holy crêpes

If you didn’t already know, Hamilton has a crêpe place! Hargitai’s Creperie and Ice Cream shop opened in April and is located across from the Hamilton General Hospital on Barton Street.

I’m super excited that a place like Hargitai’s exists in the city (who doesn’t love crêpes) and I’m uberly happy about a place like this opening up shop on Barton.  Barton has all the right fixtures for a rebirth and I’m just counting down until the revitalization starts to really take hold.

The other day Kristin Archer of I Heart Hamilton and I decided it was high time for another rendez vous and double blog post (check out our previous double blog posts here: Apple Berry’s, J.H. Gordon Books, O’s Clothes & Relish Vintage). Kristin and I have taken a liking to exploring new places in Hamilton together sampling the goods and sharing our findings. So it was fabulous to catch up with Kristin and to hear about what she’s been up to.

I brought Omi along for the visit and for the most part he was on his best behaviour.

picture courtesy of Kristin Archer

We started off our crêpe sampling with a savoury cheese crêpe. As owner Maria made the crêpe we all chatted together about our fondness for Hamilton and Maria’s passion for starting her own crêperie here in this fair city.

Maria told us she was inspired to open her own crêpe shop after a visit to Toronto, where she lined up with a busy crowd of people at popular crêperie. Since the crêpe market in Hamilton had really yet to be cracked she decided to take the plunge and open her own crêperie -the first in the city! She’s set up shop on Barton knowing that it is only a matter of time before Barton, like Locke, Ottawa Street and James North, will experience its own renaissance.

the classic dessert crêpe: strawberry jam

For dessert Kristin went for the Sugar & Spice a cinnamon and brown sugar crêpe, which smelled heavenly, and I opted for the Classic a crêpe filed with strawberry jam.

Maria told us that although crêpes are traditionally known as a French delicacy it is also a shared culinary treat amongst Hungarians. Maria’s put a Hungarian twist on her crêpes with items like the Gundel: crepe filled with ground walnut mix, raisin, and topped with rich chocolate fudge, or The Palacsinta: crêpe filled with chicken breast topped with sour cream with your choice of cheddar or smoked cheese. In addition to savoury and sweet crêpes Hargitai’s also serves up smoothies, sundaes, shakes and ice cream.

Great to explore with you again Kristin! To read Kristin’s post check out I Heart Hamilton’s post here.

So Hamilton, if you’re looking to brighten a dull winter day with a little Hungarian treat pop into Hargitai’s. Although mostly a take out joint there are a some seats -just in case you can’t wait to dig into your crêpe you can eat them there.

*Hargitai’s Creperie & Ice Cream, 304 Barton Street East, follow on twitter @hargitai_s

bestiary

Bestiary: A compendium of curious creatures, alive; dead & in-between, portrayed in paint to captivate & cultivate.

If you’re free tonight you should come on down to Jacqui Oakley‘s art opening at Defacto Mulberry (193 James St. North). The opening starts at 7pm and goes until 11.

There’ll be a whole body of Jacqui’s beautiful art work on display including giclée prints that will be for sale (perfect holiday gifts y’all!). Check’em out in the photo below.

photo courtesy of Jacqui Oakley. Check out her blog here.

 

Jacqui’s show will be up from December 13th and throughout the month of January.


 

maker’s market

Last Saturday we headed down to Christ Church Cathedral on James North for the holiday edition of the Maker’s Market.

I love how this church actively partakes in the monthly art crawls. Every month, for the crawls, they open their doors to the public by playing host to the outdoor Maker’s Market as well as some super cool and often experimental musical acts that take advantage of the amazing space and acoustics of the Cathedral.

The Maker’s Market on this particular Saturday was definitely abuzz. Lots of people were making their way around to check out the goods and pick up some potential Christmas and holiday prezies.

Among the many local artisans and vendors Matt Jelly was there selling his Hamilton cards, maps, buttons and t-shirts. We picked up a set of downtown Hamilton cards in 3 different silkscreen printed colours. Matt’s table was hopping as people snatched up their neighbourhood maps. We finally bought our Corktown neighbourhood map too.

We also stopped by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura‘s (aka @girlcancreate) table. She had an assortment of goods and artwork ranging from calendars, notebooks and buttons to vintage paperpacks.

Lisa is a mover and a shaker and a definite do-er. She organizes a variety of arts based events in the city from a story telling series at The Staircase to The Quarterly: A Night of Live Performance at The Pearl Company.  Lisa is also organizing an upcoming event called Handmade: a holiday art and craft sale. So if you’re still looking for a unique Christmas gift or a little art head to James North Art Collective at 328 James North on Sunday, December 16th from 11am-4pm. There’ll be fine art and crafts from over 30 different artists.

record show

Last month I finally attended the bi-annual Record Show at the Festival Banquet Centre. I’d seen the flyers for the show around town before and had always wanted to check it out but had never been able to -so I was extra super stoked to go. I prepared myself for an afternoon of record browsing with the hopes of finding some real gems.

The Festival Banquet centre is located on King St. East (to see my post on King East click here).  With low ceilings and dim lighting the hall kind of reminded of the multiple friend’s parent’s basements that I hung out in as a teenager.  The hall however was still decked out in kitschy wedding decorations and the air smelled like a cocktail of stale alcohol and tobacco smoke. Like most record sales I’ve been to it was pretty much a dude fest with a small spattering of women digging and flipping through the crates.

I went with the hopes of discovering some rare record finds; old jamaican ska, surf, 50/60′s soul and perhaps a little calypso or Nigerian afro-funk. But I was stuck mostly with flipping through various vendor’s collections of The Beatles, The Stones, Kiss and Journey among other boxes of records that you might normally find at a garage sale (priced accordingly cheap 3 for $5). So I guess if you’re into bargain bin rock music and perhaps completing a collection of a specific rock artist then this would’ve been the record sale for you. Don’t get me wrong there were tons of records -maybe too many? I probably would’ve been happier with less records and just a little more quality and uniqueness to the selection. A couple of turn tables with headphones for listening to potential record purchases would’ve helped too.

In the end we did end up buying a couple of albums. Steve got Rush: Archives (a triple album: Rush, Fly By Night and Caress of Steel), and I picked up a Barbara Lynn album.


We put them on in the evening Steve rocked out to some Rush, and later I danced Omi to sleep with Barbara Lynn’s sweet voice.

I leave you with a song from Barbara Lynn:

swimmingly

It’s already been two months since Omi was born and things are going swimmingly.  Despite all odds we sleep well, eat well, and not so surprisingly we do a hell of a lot more laundry than ever before.

I feel like I can attribute a lot of our relative ease into parenthood to our friends and family. For the past two months they’ve come and made us lunches, washed our dishes, rocked Omi to sleep, and stockpiled our newly purchased deep-freezer with delicious foods and treats thus leaving us ample time to tend to our new parental duties.  It has been a great relief that we quite literally have not had to worry about making dinners and sometimes even lunches for the past two months. To stay on this train of low stress preparation for dinners Steve’s been into making large batches of soups, meat pies, sauces and lasagna that I’m sure will last us well into the winter.

The biggest warmest thank you goes out to our friends and family for all your support, delicious meals and gifts!

A beautiful and yummy Dufflet‘s cake from our friends who most recently came for a lovely Saturday afternoon visit.

 

views from jackson

In the dwindling days of fall I took in some views from the top of Jackson Square’s roof.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Jackson Square I do frequent it on a regular basis to run errands, and to go to the market and library. Despite its faults and concrete ugliness and the fact that in its construction the city demolished much of Hamilton’s rich Victorian architecture AND Ontario’s largest outdoor market and square, I do have to be fair in saying that it does serve as a walkable destination for me to get out and about with the little one and to get my day-to-day errands done. So I guess I shouldn’t really complain. I should be happy that at least some retail stores have remained downtown (don’t get me wrong there is room for plenty more).

In all actuality Jackson Square in the daytime is quite a hub. With all the office workers, students and loiterers walking and wheeling around Jackson grabbing their coffees and lunches, I’m surprised that other retailers haven’t decided to capitalize on this untapped market further. If I could work downtown, do my shopping, AND get my groceries all in one place during say lunch, on a break or after work, it would be muchos convenient and life changing for us downtown dwellers and for the daytime Hamilton office workers. I love being able to cram errands into a regular work-a-day day without having to get into a car and go from parking lot to parking lot especially with all the madness of the fast approaching Christmas retail rush.

But enough about that.  On days when the market is closed and I don’t feel like walking through the mall or heading down to James, I’ll take in some views from atop Jackson Square. I know I’ve blogged about my love for this vastly underused public space before (click here for that post) but yet again I find myself here and loving the downtown views from this concrete rooftop.

I guess for me the rooftop is one of Jackson Square’s saving graces -can’t wait until the new downtown grocery store opens up too!

totes

If you haven’t noticed there’s an amazing amount of Hamilton heart throb paraphernalia around this town in the form of T-shirts and tote bags.

For a birthday present this year I got one of my favourite Hamilton tote bags; a Jenna Rose silk-screened linen tote bag of a map of downtown Hamilton.

I’m told that it is a limited edition as Jenna is no longer making them. So get one while you still can at White Elephant.

For an assortment of other Hamilton wears go by Tourism Hamilton (or White Elephant) and you can pick up Russell Gibbs‘ You Can Do Anything In Hamilton tote or T-shirt, or The Print Studio (aka Centre 3) for an array of Hamilton art T-shirts. You can also find T-shirts with Hamilton’s Twitter Hashtag (#HamOnt) made by Best of Hamilton out and about the city, and at Mixed Media you can get a classic TH&B T-shirt too.

 

the hammer

There’s something quite humorous about wielding a hammer in “The Hammer”.

I recently renewed my annual membership at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and couldn’t help but notice this great installation by Hamilton artist Simon Frank.

The hammer, with an embossed pine tree, is hung on the large wall of the front entrance of the AGH.  You can swing it as you like into the drywall.  The overall effect is the creation of a forest of hammered out pine trees, or as the title of the work states View (from the escarpment). I love it!

 

i love fall

One beautiful balmy Sunday morning we headed on out for a gorgeous fall walk at Dundas Valley Conservation Area.  It was just at that perfect moment in time when you can see the full range of fall foliage from green to yellow, rusty oranges and red all at once.

We were all set to go; baby in the carrier, fall apples for a snack and a Detour coffee in hand to give us a kick start to the trek.

We’ve cycled to the conservation area before and biked the main loop trail but this was my first time doing the loop on foot -a little ambitious as it was only week two after having a baby, but it felt amazing to be out of the house enjoying the fall air and all the smells of the forest.

I love when the trail comes upon the old Hermitage ruins.  The Hermitage is an old estate that is over 170 years old.  It served as a summer house for a wealthy Irish-born Scottish immigrant named George Gordon Browne Leith.

According to the historic plaque outside the Hermitage the limestone summer home was destroyed in a fire in 1934. Leith’s daughter built a smaller home within its ruins in which she lived until her death in 1942.  The ruins are all that’s left of what is said to have been a lavish estate. The Gatehouse, previously home to the Leith’s gatehouse keeper and his family, is now an operating museum that houses artifacts from the Hermitage as well as the details and history of the Hermitage and the Leith family.

My other favourite spot on the trail is when it opens up onto an old apple orchard.  The trees are all gnarly and twisted, and the apples have long gone wild.

I love seeing remnant glimpses into history like this old orchard.  I wonder about how the land and life would’ve been like when the orchard was well tended. Perhaps this was part of the Leith’s estate?

 

*Dundas Valley  Conservation Area, 540 Governors Rd., Dundas. $9/vehicle, free to enter on foot or by bicycle

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