Isa Chandra Moskowitz: “5 (Nebraska) Songs that Get Me Through”

One of the country’s foremost vegan chefs, Isa Chandra Moskowitz built her unique punk-rock culinary identity in the early 2000s, tying music with food in her public access vegan cooking show, “Post Punk Kitchen.”

The Brooklyn native hosted a series of 10 new cooking shows called “Make it Vegan” in 2013, produced by Anthony Bourdain’s production company and featuring theme music by The Breeders’ Kelley Deal. Moskowitz has authored eight vegan cookbooks, most recently, last year’s Isa Does It.

Moskowitz has called Omaha home since 2010, and recently opened the city’s lone vegan restaurant, Modern Love. Located next door to the Cursive-owned rock club, O’Leaver’s Pub, Modern Love features a menu of comfort food — a rarity for vegan diners — such as beet burgers, mac and (ca)shews, seitan marsala and ice cream made with cashew cream.

Ted Leo ate there in August while in Omaha to play Maha Music Festival. Here’s what the prolific rock musician said about the joint:

We asked Moskowitz for her five favorite Nebraska songs that get her through a work day.

“Please” by Hers

This is like music to drink along with your morning coffee and dream about what kind of ice creams you are gonna make that day. It just sparks creativity and it’s all harmonies and grooves. It doesn’t hurt that bassist Ellen Wilde designed our logo, including Rad Cat!

“Disarm” by Mynabirds

I love this song! It’s like ’80s world-y, electricky and just catchy as hell. Perfect for chopping lots of onions and crying tears of joy. I love Laura’s smoky voice and she was a big supporter of Modern Love from the beginning. We did a little dinner and music night (for Hear Nebraska, in fact) and that event helped seal the deal for me that I wanted to open a restaurant here. If people are ready for beet ice cream then they are ready for anything.

“Set The Woods On Fire” by Art in Manila

I listened to this whole album when I first left my hometown of Brooklyn six years ago, so it’s pretty close to my heart. I didn’t know at the time that I’d live in Omaha and that the lovely singer would be sitting at Table 6 someday! But I picked this song in particular because without fire, how would there be restaurants? Well, I guess it could be a raw restaurant. Whatevs.

“The Recluse” by Cursive

Not exactly a deep cut. And fine, it’s their top song on Spotify. But it’s one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums ever. And it’s perfect for when it’s 1 a.m. and you’re baking pies alone and feeling all the feelings. And of course, they happen to be our next door neighbors at O’Leaver’s.

“Thrill is Gone” Digital Leather

Yeah, sometimes when you’re scrubbing a dirty mop sink the thrill is gone. But that’s not why I picked this song. I just think it’s fun. Even though it’s all about being depressed. Luckily, I can just get my dishwasher to scrub the mop sink and I can dance around without a care in the world.