Tasty lunch options, iPhone accessories and eco-conscious beer lovers: it's all here in this week's edition of OnMilwaukee.com Recommends.
The Picasso sandwich from Sven’s Cafe – Long days are best interrupted by awesome lunches, so on Tuesday fellow OMCer Jason and I checked out Sven’s Cafe, 624 N. Water St. (there’s another location on Kinnickinnic Avenue). All of their sandwiches looked tasty, but I decided to try the Picasso, a decadent creation marrying juicy roast beef with melted Provolone, topped with sauteed red peppers, onion and mayo on grilled sourdough with a side of chips. Oof. Mouth-watering. I thought that, at $6.99, it was a little on the pricy side for a sandwich, but when I realized how generous (and delicious) it was I changed my mind. Money is no object when we’re talking about roast beef, am I right? – Colleen Jurkiewicz
"The Gateway Arch" by Tracy Campbell (Yale University Press) – St. Louis' Gateway Arch has been so successful at creating an instantly recognizable symbol of the city and building a tourism destination on the bank of Big Muddy, that the arch's long, tumultuous history is easily forgotten. In this slim, readable work Campbell reminds us that the arch sits atop what was the most historic part of St. Louis, home to 40 square blocks that were the heart of the city and that contained the largest concentration of historically significant iron facades in the country. He explains how and why real estate interests helped fuel the destruction of this huge tract of riverfront land and the political machinations that kept it a parking lot – literally – for decades and that got the federal government to foot the bill for more or less the entire thing. We also learn about the ups and downs of the architectural competition that led to Eero Saarinen's winning – and, of course, controversial – design and the engineering feats required to get it built. Fascinating reading on a historical level, on a political level, on an urban planning level, on an architectural level, on an engineering level. – Bobby Tanzilo
LUNATIK iPhone cases and iPod Nano watch bands – I’ve reviewed more iPhone cases than I can count over the years, but Chicago’s LUNATIK offers some interesting ones. From the insanely rugged TAKTIK Extreme, to the more subdued dual-layer FLAK case, to the innovative and unusual sixth-generation iPod Nano watch cases, these guys are doing cool stuff. The product I was most interested in testing out is the iPod Nano watch case. It’s important to note that neither the $65 LYNK metal band nor the $20 TIKTOK rubber band is compatible with the current Nano, so you’ll have to find one on eBay for about $75. After that, the band makes for a very striking, albeit huge, watch. However, the Nano’s watch limitations are many, and ultimately, it’s not a practical timepiece for me. Similarly, the $125 TAKTIK Extreme is water, impact and dust resistant. It makes the iPhone look like a military-grade instrument, and while it’s too bulky for my use, it would be great for people with outdoor jobs. Finally, the $35 FLAK is just right for everyday protection. Minimalist and smooth, it’s one of the only cases that even after review, I continue to use. – Andy Tarnoff
M II minimalist key shackle – I have a thing for keychains. I’m always trying to shrink them down and cram less in my pocket. I’ve had limited success, probably because I like little accessories, like tiny emergency money stashes. Sometimes, keychains can even be a style statement, and the M II minimalist key shackle by J.L. Lawson & Co. serves a few purposes. Machined in the United States from hot rolled steel with a blackening patina, it’s a small and industrial way to hold your keys. The shackle also sports a bottle opener that you can stick your finger through and carry that way. If only my automatic car key fobs could be minimized, too, this thing would be perfect. The M II is also available in stainless steel, although I’m a fan of the black. At $42, this shackle will last you until keys are a thing of the past. – Andy Tarnoff
Estabrook Park Beer Garden's plastic cup policy – I absolutely love going to the Estabrook Park Beer Garden and usually bring my own mug. However, I really appreciate their plastic cup policy for those who don't travel around with beer steins in the back of their van. The beer costs $1 more in a plastic cup, but the dollar is refundable if the cup is returned. This certainly cuts down on trash and waste. Hence, I am recommending this policy to all venues that sell beverages in plastic cups. It's a win-win in my opinion. Prost! – Molly Snyder