Restaurant Review: Manna

My first day in London included a wonderful dinner at Manna in Primrose Hill. I was looking forward to trying this restaurant after reading Evan’s review over at The Wannabe Chef and one of my colleagues was kind enough to indulge me. I’m always nervous taking non-vegetarians/vegans to restaurants that have a plant-based menu, but the three omnivores who accompanied me all enjoyed their meals.

We ordered four appetizers and shared them, which was great because I was having trouble deciding which one I wanted! The basil & cashew cheese croquettes were excellent, really flavorful with a great crispy shell. My favorite starter was the spiced jerk tofu, plantain & sweet potato kebabs, which were both savory and sweet, and had a really great flavor combination. We also got two orders of the quesadillas, which were good but nothing too special.

For my main I ordered the organic bangers and mash (come on, it was just too traditionally British to pass up!) which included  fennel and pumpkin seed sausages with greens and a delicious parsnip and carrot mash. I especially liked the faux sausage since I like trying new non-soy based fake meats, and this was a great version. My boyfriend ordered the enchilada casserole which was absolutely delicious, I definitely snuck a few bites from his plate. Our two dining companions ordered the spaghetti & meatballs, the faux meatballs were admired and shared, and the ravioli, which they both seemed to enjoy.

The restaurant was packed for a Sunday night and I even heard one of the waiters tell someone on the phone that they were completely booked for the night. It’s always nice to see a vegan restaurant that is doing so well!

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Streetstyle & Front Row Fashion – NYFW

While the runway shows are, of course, the highlight of any fashion week, the parties, front rows and editors & models running from show to show are almost as captivating. Below are some of the great looks captured by photographers during NYFW Spring 2012.

GQ editor Michael Hainey looking dapper (Sartorialist)

Oh Carine, we'll miss you! A great example of how to wear navy and black and keep it sexy and interesting (Sartorialist).

Malin Akerman and Petra Nemcova were chic in grey in the front row at Tommy Hilfiger (style.com)

Lara Stone looking chic and pretty at the Calvin Klein Collection Dinner

Olivia Wilde looked fabulous in a black jumpsuit w/ great accessories as she sat front row at Ralph Lauren

Michael Kors had some sexy & sleek supporters front row in the form of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoe Saldana

Hilary Rhoda captured by Craig at Models Off Duty after the Derek Lam show.

Check out Garance Dore’s NYFW piece titled Celebrities in the Front Row for a fun take on this timeless tradition.

And finally, what more could you expect from the men that women turn to when they want to look glamorous and chic?

Oscar de la Renta & Valentino holding court and checking out the competition at the DVF show (TLo)

I’ll be back soon with more of my vacation adventures and London Fashion Week!

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NYFW Spring 2012 Round-Up

DKNY Spring 2012 Collection

New York Fashion Week for Spring 2012 showcased some great trends and standout shows. Lots of brights and florals, which is to be expected for Spring, as well as some beautiful neutrals, interesting lengths and lots of pants.

Phillip Lim (3.1) was cool, refreshing and minimal, a picture-perfect mix of airy cuts and beautiful hues.

The King of Cool Girl Clothes, Alexander Wang, showed a collection that was a little bit biker chic in the Sahara. I can definitely see his BFF Erin Wasson wandering around NYC in these clothes!

Can you get the designer? If your first guess was Alice+Olivia, go treat yourself to a shopping spree! This collection was very retro-inspired and contained cute separates, including the newly launched shoe collection

Bill Blass's show was very nautical and very standard spring. Navy, black and white, with splashes of red and yellow. I liked this look because it's a great combination of the white pants trend, stripes and polka dots!

Francisco Costa has got his CK shows down to an art and I foresee another year of beautiful young things - Eva Mendes, Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone to name a few - wearing his designs at every opportunity.

Diane von Furstenberg's show was fun and flirty, lots of color and prints, lots of flattering silhouettes.

The DKNY show was full of smart, chic, wearable looks. These ads last season were some of my favorites and I liked how this show seemed like a seemless continuation of the looks for fall.

Jason Wu tweaked his tried & true formula a little with this collection, trying out some new fabrics and slightly different cuts. But among the edgy were the oh so Wu pieces we know and love!

After a classic show last season to celebrate his 30th, Michael Kors was off on Safari for Spring. Khakis, animal prints, crochet, fringe and gladiator sandals in muted tones as far as the eye can see.

Milly delivered vibrant splashes of color and bold prints, retro cuts and great accessories, including scarves, sunglasses, bags and shoes.

Peter Som's collection was, as per usual, absolutely wearable. It featured great prints and florals, but my favorite was this muted zebra-head print with a cobalt belt and bold black accessories.

So far I've liked Rachel Zoe's line, nothing groundbreaking or wholly innovative, but she's producing consistently good collections. I find myself especially impressed by her suits, cute and modern with great touches like this bright blue blouse.

 And from Harper’s Bazaar, here’s a NYFW Spring 2012 Trend Report with some great pictures from the shows.

Though I don’t have the time (or, I might add, the energy) to review each and every great collection shown this year, I would like to share a couple of my personal favorites.
 

I adore L'Wren Scott, every season she shows amazing, flattering silhouettes. Sleek, sexy and confident, a modern woman who can take on the world!

Milly my love! Has anyone seen PanAm yet? I feel like half the collections this season are inspired by that era and its chic formality.

I'm having a 60's moment - which may or may not influence my Halloween costume - and this Mia Farrow inspired Erin Fetherston collection was right up my alley.

Christian Siriano showed brights and nauticals, which are pretty traditional for Spring, but I thought that this was a fresh, juicy spin on them.

To me this is what Spring is about, bursts of color and flowy lines. Vivienne Tam was right on target with this jumpsuit!

The most fun show to watch? I highly recommend checking out the video of the Marc Jacobs extravaganza here.

And don’t worry boys, I didn’t forget about you. TLo has a great reviews of the DKNY Menswear show here, Nautica’s rooftop show here (that’s just for you Colin!) and Perry Ellis here.

Perry Ellis Spring 2012 Menswear Collection

Note: Most photos & videos are from Style.com. Check out last season’s NYFW here.

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London

This has been a whirlwind trip, lots of family time, lots of travel time and some really great experiences. Three days in London, a week in France and four days in Spain. But I wont get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning…

Jolly old London!

To be honest, London was a bit of a blur, we touched down Sunday afternoon and hopped on the Chunnel Tuesday night. London consisted of lots of jetlag-induced napping, some work and some seriously yummy food.

Fashion: The first thing that I noticed when I arrived in London (which was quickly echoed by my boyfriend) was that the men are EXTREMELY well dressed. Well cut suits and pressed slacks with blazers & button downs were everywhere, I only saw a handful of men in what we in America would consider “street clothes.” Needless to say, I was in heaven people watching. 🙂 As for the women, lots of flats, tights and crossbody bags. I wasn’t really blown away by the female fashion, so apologies for only touching on it briefly. For the most part they looked put together (no tennis shoes, no backpacks, no baseball caps, no gym clothes on the street…) but it wasn’t terribly memorable.

Food: I’ll dedicate a separate post to the restaurant that we went to our first night, Manna, which was absolutely spectacular. The second night’s dinner was a hodgepodge affaire after we found a Whole Foods in Soho (where, I might add, I saw Bill Nighy). Overall the food was good, but there wasn’t a huge selection of vegetarian/vegan fare, as I had expected.

Fitness: Lots of walking and that’s about it. My boyfriend took advantage of the hotel gym & pool, but between working and a bout of food poisoning I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the facilities personally.

Lodgings: We stayed at the gorgeous One Aldwych hotel in Westminster, which was walking distance to my office. The room was small (I’d forgotten that about European traveling!) but sumptuous. Overall it was a good experience, great central location and very attentive and helpful employees, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood to splurge.

Travel: We flew United (via AirCanada) from SFO to Toronto to Heathrow, took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and then took a taxi to the hotel. London has awful traffic though, so I would recommend public transportation if you’re traveling around the city during peak hours. Our exit from London after three chilly days was via EuroStar, and after a two-hour train ride we arrived in Paris!

Highlights: For me the highlight was dining at Manna, the food was great and it was an adorable little part of London that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I highly recommend a visit to Primrose Hill if you’re in the area! 🙂

Stay tuned for a review of Manna and my Parisian adventures.

Cheers!

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Style File: Miranda Kerr

Welcome back to the Style File series!

Today we’re breaking down this simple but chic, low-key outfit spotted on Victoria’s Secret model and busy mom Miranda Kerr when she was in Australia a few weeks ago.

MirandaKerr

What I like most about this look is the high-low combination. The striped dress is stylish but casual and comfortable. The classic black blazer is well-tailored and adds a bit of structure to the look. And the red bag is an eye-catching splash of color that completes the look and gives it a personal touch.

See below for some affordable shopping suggestions for these pieces:

Striped Dress

G-Star – Asos

French Connection

Swell Paula – Swell

Depending on your mood you could rock a casual black and white striped mini like Miss Miranda Kerr, go for nautical-inspired navy & white stripes, or even pair a striped maxi dress with the rest of these pieces for a fun twist on this style.

Black Blazer

Classic Blazer – GAP

Boyfriend Blazer w/ Striped Cuff – Asos 

Cuffed Blazer – Victoria’s Secret

A simple cropped or fitted blazer, an oversized or exaggerated boyfriend blazer, or even a casual rolled sleeve blazer would all work well in this outfit. You can follow Miranda’s lead and go for a classic black or navy blazer, but I think that a neutral tan or grey would look lovely as well.

Black Shoes

ADELAIDE Leather Chelsea Ankle Boots – Asos

Sofft Cadence – 6pm

Me Too – Shoes

You can give your look a sassy twist with a pair of flat ankle boots or lace-up heeled Oxfords, or you could even try a simple pair of black velvet ballet flats depending on your personal style and – Of course – How far you’re planning on walking.

Red Handbag

 

Longchamp ‘Le Pliage’ Medium Shoulder Tote – Nordstrom

Contrast Colored Quilted Handbag – Oasap

Kate Spade New York Tote – Piperlime

A bold well-made red handbag is a great piece to invest in – Look for a classic style that you’ll be able to carry season-after-season. This is a statement piece that will add the perfect finishing touch to any look.

I’m a huge fan of Longchamp’s Le Pliage totes which are really versatile and perfect for traveling. I also really like this simple Kate Spade tote which is fun and feminine, and the lovely quilted number from OASAP – There’s really something for everyone in this eye-catching hue!

You can also check out past MCLV Style File looks below:

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