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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Adventure (26) Gastronomy (38) Obsession (39) Style (26)

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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