DASHING DOGS ... Palo Alto's pooches seem to be particularly well-dressed this season. Some of the credit for the pups with panache may go to Pooja Bucklin, a sixth-grader at Palo Alto's JLS Middle School. As a young designer and entrepreneur, and working out of her family's Midtown home, Pooja creates bandanas and bowties for dogs. Calling her company, Barking Bandanas Co., she says, "I love dogs. I've had dogs my whole life, except for six months when our old dog died." The 11-year-old has set up shop in the family's dining room. Dozens of fabrics, ribbons, a glue gun, and a sewing machine take up every inch of a long table. Pooja's mom, Sunita Verma, pointing to the dining room table, says, "This is the factory. And it's why we don't eat in the dining room anymore." Pooja's hobby started in the summer. Through word of mouth, along with photos on Etsy.com, it has quickly become an emerging business. "It's pretty cool," said Pooja, who first started dressing her family's two young dogs. "They are my models. After I finish a new bandana, I put it around their neck, take a picture, and post it online. That's how people see it and can order it," she said, adding that several customers have asked if their dogs can be models for Pooja's creations. There are currently 25 designs available for bandanas and bowties. "My fall collection has a lot of shades of orange and also leaf designs. Most of my fabrics are very bright, so they pop out on pretty much any color dog," she said. But alas, as an 11-year-old, there are restrictions. "My parents don't want this to interfere with homework, so I'm only allowed to work on this for two days a week."
A RUSTIC RESTAURANT RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS ... Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, which opened seven years ago in Palo Alto's Town & Country Village, is refocusing a bit. "We've tried to do a little too much in the past few years. We want to go back to basics and focus on what we do best. We are a bakery," said Mayfield pastry chef Samantha Cuneo. The bakery offers a wide selection of artisan breads, including Walnut Levain Boule, Cranberry Sourdough Boule, and Five-Grain Loaf. Cuneo's favorite? "It's the sourdough. It has a nice rustic crust. I may be biased, but I think our sourdough is the best in the Bay Area," she said. As far as refocusing, the restaurant made some changes to its menu to offer an "all-day breakfast," according to Cuneo. "Breakfast is big in this area. A lot of people come in here with clients. Lots of business people. And they have a lengthy breakfast," she said. Mayfield's breakfasts used to end at 10:30 a.m. Beginning this month, breakfast will be served until 4 p.m. One more change, which apparently has surprised a few diners: the cafe's Sunday night special, which was Chicken Pot Pie, is no longer. "That's been a staple on Sunday for years. The chicken pot pie was a big seller," said Cuneo, referring to it as, "a family-friendly item that people loved. But we wanted to switch it up. It was time for a change." One customer expressed sadness over the loss of the weekly pot pie. "Even though it was $20, we still came in on Sundays for it. It was expensive, it took something like 15 minutes to cook, but it was easily the best chicken pot pie we ever had. The crust was perfectly cooked and overlapped the bowl. My wife loved it," said a Stanford professor, who asked to remain anonymous.
19 DAYS WITHOUT ... For those who cannot live without boho chic womenswear and accessories, consider this advance warning. Anthropologie, the women's clothing store owned by Urban Outfitters, closes for good on Oct. 29 at 999 Alma St. A new and much larger Anthropologie store is scheduled to open on Nov. 18 in the Stanford Shopping Center. But that means that there will be a total of 19 consecutive days when Palo Altans will not have an Anthropologie in their city. Be forewarned.
Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? Daryl Savage will check them out. Email [email protected]