Nikki Buchanan

Crate & Barrel

Like Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel (a furniture and home decor store with a serious kitchen component) has plenty of pricy, gourmet eye-candy. But the great thing about this cheery, gorgeously merchandised store is that it does a clever job of capturing the attention of young cooks. You know, people who might actually be decorating (not trashing) their apartments and entertaining beyond chips and dip for the very first time. Yes, the place is stocked with gadgets, cookware, cutlery and appliances galore (although certainly less than, say, Kitchen Connection), but what C&B does better than anyone else is create a mood, offering pretty vignettes of contemporary dinnerware, glass-ware and bar-ware to spark the customer's imagination.