Shopping Around: February
New places and spaces around Greenwich
Photograph courtesy of Avenue Cafe
Raising the Barre
A hot fitness trend over the past year, the barre workout craze has hit Greenwich with a new boutique studio that’s the company’s first Connecticut location. Pure Barre classes blend Pilates, ballet and yoga with movements centered around the barre to sculpt your thighs, rear, abs and arms. “It’s all the areas that women want to work on,” says instructor and owner Ashley Allen, who has a background in gymnastics and tennis as well as at Pure Barre Philadelphia. “You get everything accomplished in one fifty-five-minute class.” During classes set to music, students use light weights, bands and a ball in addition to the barre, and no dancing experience is necessary. Because the workouts are low-impact and involve small isometric movements, people of all ages can benefit. Stretching happens throughout the hour, so while you feel the burn, your muscles won’t seem as tight the next day. “We see stretching and strength as equally important,” says Ashley, who says clients see results within ten classes. New clients can take unlimited classes, offered multiple times daily, for $125 for a month. There are also forty-class packs and options for three-, six- and twelve-month access.
280 Railroad Avenue, 203-489-3500; purebarre.com
A Cup Above
If you’re looking to recharge after shopping or you just want a relaxing spot to enjoy an espresso, cfcf roastery & café takes its coffee seriously. Inside this contemporary coffeehouse, there’s a massive metal machine imported from Italy that’s used to roast all of the beans, from places like Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Sumatra and Timor (for organic). “You’re looking at the Mercedes Benz of roasters,” says manager and coffee connoisseur Dan Palencia, who learned hand-roasting techniques from his Guatemalan grandmother. Barristas here will also brew custom blends—whether you want a little darker, a little sweeter, or the strongest cup you’ve ever tried. In addition to lattes topped with artistic milk-foam flowers, the crew specializes in a slow-brewing method that produces a single cup at a time, bringing out the subtle notes of the coffee. “Once you try the second or third sip, it’s all you’ll ever want,” says Palencia. Tea lovers can indulge in a fragrant Earl Grey, Sencha from Japan, and Ginger Peach, among other varieties. For noshing, there are sandwiches as well as croissants, pastries and scones from Balthazar and house-baked muffins. Kids love the old-fashioned hot chocolate made from real chocolate shavings.
118 Greenwich Avenue, 203-661-8300
Restaurant for all Reasons
When you want a quick bite but you’re also craving home cooking, avenue café serves up both. “Everything we prepare is from scratch,” says owner Denise Malpeso, “from house-roasted turkey breast for sandwiches and salads to fresh-squeezed orange juice.” Denise turned the former Katzenberg Kafe into a more modernized eatery and community hangout, with red leather banquettes, flat-screen TVs and iPads mounted on the walls. For a healthy fix, try the fresh fruit and veggie juices, yogurt smoothies or salad bar, where you can choose romaine, spinach, kale or field greens as a base and add vegetables, meats, cheeses and other toppings. Sandwiches such as buffalo chicken wrap, turkey and avocado BLT, hot pastrami on rye and juicy burgers remain favorites, and the five homemade soups daily are equally popular. For a sweet indulgence, there are decadent treats such as pies, M&M cookies, and fudge brownies that pair perfectly with the Illy coffee. Kids’ meals offer classic choices such as Dinosaur chicken nuggets or PB&J along with carrot sticks and apple slices. Need lunch or early dinner at your doorstep? Check out the seven-day-a-week delivery service.
342 Greenwich Avenue, 203-625- 0103; avenuecafe.com