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LA (LA CIENEGA): THE BEST PLACE TO GRAB A COCKTAIL ON A WEEKDAY NIGHT

By Nora Zelevansky / June 30th, 2010

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This is an example of a VERY belated post.  Actually, it's not belated.  It's vintage.

Full disclosure: I totally forgot I even took the pictures that I'm posting today.  BUT, that said, I still think it's worthwhile to mention the visit M. & I took 300 years ago to The Roger Room

If you haven't been yet, this tiny bar with all its old school cocktails (with a new twist blah blah) aimed for a sort of speakeasy vibe sans publicity etc.  Nothing like a low profile launch to create a high profile destination.

Basically, what I'm saying is, this place may not even have a real sign, but it's not a bar you want to hit on a busy Saturday night (even if you could worm your way in).

But for casual drinks on a weekday night, Roger Room is a great place to stop in.  Especially if you're me and you live, um, like a whole two blocks away.  They bring the whole cocktail experience to another level and there's nothing even remotely like it in my slightly bar deficient hood.

And now I need to go get ready for jury duty, where they will not have cocktails or even beer.  Just plain old red tape.

xo – N.

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THE LINT COLLECTOR: THE BEST ANTI-CANADIAN TRAINING VIDEO (A.K.A. THE BACHELORETTE)

By Nora Zelevansky / June 28th, 2010

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Because, inexplicably, this guy's stitched jeans, annoying smile and douche bag hair (we've not seen so much hair gel since Ross on Friends and he turned his wife into a lesbian) apparently weren't enough to convince Ali to send him home on her own volition (or else The Bachelorette producers asked her to keep him there for "the wrong reasons"–tsk, tsk), Rated "R" finally went home on tonight's episode.

And right before we  got to see him olive oil wrestle.  Poo!  How fun would it have been to watch him talk up his wrestling prowess and then totally get his ass kicked by one of those hardcore Turkish dudes?  Instead, all we got was a really bad joke from Kirk: "His wrestling name should be 'Rated Liar.'"

Kirk's wrestling name should be "Rated Not Funny."

Or "Rated Black Mold."  That's not funny.  Sorry.  He was really sick, I know.  Now I'm like going to get black mold poisoning as karmic punishment.  No, thank you.  I was just kidding, mold gods!

ANYWAY … We also got to watch the other guys try to pin each other.  I dunno.  Personally, I always think wrestling seems a little gay, but that's just me.  Even the outfits leave something to be desired.  Like men in spandex is just not my thing.

Okay, so this episode left me with a few questions:

1. Will Rated R's girlfriend take him back?  I think so.  And, more importantly, are boyfriend blazers officially passe, now that that girl wore one on national television?

2. Am I supposed to feel bad for that chick, even though she was in on the plot for the whole time?

3. Aren't Canadians supposed to be really nice?  What's with all the evil Canadians on this season between Craig "The Hair" (sorry, I don't remember his last initial, but the Craig that went home first) and this Justin Rated R guy?

4. Is Ali's elimination process easily traced in advance from ugliest to hottest?  (I take that back actually cause she sent Jesse home, I guess, but STILL …).  Like, sorry Craig R., but you were by far the least hot left and were thus so obviously going home.  She didn't even French kiss you!  But we rooted for you still.  We knew ye when.  (Don't ask.)

5. Why do the stupid tabloids etc. insist on trying to expose the ending to us in advance?  And why were the "scenes" so obvious???  I'm not even going to reveal what I think I saw in case some of you skipped it, but let's just say I think it's pretty obvious who is going home next.

We'll see if I'm right.  Next week on, The Bachelorette: Blame Canada.

xo – N.

LA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST SHOE IN

By Nora Zelevansky / June 28th, 2010

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Monday, Monday, yawn, yawn.

Soooo … when I covered Mona Moore's Rodarte shoe party last week for elle.com, the post focused mostly on the spring collection and the fête itself, which is definitely worth checking out!

In addition to the Hawaiian cocktails and condor-inspired shoes, which you can read about at the above link, guests also got an up close and personal gander at fall's crazy collection.  And the lucky ones (yes, me & R.) got to chat for a while with kooky, cool Rodarte designer Laura Mulleavy, who reminds me more of the visual artists that pervaded my art world childhood than of any designer I've ever come across.  (Her sister and co-designer Kate seemed really lovely too, but I didn't get to corner her for quite as long.)

Laura talked about The Dark Crystal: She's obsessed with the Jim Henson cult-classic movie.  (Coincidentally, for some reason, people think I look like the main female "Gelfling," Kira.)  Laura also dished about what it's like working and living with your sister, saying that they're "basically the same person."  (They went to Berkley together and now live together.)  She also told us all about the inspiration for the fall heels and about the Rodarte approach to design:

Basically, though
known for their avant-garde aesthetic, the designers themselves kept it casual
and unassuming, showing their Northern California and Pasadena roots in comfy
plaid and tees.  Though Laura did
rock their Repetto collaboration marbled ballet flats (love!), she shook her head “No
way!” in response to wearing her own designs, explaining:  “We don’t design for a specific girl or
for ourselves, which is unusual, but it means there are no limitations.”

Those that
truly worship at the altar of divine shoes were transfixed by fall’s upcoming
Kirkwood collaborations, displayed behind protective glass at the Mona Moore’s
rear.  The shoes are inspired by “sleepwalking”
and have heels that mimic melting candle wax and light up (see above and below).

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When it comes to Rodarte's heels, if the shoes fits, put it behind glass and stare at it, because these are simply works of art.

xo – N.

LA (CULVER CITY): THE BEST BRUSSEL SPROUTS COOKED IN BACON

By Nora Zelevansky / June 25th, 2010

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As sometimes is my sad fate, when I visited new gastropub Waterloo & City (from the former Palihouse chef) pre-opening to research a Daily Candy story, the kitchen was not fully functioning.  So, while I got a sneak peek at the menu and the decor, I didn't get to sample the goods.

So, I was psyched to hit the new spot with R. after a Rodarte event at Abbot Kinney's Mona Moore shoe store last night.  The restaurant was hopping and one of the sweet owners served us DELICIOUS sherry from his own personal stash, but the highlight was definitely the above Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon, which were perfectly crispy on the outside and rich with the meat's flavor.

They're so good, you'll hardly believe you're eating your veggies.  Then again, bacon has that effect, I suppose.

W & C just started serving brunch too, so hopefully I'll check that out soon (plus I need to go back for the squash blossoms and the truffle fries).  Let me know if you have a chance to beat me to the punch!

xo – N.

PITTS (PA): THE BEST POTATO VODKA

By Nora Zelevansky / June 23rd, 2010

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You say potato; I say martini.  Potato, martini, tomato, marinara … Let's call the whole thing off!

What I'm trying to say is that Boyd & Blair is this special potato vodka out of Pittsburgh and it's all local and pure and all those good things you want your food to be these days.  And all the great restaurants in Pitts make cocktails using it, though you can buy it here and use it at home too.

Also, it gets you drunk, which is an added bonus. 

Especially when I start making up songs.

xo – N.

NYC (PARK SLOPE): THE BEST CRISPY FRIED STRING BEANS W/ GARLIC AIOLI

By Nora Zelevansky / June 22nd, 2010

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Newsflash!  You may want to sit down for this one.  Okay, ready?  Here goes: I like fried food.

Yes, I know.  This is enormously surprising, considering my weekly love poems to mozzarella sticks and all.

So, when I went to Park Slope's new Fornino destination, I went with the above string beans foremost in my mind instead of the signature grilled pizza.  And, I'm not gonna lie, the string beans were really really good.

Fortunately, so were the pizzas!  I was with a big group (Andre, his fam and C.), so we got to try several different pizzas and they were all good.  For lactards, the Margherita Classica (below) is made with buffalo mozzarella.

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So, this is one of those situations, where I was really hungry and sort of inhaled the food before I took pics (oooopsies).  But the pizzas: Napoletana (no cheese), Vongole (recommended by friends), Monzese (fennel sausage) were all pretty much delicious.  I recommend!

Pizza, pizza!  Newsflash!  What am I talking about???

xo – N.

LA (B.H.): THE BEST POOL TO CRASH

By Nora Zelevansky / June 21st, 2010

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Yesterday I came home from yet another trip and I'm tiiired.

"Cheese with your whine?" you mock.

Eh, I'm too tired to argue with imaginary LINTY adversaries about my whining habits.  And definitely too tired for a real deal post.

So, in honor of LA's too easily dismissed good points, here's a black and white image of The Beverly Hills Hotel, where it's a little known fact that one can make use of the legendary pool all afternoon long, if he or she has lunch at the adjoining outdoor Cababa Café (not exactly a hardship).

Personally, I won't be lying by that pool today.  Nor will I be emerging from my home or changing into anything other than lounge wear (yes, that's how tired I am).  BUT I will be enjoying the cozy warmth of LA's dry heat, as I chill out at home–fan on, laptop fired up, kitties and Andre chilling at my side.

My idea of home sweet home …

xo – N.

LA (MELROSE): THE BEST NEW BAG FOR SUMMER & BEYOND

By Nora Zelevansky / June 18th, 2010

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When you think of a Foley + Corinna bag, you probably think of this City Tote silhouette that's been ripped off by designer after designer:

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This bag is, of course, a classic.  However, I am currently involved in a deep sordid love affair with the above newer shape,  the Moto Hobo.  After chatting with the designers at a party last week and checking out the fall collection at their Melrose store, I grabbed this in the most AMAZING grayish color with a purplish hue.

It's neutral.  It's beautiful.  It holds TONS of stuff.  It isn't heavy and weighted down with metal detailing.  And it's at the store as we speak, whimpering adorably and just waiting for a suitable home.  How can you resist those puppy dog eyes?

Sadly, my pictures of the fall bags didn't turn out, but I'll try to get a hold of some.  LOVE.

xo – N.

NYC (NOLITA): THE BEST BOUTIQUE POUR MOI

By Nora Zelevansky / June 17th, 2010

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For many New Yorkers, this is old news, but I just have to sing the praises of what has truly become my favorite boutique in NYC: Poppy.

You know when you just find a spot that seems compatible with your aesthetic and high-end, but not prohibitively out of your price range, where the salespeople are nice, but not annoying and the selection is deep, but not overwhelming?  No?

Yeah, well, neither did I until I met Poppy.  It's just that Poppy understands me.  The real me.  The me that wants to spend $125 on an amazing wardrobe item, but not really $500.  The me nobody knows.  (Let's see if anyone gets THAT reference–doubtful unless you went to Calhoun School circa 1988 and happened to be in the 7th grade play.)  ANYWAY …

I LOVE Poppy and I just wanted to scream it from the rooftops and also show you my finds:

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This perfect Alexander Wang thin ribbed tank …

I can't find an image of the "Wish" skirt I got, but I have to say that I saw the Australian line around a lot and I think the price point is AMAZING, considering the style and quality of the garments.

I also fell in love with this striped sequined top that I am now sad that I didn't buy, but more on that later when I stalk it and call the store and find out the brand cause I'm freaking out without it.

Anyway, that is my ode to Poppy.

And that is the perfect Nolita boutique.

xo – N.