Tuesday, December 2, 2014

PUT A CORK IN IT - New Vegan Bags from Pelcor

The players in the world of ethical wear have really raking in points on the feisty scale as of late. Gone are the days of shapeless hemp pants and baggy 'I Heart Animals' t-shirts -- well, those still persist, but are no longer the only cruelty-free contenders in town. Vegan fashion is now casting a much larger net and reeling in cutting-edge couture, worthy of sharing the walkway with mainstream wear. Stylish and no-animals-harmed is a tricky line to walk, but several emerging masters are proving it can be done.

Enter Sandra Correia and her brand Pelcor. Pelcor is a sustainable fashion label that masters in all things cork. Sandra herself comes from a legit cork dynasty. Her grandfather began by producing shoe heels and fishing rod handles fashioned out of cork and, years down the road, her father shifted to Champagne corks. Sandra stepped up the cork game by steering the family business toward fashion accessories. Though she's been blazing an eco-friendly trail for the last 11 years, her latest endeavor has been dazzling my vegan-handbag-loving eye. Pelcor's Fall/Winter 2014 line is delightfully punctuated with an assortment of wintry and sorbet colored plaid vegan bags, ranging from clutches to totes. 

Enough of the foreplay -- let's get to the goods. Feast your eyes on these crescent-shaped beauties: 

Plaid Half-Moon Pouch

Plaid Half-Moon Tote

Sandra sat down with Dirty Rotten Vegan for the inside scoop -- ok, so we emailed:

What inspired the design for this vegan line?
Few brands are designing pieces that are both stylish and cruelty-free. No one should have to sacrifice one for the other! The line was inspired by timeless patterns such as plaid and stripes, with a modern, fashion-forward twist using our unique materials. 

Sandra Correia

Favorite (vegan) designers?
Stella McCartney

Tell us about yourself. Name three things that most people don't know about you. 
- I am spiritual soul, linked to energy and helping others to open their conscience for who they are. 
- I am a Reiki Master, Aura Reader and now I am learning about Karuna Reiki.
- I’m a fan of the singer P!nk and love her music!

Favorite comfort food?
Organic Chocolate

Cat person or a dog person?   
Dog, definitely! I have a wonderful dog named Corky.

Can we get a hint or sneak peak of what's in store for Pelcor's vegan line?
Our Fall/Winter 2015 collection will feature a line of woven bags pairing woven cork skin with vegan faux leather. Following the success of Fall/Winter 2014’s woven natural cork handbags, we’ve refreshed the look with two new colors: Natural Cork combined with Deep Blue, and a mixture of Cork, Sunset and Peony.

There it is, folks. Go out, be merry, do a little holiday shopping and get a snazzy cork bag for the special lady in your life -- and if that special lady happens to be you...girl, treat yourself. 

xo DRV

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

YO MAMA - the heavenly Mexican eatery that is WeHo's Gracias Madre

A bountiful haven of authentic Mexican cuisine and vegan fare, LA is shamefully overdue for a Mexican-vegan eatery. Not only does GM not disappoint - it ups the ante. These comidas aren't just vegan, they're plant-based. Not to mention organic AND locally grown. The holy trinity: healthy, environmentally friendly and supporting the local agricultural economy. While Gracias Madre originally hails from San Francisco, its south of the border style cuisine seems better suited to its new SoCal backdrop. But don't expect $2 tacos and bottomless margaritas at this joint. This grub reeks of swank. 

Case in point: the cocktails. On principle, I don't routinely go for beverages equal in price to that of an entree. Not to mention -- unless it contains bubbles (or rhymes with risky) -- alcohol is rarely an object of temptation for this girl. Admittedly, though, these libations do sound pretty heavenly. Enticing concoctions of lavender, lime and tequila blanco adorn the beverage menu. I suspect that even I will eventually cave and take the pricey plunge for some of those seductive apĆ©rtifs.  

The food is not the only scrumptious thing that Gracias Madre serves up. The setting is equally luscious. An airy hideaway tucked away on Melrose, its spaciousness is exemplified by white-washed brick walls, high ceilings and sleek wooden floors. Enlivened by accents of mosaic tiles, small succulents, looming leafy plants, and brightly-colored Mexican textiles, GM nails the details. It straddles the aesthetically delicious line between unassuming and lavish - and is on trend as hell. 

So, the drinks are works of art, the decor is exquisite, yada yada yada. Let's get to the good stuff - the FOOD. Like the surroundings, the food is clean, elegant, and all-around satisfying. Expect to find the classics - the originality of this menu doesn’t lie in the types of dishes, but in the execution. The items may be predictable, but the flavor isn’t. On that note, let’s talk enchiladas: topped with a generous helping of mushrooms, sauteed greens and beans, the enchiladas are swimming in a chocolatey, smokey mole sauce. Lip-smacking goodness. Just, yum. As are the tacos, quesadillas, flautas...I could go on.

Go for the atmosphere, stay for the food. If you're feeling really wild, splurge on a cocktail. But, whatever you do, don't skip out on dessert. Dessert is rarely a must in my book. Don't get me wrong, my sweet tooth is as incessant as the next sugar-addict’s, but an attempt at self-control (and an ever dwindling sum in my bank account) frequently leads me to dodge the dessert menu. A post-meal treat has always been a luxury - not a necessity. But Gracias Madre bulldozed its way through and broke that ideological mold.

Allow me to recommend the apple cobbler, a specimen of warm, flaky perfection. The spiced pumpkin cake is a close second; the balance of autumnal spices is tremendous. And both are garnished with a vanilla bean coconut ice cream that will tease and delight your taste buds. Again, there are no radical concepts or shocking flavor combos here - you won’t find molecular gastronomy on this menu. Despite the absence of a chemistry set in the making of these sweets, they are some of the best I’ve ever sampled. Get on it.

In short: drink in the atmosphere, chow down on the locally sourced, organic eats, get giggly off a cocktail, and split dessert. Buen provecho!

Stay dirty, stay rotten.