It’s Personal: Target’s Proenza Schouler Knock-Off

28 Mar

Fashion blogs are buzzing this morning with knockoff accusations against retail giant Target.

Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler are “disappointed”  with Target after learning about a Mossimo bag currently on the sales floor at Target that bears an uncanny resemblance to their own PS1 messenger bag.

Here's the original PS1, which retails for $1995 at Net-a-Porter.

This is the Mossimo version.

Hernandez and McCollough have dealt with knockoff and copyright cases in the past, but they’re taking this situation personally because of the collaborative relationship PS has built with Target. In the past, Hernandez and McCollogh created a Go International collection for the store, and, because of the recent Go International anniversary reissue, part of the collection is being sold now.

“So our product is in Target right now, and then this bag comes out,” Shirley Cook, Proenza Schouler’s CEO said in a statement to Cathy Horyn, author of the New York Time’s On the Runway blog. “It’s just disappointing, especially from someone we worked with.”

Here are the two bags again in brown:

The PS1 in brown.

Here is the Target version in brown.

As Horyn notes in her post: “To be sure, the bags are not 100 percent identical. The Mossimo bag ($34.99) is made of fake leather, while the PS1 ($1,595 for the medium-size version) is of genuine leather. The placement of the straps is slightly different, and the PS1 utilizes a distinctive fold-down closure in antiqued brass whereas the Target model has an ordinary turn-key closure. But other design parallels are hard to ignore.”

What do you think? Let us know–take our poll or post a comment!

Spring 2011 Trend Alert: Linen Shoes

17 Mar

Linen shoes are on our radar for spring 2011, and it’s no wonder–linen offers both sophisticated simplicity and versatility. Whether cream, navy, or black, linen is a crisp neutral that adds understated polish to any warm weather outfit, and as one of the lightest, most wearable materials it’s the perfect fabric for feet suffering from sweltering summer heat.

These vintage pumps from the 1940s, available on Etsy, capture the timeless charm of linen:


For an update on this classic design, check out these Nina Calhoun SS Linen D’Orsay pumps, on sale for $30.


These peep-toe Stuart Weitzman Lace-Up Booties, featuring adorable tweed linen with frayed edges, offer vampy schoolgirl style:


With sleek patent leather details, these black linen Manolo Blahnik heels have real elegance. Check out the tapered toe and the sophisticated Mary Jane strap. (They’re now 20% off on Bluefly.com!)

Finally, you can’t beat the sweet simplicity of these Stella McCartney flats, on sale for $178 at Outnet.com:

We love the gold flecks in the sand-linen blend and the sweet bows that make these casual flats girly and very chic.

What do you think?

 

Quick and Easy Plum Tarte

9 Mar

I’ve mentioned previously why I think of Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, as my kitchen fairy godmother–basically it’s because her recipes are quick, easy, and delicious. What better combination is there?

Anna Pump, who once worked with Garten and now owns the wonderful bakery, Loaves and Fishes, creates wonderful food following Garten’s no-fuss philosophy. Lucky me, Trusty’s mom and dad always stop by Loaves and Fishes when they go out to the Hamptons and bring us one of Pump’s amazing Plum Tartes…which I promptly eat in one sitting.

Unable to track Pump’s recipe down, I’ve devised my own, inspired by hers–it’s quick and easy to prepare (partially because I buy the crust, frozen)–and not to brag, but this tarte tastes as good as the original! Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 pounds of firm, ripe Plums
  • 1/2 cup of creme de cassis liqueur (this is the secret ingredient!)
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pit and slice the plums into wedges.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the plum slices together with the sugar, cassis, and the squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Let the fruit sit in the bowl for about 10 minutes; it will begin to macerate.
  4. Pour the plums into a frozen pie crust (or, extra points if you prepare your own!)

    Nothing wrong with taking a little shortcut...

  5. Arrange the slices so they are skin-side down. If you are entertaining, you can arrange the plums in a “flower” pattern by beginning at the outside and working your way in. Or, just go with an organic arrangement–it’ll taste just as good.

    Go with a fancy pants flower pattern...

    ...or take the no-fuss route (just make sure the plum wedges are skin-side down).

  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the the crust is lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature–enjoy!

    Sweet, juicy, and so easy to make!

Eclectic, Engaging Food at Alma in Minneapolis

28 Feb

It isn’t everyday you get engaged. And it isn’t everyday you eat a meal like the one you can enjoy at Alma. Yep, Trusty and I are enfianced! During an incredible meal at Alma he asked the big question. Because of the wonderful occasion and because of the delicious food it was a truly memorable meal.

In one word: Wow.

Food: The food was fantastic. Alma’s menu changes every 6-8 weeks, to offer new dishes that flavorful seasonal ingredients. They specialize in three course tasting menus for $45 per person–not bad at all for a fine dining experience.

I started with a warm Celery Root Souffle ($14 a la carte). De-lic-ious! Great texture and flavors. I’ve never had anything like it.

My second course was out-of-this-world amazing–lobster gnocchi ($17 for a la carte). It was fantastically rich and sweet, with giant pieces of lobster and a delicious orange truffle butter sauce. If we can get Alma to cater our wedding (fingers crossed), this will be on the menu!

So buttery and sweet...

My third course was Pan Seared Scallops with caramelized onions and beets ($28 a la carte). The scallops were seared to perfection–tender and sweet and soft. MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm.

My Trusty Sidekick started with a Mozerella and Beet salad with fresh basil and a light balsamic glaze. It tasted as fresh as summer.

For his second course, he tried Glazed Beef Short Rib ravioli with fragrant and delicious fried sage leaves ($25 a la carte).

His third course was the 12 Hour Beef and Parsnips, a slow-cooked pot roast over parsnips and balsamic onions, with a carrot butter sauce ($28 a la carte). Suffice to say we were both stuffed after our third plate…


…but of course the evening called for dessert! So, we split a chocolate tarte ($8) with chocolate sorbet and yummy, homemade potato chips. It was an amazing combination of sweet and salty.


What a sweet end to the meal.

Drink: As soon as our waitress figured out Trusty had just proposed, the matre d’ graciously sent over two glasses of champagne during dinner, and two glasses of Pacific Rim Framboise, NV, Washington during dessert. I usually don’t like Framboise–it can be cloyingly sweet–but this vintage (if that is the appropriate term) was delicious. I also enjoyed a delicious glass of rosehip herbal tea called “Bliss” at the end of the meal.

Service: Our waitress was fantastic, and the entire staff was so warm and welcoming. Alma’s hospitality was memorable–we’ll be back soon to enjoy their service again.

Scene: Because we went during an epic snowstorm the restaurant was literally empty! Trusty had called ahead to ask if we could be seated in a back, quiet corner of the restaurant, and when we arrived the Maitre d’ somewhat comically led us through Alma’s front room, which was empty, through their back room, which was also empty, and seated us at the very back corner table. When our waitress came over she informed us that the chefs were cooking for us. What an incredible evening. 

The interior of Alma.

The interior of Alma.

Cost: Our meal came to a little under $150 with tax and tip.

If you like, try: Heartland in St. Paul, Naha in Chicago

Spicy, Satisfying, and Inexpensive Korean at The Mill in Morningside Heights

23 Jan

Lately it seems like everyone in New York City has the sniffles, including me. A stubborn cold is going around, and I’ve been trying to shake it for over a week. When DayQuil and NyQuil fail, it’s time to bring out the big guns; it’s time to head to The Mill for some spicy and satisfying Korean food.

I think of The Mill as a little gem in Morningside Heights. It’s really the only authentic Korean food around on the UWS, unless you want to hike down to K-Town.  My Trusty Sidekick and I love coming here (even when I’m not under the weather) because the food is fresh, the portions are huge, and the service is fast. Best of all, it’s cheap. For a quick, inexpensive dinner, it’s hard to beat The Mill.

In one word: Qauthentic (quick + authentic)

Location: 2895 Broadway (between 111th St & 112th St)

 

The four complementary Banchan (small dishes) at The Mill are always fresh and constantly changing.

Food: As soon as you sit down four bowls of complimentary side dishes, called Banchan, will arrive, followed by a small bowl of miso soup. These dishes always make me smile–they’re fresh and constantly rotating. Trusty loved the spicy kim chi, while my favorite was the chilled, spicy and silky tofu. It was a great way to start the sinus-clearing meal.

Nothing like a rich, comforting Miso soup when you're sick--especially when it's free!

Trusty and I always order our favorite, go-to Bibimbap dishes. (Quick aside on Bibimbap–if you haven’t had Korean before, this dish is a must-try. The word means “mixed meal” and that’s literally what it is–a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned veggies) and paired with a raw or fried egg and/or sliced meat. On top of it all, you add gochujnag, a very spicy chili pepper paste, or chogochujang, a delicious, addictive Korean version of ketchup.  The dish can be served hot or cold, but usually comes in a very hot stone pot, and the ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.)

 

Magical, addictive chogochujang, a thick, sweet and very spicy sauce that's like a Korean version of ketchup.

I usually order Hwae Bibimbap ($12), which is a cold bibimbap (served in a stainless steel bowl instead of a hot stone pot) with assorted julianne vegetables and pea shoots, strips of slightly salty and sweet dried seaweed, julianne Fuji apple slices, and chunks of fresh, raw, sweet tuna or tilapia, all over warm white rice.

 

I love all the flavors and textures in this dish!

This dish combines all my favorite flavors and textures–I love the cold, sweet, raw tuna and tilapia with the warm white rice and the sweet and crunchy Fuji apples with the veggies–crispy lettuce and pea shoots dressed in nutty sesame oil–with the salty and slightly sweet seaweed–mmm. Tons of fresh, delicious ingredients that only get better with the spicy, sweet and vinegary chogochujang sauce.

 

Yum. I love the huge portions. The bowl is always way too big for me to finish!

Trusty always orders his favorite bibimbap, which is Mushroom Dolsot Bibimbap with Beef. It’s loaded with mushrooms, other veggies like bean sprouts, carrots, and zucchini, and strips of seared beef. 

Trusty’s bibimbap arrives in a piping hot stone pot, and when he mixes all the ingredients together the heat of the pot scrambles the fresh uncooked egg. The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes.  Before the rice is added to the pot, the bottom is coated with a yummy, nutty sesame oil, which makes the rice at the bottom of the pot deliciously golden brown and crispy–one of Trusty’s favorite parts of the dish.

 

Even Trusty can't finish his whole pot.

 

Drink: We usually order tea, which is a basic, but delicious jasmine. For my sick throat, it was especially good. If you’re in the mood for something else, The Mill also offers soft drinks, a selection of Asian brand beers, and cold sake. 

Service: The service here is fast, but impersonal; the no-fuss service here takes a back seat to the food. Expect to be seated immediately and expect your food to arrive within five minutes after you’ve placed your ordered. But, don’t expect any chit chat from your waiter. You may find the staff to be practically wordless–often food arrives without any explanation–but (I think) the food speaks for itself.

Scene: The restaurant is a small, simply decorated space. Framed Korean prints and old scrolls hanging on the walls give the interior a cozy, authentic ambiance. If there’s an open table in the back, asked to be seated there–you can peek into the kitchen and watch the kitchen crew roll dumplings by hand.

 

Interior of The Mill.

Dress: The Mill is pretty firmly in Columbia University territory, so casual dress code is more than appropriate. Jeans, t-shirt, whatever.

Cost: Our check came to $30 with tax and tip. A great price, and for the amount of food we got, it was especially reasonable.

Delivery: Delivery available from 95th to 125th St Riverside Dr. to Morningside Dr. $8 minimum.

If you like, try: Hangawi Grill in Korea Town NYC, Kang Nam in Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago

Did Katy Perry Nail It with her new OPI Black Shatter Nail Polish?

22 Jan

Given Katy Perry’s wild nail style (remember her Russel Brand manicure ?) it makes sense that OPI would ask her to collaborate on a new nail polish line.

The highlight of the limited-edition collection is the Black Shatter top coat that’s generating buzz as the next nail trend. Once applied to the dried base coat of any nail polish, the black top coat begins to disappear, leaving behind a crackled, sort of leopard print pattern on each nail and transforming your manicure into nail art, Katy Perry style.

Here's what each color is supposed to look like with the Black Shatter top coat. From L-R the colors are: Last Friday Night, Not Like the Movies, The One that Got Away, and Teenage Dream.

How does it work? Two incompatible solvents in the black shatter top coat cause uneven drying, so as the top coat sets it results in the crackled pattern.

After test-driving the new shatter coat, here are some of our tips:

  • This may seem obvious, but be sure to only apply the Black Shatter top coat over completely dry nail polish–otherwise, there are gloopy consequences.
  • Because the shattering effect is almost instantaneous, you need to apply the top coat fairly quickly–as in, a once over. If you double back for a second coat then you’ll get black shatters on top of black shatters.
  • A thinner coat of Black Shatter will result in a look with smaller shards, while a thicker coat will make the crackled look more chunky.
  • The shatter top coat dries matte–really matte–with the look of old, dried-out asphalt. So, for a more “polished” look, add a top coat for a glossy finish that will make the black look more liquid.

Black Shatter top coat over Not Like the Movies, a silvery metallic shade, with a clear top coat.

What do you think?