the burnt tongue

I basically feel as though I’ve missed an entire season here on the blog. That said, this post is long overdue from waaay back in September.

When I was about three weeks deep into being back at work (post maternity leave) I had a horrible cold that lasted for weeks. Being sick made it all the more of a necessity to finally check out Hamilton’s newest soup place -The Burnt Tongue.

I had a random mid-week day off, so Steve and I decided to take advantage of the fact that Omi was in daycare. We headed to the Burnt Tongue for an early lunch date and to get some soup to ail my lingering cold.

The Burnt Tongue opens daily at 11:30am. When we arrived just a few short minutes past the half hour, the place was already filling up with people getting their soup on.

We took up the window seats below some crafty filament lit mason jar lighting and did some front row Cannon Street viewing, while we waited for our food.

Steve ordered a classic 6 oz burger made from locally raised beef topped with cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup, mayo and mustard. It did not disappoint. We split an order of fries (my biggest weakness; in a battle if you busted out a box of fries from The Burnt Tongue I’d crumble to the floor just to eat one or even just a morsel of one of those crunchy-bit leftovers). The fries here are sooooo good and their specialty dippings sauces are A-mazing! During Supercrawl we got some fries to-go with their curry ketchup sauce. For this lunch date we settled on chipotle mayo and a roasted garlic mayo. I think there’s still a couple more flavours to sample yet.

I ordered a large bowl of bacon, cheddar and potato soup. This too was just incredible! The soup was flavourful and super homey. It came with a choice of fresh cut veggies, artisan bun or crisp apple. Everything really hit the spot and I left feeling all warm and happily full.

Since my visit in September I know that they’ve added a lot more to their menu like their loaded fries, which look killer! Chorizo, corn, pablano pepperonata (roasted blend of peppers), cheddar cheese and guacamole all piled high and heavy on an already big mound of their Belgian style fries.

In addition to having a massive variety of the most unique soda pops ever (over 8 kinds of root beer including a pumpkin pie soda) they’ve also got 1 litre craftily designed jars of soup that you can purchase for a gift or to take to a potluck or dinner for $15 -so smart!

With the cold weather quickly approaching and staying for the next, oh, 5 months, it’d be in your best interest to stop by this place and sample some soups to keep you warm.

*The Burnt Tongue, 1o Cannon St. East, 905.536.1146, @Theburnttongue

 

charred

Back in September before my life got all crazy on me, Kristin Archer of I Heart Hamilton, and I met up at Charred Rottisserie House for another rendezvous.

I love meeting up with Kristin, not only to try out new places that have opened up around the city, but also because I get to hear about all the amazing new things she is up to.  These days with being a parent, going back to work, and generally just juggling life, blogging has taken a bit of backseat. So when chatting with Kristin, I get excited to imagine just what life would be like if I could dedicate more time to blogging and exploring everything Hamilton has to offer.

Kristin these days is doing much more than just blogging. Besides fundraisers, playlists, and promoting various Hamilton events, she’s recently announced that she’ll be starting a weekly radio show on CFMU 93.3fm Friday’s from 2-3pm. She’s also organizing a blog fair with a whole cast of Hamilton bloggers (including me) at the Casbah on November 24th from 2-6pm -please come!

Kristin and I both agree that it is becoming increasingly hard to stay on top of everything new that’s popping up in the city -which really is a good thing! Although at times the change seems slow, the city is really evolving faster than we think. This spring and summer there was a massive wave of new shops and restaurants that opened up on James North, so it was with a bit of luck that Kristin and I had both yet to try out Charred.

Charred is a Portuguese inspired rotisserie house. They roast their chickens, which are basted with their signature piri-piri sauce, over fresh red hot coals right there in their open kitchen.

We arrived at an in-between meal time, so we were the only people there and the coals and rotisseries were not yet stoked or rolling. None the less, Kristin ordered the poutine with piri-piri cheese curds topped with rotisserie chicken, and I ordered the chicken on a bun.

After sampling some of Kristin's poutine I had some serious meal envy.

One thing I love about all the stores along James, as they are turning over and being reno’d, their drop ceilings are being removed exposing whole gorgeously intact original tin ceilings, like the one at Charred. Such a beauty!

I’d like to head back to Charred again one day when the coals are flaming and the chickens are fully rolling on the rotisserie.

To read Kristin’s Crossover post on Charred visit her blog I Heart Hamilton here.

*Charred, 244 James St. North, 289.396.0662, @charredchicken

last days of summer

It’s official. Summer’s over.

On the last warm weekend a few weeks back, we headed to Hamilton Beach to dip our feet in Lake Ontario and enjoy what was left of the fleeting days of summer.

Before Omi was born my sister bought him this little Japanese yukata (summer kimono). By the end of the summer it fit him beautifully and was perfect for the beach and lounging around.

A visit to the beach wouldn’t have been complete without a proper fish and chip meal from Hutch’s. There was a mad crazy line up for the chips, and an even crazier line up for the ice cream!

I loved how the fish and chips came wrapped up in newspaper -the way true fish and chips should!

So long summer! Until we meet again.

 

detour brunch

For the second year in a row my plans to go to the fall Christie Antique Show were thwarted by rain. But alas when such things happen you make the most of the situation, which we did, by making a stop at Detour Café.

One of my favourite things on Detour’s menu is the brunch! I love Detour’s Weekender brunch which consists of: two eggs, Detour hash, naturally raised bacon and Detour sausage, oven-roasted tomato, toast, and tomato chilli jam. It’s one thing when you go to a place for a mediocre brunch that costs a pretty penny, but it’s an entirely different thing when a brunch is worth every finger licking cent and more! This Detour meal was the latter. The homemade tomato chilli jam and ketchup was killer, as was the the in house-made fresh and bread, plus the thick and savoury bacon. MMMMM!

In other news…..

The latest word on the street is that the lovely folks from Manual Labour (mobile coffee) are moving to Australia, (which is great for them!) but incredibly sad for us mobile coffee enthusiasts. Sniffle… BUT (dry your tears) the super amazing news is that Detour will actually be taking the reigns and continuing on the Manual Labour mobile trailer/truck tradition. Phew!

*Detour Café, 41 King St. West, Dundas, 289.238.8360, @_DetourCafe

café oranje

I have a new favourite neighbourhood coffee shop because… Café Oranje is now open for business!

Café Oranje is a Dutch inspired contemporary style coffee house that serves baked goods from Hamilton’s Cake and Loaf, as well as locally roasted coffees. They also have some beautiful and delicious Dutch treats like stroopwafel and boterkoek (a little something like shortbread) that are an absolute must have to accompany any coffee.

So proud of owners Chris Godwaldt and Amy Gringhuis for all their determination and hard work in opening up something that I know they have been dreaming about for a long time. These two plus a small crew of friends renovated, designed, and decorated the space right down to the floor boards and fixtures. If you ever saw the space as Appleberry’s or (two former incarnations ago) as a Moroccan tea house, you’d know that this transformation is pretty amazing. It’s bright and airy and has storefront window-seating for gazing and people watching plus a comfy back sitting area for a little cozy café lounging.

Co-owner Chris Godwaldt about to barista up some brews.

My first Café Oranje café verkeerd (the literal translation is wrong coffee but it's basically a café au lait)

The floors are such a nice warm nutty brown. Chris and Amy sanded these bad boys down themselves.

Owners Chris Godwaldt and Amy Gringhuis

*Café Oranje, 312 King St E, @cafeoranjeham

seven sundays at gage park

Hello Hamilton, I’m back! I feel like I’ve been neglecting you all summer long.

August was filled with out of town and out of country visitors plus several weekends of double booked backyard BBQ’s, a lengthy summer cold, a broken toe, and a baby with a ruthless new penchant for walking. Despite the many great things that were happening all over the city this summer I feel like I kinda wasn’t around much.

One evening I did manage to sneak off to one of the Seven Sundays in Gage Park. If this is the first you’ve heard of Seven Sundays; it’s an eight week free concert series at the Gage Park bandshell featuring local musicians (and food trucks) followed by a movie screening. I really hope to make it to more of these next summer -such a lovely way to spend a Sunday night.

There’s something super fabulous about hearing live open air music on a summer evening. There was a great crowd out to see Jesse Lanza perform against the backdrop of the seafoam Geaorge R. Robinson bandshell and the greenery of the escarpment. Sigh -oh summer time.

the last leg

The last leg of our Euro travels was definitely the most challenging. In a one week period we would travel from Sussex to London, then by train to Zurich via Paris and then another train on to Frankfurt before getting on a nine hour flight back home. Mixed into all this was some serious teething, learning to walk, stroller rejection and a family epidemic of sickness.

Through it all we still managed to get in some art viewing at the Tate Modern as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in Zurich. We just did a lot of carrying Omi in our arms and taking long breaks by fountains, sandboxes, open squares and parks.

Dan Flavin at the Tate Modern in London

Omi and I in front of Cy Twombly's painting

A friend of mine that lives in Zurich lent us her flat for the four nights we were there. She has a beautiful loft that had some of the most amazing windows from which you could see the Swiss mountains, Zurich rooftops and the forest. The windows could swivel to be open at some crazy angels, so at night time you could have views of the moon and stars and catch some wonderful breezes. Nights in the apartment were a relief from the heat of the day since during our stay there was a European wide heatwave. The fifth floor flat of my friend’s would get upwards to 35 degrees!

during one of Omi's early morning wake ups I spotted the moon over the mountains

Zurich proved to be a rather expensive city. But one thing that I did love about it is that it is situated perfectly on an extremely beautiful and clean lake. Just a short tram ride away we got down to the lake on our first day and spent the entire afternoon and evening taking dips in the various swimming areas, drinking beers and eating some great food.

By this part of our journey we’d long given up hope of sitting in coffee shops or restaurants with Omi. He just wanted to walk around and get into all sorts of mischief. I popped into an exquisite bakery called Péclard and picked up the most delicious savoury ham and cheese croissant a sweet treat and some coffees that we ate while taking turns entertaining Omi in a nearby square.

All things said and done, despite all its challenges, I am so happy that we did it!

After a couple weeks now of being in Hamilton again I finally feel like we’re back in the swing of things. I still have a few more weeks to enjoy what’s left of the summer before my maternity leave ends and I’m back to work.

seaside crabbing

While we were still visiting our friend’s place in Petworth, England, we were able to go on some wonderful day trips.

The beauty of this leg of the vacation, before things got all crazy on us, was that it made traveling with a baby seem quite flawlessly easy: lay low in the mornings, then a drive to a kid friendly yet extremely picturesque destination to more or less just relax in the afternoons. It was all so civilized!

On this particular trip we drove out to Bosham, which is a lovely little town by the seaside.

The tide in the town’s bay ebbs and flows dangerously close to all the cottage houses. Some of the cottages even have tiny elevated pint sized doors so that when the tide rolls in they can still go out the door without having to worry about flooding their house.

Really one of our main purposes of trekking to Bosham was to get in a little seaside crabbing. My friend crafted up a crabbing contraption that consisted of some rope and netting as well as some cooked bacon as bait. Off a little dock a crew of young kids and parents were casting their crab catchers and pulling up these critters into crab buckets.

There was this dreamy tree that had some great shade that we flocked to. We set up a temporary home base here and took turns going out to crab and minding the little ones.

petworth

From Iceland we made our way to England to a small and picturesque town about an hour south of London called Petworth.

We arrived in Petworth on a road that wound through a darkened tunnel of carefully trimmed trees and hedges. In the dusk we could see the faint outline of a wall which extended quite a ways outlining the Lord of Petworth’s land. And yes his “Lordship”, as he is referred to, does still live in Petworth, in his Lordly house (aka Petworth House). I could so picture a horse and carriage clip-clopping along on the road to Petworth passing by vagrant travelling merchants and perhaps even stumbling across a small village of hobbits.

I could stand to be corrected, but from what I’ve gathered the cottages and homes in Petworth are roughly from the 16th and 17th century. Yeah! And the town is filled with crazy old (and expensive) antiques from those two centuries.

One of the only antique stores that I ventured into, mostly because it actually looked like I could afford to buy something here.

One of my favourite places in Petworth. The Hungry Guest and its up-the-road neighbour The Hungry Guest Cafe. The Hungry Guest, like most destinations in Petworth, was less than a 5 minute walk away from our friend’s place. So it was an easy go-to-place for our daily “fancy” coffee runs. This place was so poshly fabulous. It had a walk-in chilled cheese room, where you could sample and be schooled about your cheeses before purchasing. They also had about a million spreads, jellies, jams, and chutneys to go beautifully with all their really delicious and expensive cheese (we did indulge just once).

During our stay in Petworth we also did a lot of pubbing. This was mostly because we love beer and pubs, but also because despite Petworth’s small size there was still a generous spattering of pubs to visit.

Our first pub visit was a rather adventurous trek through some rolling English hills with kids and babies and the ridiculously and unsually hot English sun. It was well worth the hike as fish and chips and hand-pumped ales of the perfect and proper English temperature were soon to be consumed.

A countryside pub in Petworth.

The Petworth leg of our European travels was by far the most relaxing. It made traveling with a baby seem like a piece of cake. Our friend’s have kids too, with one being the same age as Omi, so we basically co-parented for the mornings spent at home and then during the afternoons we’d venture out together on some beautiful day trips to the seaside, to medieval castles and of course to have a proper English cream tea.

There was an unseasonably hot heat wave that was hitting most of Europe, so on some days when it was too hot to do much of anything, we’d spend our days in Petworth enjoying our friend’s English garden a la inflatable pool.

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