Archives: hamilton

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).

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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

 

 

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

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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

 

life this winter

This Must be the Place just celebrated its fourth year anniversary this March! I can’t believe it.

Despite the four year legacy of blogging… without denying, these days my blog posts have been scarce.

Although, there has been no shortage of events and things happening in the city to document and write about, with so much else going on in my life: juggling being a parent, expecting another baby, working and all the ins and outs of life, blogging as of late has taken a bit of a backseat.

So I’ll just say it out loud; I’ve got a bit of a back log blog thing happening right now and it’s proving a little hard to get back into swing of things.

So here goes… my first post in a very long time… done in ummmm photos.

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Life this winter consisted of cold, snow, merry-go-rounds, haircuts, visits to the RBG, being cooped up inside, cooking, home renos, and lots of sampling of all the great new food places that are continuing to pop up in Hamilton.

My hope is to start posting weekly again, but I can’t make any promises. In the mean time I have been doing a bit of writing over the winter for Tourism Hamilton’s #MyHamilton page with my feature What a Day That Was. So you can get caught up on a few things there, as well as check out what else is going on in the city through other guest bloggers like I Heart Hamilton‘s Culture Beat, and Dave Hanley’s (of Pop Up Hamilton) feature The Hamilton Dish.

There’s so much to catch up on! Until we meet again blog.

cake and loaf confectionary

Cake and Loaf Bakery is one of my favourite bakeries in Hamilton. I frequent it for their beer and cheddar loaf, foccacia bread, French macarons, ginger molasses cookies and their drool worthy cinnamon rolls. It is my go to place for picking up treats before heading to friends houses and to collect small gifts and offerings for friends and family on special occasions.

Well, let it be known that besides being a bakery of breads, pies and cakes Cake and Loaf is now additionally in the business of confectionary!

cake and loaf gift

Cake and Loaf Organic Fair Trade Confection Cake and Loaf Fair Trade Organic Confection

 

Cake and Loaf’s line of sweet confections are fair trade organic, made with local ingredients and no preservatives.

There’s a wide variety of treats that can suit anyone’s sweet toothed pallet from caramels, raw fruit bars, to nougat and even a chocolate covered strawberry marshmallow sandwich -my fav!Cake and Loaf Confection

 

Cake and Loaf Confection Bars

Cake and Loaf Confections

Cake and Loaf nuggetsIf supporting local businesses and shopping local is on your agenda this holiday season you could stop in Cake and Loaf and see what goodies they have to offer. They have a special holiday menu with their offerings, which also include a ginger bread house kit among other holiday treats. AND I hear that they’ve been soaking their fruit cakes daily for the past month in pure rum!

Their line of confectionary treats would be great as stocking stuffers, to fill holiday candy bowls and jars, and as small gifts for the Christmas and holiday season.

*Cake and Loaf Bakery, 321 Dundurn St. South, 289.389.6581

 

a very leila christmas

On the last day of 2014′s Hamilton Fringe Festival I saw my first Fringe show of the year.

There were definitely more Fringe shows that I wanted to check out, but in all if I were to only see just one play, I was happy as ever that I did not miss the opportunity to see this one-person-show written and starring the very talented Izad Etemadi titled Love with Leila.

Photo from: http://izadetemadi.com/the-final-countdown/

It was just about the sweetest, most heart warming, laugh out loud kind of play that re-injected some theatre love and enthusiasm back into my recently theatre deprived life.

Izad Etemadi takes on the persona of Leila: a loveable and young Persian woman who tells us of her humorous misadventures in dating that lead her discovery of a heartfelt lesson in love and self-reflection.

It was clear by the raucous standing ovation at the end of the night we had all truly fallen head over heels in love Leila. There was no way that we couldn’t love her innocent humour, witty banter and Persian pleasantries. We were left with the promise of more Leila and the return of Etemadi to Hamilton with Leila in another one-person production titled A Very Leila Christmas.

a very leila christmas

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, LEILA” That’s what Leila expects to hear from Santa on her first Christmas morning in Canada, surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents tucked all around her tree but to her shock and confusion, her stocking is empty and there are no presents at all – not even coal! Leila decides to track down Santa to find out what went wrong. Travel to the North Pole with Leila, singing all your favourite Christmas songs along the way, to help her discover the true meaning of Christmas.

A Very Leila Christmas is playing this week at the Staircase Theatre December 17, 18 and 19. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than supporting some theatre while checking out what sorts of hilarious and outrageous misadventures Leila will get up to on her very first Canadian Christmas.

Tickets are $15 and you can get them here: http://leilachristmas.brownpapertickets.com/

See you at the show!

*Staircase Theatre, 27 Dundurn St. North, 905.529.3000

 

moulin rouge cocktail lounge

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a good dance party. However, being in my mid 30s, a parent, and in Hamilton, it can sometimes be hard to find the time and just the right place to go out dancing.

My favourites to dance to are soul, funk, bossa nova, ska, dancehall and old school rap. Now you can kinda see how it might be a little hard to find a suitable place to go dancing with mixed bag of music like that.

In my younger years when living in Toronto I loved going to Uma Nota events and Milk parties and my ultimate fav a solid dance party at someone’s house. But with so many of our friends having kids and such, house parties have fallen to the wayside and truth be told my appetite for dancing hasn’t quite reached the point of desperation where I’d want to trek all the way into Toronto.

There you have it, a mid 30s dancing Hamilton rut.

Well… when I heard that Moulin Rouge Cafe on John had become Moulin Rouge Cocktail Lounge with a more mature 25+ night club scene and DJ’s spinning classic house, funk, soul and disco, I was like “Hello”.

So one night for a friend’s birthday we went out on the town making a few stops at couple other places before our final destination at Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge club Moulin Rouge dance club

The DJ was spinning deep house but he had a good mix of afro-funk, and even a little bit of some Prince amidst some old school classic house anthems like Kenny Dope’s These Sounds Fall into my mi-i-i-i-ind. We were all pleased as punch that the music was danceable, the crowd was friendly (yet not all a meat market) and the atmosphere was soft, aglow with red and totally classy. There was ample room to dance, and the music although loud still allowed you to have a conversation without yelling or having to lip read.

Moulin Rouge DJ

And if dancing isn’t your thing there’s a comfy lounge area for talking and fancy martini and cocktail sipping.

Moulin Rouge dance floor

Moulin Rouge is perfect for a birthday party, a night on the town or just something a little more sophisticated than the pub. It’s also now a local place where I know I can go to for a fail safe dance party. Now if only they got my favourite Hamilton DJ -DJ Jon Sikich to work the turntables I’d be in Hamilton dance heaven!

*Moulin Rouge Cocktail Lounge, 10-12 John St. North (Treble Hall), 289.260.4302, @MoulinHamilton

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