owl of minerva

One of my favourite kinds of food is Korean. I love the combo of its savoury, sweet, spicy, garlic, and sesame flavours.

When I first moved to Hamilton we’d found this secret little Korean restaurant  (just tucked behind the International Village by the Ti-cat building) that I loved. It had sunken-in individual bbq tables, great Korean pancakes and hundreds of tiny polaroids of its customers pasted on the walls. I guess it may have been a little too secret, in that maybe not enough people went? To my dismay it closed down a few years ago.

Not too long after Cho Sun Ok moved from its Queen North location down on King East and it sufficed in satisfying my Korean food cravings.

However, it was an even nicer surprise to wake up one day to find that Owl of Minerva had opened up a location here in Hamilton just at Main and Wentworth! I’d been to their Toronto location on Bloor in Korea town, so I knew that I would not be disappointed. Good Korean in Hamilton, finally!

I went with only one other friend (coincidently before heading to Kim’s Convenience -a play about a Korean shop owner), so we didn’t order a huge elaborate meal. Instead we ordered bibimbap. A good standard fare for any Korean restaurant and anyone new to trying Korean food. The stone bowl stayed crazy hot for the duration of the meal, and the Korean sides were great!

I really want to come back with a larger group of people so that we can have a proper Korean feast of some kalbi short ribs, bulgolgi and samgyeopsal. A little heavy on the meat -I know. I guess I could throw in a spicy and hot tofu kimchi chigae. Chigae’s are my cure all for chills and colds. Warms you right up!

Truly a perfect winter time place. I hope that in the summer they’ll have cold Korean noodles!

*The Famous Owl of Minerva, 309 Main St. E, 905.528.7275

 

 

about town

This weekend there are so many interesting things going on I’ll be hard pressed to do them all!

Starting on Friday there’s the International Market Place; an event put on in partnership with the Immigrant Women’s Centre. I checked it out when I first moved to Hamilton and would love to see how it’s evolved and grown since last going five years ago.

Be sure to stop by and support your local community and pick up some handcrafted goods and wares!

 

On Friday night at Christ Church Cathedral there’ll be a special talk about the potential future of James Street North. It’s entitled James Street North 5×7; 5 minute talks by 7 community thinkers on improving the James Street North community. It’s free and starts at 7pm.

*Christ Church Cathedral, 252 James St. North

 

On Saturday in partnership with Hamilton Artists Inc. and Needlework, the first of a new quarterly talk series put on by a recent new crafty collaborative Pulling Strings will take place.

If you can remember the whimsical underwater crocheted window display of White Elephant from two Supercrawl‘s ago then you might know who Shannon Gerard is. She’s been a collaborating force with the Hyperbolic Reef crochet project among many other craft, art and crochet endeavours. She’ll be giving a free talk from 2-3:30pm at the Inc. followed by a $10 (no experience necessary) crochet workshop at Needlework from 4-5:30pm (RSVP for the crochet workshop to pullingstringshamilton@gmail.com).

"Hyperbolic Crochet Reef", White Elephant's store window display, Supercrawl 2012

If you have some time Saturday afternoon I suggest you check this event out!

*Hamilton Artists Inc. t 155 James Street North

*Needlework 174 James Street North.

 

Last but not least, on Sunday afternoon I’ll be taking part in a #HamOnt Blog Fair at The Casbah organized by Hamilton bloggers I Heart Hamilton and Cut From Steel. There’ll be food trucks, beer, and a whole crew of Hamilton’s finest local bloggers. Come out and grab a bite to eat, sip some beers, and check out alt-electro-dance-rock duo Dear Rouge play a set at 5pm. The event is free and all are welcome! Please come by and say “Hi”!

If you’re knew to Hamilton or just want to get to know your city a little better this will be a great event to get your finger on the pulse of the city’s goings on, and to meet with some Hamiltonians who are passionate about their city. Hope to see you there!

so long fall

Fall’s basically over, and we’ve officially entered into the season of brown, when all the trees are barren, the air is cold and evening light is scarce.

I adore fall and love its sunny days, cool evenings, and changing colourful landscapes. I also love that my birthday is during one of my all-time favourite seasons.

This September and October I had so much on my plate that I didn’t have the time take in all the extra moments that I normally observe to ingest everything that is fall.

I celebrated my 35th birthday and with that I somewhat irregularly started climbing the escarpment stairs, and reintroduced yoga back into my life. As I get older I’m realizing energy and flexible movement are needed things in a life raising kids and I kinda need to work to maintain this.

Here's a gorgeous view of Hamilton from the escarpment after a stair climb. With the days getting colder and shorter, I'm not sure how many more times I'll muster up the motivation to climb these again before spring.

Despite all the crazy business I somehow managed to make a Halloween costume for Omi too. I made him a stuffed cloud costume that he donned with rainbow leg warmers. We didn’t actually go trick or treating this year but I couldn’t resist the potential cuteness of him being a rainbow cloud.

So long fall… I promise not to neglect you next year!

 

live on locke

I took a friend up on an invite a while back to see the Cowboy Junkies in concert at a church on Locke Street. Truthfully I hadn’t really listened to the Junkies since the early to mid 90′s but I thought a Friday night concert walkable from my home, why not.

The concert was held at Melrose United Church at Locke and Homewood. It was a full house with every church pew stacked with Junkie’s fans.  The voice of singer Margo Timmins melow and low carried beautifully into the massive space and air of the church.

Live on Locke is a concert series that helps to raise funds for The Instrument For Every Child Program. Last month Jim Cuddy and Chantel Kreviazuk performed and for the last concert of the series on November 29th Colin James will perform.

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.

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