Thursday, December 2, 2010

Style: 2011 Must Have Gift Guide

As we’ve been preparing for the holidays, the Mod City Moms have been a little slow to post. Because we understand that we’re not the only ones short on time, we’ve compiled our annual gift giving guide to make this year’s shopping both trouble-free and delightfully original. Our 2011 suggestions are fifty bucks or less, specialize in home delivery, and offer one-of-a-kind treasures. Dress, Display, Devour!

Campfire Gifts Inc.: We first encountered Campfire Gifts during our annual Renegade Craft Fair pilgrimage. Their table, always bombarded with buyers, is a fair favorite. These graphic designers combine tasteful typography with hometown pride. Choose your favorite city or state and you’re guaranteed to find a Campfire tee that expresses your territorial bias with punch and pizzazz. Details:

Dika.B: The Brazilian handbag designer, Drika.B, creates a series of fanciful clutches—each one utterly unique. Now located in California, her architectural training and Brazilian heritage continue to inspire her designs and are guaranteed to inspire your wardrobe. Details:

Go Dotty Go!: These hand hotties are sure to warm hands on the coldest of winter days. Handmade from recycled wool sweaters, they are beautifully crafted, wonderfully colorful, and extremely warm. Better yet, send your old sweater to Laura and Claudia and they will craft you a pair of playful gloves to cherish. Details: or email

The Knitting Parlor: Scarves have been all the rage the last couple of years and the infinity scarf is hot on everyone’s wish list. Check out the Knitting Parlor for handmade beauties in rich, vibrant colors. Details:

Laura Tanner Jewelry: Jewelry designer, Laura Tanner Swinand, creates delicately striking handmade jewelry. Each earring, necklace, and bracelet is so smartly designed, you can sport ‘em by day or bedazzle by night. Details:

Bauer Pottery: Earlier this year, we wrote about Bauer Pottery’s Russel Wright designs. What we didn’t write about specifically was their deliciously affordable serving dishes. Available in multiple, vivid colors, these simply modern designs remain almost as affordable today as they were when they were unveiled in the 1930s. Details: and

Ferm Living: British Company Ferm Living makes assorted wall decals so whimsical that they could easily be considered art. Decals come in all shapes and sizes—birds on wire, cassette tapes, and the periodic table. And what child doesn’t need a cuddle buddy? Ferm Living’s robot pillow comes in two sizes, both under fifty dollars. Details:

Fishs Eddy: Always a Mod City Mom favorite, Fishs Eddy has hundreds of gifts including eclectic ceramic hands, hand-painted European wine glasses, one-of-a-kind hand towels, and a handsome jade juicer. Gifts come in a Fishs Eddy gift box, free of charge—now, how handy is that? Details:

Nikki McClure: Nikki McClure creates hauntingly beautiful paper cuts. Delicate and contemplative, her work boldly depicts the cycles of life—toil, celebration, communion. Although we may not be able to afford her originals, almost anyone can afford her prints. For only $9, own a beautifully thoughtful Nikki McClure of your own. Details: and

Brooklyn Pork Store: Landi’s Pork Store in Brooklyn offers old-fashioned, homemade Italian favorites at throw-back prices. Choose from hand-rolled pasta, fresh sauces, or the house Italian sausage. Details:

Iron Horse: California’s wine country isn’t traditionally known for its sparkling wines, but Sonoma’s family-run Iron Horse has been challenging that reputation for over 25 years. Whether a fashionable Brut Rosé or a romantic Wedding Cuvée, Iron Horse bubbles are forever romantic, always celebratory, and dangerously drinkable. Details:

Jeni’s Ice Cream: After repeatedly reading about Jeni Britton Bauer’s Ohio ice cream, we finally had to try it for ourselves. Jeni’s handcrafted creations are so good, she even managed to turn our savory-centric palates into ice cream-craving machines. Whether you choose Salty Carmel, Queen City Cayenne, Pistachio and Honey, or some other devilishly delicious combination, Jeni’s is sure to please. Details:

Spottswoode Winery: The gift of wine is something that every foodie appreciates but with so many to options, it is sometimes hard to choose. Spottswoode Winery produces beautiful Cabernets using environmentally sensitive practices in all aspects of their grape production. Give the wine lover in your life a great gift while giving back to the earth at the same time. Details:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gastronomy: Festive, Flavorful Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing

Because of the warm temperatures across the country, it's hard to imagine that the holiday season is upon us. With Thanksgiving a mere two weeks away, it's time to start thinking about your menu.

A Thanksgiving meal is not complete without the stuffing. With endless variations to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. My recipe is a traditional sausage, chestnut stuffing—the original recipe, derived from William’s Sonoma. With a few changes over the years, I have made it my own. The sausage and chestnuts make it rich, moist, and earthy. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Sausage, Chestnut Stuffing

1 large loaf of sourdough or hard crusted Italian ciabatta.
5 T butter
1 finely chopped large shallot or half of a large onion
1 1/2 c rough chopped, mixed assorted mushrooms (about half button white)
1 1/2 c chopped, steamed chestnuts
1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed
2 T finely chopped fresh sage
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme
4 T finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
3 c turkey or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Dice bread into cubes and dry out on cookie sheets for at least 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Brown sausage in a large frying pan, remove from heat and drain oil. Set aside. In the same pan, melt butter. Sauté shallot over medium heat, until translucent, stirring not to burn. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper; sauté another 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add sausage and return to heat. Cook until lightly browned. Mix in thyme, parsley, and sage. Combine with the mushroom mixture. Add bread cubes and mix thoroughly together, adding stock a little bit at a time. The consistency should be moist, but not soggy. Place into 9 x 13 baking dish and cook for one hour until top is golden brown. Serves 12.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gastronomy: Menacing Mixes

Don’t let the kids have all the fun this year! Whether you’re throwing a soirée or spending a simple evening at home passing out candy, take time to whip-up a batch of menacing mixes. To please the inner-child in you, sample the Jade—this day-glow, pucker-punch of a cocktail easily satisfies any Skittles craving. If something a little more restrained is your style, try the Scary Screwdriver. Fresh juices paired with black vodka provide both the trick and the treat. Happy Halloween!

Scary Screwdriver

1/4 c ice
1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz black vodka
1 gummy worm for garnish

Place ice in tall glass with juice. Pour vodka over the back of a spoon so it sits on top of juice. Garnish with gummy worm.

Jade Cocktail

2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Midori
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. And add all of the ingredients. Shake, strain, and serve.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gastronomy: Compliment Fall with Classic Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon is a well-known French stew made of Burgundy wine-braised beef. What was once a traditional dish for peasants has become classic haute cuisine and a staple in many restaurants around the globe. For many, it is a favorite dish to offer for special holiday occasions, as it's rich on flavor, warm in comfort, and wonderfully festive.

There is no better time than fall to share this recipe, when comfort foods compliment the change in season. The next time the air is crisp and you search for your worn-out, winter chili recipe, put on a fire, crack a bottle of red wine, and try Bourguignon instead. This rich, flavorful dish is sure to bring warmth to the coldest of fall days.

Beef Bourguignon

4 lbs large-cube stewing beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 bottle red wine (preferably Burgundy, like Pinot Noir)
4 c beef stock
4 thick slices bacon, cubed
1 T olive oil
6 large carrots, peeled and roughly cut
4 T unsalted butter
1 large pack button mushrooms, sliced
2 T flour
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4 sprigs Thyme, chopped
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large, cast iron pot brown bacon; remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Pat beef dry and brown batches in bacon grease and 1 T of butter, making sure not to over-crowd the meat; reserve meat with bacon. Add olive oil to pot and sauté onion and carrots until onion is translucent and carrots soften, about seven minutes. Mix in beef and bacon. Add wine, 2 cups stock, garlic and thyme. Bring to a simmer and transfer to oven for approximately four hours. Check liquids after 2 hours and add reserve stock as needed.

Sauté sliced mushrooms in 1T butter about one hour before serving; add to pot.

Combine remaining butter and flour in a bowl. When meat is tender, remove from oven and place on stovetop over medium heat. Add flour/butter mixture and bring to simmer to thicken sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over boiled, buttered potatoes or with crusty bread. Garnish with parsley. Serves 8.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Style: Wabisabi Green Pillows Provide Easy Comfort

Taking in the last art fair of summer, I once again walked amongst the endless rows of homemade soaps, lawn art, and kettle corn booths. The sweaty masses, redundant offerings, and oil-laden air don’t deter me from showing up. I continue to return for the same reason everyone does—endlessly searching for the best-in-show artisan. The honor this visit was delivered to artist Jolee Pink’s Wabisabi Green—a line of throw pillows that brilliantly combine the fashionable, the affordable, and the eco-friendly.

Wabisabi, the Japanese idea of finding natural beauty in all things including the imperfect and incomplete, is the inspiration behind each design. Her three collections, Shore, Zen, and Leaf, showcase the Wabisabi concept beautifully. Pink’s pillows display a quiet perspective, exhibiting simple, natural patterns. Each piece is hand-printed on organic cotton using rich and deep, non-toxic inks. Designs include such favorites as papyrus, sea fan, and cherry blossom. For only $45 per cover (and an additional $20-$25 for organic kapok fiber or ecofiber inserts), these little beauties can easily transform any room in your home. Like discovering the finest artisan at a summer fair, Wabisabi Green pillows can transform the same ol’, same ol’ into a thing of beauty. Details:

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Gastronomy: Top Chef’s Top Banana (Fritter)

The MCMs have been a long-time fan of Bravo’s Top Chef. Although this season took off with a slower-than-usual start, Ed Cotton’s banana fritter creation finally made us excited to try a Season 7 recipe at home. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy, this Asian-inspired delicacy is as easy to impress your guests as it is to make. Serve it with a dollop of coconut ice cream or simply dusted with some powdered sugar for the perfect ending to an evening with family or friends.

Ed Cotton’s Banana Fritters

1 c flour
1 T sesame seeds
½ t baking powder
1 ½ T sugar
½ t salt
½ T honey
1 egg
1 c beer
Chili paste or sauce
Sugar/cinnamon blend (2 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon; just enough to dust fritters)
Powdered sugar
4 c vegetable oil

In mixing bowl, hand mix the first 5 dry ingredients. Once blended, add honey, egg, and beer; mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not over-mix batter; set aside.

In a 2 quart sauce pan, add vegetable oil and begin to heat over high heat. While oil is heating, peel bananas and cut into 1 ½ - 2 inch rounds. Brush each round with a thin-layer of chili paste. (Plan on serving 2-3 fritters per person.)

Once oil is heated to 350 degrees, dip chili-covered banana rounds, one at a time, into batter and drop gently into oil; repeat. After 1 - 2 minutes or until golden brown, remove each banana fritter from oil using a slotted spoon. Drain on a paper towel-covered plate to remove excess oil.

While fritters are still warm, roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, dust with powdered sugar, and serve immediately. The lightly crisp outside married to the tender, heat-kissed inside is a taste sensation truly worthy of top chef.

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Adventure Chicago: The Vintage Bazaar, Cool Vintage Finds Despite the Heat

The Vintage Bazaar is a Chicago-based modern, urban flea market produced by two local designers, Katherine Raz and Libby Alexander. Most of the vendors are local vintage boutique owners and collectors from all around the region.There is a little something for everyone—vintage clothing, art, jewelry, glassware, and countless other oddities.

It only happens twice a year—summer and winter. The summer edition of the Vintage Bazaar is during the month of August—a time we refer to as the dog days. It also takes place at the old Congress Theater on Milwaukee Avenue without the aid of air conditioning. Let me be the first to tell you, it’s hot in there. Blistering would be more accurate; my skin was melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. The funny thing was, I didn’t mind. And neither did the hundreds of sweaty, happy-go-lucky devotees combing through booths of one-of-a-kind, funky finds at remarkable prices.

Don’t let me worry you too much about the heat because after all, there is beer—ice-cold beer. For the kiddies, there is pie being sold by Hoosier Mama Pie Company. What could better than cheap, eclectic finds, ice cold beer, and homemade pie? A hipster D.J. spinning really great tunes while you peruse the vendors, you say? Well, there is one of those, too.

Most items are ticketed at extremely reasonable prices, but if you have your eye on something that is a little more than you may want to spend, vendors are also willing to negotiate prices. Admission to the Bazaar is free. Details and updates for where and when it will be popping up next are available at

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Adventure Philadelphia: Villa Di Roma, Kickin' It Ol' Style

In recent years, Philly has grown up—streets bustling with cozy cafés, funky shops, gastro pubs, and galleries. Since I haven't lived in the vicinity for a few years, it was fun to soak in the next-generation haunts. These new businesses are sprinkled throughout many-a-neighborhood, but it's important to note that Philly's somewhat gritty charm still lurks around every corner.

South Philly's Italian Market is unsurpassed for rewinding the present and Villa Di Roma remains the best restaurant to showcase Philadelphia, old school Italian-style. From the crass yet lovable waitresses to the would-be Wiseguys sharing an order of "Meatballs and Gravy," the Villa Di Roma offers a wide assortment of American Italian classics, deep glasses of house wine, and a changeable menu boards posted on the wall.

Family-owned and operated, the extended family takes part in each piece of the business, including bartending, waiting tables, and most importantly, the kitchen. The fresh meats and veggies that are featured in their dishes are purchased from the local market, seven days a week. Whether you’re in the mood for fettuccini ricotta, eggplant parm, or a homemade pasta, make sure to order Uncle Sammy De Luca's famous meatballs. These meatballs are simply THE BEST MEATBALLS we have ever tasted. Pan-fried lovingly each morning, these little balls of goodness hold in their flavor and natural juices, smooth and succulantly tender. Just like their meatball recipe, the Villa Di Roma's offerings, patrons, and staff stand as true mid-century beacons, untouched, unhindered, and uncomplicated by time. Details: (215) 592-1295, 936 S 9th St., Philadelphia, PA

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Style: Threadless—Exceptional Tees with a Sense of Humor

In a society where you can buy so-called vintage tees at Old Navy, replica Arts and Crafts pottery at Target, and duplicated art prints at Poster Plus for all under 10 bucks, it's no wonder that most of us stick to big box store shopping. After all, time is precious and spending extra cash on extraneous possessions is simply not doable. Right? Not necessarily so. Sometimes the greatest joys in life involve spending a little extra money and time hunting for the eclectic, local, vintage, or special, one-of-a-kind item.

The MCMs have been longtime fans of a local Chi-town t-shirt company by the name of Threadless. Members of the "Threadless community" submit t-shirt designs online, where each one is voted on by the public. Selected designs are printed in limited supply and sold online and at their Chicago locations. After sporting our own Threadless tees for ten years, Threadless has finally introduced Threadless Kids. Now MCM children are able to wear and enjoy these shirts just as much as their parents do.

No matter who the artist, each Threadless design displays a keen sense of humor, designed with kids in mind. The kid’s tees include everything from a sausage hugging cheese to a cow that attempts to jump over the moon but manages to get stuck. These whimsical images are sure to put smiles on faces, giggles in throats, and spawn conversation between you and the little person in your life. In addition, Threadless offers art prints that can be framed or stretched on canvas for an additional opportunity to showcase their wares. Threadless has brilliantly proved that not every t-shirt is alike and sometimes it's just as easy to seek out something distinctive and creative instead of ordinary and accessible. Details:

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adventure Long Beach: We Heart Retro Row

Usually tourists and locals pass through Long Beach, California because they’re on their way to San Diego or Los Angeles. Occasionally, they may stop for a few hours to take in the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, or for a quick bite at a popular Belmont Shore eatery (which, by the way, is a whole article within itself.) However, Long Beach is more than a North-South passageway and extends beyond the fashionable Belmont Shore district. The heart of Long Beach lies in Retro Row—a four-block strip that specializes in vintage furniture, clothing, and hobbies (think roller derby and long boarding). Even the restaurants, coffee shops, and the local movie theatre have a retro aura about them. Located on East 4th Street between Ross and Wisconsin Avenues, the next time you’re passing through Long Beach, take an afternoon to stop, shop, and prowl the strip. Details:

Art Theatre
This beautiful art-deco gem shows independent, classic, and fan-favorite films, including daily 11:00 matinees and midnight double features. A coffee and wine bar included! Details:

Imonni specializes in the most tasteful men and women’s vintage garments and accessories. Clothing can be custom-tailored or altered to fit your taste right on site. Details:

Meow’s collection includes vintage clothing from the ‘40s through the ‘90s, most of which has never been worn. Highlights include blue and red-striped bowling shoes, rhinestone-embossed cat-eye glass frames, and colorfully silky smoking jackets. Details:

Craft-Mafia inspired, Songbird houses a collection of funky and one-of-a-kind clothing, accessories, jewelry, and home wares made by local artists and crafters. Details:

Vintage Collective
Transform your home into the Mad Men set at this expansive Mid-Century Modern shop. Find everything from couches and coffee tables to bowling balls and the Mystery Date board game. Details:

Pike Bar & Grill
At the end of the strip sits the Pike, owned by Social Distortion’s former drummer, Chris Reece. Belly-up to this rehabbed diner’s bar for an ice-cold PBR accompanied by a grilled cheese with hand-cut fries or an order of fish ‘n’ chips. Enjoy the eclectic jukebox and the Social D posters that adorn the walls. Details:

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Style: Highway Designs for Today and Tomorrow

We first discovered Highway bags at our friend’s boutique, Glam to Go, in Chicago’s Roscoe Village. Each time I sport that purse, I’m flooded with compliments. This pragmatic, yet whimsical, bag has served me so well over the years, I thought it was time to go directly to the source.

Highway is New York fashion designer Jem Filippi’s second collection of wallets, computer-, shoulder-, and hand-bags. Her only store, located in Manhattan’s fashionable Nolita district, showcases her designs, constructed with Japanese nylons and soft leathers. Since we all can’t live in close proximity of Nolita, it’s important to note that these beauties can be found in over 100 boutiques across the country and also viewed online. From Filippi’s website, choose your style, color, and fabric and simply contact the Highway store for payment and delivery (or to find a boutique that carries the Highway brand near you).

Don’t be taken aback by the prices—Highway products are constructed with panache and durability. With over two dozen styles to choose from and a variety of beautiful color combinations, it’s easy to find a bag that suits your taste today and will still be wearable for many seasons to come. Details: or 212.966.4388 for orders and delivery.

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Gastronomy: Classic Lasagna

Recently, I had a rather hearty laugh reading about the very-Italian Matilda Cuomo (the mother of politician Andrew Cuomo) and her thoughts on Andrew's longtime girlfriend’s rendition of lasagna. Sandra Lee, Food Network’s notoriously awful cook and host of Semi-Homemade, believes that lasagna is prepared with cottage cheese and canned tomato soup. Supposedly Mr. Cuomo's favorite meal, his mother commented, “…that’s not the way lasagna should be made.” You need not be Italian, a famous chef, or even a consummate foodie to make that statement. Sandra's version of the classic dish sounds plain awful. Unfortunately, she is not the only person to be under the evil assumption that lasagna is a layering of grisly ground beef, a jar of Ragu, and cottage cheese.

Lasagna done wrong is one of the world’s most terrible casseroles and lasagna done right (and there are many renditions) couldn’t be more delicious. Here is my recipe for lasagna and a classic, easy marinara sauce—both can be prepared a day in advance. Made with three fresh cheeses, olive oil, and wine-rich sauce, this dish is still easy without having to subject your family to bland, curded cheese swimming in a sea of Campbell’s.

Basic Tomato Basil Sauce

4 T olive oil
½ can tomato paste
4 handfuls or 1 c chopped fresh basil
4 large cloves minced garlic
2 T finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 T dried
4 28 oz cans tomato sauce
1 c red wine
¼ c grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat olive oil in a large pot over low to medium heat. Sauté garlic until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in basil and oregano. Add red wine and reduce until almost completely dissipated. Add tomato sauce, cheese, and paste. Bring to a heavy simmer. Cook over medium-heat, one hour; cook over low-heat additional hour, stirring occasionally.

Sausage Lasagna

1 lb mild Italian sausage
1 package (16 sheets) no-bake lasagna pasta
2 eggs
1/2 c grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
15 oz container of fresh ricotta cheese
2 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
½ lb sliced mozzarella cheese
1 recipe Basic Tomato Basil sauce
1 c chopped bail (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together eggs, ricotta, shredded mozzarella, parmesan, and parsley until blended.

Spread 1 ½ cups of sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Layer four uncooked lasagna sheets, 1/3 ricotta mixture, half of the sausage, ½ of the sliced mozzarella, and 1 - 1 ½ cups sauce.

Layer four more lasagna sheets, 1/3 ricotta mixture, and 1 - 1 ½ cups sauce.

Layer four more lasagna sheets, the remaining ricotta, the remaining sausage, and 1 - 1 ½ cups sauce.

Layer the last four lasagna sheets, 1-1 ½ cups sauce, and the remaining mozzarella slices.

Bake covered with foil for 60 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 additional minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Spoon warm sauce over each piece, dust with chopped basil, and serve.

Serves 8.

Helpful hints:

• Make sure sauce is thoroughly cooled, if not chilled, when assembling casserole.
• If you make the dish the night before, take out of fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking.
• When layering lasagna, spread ingredients to edges to seal in pasta during baking.
• Sausage may be replaced with 2 cups of fresh, uncooked, chopped spinach for a delicious, vegetarian alternative.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Style: It's Your Turn to Design with Remodelista

Mod City Mom attended the 2010 Dwell on Design event in Los Angeles. With over 200 vendors represented, Dwell does a great job of sifting through potential companies and only inviting the vendors who appeal to their Dwell readership. Focus areas include furniture, accessories, kitchen and bath, outdoor spaces, and building materials. As I was floating through the exhibition space, I felt so fortunate to be a part of this event—I wanted to share every little tidbit with our fans. Because only a few of us live in close proximity to the annual Dwell on Design event, have the time to weed through magazines, or the stamina to search the web for interesting design, there must be some way for everyone to collect this information as easy as it was for me on this Dwell-infused day. That’s when I, serendipitously, stumbled upon Remodelista—the online version of the Dwell on Design event.

Remodelista offers an online sourcebook for style and design. They spend countless hours browsing the web, design shops, and publications so you don’t have to—it’s the easiest way to “get inspired” since attending a design show of your very own. The site organizes information by design category. Steal This Look showcases rooms finished by top designers and provides links to the furniture, hardware, and accessories that are displayed. Prices and product details are all included. The 10 Easy Pieces section offers Remodelista’s top ten picks by category—from small kitchen appliances to wooden coffee tables to architect-designed flatware.

Design offerings range from high to low, cheap to expensive. Keep track of your favorites by using the My Design Files feature or access your picks by downloading the Remodelista app. Whether you sit on the precipice of a big design project or are just looking to replace an outdated item, Remodelista points you in the right direction. Details:

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adventure San Francisco: Golden Boy Pizza, a Gold Medal Find

Although there's a wealth of food options for San Francisco visitors, it often feels like your bank account should match the wealth. By the end of a vacation, eating in San Fran can make a real dent in your pocket book. Although we always bookend our visits with a couple of nice dining experiences, it's important to incorporate some relaxed culinary adventures into any family vacation. The answer when visiting the Golden City? Golden Boy Pizza in San Francisco’s North Beach.

This pizza joint, established in the 70s, is untouched by time. It remains the perfect place to pull up a stool, drink an ice cold beer, and grab a slice (or two) of the perfect Sicilian pizza, baked warm and fresh right in front of you. The simple, no-nonsense menu offers slices of the classic pepperoni or sausage, a pesto veggie, or a garlic clam, each perfect in its own way.

The first time we visited San Fran, our dear friends tipped us off to this hole-in-the-wall gem that's so incredibly easy to miss. Now it's Mod City Mom's turn to tip you off: Golden Boy is cheap, comfortable, and offers up a little piece of heaven on a plate every time. Don't miss it! Details:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gastronomy: Love Life with a Little Carbonara

Sometime last year, while reading Michael Ruhlman’s blog, I was inspired. His article entitled simply “Carbonara” was about taking time out to have a meal and a glass of wine with his wife. I am sure you can relate: The conversations with your partner that were once about things you enjoyed have been replaced with logistics—a list of commitments, home maintenance, and child care schedules (a.k.a., the honey do list).

Ruhlman and his wife both work from home—he’s a chef and she’s a food photographer. His solution to “catching up” is to make lunch for his wife so they were able to partake in adult conversation over food and a good glass of wine. That particular day he made Carbonara.

Like most people, my husband does not have the luxury of working from home. And after taking care of the household tasks, children, and maybe squeezing in the occasional shower, the thought of cooking an easy meal seems overwhelming. Having an adult conversation seems almost lavish. However, we do have our weekend evenings, a heat lamp, and occasionally can escape to a good home-cooked meal and a glass of wine.

My version of Carbonara—spaghetti, thick cut bacon, eggs, cream, Parmesan, and Italian parsley is the ideal dish for this occasion or the simple weekday meal. When you have the chance, take an evening, cook an easy, mouthwatering pasta dish, and reconnect. You will find yourself in a state of contentment that you have not felt in long time and may be surprised how connected a good meal can make you feel. Sometimes as parents, we forget who we are as a couple. Cook a great dish, drink more wine, and most of all, love your life.


1/2 lb pancetta chopped or thick-cut bacon
2 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 large egg yokes
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus 1/8 c extra for the top
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill

3 T chopped parsley
1 lb spaghetti

In a large, pot boil water for pasta. Place pancetta or bacon into the pan and cook until crisp at the edges; turn off heat. Separate two eggs yokes and place into a large serving bowl. Beat with a fork. Add 1/2 c Parmesan and heavy cream. Mix well. Add cooked, drained spaghetti and olive oil to the bowl; toss, coating the strands well. 
 Add a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper and 2 T parsley. Add pancetta and toss again. Top with final T of parsley and 1/8 c reserved Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adventure LA: Street Sense

Long before Susan Feniger was a Top Chef Master, we've been following her tip-top cuisine for years. Although I’ve always had a wonderful experience eating a Feniger-inspired meal, her latest venture, Street, has managed to become my favorite culinary haunt of them all. At Street, Feniger has created a menu that elevates street food from around the world. The playful, graffiti-adorned walls; the mischievously assorted drink menu; and the eclectic food offerings make us continually come back for more. No matter what your mood, Street offers tasty plates that highlight the diversity of flavors that span our globe.

We've tried almost everything on the menu—from Argentine's sheep milk ricotta to Blue Ridge chicken and dumplings, but our sure favorite every time is the famous Kaya Toast: A Singapore specialty that combines house-made coconut jam, a fried egg, golden toasted bread, and a kiss of soy. Although the Kaya Toast may not jump out on a menu surrounded by so many inviting dishes, it will leave you dreaming about your next visit to LA. Bookend your meal with a creative cocktail or an out-of-the-ordinary brew and a street-wise desert, and you'll find that you've experienced the perfect trio. Whether your party's in the mood for Brazilian, Japanese, Indian, or the Bayou, there’s always something on the menu that's guaranteed to please just about everyone who sits at Street’s table. Details:

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Style: Matt Bernson Sandals, Now Those Are Some Happy Feet

Every spring I shuffle to my closet only to find that last year's summer shoes have been beaten to a pulp from being tirelessly worn the previously hot, sweaty summer. Yes, there are thousands of beautiful sandals to choose from, and yet, unlimited options are not what keeps me from buying them. I dread purchasing new summer shoes for one reason: PAIN.

Eventually, I decide on a couple chic, shiny, handsome pairs that look particularly divine on display in the store. Like clockwork, I cram my feet into the strappy sandals determined to break them in despite the protests from my feet. After a long winter of boot and sock wearing, my soft skinned, slightly fatter, overly spongy feet don’t appreciate my sense of humor when adorned with my latest summer duds. When nursing my blisters and sores after a days worth of wearing, I curse the days the sandal was ever born. When it came to my piggies, I thought that every summer for the rest of my life would consist of the “no pain, no gain” theory, until I found Matt Bernson!

Matt Bernson sandals are comfortable and stylish. My feet are totally in love. His shoes are a bit higher priced than your average strappy shoes but are well worth the purchase. Each shoe is hand-crafted in Brazil and has a comfy-cushy foot bed, beautiful detailing, and is made from gorgeous leather. Best of all, after my first summer, city walk, my feet were not even red, let alone raw and blistered. It’s no surprise that his most popular shoe is properly named The Love Sandal because they've given my piggies something to rejoice about. Details:

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Gastronomy: Luscious, No-Brainer Brownies

I have previously blogged about my loathing of baking and my love of cooking. Precision and time consumption are not only against my nature, but also my lifestyle. Having a small child, our home on Friday nights is often filled with neighbors and friends who have small children as well. As a result, I am always left scrambling for a dessert option that is easy and the little ones will enjoy as a special treat. This usually means that I stop at my local, corner bakery, Dinkel’s, and pick-up cupcakes or cookies.

When I tire of the bakery pick-up, however, the other Mod City Mom has a fab recipe for brownies that has become a staple in our house (it has been in use so long, that she can’t remember where she first found it). They are everything that you would expect a good brownie to be—rich, chocolate flavor, velvety texture, and perfectly decadent. And they are what our mom would call a "no-brainer"—perfect for the active mom who doesn’t like to bake. These brownies are easier than a box mix—the only difference is the rich taste. All you need is six simple ingredients and thirty minutes (seriously).

Luscious Brownies

2 c sugar
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1½ c flour
2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and stir. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring only until blended. Add the flour and vanilla. Stir until all the ingredients are blended. DO NOT OVERMIX. Transfer to pan and shake to even out. Bake in the top half of the oven for 20 minutes, until the center if firm to the touch.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adventure Chicago: The Publican-Heavenly Eats

In a world where the term "gastropub" is commonplace, bars serving upscale cuisine instead of greasy hot wings are just about everywhere you look. In Chicago, the gastropub is not only mainstream, but as universal as the hot dog joint. In the case of Paul Kahan's gastropub, however, the Publican (much like his Blackbird and Avec) is not just another gastropub—it's a destination not to be missed.

Publican is focused on beer and that list is so extensive and eclectic that it would surprise the connoisseur and certainly delight the enthusiast. Serving up delectable, mostly midwest, pork and fish-centered eats in an environment reminiscent of an aging beer hall meets mod-hip eatery, it is maybe as close to heaven as any of us ever intend to get.

Start with the yummy, spicy, crunchy Slagel Farm (Fairbury, Illinois) pork rinds that melt in your mouth and a half dozen oysters from the raw bar. These two are the perfect accompaniment with a good Belgium beer. Ask your servers for their favorite picks and parings, as they are all incredibly knowledgeable. Next up—the chef selection of three hams served with house-made goat butter and crusty peasant bread. You could stop there, but why? If you are a fan of charcuterie, don’t miss the platter with a pork pie, guinea hen galantine, sausage, pickles & mustards. The Waygu beef entrée is amazingly tender buttery. And the showstopper is Publican’s roasted chicken—yes, chicken. The chicken, also from the Slagel family farm, is served with slices of house-made summer sausage and perfect frites. The chicken is seasoned to perfection and some of the juiciest I have ever had. Don’t miss the sides at Publican either—creamy, cheesy cauliflower au gratin; frites topped with a fried egg; organic, summer white asparagus; or the amazing beet, creamy buratta cheese salad.

The menu changes seasonally and is never quite the same as the time before, so foodies, BEWARE! If you liked something, it may not be on the menu your next visit. But one thing always remains unchanging at the Publican—quality, never compromised and pretty close to flawless. Details:

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventure Los Angeles: Fabulous First Fridays

Abbot Kinney in Venice, California is a favorite LA jaunt any day of the year. It’s a perfect Mod City Mom marriage of quirky shopping, deliciously honest eats, and eclectic, architectural appeal. One day a month, this artists’ enclave has elevated its status even more by introducing First Friday. The first Friday of each month, Abbot Kinney boutiques stay open late, galleries offer cheese and wine, artists peddle their wares, and live music rings throughout the streets. As if all this isn’t enticing enough, the foodies favorite movable feasts, the gourmet food trucks, park up and down the strip. For one night a month, the culinary chase stops and families and singles alike soak in the predictably beautiful LA weather and whimsical Venice culture in the most spectacularly easy way.

Border Grill Truck: The mobile brainchild of chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Top Chef Masters, Season 2) brings elevated Latin street bites to the masses, including the “I’m still dreaming about” Peruvian ceviche and potato tacos. Details:

World Fare: Watch all of the street action while eating from the second floor of this gourmet bus. Highlights include a freshly juiced strawberry and basil refresher accompanied with bunny chow, a Durban, South African staple of curried meats encased in a soft pillow of white, fluffy bread. Details:

Kogi Barbecue: The truck that started the Korean Barbecue craze marries the handheld taco with traditional Korean flavors. For only $2 each, choose from the inspired short-rib, chicken, pork, or tofu. Details:

Coolhaus: This chrome-rimmed ice cream truck delivers icy treats like no other. Choose from balsamic fig and mascarpone ice cream wedged between two homemade oatmeal cookies or perhaps a wild cherry and ricotta wrapped in chocolate! Whatever your pleasure, this ice cream truck is the cool choice. Details:

India Jones: This gourmet food truck delivers Indian food with a twist, including samosa spring rolls, paneer frankies, and an abundance of succulent curries. Details:

Surfing Cowboys: For shopping, it gets no better than Surfing Cowboys. The owners of this boutique collect vintage California surf culture and Mid-Century Modern furniture, art, jewelry, and home wares. Somewhere between a gallery and a store, this ever-changing mix of items is satisfying for viewing or for buying. Details:

A+R: If you're in the mood for creative gifting, check out the very fun and quirky A+R. Browse from a collection of animal tattoo hand puppets, paper gun kits, or glass animal shot glasses. Details:

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Adventure Chicago: Food and Heart Collide at Urban Belly

It's not often that you find a restaurant without a “fast food” label that's easy on your wallet, delicious, and gourmet. Sure, cheap, yummy eats lurk around every corner in an urban sprawl, but "complex" is an adjective not normally used to describe fast food. On the opposite spectrum, most fine dining experiences that dole out the latest in haute cuisine are not approachable for more than one reason. Chicago’s Urban Belly, however, rises to the challenge, seamlessly melding together the intricate and complex with the affordable and honest—a task that is not easy, to be sure.

Nestled in an easy-to-overlook, kind-of-dingy strip mall on Western Avenue, Urban Belly is a welcome surprise, even in a city that has some version of Asian fare located on every block. Owned by chef Bill Kim (who recently opened the much anticipated Latin-Asian Belly Shack), Urban Belly’s philosophy is communal dining + good eats = a full stomach and content heart. There is no denying that Kim not only accomplishes this, but makes it seem effortless.

Don’t let the unwelcoming façade fool you—once inside, the environment is incredibly inviting. The dining space is small, minimalist, and warm. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and gracious. Urban Belly serves up comfort food Asian style—homemade dumplings, noodle dishes, soups, and sides.

Start with any of the house-made dumplings in unusual combinations such as lamb and brandy or squash and bacon. The dumpling dough has a homemade quality that I have not experienced from a traditional pot sticker. The main entrees, which are noodle-based, are all under twelve dollars and enough for two to share if you also order a starter. They come in a large bowl filled with broth or sauce combined with a variety of interesting, fresh ingredients. The wheat soba noodles with bay scallops and oyster mushrooms in a Thai basil broth were really terrific, but the Asian Bolognese special was the show-stopper of the evening: Thick, udon noodles served with mouth watering salty ham, black bean puree, and cilantro, combined perfectly with heat and Asian spices. It was simply to die for. All dishes are made to order—patrons order from the counter and are served at a communal table. Bring your own wine or beer, as Urban Belly is B.Y.O.B.—that beats the over-priced mediocre cocktail any day.

The cuisine at Urban Belly is the perfect balance of complex flavors meets the approachable and the room itself is modern and relaxed. Next time you are in Chicago, be sure to check it out—your stomach and your soul are sure to be fed.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Style: 3 Fish Studios, Falling in Love with Affordable Art

It's not easy to uncover affordable art, but periodically, we'll stumble on a find that's worthy of sharing—in this case, two finds. Husband and wife art team, Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin, create so many lovely and whimsical paintings, digital prints, and blockprints (linocuts), it's hard to determine which ones to buy.

I first discovered the dynamic duo after my friends turned me on to San Francisco's Zinc Details. Later, at a Los Angeles' Renegade Craft Fair, I had the opportunity to meet Eric and talk about their creations first-hand.

For over three years, their studio has been a home to art classes, a space for community events, and a testament to their creative endeavors. Now, fans of their work can also browse and purchase online! From post cards to limited editions, 3 Fish Studios has an affordable, artistic find (or two) to fall in love with. Details:,,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gastronomy: A Good Muffin is Hard to Come By—Simply Delicious Sugar-Topped Muffins

This week I offered to bring muffins to a friend’s house for a Valentine’s brunch. The moment it flew out of my mouth, I thought, "what were you thinking?" To put it mildly, I don't enjoy baking. I LOVE to cook, but cooking and baking are not one in the same. Cooking allows a certain amount of creative license—add a bit of extra salt, substitute herbs, or swap broths and the recipe may change slightly, but certainly will not be ruined. Baking is just the opposite—an eighth of a teaspoon more salt and your cake might be bitter causing it unfit for human consumption. Those kinds of odds are not for me.

After scanning through my twenty-odd-some cookbooks, browsing the Internet, and not finding one muffin recipe to take to someone’s house untested, I decided to settle on an old stand-by recipe our mother has made for years. But, to my surprise, I definitely didn't "settle." These muffins are far from mediocre—they’re buttery, flaky, and the perfect combination of savory and sweet. The best part about them is that they’re incredibly easy to make and virtually full-proof, even for someone who doesn't bake often. I made them with fresh raspberries for Valentine's Day, but you can substitute any fruit (fresh or frozen). These no-fuss muffins were a big hit at the brunch and simply delicious.

Sugar-Topped Muffins
1 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 c fresh or frozen fruit of choice

1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, combine milk, butter, and egg. Add all remaining muffin ingredients, except fruit. Stir just until flour is moistened. Gently stir in fruit. Spoon in paper-lined 12 cup muffin pan. Bake for 24-28 minutes or until golden brown.

Dip tops of muffins in melted butter, than in sugar. Serves 12.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Adventure Charleston: Where Southern Cuisine Reigns Supreme

Charleston, South Carolina is a small city, but it’s peppered with some mighty amenities: Historical and quaint architecture, park-lined waterways, and unmatched down-home cookin’. In fact, there are so many Southern, Gullah, and Lowcountry offerings, it’s difficult to decide which restaurants to patronize if you’re only in town for a couple of days. Should I go to Fig, the “intimate, neighborhood bistro” that specializes in seasonal and locally-inspired dishes with a modern twist? Or maybe, Jestine’s Kitchen to indulge in some Southern classics like fried chicken and stewed collard greens. Crosby’s Fish and Shrimp Company, tempted by local gifts from the sea? Sweatman’s Barbecue for South Carolina’s finest smoked-meats?

When the vast-array of choices start to make your head spin, or if you only have room for one, the decision is actually quite simple—take time for the grand jewel in Charleston’s excessively-embellished crown: Hominy Grill.

Hominy Grill is run by chef Robert Stehling and aims to please for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located in a residential neighborhood just outside the city center and mixed amongst historically dilapidated homes, this standout offers a private patio or quaint and unpretentious indoor seating. An ever-changing menu, we decided on the oh-so-lovingly-sesame-encrusted farm-raised catfish, served on a bed of Gullah-inspired peanut sauce and sautéed okra; shrimp and cheese grits, sautéed with mushrooms, scallions, and smoky bacon; and the Hominy Grill vegetable plate that, tastily enough, included homemade macaroni and cheese as a “vegetable” of choice! We managed to spend a large portion of our afternoon under the warm December sun, washing-down our dinner and flooding our conversation with local brews and ginger beer—truly enjoying the best Charleston has to offer. Details:

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gastronomy: Chicken Tarragon, an Ideal Weekday Meal

According to one really annoying celebrity chef, 30-minute dinners are easy to achieve. In fact, this particular chef boasts that there are hundreds of recipes that a home cook can prep, cook, and serve within the confines of a half hour. From my experience (and I cook often), unless you are making a sandwich, most dinners require more time than that. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the concept of a meal requiring little time and effort. During the week when work, school, and activities manipulate our schedules, most mothers would love to have a Rolodex of meals that were attainable in such a short amount of time.

I came up with the recipe for Chicken Tarragon when my finicky eating toddler decided one day that he actually liked chicken. It’s savory, easy, and quick—not 30-minutes-quick, but definitely less-than-an-hour-quick. Served with a side of steamed asparagus and a piece of crusty bread, it's well-rounded and pretty, too!

Tarragon Chicken with Asparagus

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 T unsalted butter for browning meat
2 ½ T fresh tarragon chopped
Juice from a half of lemon
¾ c dry, white wine
2 c chicken stock
¼ c heavy cream
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 loaf crusty sour dough bread
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

In a pot, boil salted water for asparagus. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry and season with a little bit of salt and pepper (be careful not to over-salt, because the sauce is quite savory). Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is thoroughly melted and beginning to bubble, place chicken in skillet; brown both sides. Deglaze pan with white wine, making sure to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom. Reduce to half and add 1 ½ c of the chicken stock, tarragon, and cream. Reduce temperature to medium-low heat and cook about 25 minutes until the sauces thickens (if it becomes too thick, add the additional ½ c stock). Mix in lemon juice and simmer 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. While chicken is simmering, blanch asparagus for 3-5 minutes; remove from water and set aside.

Place one piece of chicken and a portion of asparagus in four low bowls. Spoon sauce in equal parts over chicken and asparagus and serve with a chunk of bread. This dish goes great with a crispy white wine.

Although I still haven’t convinced my son to try the asparagus, he gobbles up the chicken, sauce, and bread in way less time than it takes me to make it. Maybe that’s what the celebrity chef means by 30-minute meals—consumption time. If that's the case, Chicken Tarragon is a 10-minute meal that's sure to please even the pickiest palates in your house.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Style: Muji's No Brand Quality Goods

On my last visit to New York, I stumbled into Muji by chance and was completely smitten by its minimalist design and unusual product offerings. I bought a bunch of gifts, distributed the bounty, and moved on, forgetting about my little discovery. Fast-forwarding to our recent trip to Italy, I once again was drawn to a Muji. The only difference this time is that I promised not to forget about this little wonder.

Originating in Japan, Muji sells household wares, clothing, accessories, and toys. As its name promises (translated to "no brand quality goods"), Muji emphasizes recycled products and de-emphasizes branding and packaging. Muji's offerings are inexpensive, available online, and perfect for your own household or as a gift.Their designs are beautifully simple, from a vertically striped, reused yarn tee to a bright and bold pencil set and notebook encased in paper bag-colored packaging. My personal favorite is their City in a Bag series. Tied up in a delicate, linen sack is a half a dozen or so little, wooden blocks that include a number of the most famous icons from our most beloved cities. Choose from New York, Tokyo, London, or Paris and enjoy them for yourself or watch your kids go to town. Details:

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Adventure Rome: More Than Its Icons

It’s easy to envision the long-list of Rome’s famed landmarks and when these sites are seen in person, they magically surpass their reputation. But, extraordinarily enough, Rome's real treasures are found in its neighborhoods. Laced together are more than a dozen unique quarters, each boasting their own stories, style, and gastronomic specialties. Over the year, we’ll highlight some of our favorites, but today we focus on Monti, located just north of the Colosseum.

The main drag, Via del Boschetto, combines antique shops and time-tested restaurants with hip wine bars and trendy boutiques. Historically known as the seedy part of town, this quarter is now one of Rome’s most desirable neighborhoods. Whether you’re searching for a new skate deck, a hand-crafted jacket, or a place to simply rest your feet between escapades, Monti is sure to please.

AireLab, Via del Boschetto 123
Walking down the street, the dangling chicken bag-bins were the first of the many quirky items to catch my eye. Once inside, this mother and son venture offers a number of pop-culture knick-knacks and funky accessories, including Chairman Mao bottle openers, vintage cloth sleeping masks, and handmade felt necklaces.

Fabio Picconi, Via del Boschetto 148

Filled to the brim with costume jewelry, it’s difficult to maneuver your way through the store, but the vintage, Italian brooches, glittery rings, and rhinestone pins make it a fun place to stay and play.

Le Gallinelle, Via del Boschetto 76

This old neighborhood meat market has been seamlessly transformed into a funky boutique. From the old meat hooks now hang one-of-a-kind creations made from second-hand clothing and world-wide materials. Peppered throughout the store are a number of vintage designer accessories, making Le Gallinelle the perfect destination for fashionistas on a limited budget.

Libreria Caffe Bohèmien, Via degli Zingari 36
Whether you’re craving a glass of wine, an espresso, or a good book, Libreria Caffe Bohemien offers it all. Cozy rooms lined with bookshelves, records, and artwork offer an inviting way to catch your breath, replenish, and map your next Roman excursion.

Valentino, Via del Boschetto 37
Don’t look too hard for the restaurant name: You won’t find it. In its place sits the original 1930’s sign reminding us of its beer parlor past. Today, however, Valentino is one of Rome’s most honest and comfortable trattorias. The checker tiled floor; heavy, dark wood work; low ceilings; and crisp, white table cloths offer a hint of the warm and comforting food that awaits. The specialty of this family-run establishment is their grilled meats and cheeses. Try scamorza, a smoked, tan, and bubbly melted cheese with the toppings of your choice (from Parma ham to mushrooms) or their ground beef grilled to perfection and topped with salty prosciutto and warm cheese. Accompany your meal with a carafe of their house-wine or a chilled beer from the tap.

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About Mod City Mom

After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

About Sarah

Sarah is a passionate cook, fashionista, writer, actor, and mother. Like all actors, she ended up working at many-a-restaurant to make ends meet and shopping at countless bargain boutiques to maintain her sense of personal style. Her culinary journey, love affair with fashion, and desire to remain true to herself after becoming a mother are the inspirations for this site. Sarah lives with her husband and two sons in Chicago.

About Leah

A polymath wannabe, Leah loves books, films, music, cooking, and travel. After co-starting a writing and editing shop in 2002, Leah has spent her spare time frequenting her favorite cities, hangouts, and haunts. Her obsession with finding the new, innovative, and quirky is the impetus behind this site. Leah lives with her two sons and husband in North San Diego County.
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