Kick & Play: Casual Sneakers For The Daily Grind

Sometimes, to get noticed, it only takes a little detail. And contrary to the last few articles, you can also do it without a whole lot of color. Leather is always good, and in this week’s feature, we show two brands not typically known for footwear, but put something fresh into your regular sneaker rotation.

First things first: Volcom – a brand known to be successful in skate, snow, surf, and active lifestyles for the past 22 years – is introducing a full footwear collection this summer. The line will feature high and low-top sneakers as well as boots for both men and women. The full line can be viewed here, but let’s take a look at one of their best pairs.

THE KICKS:

The Buzzard by Volcom

The Buzzard is a playful high-top sneaker with a unique leather-patterned design. The outer shell of the shoe is wrapped in perforated black leather. Similar to the look and feel of Volcom’s apparel, you can see designs of subtle, intentional asymmetry. The Buzzard, along with the entire Volcom line, might be great for your jeans, but these shoes will look great on those summer shorts and rolled-up chinos.

Unlike many other skate brands that release shoes, Volcom also made sure comfort was an important part of each shoe design. The Buzzard will also be constructed with the brand’s Recliner Comfort Foam technology. Volcom’s foam is super soft and makes for a good ride when you’re out all day.

Noteworthy mention: The Buzzard will also be released in a navy leather with a beautiful red sock liner trim.

Volcom Buzzard ($80) and the entire collection will be available July 1st online and at most Volcom retailers.

The Leu by Hotel 1171

The Leu by Hotel 1171

Finding a low-cut, round-toed shoe has come to be quite difficult these days. Most brands have become so enamored with wingtips that a plain round-toe is slowly become a rarity. And when there is one, it’s infinitely more formal than you want it to be.

The Leu by Hotel 1171 just might be that pair. The casual shoe is constructed with aged brown leather and a suede trim. What would almost always end up being a pair of brown shoes for your suit and tie goes casual as the designers at the brand wend with a lightweight rubber sole, making them nearly perfect for jeans and khakis on a daily basis. You can throw them on with the laces loose to go with your camo pants or go dapper with fitted, cuffed denim.

Available at the online Hotel 1171 store, $130.

THE PLAY:

The Chocolate Room, New York, NY
It’s all in the name. Pastry chefs here build killer desserts from scratch and often recommend the perfect drinks to go with your chocolate and baked goods, or their specialty chocolate bars. With the word chocolate infectiously littered throughout The Chocolate Room menu, the go-to here actually hides the chocolate. The Black Bottom Butterscotch is a layer of bittersweet chocolate topped with creamy, succulent butterscotch custard. Oh, and whipped cream. It’s just the right thing to do.

Bottega Louie, Los Angeles, CA.
Yes, their flatbread pizza is fantastic. And like many others who are jumping in on the green trend, Bottega Louie has always done Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, and kale in delicious fashion. But there’s only one reason we even need to discuss the vaulted ceiling, minimal in design restaurant in downtown LA – the macarons. Arguably one of the best places in Los Angeles, city-goers come for food and dessert or just a pit stop for their pastries only. It’s a win-win here, but something to make any visit here memorable is the earl grey macaron. Buy two to share, four for yourself.

Kara’s Cupcakes, San Francisco, CA.
Cupcakes are personal. No, seriously. Don’t ever ask anybody to share one. It requires making a mess and is just downright rude. Get your own. And if you do, come to Kara’s Cupcakes and indulge. Whether you’re particular about gluten or not, she has you covered. Peanut butter milk chocolate ganache and java are incredible, while the gluten-free chocolate coconut seems like a lie. Lots of flavors to choose from here, but just stop asking to share. It’s not right. The flavor and experience of a cupcake only comes by eating it in its entirety.

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well.

AS

Contact the author of this post at aamir17@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Eat Your Way Through San Francisco: One-Day Extravaganza

San Francisco’s got great views, sure. Golden Gate Bridge. Twin Peaks. Ghirardelli Square. Coit Tower. Alcatraz. And San Francisco’s got great culture, yep. The Haight. SFMOMA. The Castro. But really, what good is a gorgeous view you can’t put in your mouth? Fortunately, there are many succulent varieties of (perfectly innocent!) face-stuffing available in this town. Let’s make a day of it, shall we?

9 a.m.: Let’s get this party started at Ella’s (Pacific Heights). Fanatical citywide breakfast obsession where hour-long waits for crisped chicken hash are the norm.

10:30 a.m.: Take a walk; you’re gonna need the exercise. Head to the Marina. Check out Lombard Street. Mosey around Ghirardelli Square.

11:30 a.m.: Speaking of Ghirardelli Square, stop in and have a sea-salt cupcake (or twelve) at Kara’s Cupcakes (Fisherman’s Wharf). Magnolia’s got serious competition on the Westside.

Noon: Keep walking. Check out the wharf and Pier 39. Shop, stroll, do whatever it takes to ready your belly for another round.

2 p.m.: Hop over to the Castro for some chowdah at Anchor Oyster Bar (The Castro). Swimmingly fresh bowls of Boston clam chowder, fish stew, and Louis salads.

4 p.m.: Relax on the grass at Dolores Park, or wander through the rainbow-clad neighborhood. Marvel at the architecture. Buy souvenirs.

5 p.m.: Eat crepes at Crepes on Cole (The Haight). Greedy eaters rejoice over piled-high plates of crepes and omelets that even Sally Struthers couldn’t finish.

6 p.m.: Poke around Amoeba Music. Watch the drummers on Hippie Hill. When you’re done, head over to Hayes Valley for round three.

7:30 p.m.: Zuni Cafe (Hayes Valley). SF gastronomical institution, with the urban legends to prove it. Order the famous chicken. Wait 45 minutes. Enter roast chicken heaven.

9:30 p.m.: Citizen Cake (Hayes Valley). Worship at the altar of pastry goddess Elizabeth Falkner. Hurry and grab cupcakes before the store closes at 10 p.m.

10:15 p.m.: Bourbon and Branch (Tenderloin). Serious mixologists pouring rare whiskeys and creative concoctions. Wash down your day with cocktails in this speak-easy with a password (get one online).

Late Night: Taqueria Cancun (The Mission). Hard-pressed to find a better taco in town. That is, if you’re still hungry.