high-quality fabrics but a simpler application.

In this Greenwich house, the homeowner’s collection of rare glass had a bigger impact once the pieces were displayed together in a custom-lighted cabinet in the living room.

“Shedding old possessions can be an emotional process,” says Carey. Sometimes people have to live with the wrong things before they can let go.” Other times her clients put pieces into storage. Usually after three months, they can’t even remember what’s in there. That’s when they know they’re ready to say goodbye.

If you’re selling a home, don’t be offended when your realtor wants you to roll up the Oriental rugs or put away personal photos. Buyers want a clean space where they can imagine themselves living. Follow the staging suggestions and you’ll sell faster.

Photographs: Paul Johnson



Teen Spirit

Life moves at a rapid pace for teens in Greenwich, and the Arch Street Teen Center, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, is poised to keep up with them. Arch Street’s success serves as a model for other centers around the country. It’s a safe place for teens to connect, socialize and learn, and one that has served as a model for other towns. Many factors contribute to the center’s success, but one key element is that teens set the tone. A board of thirty students from the public and independent schools in town determines which events and activities make the lineup—whether it’s a yoga session to help teens de-stress after school or an advanced hip-hop class or the coffeehouse called The Greenwich Grind. And the group is constantly working with the center director to fine-tune the programming and make sure that the activities are serving the teens’ interests.

“It’s a place for teens by teens. They do everything from the concept of what’s inside with the decoration to the weekend programs,” says Kyle Silver, executive director of the center since 1994. Teens help to select the entertainment for dances on the weekends. They painted the graffiti art that covers the walls, working with a local artist to create the colorful backdrop. They give feedback about classes to decide whether that electronic music course should extend beyond its eight-week session. “It’s always evolving. What’s hot now is not hot six months from now,” says Kyle, noting that the board meets every two weeks and stays in constant contact on social media to assess how things are going. Teen board president Alex Gibbons, a Brunswick student, adds, “It is a truly open forum with lots of opportunities for students to weigh in with new ideas.”

In spite of being such a cutting-edge facility, this center was not a slam-dunk project. In fact, those who championed the project, including Suzanne Prunier, Judy Donahue, Charlie Glazer, John Monsif and Scott Frantz (who is being honored at the anniversary event), met significant resistance when they tried to get the approval from the town decades ago. There were concerns about whether such a center was needed, whether it would resonate with teens and how
it would impact the neighborhood. It was a six-year push to get the go-ahead from the town. Megan Shattuck, who was one of the first co-presidents of the teen board and today serves on the board of directors, recalls late nights at RTM meetings as well as the reward of seeing Arch Street open. “To be part of a really committed group of teens and adults and work on building something and getting the green light to go forward with Arch Street was a tremendous experience,” says Megan who joined a group that met with Barbara Bush in Washington to celebrate the achievement of the center. She later went on to work at CNN and cover the White House.

Today, teens are inspired by what they learn at Arch Street, as it is an incubator for ideas, creative projects and innovative programming. For instance, as part of an ongoing series called Arch Street Speaks, teens met the CEOs of Vineyard Vines to talk about how they started their corporation and took it from a local business to a global brand.

In recent years the center has expanded its reach to serve the tween population, with six-grade socials when the center will bring in an obstacle course or a bounce house and introduce the younger kids to Arch Street and one another. In December, the first annual Family Winter Wonderland event catered to elementary school-age kids. And parents have also discovered the space, with Arch Street Speaks programs for adults on drug and alcohol awareness and other topics. Some nonprofits and schools rent out the center for fundraisers, contributing to the constant bustle of activity and the bottom line (Arch Street is funded through private donations).

In an age of social media when many young people find it hard to unplug, Arch Street allows teens to enjoy more face time with each other. While there’s been much attention around the downside of social media for teens and concern about overuse, the director, Kyle, points to some of the positives, in particular the window it offers to what’s on teen minds. “It’s a double-edged sword, because there’s the whole bully aspect that comes with social media, but at the same time, it’s also opening up our eyes to what’s going on in these guys’ lives, giving us more of an inside perspective,” he says. “You can look at someone’s Facebook page and see images, a reaction to something or a cry for help. Then we know this is someone we have to take under our wings. Eighteen years ago you would not have had the opportunity to see that.” Social media also helps teens from different schools—public and private or the various middle schools in town—form friendships more easily. When they meet, they share Instagram IDs and stay in contact after leaving the center.

What’s on tap for the future? Kyle says he sees filmmaking, more Internet-based shows and podcasts as areas of interest—any way that teens can express themselves and feel that their voices are heard. “It’s a very cool thing to be a teenager in 2016 and be able to create your own talk show, for instance, and put it on YouTube,” says Kyle. “It’s a whole different world from when we were growing up. The things we used to dream about have become a reality.”

Some popular events and ongoing activities at Arch Street

A coffeehouse on the third floor where kids can hang out or do homework on Wednesday through Saturday afternoons

A yoga practice led by Megan Riley of Ashtanga CT

Electronic music classes led by a world-renowned DJ and Arch Street alumni

(SUP) class in Greenwich Harbor

Dances for 7th grade, 8th grade, high school and a 6th-grade celebration


Photographs courtesy of Arch Street Teen Center

Town & Country

Above left: The sleek yet welcoming design; Above right: Tuna Crudo; Photographs: Nicole Franzen

The National is Geoffrey Zakarian’s hot addition to the Avenue. The sister restaurant to The National in Manhattan is located a block from the train station and is primed for commuters seeking post-work cocktails—and there’s quite the cocktail list. This new American café, the latest opening for Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian with partner Lou Ceruzzi, serves modern takes on classic dishes with emphasis on the wood grill. Though Geoffrey is an Iron Chef who presides over top restaurants in New York and Miami, judges on Chopped, cohosts The Kitchen and writes cookbooks, he logs many hours in Greenwich. In fact, he’s a regular at his own bar and was holding court on two of the three evenings I went for dinner.

Cozy seating in the front bar
Cozy seating in the front bar
The Ugly Burger
The Ugly Burger

The understated-but-glam space consists of rows of rounded banquettes, white oak panels, mirrors studded with porthole sconces, and large parlor palms. In the back, a glassed-in dining room is dressed with white linen drapes and doubles as a private dining area (sit here to peek into the kitchen). Lighting dims as the evening progresses, and one night we read menus with help from the table candle. Designed as a neighborhood café, the place feels sophisticated yet comfortable, so much so that at a recent 6:30 dinner with friends we lingered over multiple courses and coffee until nearly 11, yet never felt rushed.

Greenwich Means Thyme cocktail
Greenwich Means Thyme cocktail

Where to start? With a signature Greenwich Means Thyme cocktail, a blend of gin, lemon, honey and muddled thyme served in a dainty glass that’s straight out of The Great Gatsby. Special requests were handled with finesse, the bartender amping up the spice on a virgin mojito, and our server bringing out several tasting glasses of wine to help a friend choose (she opted for Bernard Defaix Chablis). Two gluten-free eaters in our group, one who also has a nut allergy, had no trouble navigating the menu. We began with our server’s recommendation: a zingy beef tartare flecked with pieces of egg white and laced with mustard. It’s served with garlic toasts and lettuce leaves if you prefer wrapping up the tender meat sans carbs—a distinctive opener. Brussels sprouts are technically a special, but they’re available most nights and a must-order. They’re lightly fried, leaving the tender-on-the-inside veggies with crispy crinolines of leaves, balanced with bites of julienned apple and mustard crème fraiche. Shishito peppers are standard issue, but salads intrigue. The flavors of a squash salad with feta and pomegranate seeds are enlivened by fragrant cilantro dressing, while crunchy gem lettuces with radishes, cucumbers, pistachios and ricotta get dressed in a light tarragon cream with snips of fresh tarragon and dill on top.


Fresh Talent
Eric Haugen, Culinary Director for The National (and other Zakarian restaurants), was recognized by Zagat as a “30 Under 30” chef.

Midday Noshes
A few of Geoffrey’s lunch picks: Chicken Mango Salad with Quinoa; Wood-Grilled Kabobs; Crabcake Tartine. Margaret Zakarian’s faves: “I am loving the Grilled Prawns with Avocado and the Kale and Tabbouleh Salad. For brunch, if I am still hungry after eating all of the fresh pastries, I go straight for the Huevos Rancheros.”

Craft Cocktails
Margaret Zakarian’s go-to is the Smokin’ Margarita. “It’s one of the best cocktails that Brian Van Flandern, our mixologist, and Geoffrey make,” she says. “They put it on the menu for me—thanks guys! The lava salt on the rim gives it a little twist.”

Scottish Salmon
Scottish Salmon

Seafood stars on the menu, everything from oysters and tuna crudo to specials such as wood-fired langostines and a luscious monkfish entrée with artichokes. One grilled standout: the whole roasted branzino with marble potatoes, fennel bulb that’s almost caramelized and lemony watercress. Yes, you have to work around a few bones—or request having them removed—but the tender, flaky fish striped from the grill is well worth it. Glazed Colorado lamb shank drew raves from our group, the falling-off-the-bone meat served with polenta being compared to ‘short-rib candy’ with its decadent slightly sweet sauce. This is one place where it’s worthwhile to order chicken, moist pillows of organic grilled Amish poultry served with a citrusy chimichurri. The ugly burger, in fact, is carnivorous beauty, a mound of beef with crispy shallot, cheddar, lettuce and a pink sauce on a fluffy brioche bun with a fresh pickle skewered to the top. Messy but delish.


Lemon Tart
Lemon Tart

Bourbon ice cream makes a sweet alternative to an after-dinner drink. But fans of peppermint ice cream will want to indulge in the sundae, topped with meringue and brownie, caramelized banana, strawberries, cherries and more. Giant cookies of the day could feed the table; we brought home most of our gooey chocolate chips, cinnamon-y Snickerdoodles and chocolate mudslides. The bar stays lively until late and the kitchen’s open until 1 a.m. on weekends—finally, late-night dining in town—so as you exit through the velvet drapes surrounding the door, you’re likely to pass another party coming in. The night is still young.

376 Greenwich Ave.

Mon.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

Sun., 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Afternoon Menu
Daily, 3–5 p.m.

Mon.–Sat., 5–11 p.m.; Sunday 5–10 p.m.

Late Night
Thur., 11 pm–12 a.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 pm–1 a.m.


Full Circle

There’s no place like home for design studio and custom furnishings store, ANTHONY LAWRENCE HOME, which was based in Greenwich in the ’70s and recently moved back to town. The Calagna family, owners and longtime Greenwich residents, had moved their upholstery workroom to New York, where they have seventy employees, but recently decided to launch a retail space here. The new studio will continue to work with designers—ALEXA HAMPTON, THIERRY DESPONT, EMMA JANE PILKINGTON and KATIE RIDDER are among their clients—but also welcomes homeowners looking for custom sofas, window treatments, contemporary case goods, antiques or accents such as mirrors and pillows. The store is debuting its new line of luxury furnishings in fabric and leather upholstery and soon-to-be-introduced outdoor furniture, both collections created in collaboration with designer Nathan Andrew, who will also offer design services here. “Nathan is fun, warm, approachable and has a ‘who’s who’ client list,” says Amy Calagna, who encourages customers to bring in their floor plans. Looking to rehab a chair or sofa you already own? AL Home can recommend fabrics and have the piece redone in the New York workroom. Amy adds, “We’re going to bring a new look to Greenwich.” 139 Hamilton Avenue, 203-869-8820;



A Way With Words

Above: Ryan Bellissimo; camo pattern by tamer

When Ryan Bellissimo first took an interest in veterans’ causes, the Riverside teen started small, raising money for veterans by selling Krispy Kreme donuts on campus at the St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware.

But Ryan soon felt like the treats and the cash he raised weren’t enough to engage students in supporting vets for the long haul. “Money is so one-dimensional in this cause,” says the eighteen-year-old Greenwich Country Day School alum. “It carries intrinsic value—and it helps—but I wasn’t sure it was the kind of value that would really make an impact on the students.” So Ryan recruited them for a call to duty through words. He began writing letters to soldiers stationed around the globe and asked his classmates to do the same. His nonprofit,, was conceived with the idea that through old-fashioned letter writing, his peers would better appreciate the sacrifices of American armed forces members.

“In my generation we’re all kind of consumed by technology and don’t write letters,” says Ryan, a three-sport athlete who finished his final season quarterbacking St. Andrew’s football team last fall. “This is a way for us to take a time out and dedicate a few hours to doing something small, but something that has great meaning.”

Ryan has managed to have more than 1,000 letters shipped to soldiers through his partnership with Operation Gratitude, a larger nonprofit that organizes care-package deliveries to troops in conflict zones. (The Talk2Troops letters are tucked inside care packages.)

His initial pitch to his fellow students, faculty and staff didn’t yield sacks of letters overnight. He ended up going door-to-door in dorms to compel the campus troops to take action. “There was some pestering,” he laughs. “I think people weren’t sure what to write or what to say to a stranger.” Through the Talk2Troops website, anyone interested in writing a letter can get instructions on how to connect with a soldier, but Ryan’s advice is to keep it simple and genuine. “What I’ve learned is that they miss home and like to know what’s going on here,” he says. “And they are blown away that people care enough to take the time to write.”


Ryan notes many of his peers were intimidated about corresponding with American servicemen and women because they weren’t sure what to write. Here, his tips for writing to the troops:

“Tell them something about yourself and your life that may remind them of home,” says Ryan. Sharing an anecdote about a game he played or a school project is one way Ryan strives to keep his letters informal and authentic. “You don’t want it to sound like a form letter.”

“I find the soldiers really miss American sports and American food and enjoy hearing about those things,” Ryan notes.“What I’ve learned is that the military life is so different from the life we have at home, they like to be reminded of the things they enjoy here that they miss and they look forward to enjoying again.”

“The most important thing you can do is make them feel appreciated and valued,” says Ryan.