dundurn market

I’m giving a little nod to the latest addition to the food scene on Dundurn.

Across the street from Cake and Loaf, and just around the corner from its sister operation Aberdeen Tavern, you’ll find the fresh faced Dundurn Market.

Although not really your typical neighbourhood market, it is a high-end gourmet sandwich coffee shop with pre-made pies, dinners, cookies, sauces, flowers, and a small selection of seasonal produce.

It’s the kind of place that I might imagine someone rushing home from a busy 9-5 work day to pick something up on their way home or to a friend’s: dinner, dessert or a missing vegetable and sauce needed to complete a meal, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers -yes please! A one-stop crowd pleasing gourmet dinner stop.

I popped by the market the other day for a late morning baby date.

My friend and I devoured a super delicious breakfast biscuit with egg, dill, swiss cheese (hot and melty) and ham, in between rocking our babies and dusting renegade savoury biscuit crumbs from their heads. There wasn’t a chance for a photo opp; being a hungry mom and all, it was gone in seconds flat -a true sign of tastiness! It definitely got my stamp of good food approval and left me wanting to come back another day for more.

Dundurn Market 1

In addition to the prepared dine-in or take-out food, you can also pick up anything from bread, jams, spreads, Balzac’s Coffee beans, to a cactus in a tea cup, or a carton of eggs. Combine this place with being able to sell bottles of wine and a case of craft beer you’d pretty much have a shop that’d truly cover all the bases for hosting a hungry guest (the LCBO and Beer Store are after all just down the road).

Dundurn Market 3

Dundurn Market 2

As we were about to leave the sandwich station was being prepped for their 11am lunch start (dinners served after 4pm), and I couldn’t resist getting two sandwiches to go for Steve and I later that afternoon. I opted for the Muffaletta and Reuben both of which came with a choice out of 4 different sides or salads.Dundurn Market Menu Dundurn Market Muffaletta

Muffaletta with side of carrot raisin slaw.

Dundurn Market ReubenReuben sandwich stacked high with smoked meat and a side of creamy macaroni salad.

Right now the idea of dinning out a restaurant with a 3 year old and 2 month old is looking like something that’s probably not going to happen in our near future, so we’ll have to settle for tasty eat-ins at home a la Dundurn Market. Excited to try out their Take Away Dinner options!

*Dundurn Market, 346 Dundurn St. South, 7am-8pm daily, 289.983.5715, @DundurnMarket, Facebook

 

 

port dover

There’s something weird about the way I think about summer in that I always feel like it’s fleeting. Come July 1st I’m already counting the limited amount of days that I’ll have left for swimming, camping, cottaging, bbqs and patio beers.

This year we did not get up to much. There’s been a lot of summer city living, checking out the parks, wading pools and staying pretty close to home. I’m strictly in survival mode; whatever can get me through the day now that we have two little ones.

Last summer we made a day trip out to Port Dover. I’d never been before and since I’m a sucker for water, waves, sand and a little beachy kitch we decided to take the trek.

We arrived early-ish in the morning and were able to score primo parking close to the beach and have our pick as to wear to set up shop. The water was warm and the beach was clean with only a little littering along the shore of washed up kelpy-weeds.

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The beach quickly got packed as droves of people came in to escape from the heatwave that was rocking that particular summer week. It was full-on summer on the beach with a gorgeous breeze that made you forget that the humidity was kicking at a near 100% and the ground was hot enough to fry and egg. If the summer heat kicks back into high gear (as I’ve heard it might next week) maybe we’ll make it back this way or explore another beach like perhaps 50 Point.

Erie Beach IMG_7871

Besides loving any excuse to be beach-side, one of the main reasons I wanted to take this trip to Port Dover was so that we could make a stop at the infamous Hewitt’s Dairy Bar. The dairy bar itself boasts over 50 years in operation with the dairy being over 125 years old.

Hewitts Icecream Bar

The dairy bar seems unchanged since the 60′s. We saddled up the counter and although I knew I was going to get a cone after lunch I still ordered the malted milkshake, which was AH-mazing!Hewitts Milkshake hewitts banquet burger

Classic banquet burger -you can’t go wrong.Hewitts Ice Cream Bar Hewitts Ice Cream IMG_20150804_124912 Hewitts chocolate chip mint

Mint chocolate chip (my favourite) was the perfect way to end a summer’s day at the beach.

 *Hewitt’s Dairy Bar, 4210 Highway 6, Hagersville, Open Daily 9:30am-11pm

hamilton fringe

Six summers ago when we first moved to Hamilton I attended my first Hamilton Fringe Festival. The show we saw was performed in what was then the vast and vacant second floor of Jackson Square (which McMaster University has now taken over). In the middle of that warehouse sized emptiness black curtains were draped and a stage was set up with seating for a modest audience. The festival was smaller then.

That was six years ago (half of the Fringe Festival’s 12 year life) and since then, my has it grown!

Admittedly I have not attended many shows in recent years. What with babies and kids it can be hard to steal away for a series of evenings and afternoons to check out the roster of amazing theatre that the Fringe has to offer.

Last summer I did make it out for one show: Love With Leila, which I adored (see that post here). And this summer there is a line-up of shows I would definitely check-out if I wasn’t knee deep into trying to balance life (and survival) with what is now two kids.

She Said Saffron is a one-woman play by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura. There is a never a dull moment with Lisa. She has her finger on the pulse of all things creative in Hamilton and is always doing something: dance, art, theatre, story telling, and making me laugh. Last spring I saw her debut Hamilton performance in her show Small, Sweet and Quiet. It detailed intimate, honest, and sweet moments in her life and her move from Toronto to Hamilton; all accompanied by interludes of mini historic Hamilton narratives depicted through a beautifully artistic shadow puppet show.

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This time around She Said Saffron touches on all my favourite Fs:  Food, Family and First loves. A story told through dance, words and Lisa’s life experience. You’ll be sure to leave with hearts full, a smile on your face, and a satiating desire to eat paella.

*She Said Saffron at The Players Guild, Th. 8:30, F. 7, Sat 3:30+8:30, $10, @GirlCanCreate

My life is such that it is not every day that I meet a playwright, so when I met Hamilton playwright Radha S. Menon I was in awe. Radha; a woman of smarts, spunk, and imagination has written such plays as: The Washing Machine, Ganga’s Ganjawas, Rise of the Prickly Pear, and Rukmini’s Gold. She was the finalist for the Woodward/Newman International Playwriting Prize and not to mention she founded the Hamilton production company Red Betty Theatre.

rukmini-poster

Rukimini’s Gold is Radha’s exploration of her family’s journey from India and around the world:

It was midnight when I stood alone waiting for a night train at a deserted station in North Cornwall.

There was no sign of life anywhere, it was eerie and desolate and I worried that my train may never come. That’s when I had a vision of Rukmini, an elderly lady waiting alone in her white sari, clutching nothing but her precious baggage. And I wondered what it would be like to meet oneself in a place like this? Would I recognise myself after fifty or more years?

Rukmini’s Gold won the  2015 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest and is a must see for this year’s Hamilton Fringe!

*Rukmini’s Gold, Mills Hardware, M 7:30, W 6, Sat 2, Sun 6, $10, @RedBettyTheatre

Bottom line is if I were to steal away from the duties of newborn parental duties I would most certainly take an hour or two to attend both of these shows. So proud and happy to have these two amazing women here in Hamilton -congrats on both of your shows!

*Hamilton Fringe Festival, #HamFringe, @HamOntFringe, Facebook

 

mia

It’s true that with your second child you do things different from the first. It’s kinda “no big deal”.

Life just continues on when you’re already chasing one around and your whole world does not in fact revolve around your pregnancy as it did the first time (because it can’t -there’s just no time).

I think there’s only three pregnant belly photos taken this time around compared to the well documented monthly pictures we took with our first.

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Well, as it were, one early morning in mid June. This happened….

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IMG_20150616_212920 IMG_20150719_111601…. and then we were four.

We love you so very much little Mia. Xo

 

open streets

I know that it’s raining like the monsoons of Mumbai today, but that won’t stop me from saying that I love Open Streets!

I especially love them in Hamilton.

Since we live downtown sandwiched between car driven busy one-ways, it’s always awesome to be able to take back some public space free of cars and fear of being side swiped by the 16 wheelers on Cannon and the like.

When we first moved to Hamilton, I remember there being two Open Streets per year; one being sometime in early summer and the other being on the weekend immediately following Super Crawl in September. I particularly loved the one after Super Crawl because it was a laid back way to enjoy James Street without all the hype and crowds that are drawn for the events of the weekend prior.

I recently found out that although free for its visitors, this past year Open Streets had funding to host only one Open Street. The hope is that they could have 3-4 Open Streets per year on James North and perhaps in various other locations. But to do this they are dependant on receiving more funding. In the past they’ve received funding from different agencies such as the city -Hamilton Public Works, Hamilton Cycling Committee, and through grants via organizations such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Hamilton Community Foundation, as well as other downtown organizations and businesses.

Today Open Streets is happening on James Street North from 11am-6pm rain or shine.

open streets Hamilton

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Hanging out in the middle of the road because…. you can during Open Streets.

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Last June at the launch of SoBi (Social Bicycle) Hamilton’s bike share network. Taking this mighty fine ride for a little test drive.

 

There are events and vendors lined up for the day. Everything from button making, to local musical acts like Earth Wind Choir (at the music stage on Vine Street), mural making, and magic.

Consider making a donation if you’re making your way there. Would love to see this event on James at least twice a year and spreading to other locations in the city, like Ottawa Street, Locke Street, King William and beyond.

If there’s a break in the rain today, you’ll be sure to see me there scooter and two year old in tow hanging out in the middle or the road, and wishing this wasn’t the only Open Streets of the year.

*Open Streets Hamilton, @OSHamilton, Facebook

 

a fine medley’s pop up flower shop

With summer nearly here the gardens are all a bloom and I’m dreaming of a day when my garden might swell with fragrant blossoms as unique and beautiful as the collection of flora that Jessica Hunter’s A Fine Medley‘s flower shop carries.

Back in February, when we were all dying for any sign of spring (a tulip, a crocus, some greenery -anything!) Girl On the Wing hosted A Fine Medley’s Pop-up Flower Shop.

A Fine Medley Flowers2

Throughout the day I kept seeing these amazing A Fine Medley floral arrangements on my Instragram feed (you can see some of the bouquets arranged that day on Jessica’s beautifully curated blog -right here!).

Just short of the last 10 minutes left of the shop being open, I managed to eject myself out of the cozy warm comforts of my house to get one of the last bouquets of the day, finally ending the torment of my late winter flower Instagram envy.

A Fine Medley flowers1 A Fine Medley Flowers4

I loved the colour and composition of her arrangement. It was dark with soft romantic pops of colour, and most importantly different from the usual bouquets you might get in a more traditional flower shop.

What also makes A Fine Medley unique to other florists is that Jessica uses environmental and ethical practices. When possible she forages and grows her own plants and flowers, and uses locally sourced greenery, herbs and blossoms of the best of what is in season at the time.

A Fine Medley Flowers3

Although A Fine Medley does not have a brick and mortar shop yet, you can get custom arrangements for your home, small and large events, and photo and film shoots.

If you have the chance check out at A Fine Medley’s blog -it’s all kinds of beautiful!

*A Fine Medley, Hamilton, ON,  hello@finemedley.comInstagram, Twitter, Facebook,

pinecone coffee co.

A short two weeks ago The Pinecone Coffee Co. opened its doors on John Street South.

There was already the typical #HamOnt social media frenzy and excitement that usually happens when something new and cool is anticipated to open up shop in the city.

On day one of Pinecone Coffee’s opening it was welcomed to Hamilton with loving and open arms; accompanied by a series of beautifully captured cafe photos via local Hamiltonian Instagram feeds.

During one of the multiple visits I’ve recently had to the cafe, I got to chatting with the owner about their newest adventure in coffee.

Despite the coffee/cafe revolution that has recently taken over Hamilton, (which over the past six years has seen more cafes opening than I can count on two hands) Pinecone Coffee has its own unique aesthetic that owner Denise describes as distinctly west coast. It’s airy, light and fresh with honey coloured wood floors, and beautifully repurposed lath boards for their counter; all of which Denise and her business partner/brother Rick collaboratively designed and put together during their four months of renovations.

Pinecone Coffee Co 2

Owner Denise and Pinecone barista taking a “coffee break” before the place fills again.

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Pinecone Coffe Co 13

Sweet treats from local Cake and Loaf and De La Terre Bakeries. These items are changed up regularly. Just the other day I tried a giant strawberry-cream-filled Oreo cookie.

Pinecone Coffee Co 4

My first Spanish Latte: espresso, condensed milk, milk, and cinnamon -beautiful and not too crazy sugary sweet!

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In addition to espresso coffees done right on their La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, they also have filter coffee brewed fresh by the cup on an Aeropress using Phil & Sebastian, and 49th Parallel coffee beans.

Aeropress brewers and filters, Porlex grinders, Hario Range servers and fresh beans are kept in store for the purchase of gifts or for your own home coffee consumption. 

Recently added to their menu is a delicious and healthy breakfast of muesli and hot steamed milk to eat in house or to take on the go. The menu will continue to expand over time to include lunches as well -can’t wait!

And before I forget, for all you tea drinkers, Pinecone carries Detour blend teas for your tea sipping pleasure.

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Pinecone Cofffee Co. 1

This photo above was taken on the odd occasion the table was empty. It is frequently filled with kids, families, neighbouring business owners, people walking by and largely by Hamilton coffee enthusiasts.

Strollers and wagons are often parked out front with kids saddling up to the tables sipping warm steamed milk and nibbling a little treat, while we all sit and stop for a little break; watching the city whirl by the large front cafe windows.Pinecone Coffee Co 9

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Pinecone Coffee Co 11After only being open for two weeks and they’ve already extended their hours to accommodate for summer time evening hot or cold coffee demands.

Pinecone Coffee co 5

It was not surprising that the first time we checked out Pinecone (day three of opening) the place was packed with sitting room only out front; coincidently fitting perfectly with the warming days of the oncoming spring.

So happy about this coffee shop. It’s a neighbourhood cafe that fills a much needed missing gap in the Corktown area. Nearly every person that came in declared the same feeling of coffee elation.

John South you’re a coming along very nicely!! Congrats on your opening Pinecone -so happy you’re in the neighbourhood!

*Pinecone Coffee Co. 175 John Street South, @PineconeCoffee

 

jay mccarrol & brave shores

A few years ago I stumbled across a Southern Souls video of Jay McCarrol’s that I kinda fell in love with.

The melody of the piano, the voice and lyrics of Jay and the simplicity of the backing band (featuring members from ZeusGolden Dogs and his sister Stefanie) all made for a recipe of unabashed repeat song listening, which in all honesty does not happen much these days. The video itself is so warm and beautiful it left me feeling all sorts of glowy on the inside.

JAY McCARROL – Jimmy Song / Mistaken from Southern Souls on Vimeo.

I searched for some info about Jay to see if he was working on an album and if/when/where I could get it. But besides spotting him and Taylor Knox (who currently has his debut solo album out) backing Hayden, when he came to town at The Casbah two years ago, my search pretty much came up empty handed.

Taylor Knox & Jay McCarrol backing Hayden

Taylor Knox and Jay McCarrol backing Hayden, Casbah Nov. 2013.

Until… I recently discovered Brave Shores which is duo made up of Jay McCarrol and his sister Stefanie.

Their debut album is called Never Come Down AND they’re playing tomorrow night at Mills Hardware. Although (from the few of the songs that I’ve heard from the album) this new indie rock electro-pop outfit is nothing like my first intro into Jay’s music and piano playing but all the same it’s still really awesome.

The show at Mills is on May 6th 7-11pm $12 in advance/$15 at the door.

* Mills Hardware, 95 King Street East, @MillsHardware

studio 205

A the start of early spring another new place on King Street East opened up. It’s on the corner of King and Walnut Street right next to its sister store MODify Your Closet.

Around four years ago I remember enthusiastically rushing into MODify Your Closet the day it opened and speaking to owner Melanie McArthur about how happy I was about a vintage and consignment store like hers opening up on what was then a pretty vacant looking King Street.

Since then stores like Girl On the Wing, Vintage Soul Geek, and now Melanie and her business/life partner in crime Vito’s latest project… Studio 205. They’ve all taken up shop on this strip, each helping to transform the vintage and Canadian made retail landscape of King east.

In addition to being a boutique that focuses on local and Canadian made goods, Studio 205 is also a take-out espresso bar serving up barista coffees, specialty teas and my fav Hamilton’s original Grandad’s Donuts. They also carry delicate treats from local Hamilton organic bakery Made For You By Madeleine to accompany a coffee or tea to go.

stuido 205 canadian artisans

Studio 205 coffee bar

Owner Melanie serving up some lattes under handblown light fixtures by Courtney Lush Glass.

Studio 205 is eclectic in the sense that is sells locally made items from hand painted shoes, to vintage typewriter key cuff-links to hats, necklaces, jewellery, feather hair fascinators, leather bags and knit goods to hand blown glass, pottery, art and fancy hats. Basically a one stop shop gift shop or place where you can find limitless ways to treat yourself to something beautiful, unique and handcrafted.

Tilted Shoes hand painted heels

Tilted Shoes -one of a kind hand painted heels

made in canada felt hats

Traditionally crafted hats and fascinators by Clavaux Designs, Toronto

Mum's Garden tea cup succulents

Succulents in tea cups by Mum’s Garden Floral Studio

Michelle Tilley jewellery

Gorgeous leather and metal work jewellery by Michelle Tilley

Tremblay et al

Vintage bottle corkers and pins by Tremblay et al

curious oddities jewellery

Necklaces by Curious Oddities, and yes that little baby harmonica actually works!

Courtney Lush Glass

Beautiful glass ware by Courtney Lush Glass

Made for you by Madeleine cookies

Baked goods from local Hamilton organic bakery Made for you by Madeleine

grandads maple bacon donut

Daily offerings of Grandad’s maple bacon donuts, usually along side ghostbuster (Boston cream meets eclaire), vanilla dip strawberry swirl, or on Friday’s their special fritters -mmmmmm.

Besides selling some gorgeous goods made by Canadian artisans, Studio 205 also offers workshops like upcoming flower arranging workshop April 25th from 1-2:30pm by Mum’s Garden Floral. There are sure to be many more crafty DIY workshops that will be popping up in the future.

If you’re in the neighbourhood you should definitely stop by and check it out all that is happening in this gem of a store.

Oh and by the way… May 10 is the first of the spring/summer series of Village Station Bazaars (a hip artisan flea market, which owner Melanie helped to spearhead -she just doesn’t stop)! It’s also worth a gander and is just down the street from Studio 205! See my post from last year about it here.

*Studio 205, 205 King St. East, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 905.522.2205

 

flowers in winter

Even though spring is officially here there’s still a chill in the air today, and if the mini blizzards that swept through the skies over this past weekend were any indication, we still have a little ways to go before spring comes in at full force.

In the depths of that extremely long and cold February, I decided to create a bit a spring atmosphere in the house by planting a handful of Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs.

paperwhite buds

For the past few springs I would enviously see posts up on blogs or Instragram of these beautiful blooming buds. And just when the thought of crocuses, and tulips blooming in the garden seemed like an eternity away, I figured it was high time that I got in on the Paperwhite action too. And that is just what I did.

I purchased my Paperwhite bulbs on James North from i-fiori flower shop.

Since I was a little late in the season to plant the bulbs some of them were already starting to sprout little green shoots. I was reassured that this was no problem. This was true; we had blossoms galore!

After acquiring the bulbs, I collected an assortment of vases, jars and vessels from around the house along with a little pile of smooth stones.

It was all really pretty easy:

1. Fill your receptacles with a few stones

2. Plop the bulbs on top

3. Add water until just the base of the bulb is wet

4. Place in a sunny window

5. Continue to water daily to the level of the bottom of the bulb or to cover the soon to be shooting roots

6. Observe daily as the bulbs start sprouting and shooting up

paperwhite bulbs

I read somewhere that you can add a little vodka to the water to avoid the toppling of stems that start to happen if they shoot up to be very long. The vodka will stunt the growth so that the stems are shorter and hardier, thus not toppling with the weight of the blossoms.

paperwhite blossoms

Warning: the flowers do have a pretty pungent smell. I wouldn’t necessarily call it fragrant. But I figured the smell was the price I’d have to pay to have something beautiful, blooming and spring-like in the windows for the month of February.

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