Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sunday brunch

Life doesn’t get much better when you can sleep in on a Sunday, then rouse to join friends for a leisurely and delicious brunch.  But life does get better when you get to have said Sunday brunch on a gorgeous October day in New York City’s West Village.

I was this lucky duck this past Sunday.  Having spent Saturday night tasting cocktails in the city (more to come about those), I was thrilled to meet friends the next day at Dell’Anima, a fantastic Italian restaurant.  The name translates to “of the soul,” which is a perfect description for their hearty, elegant dishes.  Dell’Anima serves brunch family-style, and now I think there is no other way.  Together you can ooh and ahh over the Farro, retell funny stories from the night before while passing the French toast, and soak up the remaining precious moments of the weekend over that last cup of coffee.  Its bliss, I tell you.  Bliss.

Dell’Anima’s Sunday Brunch Menu:

Our Sunday Brunch Drinks:

  • Bellini (with blood oranges rather than peaches)
  • Bloody Mary (spicy and served with a pearl onion)

Ladies night

Project Runway is down to the last three designers – and it will be an all female finale!  Just like S&C predicted (well, sort-of — until our anti-Kenley raid had us hoping Jerell would knock her off).  But, Kenley brought it this week and Jerell didn’t.  So, hooray for the ladies!

This last episode before Bryant Park had Tim Gunn making home visits and giving us glimpses of the designers’ lives.  Korto’s family was the sweetest (did you see that spread they laid out for him?), and what a lovely woodsy studio she has.  Tim visited Leanimal in Portland; they went on a bike ride, and he was so awkward and cute.  Jerell showed us more of his sensitive side when Tim visited his family in LA.  Kenley, the last visit, didn’t exactly lay out the welcome mat, but seemed happy to see him nonetheless.

We didn’t see too much of the designers’ collections because this show was all about the wedding dresses and the surprise bridesmaid design challenge.  Both Jerell and Korto had over-worked wedding gowns and uninspired bridesmaid dresses.  Jerell went too far with the grunge-glam look, so it was the end of the road for him.  We wish you the best, Jerell!  Kenley and Leanne had the top designs.

Kenley’s feathery gown is awesome, and we love the whimsical hat (reminds us of SJP at the SATC premier in London).  For extra whimsy, we’re pairing these green Christian Louboutin satin slingbacks with the oversized bow.

Leanne’s wedding dress, and collection, was inspired by water and movement.  Nina Garcia was right on when she described it as “modern and dreamy.”  We’re pairing these gold Valentino’s because the  bow reminds us of the sculptural elements in her designs.  They’re not the same Valentino’s as last week, but similiar.  In case you haven’t noticed, we LOVE bows.

Welcome FW

I’ve finally had time to sit down and take a look at the Washington Post’s new luxury fashion magazine, Fashion Washington, which launched in mid-September.  While it covers fashion totally and utterly out.of.my.price.range, it is pretty to look at, and I love the DC focus (see “Style Setters” and “Scene Stealers” sections, and website has PDF available for download).

The inaugural issue ran a story on Monica Favela George, a DC-based shoe designer, who is behind the Gigi Favela brand (named after her daughter).  In the article, she talks about designing walkable heels, or what she calls “action shoes.”  She insists that anything over 3 inches needs a platform in the front.  And, nothing over 3 ½ inches will allow you to fully strut your stuff.

Her design influences and inspiration come from architecture and American pop culture, which may explain these “fur bombs.” (Btw, the website won’t even list a price – you have to call!)

These studded white gold peep-toes seem much more reasonable.  I do like.

Her goal is to design highly wearable shoes and boots that women love.  Unfortunately, few can afford.  But — those peep-toes were marked down severely, so we’ll keep checking back.

S&C diversion–guilty pleasures

I’ve been considering participating in Mixology Monday, the once-a-month cocktail creation you share online.  The timing hasn’t been quite right (I always seem to be out of town the weekend before submissions are due – like this weekend).  Plus, I know I’m an amateur (and a bit of a perfectionist), so I’m hesitant to submit anything that I don’t think is brilliant.

This month’s Mixology Monday theme is guilty pleasures.  Here are a few of mine:

  • Shoes – Pretty obvious, huh?
  • Shopping – I’m such a cliché.
  • Cocktails – Primarily, the over-indulgence of cocktails.
  • Overspending – Weakness for designer brands.
  • Pop music – Justin Timberlake and ABBA have a place on my IPod.
  • Celebrity gossipUS Weekly and the Washington Post’s Reliable Source keep me up-to-date with Brangelina and the Bush twins.
  • Potatoes – Potato chips, french fries – I can’t stay away.
  • Facebook – Addicted, positively addicted.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What are your guilty pleasures? And, any ideas how I can make a cocktail out of mine? Post a comment below!

Ein bier, bitte

What do you get when you combine bratwurst, sauerkraut, spaetzle, perfect fall weather, and lots of beer?  Oktoberfest! The world’s largest festival, concluded this weekend in Munich, Germany.

Fortunately, the rest of the world also likes to celebrate the Bavarian way of life.  Not only do we enjoy dining on traditional German delicacies, we love German beer.  Many breweries now offer their own seasonal Oktoberfest beer to commemorate the arrival of fall.  This rich malty lager, amber in color, usually has hints of caramel and toffee.  Hops are added for bitterness, and to balance the sweetness of the barley.  This style of beer is often referred to as Marzen,” because the beer is brewed in March, stored cold through the summer, and ready to drink at the arrival in autumn.

Oktoberfest originated with the marriage of a Bavarian prince in October 1810.  Citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities to celebrate the royal event.  Horse races marked the close of the event, and gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.  Subsequent years added an Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture.  Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands, which grew to beer tents and halls.  Today, the Oktoberfest attracts over six million visitors from around the world.

S&C Oktoberfest Favorites: Brooklyn Brewery, Spaten, and Sam Adams

And, what shoes are appropriate for this occasion? Many German designers seem to follow the same philosophy — premium quality, best workmanship, and comfort. That’s what you’ll find in Birkenstock and Josef Seibel’s collections.

Prost!

posted by Ms. S&C

Wild flowers

We are getting close to crowning the next Project Runway winner.  The last episode challenged the designers to create an evening gown inspired by flowers found in the New York Botanical Garden.

Let’s start with the winners:

Jerell – The only guy remaining so he plays with fruit and bobble head dolls back at the hotel to keep himself company.  He also leads the let’s-throw-Kenley-to-the-wolves-pack.  He wins the challenge, but his dress is not without its problems (the bust, hemline, wrinkles).  I do like that it is a kind-of funky eveningwear look.  Most of his clothes seem wearable, but still have an edge.  So, we’re pairing these Christian Louboutin pewter pumps – aptly named “Scissor Girl,” for the cross-band and stud detail.

Leanimal – She loses a bit of her confidence this week.  Maybe it was repercussions from that near bee sting.  She still manages to pull off the next best dress.  Her soft, flowy, lavender gown is quite lovely.  Also lovely are these shimmery Valentino pumps with the side bow.  I heart bows.

And, the losers:

Korto – She designs a super-flattering silhouette (she always does), but goes overboard with the bright fabrics, and why oh why did she use that lace?

Kenley – It is too exhausting to continue with the Kenley-attitude-bashing.  We’re done with that.  And her reptilian dress.

Episode concludes with tears galore – everyone is an emotional wreck – but, it is all for not because no one gets auf’d.

Party animals

In Washington, DC, elections are a good excuse to party.  Inaugural balls, primary-watching happy hours, election-results parties.  We’ve already shared some of the DNC-themed cocktails from the convention.  So naturally, they’ll be plenty of people with cocktail in hand watching tonight’s Vice Presidential train wreck debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

What you’ll be drinking tonight could say a lot about your political preference.  Here are a few amusing articles and surveys linking political preference to cocktails and bar behavior.  In short:

Democrats

  • Prefer clear spirits such as gin and vodka, and white wine
  • Tip better
  • Have better pick-up lines
  • Give better toasts

Republicans

  • Prefer darker spirits such as bourbon and scotch, and red wine
  • Are more likely to order a drink straight up
  • Are less likely to order a “fruity,” or pink drink
  • Will arrive first at happy hour

For more humorous comparisons, check out the New York Times’ You Might Be an Obama Supporter if…, and You Might Be a McCain Supporter if…

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If you are in need of ideas for election-themed cocktails, here are a few for you to enjoy, courtesy of Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

The Running Mate

• 2 parts bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
• 1 part simple syrup
• 2 wedges lemon
• 1 slice of watermelon

Muddle lemon and watermelon with simple syrup.  Add bourbon and ice.  Shake and strain into a large old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a slice watermelon and lemon wheel.

Recipe Source: James Lee, bartender at West End Tavern in Boulder, CO

The Donkey
Sounds similar to the Blackberry Bourbon Cobbler over at Central.

• 2 parts bourbon, preferably Knob Creek
• 1 part triple sec
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 6 mint sprigs
• Splash of raspberry schnapps
• Fresh raspberries and blueberries to garnish

Add sugar, bourbon and mint into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and muddle the fruit.  Garnish with berries and mint.

Recipe Source: Jim Hewes, bartender at Round Robin Bar, Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC

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In closing, join me and other chardonnay-swigging liberals in toasting:


Fragments of a rainy vacay

Rain, high winds, threats of coastal flooding – not exactly how Ms. S&C pictured her long weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  But, we made the most of it.  While there was little sunshine to enjoy, there were plenty of other fun beach-y activities: walking along the boardwalk, frisbee in the surf, putt-putt golf, live music and plenty of dining out.

Places of culinary interest included:

Drink of the trip: Beer

Maybe it was a slight case of seasonal affective disorder, but I was in no mood for the typical fruity cocktails.  No rum punch, no daiquiris, nothing resembling a tropical drink was consumed.  Wine usually accompanied dinner, but otherwise it was all about beer: Pumpkin ale and IPAs from DFH, Paulaner Hefeweizen, beers from Anchor Brewing Company, and my light beer of choice–Amstel Light.