Archives: stores

bánh mì

I have an addiction.  I am addicted to Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches.

My favourite place for a classic bánh mì in Hamilton is from none other than Tung Hing bakery.

The bread is made in house and sometimes it’s so fresh that they won’t seal the clear cellophane sandwich bag so that the steam from the hot mini-baguette doesn’t make the sandwich soggy -mmm those days are my favourite!

I’m a fan of the $3.25 grilled chicken bánh mì made spicy with a sprinkling of fresh green chilies, cucumber, coriander, pickled daikon, carrots, and a special sauce.

The thing I like about this particular bakery is that A. it is attached to B&T Foods, which is my one stop shop for all my Asian necessities in grocery shopping and B. it has some of the most delicious pastries, savoury treats and steamed buns.

My mom loves it when I swing by for an afternoon tea after having picked up a whole box of puffed meat pastry, pâté chaud, and deep fried sesame balls with lotus paste filling.

I do somtimes venture out for a Vietnamese sandwich from Bánh Mì Excellence next to August 8 at the corner of James St. north and Wilson (shh -don’t tell the folks at Tung Hing) which is good too, but I always find myself coming back to Tung Hing proclaiming my love for more of their bánh mì.

*Tung Hing Café & Sweets, 103 Queen St. north (at Queen and York Blvd. next to B&T Foods), 905.527.8333

 

grandad’s donuts

When I moved to Hamilton a few years back, I started my first job in the city tucked into a north Hamilton neighbourhood in between John and James Streets north.   Contrary to what some people may think, Hamilton’s North End is a wonderful little pocket with a strong and proud community.  You can even see some North Enders sporting T-shirts that say “The North End.  Hamilton’s best kept secret.”

And it’s true!   The neighbourhoods have that characteristic lower city Hamilton charm.  They’ve got old Victorian homes that hug the bay and waterfront.  There’s easy access to some great hidden Hamilton treasures, like the Bayfront Trail, the outdoor ice-rink at Pier 4, Hutch’s Harbour Front, Hamilton Harbour Queen Boat Tour, The Harbour Diner and Grandad’s Donuts, a fine donut establishment I was fortunate enough to have stumbled across.

The particular Grandad’s I refer to is the one located on the corner of Burlington Street east and James Street north kitty corner from the Port Authority.  It is a true North Hamilton staple -just ask anyone who lives in the neighbourhood.  On any given day you’ll likely see a crew of construction workers lined up getting their early morning or late afternoon Grandad’s fix.  Or you might see the usual crowd of friendly north end regulars teasing and joking around with one another at the donut counter over their coffees and delicious donut treats.

Their donuts, unlike most donut chains these days, are made fresh daily from scratch right in the Grandad’s kitchen.  Specialty donuts like the Ghostbuster -think éclaire meets Boston cream, never cease to blow my mind.  With its light and slightly crisp donuty exterior and its soft and smooth melty-whipped fresh cream interior, dipped into a bath of chocolate goodness -it’s no wonder that I can never resist getting just one whenever I’m in the neighbourhood.

With its 70’s rusty orange decor, yellow booths, and a counter top you can cozy up to the with old-school bolted-to-the-ground stools, its retro familiarity reminds me of donut shops from when I was growing up as a kid.

Grandad’s even has those classic fountain juices; peach and lemonade that flow from an eternal waterfall of fruit juiciness within their glossy clear plastic viewing containers.

To be honest I have a soft spot for this place not just because their donuts are the best donuts in the city, but also because I’m somewhat sentimental for nostalgic places like this one, and these days I find places like this are becoming harder to come by. When you can sit at a counter, whether a stranger of not, order your coffee and chat with the people sitting next to you and the friendly staff, you know you’ve got something special.

Although I no longer work in the North End, I do on occasion feel the need to satisfy a craving for a Grandad’s donut and coffee.  I’ll find myself willing to make the trek by bike or on foot and without skipping a beat it’s like I never left the neighbourhood.

Grandad’s Donuts could very well be Hamilton’s best-kept secret.  Hamiltonians be proud of another original homegrown Hamilton donut fixture. If you have yet to check out this gem it is most certainly worth a trip to the North End.  Buy a dozen and grab a coffee.  You won’t regret it, and you will surely be greeted with a warm hello and welcome from staff and customers alike.

You find the extended and beautifully edited article here in the Hamilton Spectator!

* Grandad’s Donuts, 574 James Street north

hawk & sparrow

I absolutely love all the new stores that are opening up in downtown Hamilton.  I was so happy to hear the buzz about this gem of a store.  Located in the old Factory: Hamilton Media Arts Centre, Hawk & Sparrow at 126 James St. is the latest store to pop up on James north.  It’s another welcome addition to their recently new next door neighbours HOME; antique store and furnishings.

Hawk & Sparrow store owner Sarah Moyal has a sharp eye for choice selections of vintage clothing finds for both men & women.

hawk & sparrow, james st. north, vintage clothing store, 126 james st. north, hamilton, ontario

Adorable window display and cute green bike.

126 James St. North, Hawk & Sparrow, vintage, clothing store, Hamilton, Ontario

vintage clothing store, James St. North, Hamilton, Ontario, Hawk & Sparrow, clothing store,

Bright yellow and blue are two of my favourite colour combinations.

Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store, Hamilton, Ontario, James St. north,

This shirt is so amazing and is priced so reasonably at $25. If I could pull off rocking this top I would.

126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store,

I picture myself wearing this jacket in a bull fight in Spain. Seriously.

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing show.

Hawk & Sparrow, vintage clothing store, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. N, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing store

I like the minimalist feel to the store in that the racks aren’t crammed.  There’s just the right amount of eye candy, perfect for easy browsing.  The style selection ranges from retro 80′s glam, and sparkle, worn jean and leather jackets to soft, and romantic skirts and delicate knits, shirts and blouses perfect for the summer to fall transition.

Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario, vintage clothing store

*Hawk & Sparrow, 126 James St. north, Hamilton, Ontario

hamilton sketchbook

A few years back when we were still living in Toronto I went to Pages book store, when it still existed at Queen & John, and asked if they had any books about Hamilton. We’d already been crushing on Hamilton big time, and I wanted to indulge in our fantasy of moving to Hamilton by giving Steve a book about the city for his 31st birthday.  The store clerk looked up at me in a bit of shock, and then clarified again whether I really meant a book about the city of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, really?

The only book in the entire store about Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, was a graphic novel titled Hamilton Sketchbook by David Collier.

I could not have asked for a better gift for Steve and introduction to life in Hamilton.  I was so happy to have had the luck of stumbling upon such a gem of book.

Hamilton Sketchbook Cover, David Collier, graphic novel, Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton Sketchbook, David Collier, graphic novel, Hamilton, Ontario

After having moved to Hamilton, at an art crawl about 2 years back, I met David Collier at Mixed Media.  He was selling and signing Part 2 of the Hamilton Sketchbook.  I ended up buying this copy for another present for Steve.

Hamilton Sketchbook #2, David Collier, Hamilton, Ontario, graphic novel

Hamilton Sketchbook #2, David Collier, Hamilton, Ontario, graphic novel

There’s something really cool about reading about places you’ve been to and places you’ve lived in.  I love the down to earth feel, and day to day life depiction of David’s work.

Today as I rode by Mixed Media on my way to work I noticed a poster by David in the window.  Prints for $10 Hamilton Light Rail Transit.

Hamilton Light Rail Transit, David Collier, Hamilton, graphic artist, illustrator, Mixed Media

I heard that David recently designed the album artwork for relatively new Hamiltonian Luke Doucet and The White Falcons latest album Steel City Trawler, which is a tribute entirely to the city of Hamilton.

Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, graphic novelist, artist, David Collier, Hamilton, Ontario

For a great read about Luke Doucet’s recent move to Hamilton, and more details about his album (produced by Sloan’s Andrew Scott) and about David Collier read the National Post’s article here.
 

 

Luke Doucet and life partner, fellow musician and singer-songwriter Melissa McClelland will be playing a show with their new band White Horse at The Hamilton Place Studio on September 30th with Frazey Ford.

modify your closet

I’ve always loved the corner of Walnut and King.  It’s home to some beautiful old buildings that are in great condition, well maintained, and in the recent past have previously been vacant. However…

MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, King St. vintage & consignment clothing shop

Last fall I was over the moon to see the consignment shop MODify Your Closet open up right on that block. I remember the very day it opened it because I basically ran right in.  The physical store space itself is gorgeous.  Owner Melanie McArthur and store manager Ally Amato renovated the space themselves stripping it back down to it’s  bare bones -original wood floors, and tin 14 foot high ceilings.  Pretty much restoring the 100 year old+ building to it’s primordial state.

MYC now carries men’s wear too along with a great selection of carefully selected men’s & women’s shoes, clothes, vintage ties, with a huge collection of women’s accessories from hats, scarves and belts down to clutches and purses.

50's vintage dress, MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, King St. clothing store

vintage red suitcase, Modify Your Closet, Hamilton, vintage & consignment clothing store

mens vintage shoes, MODify Your Closet, Hamilton, consignment & vintage clothing store

men's summer hat, vintage, Modify Your Closet, Hamilton, clothing store

I regularly peak in and peruse the choice selection of vintage and gently used designer finds.  With every season change the ladies at MYC put on some fantastic sales of up to 50-70% off nearly everything in the store.  I’ve found some amazing steals, and will boast my purchase of 2 denim rompers (because 1 is never enough!), a super cute red and white polka-dot shirt and an adorably sexy black dress ALL for a total of $48!

Another recent addition to the collection of great finds at this store is the vintage pyrex cookware.  Love it!

pyrex vintage dishes, MOdify Your Closet, Hamilton

For more information about this great consignment store read The Hamilton Spectator article about MODify Your Closet  here.

 

*203 King St. east, Hamilton, Ontario, 905.522.2229, M-F 10-6, S 12-5

baked goods

On Saturday we took a short drive to the neighbouring town of Dundas.  One of our favourite and mandatory stops, when in Dundas, is to visit our friends at Picone Fine Food; a great place to find quality local produce, unique dressings, sauces, gourmet oils and vinegars, and other tasty treats.

There was a gorgeous spread of delicious and delicately crafted baked goods.

Pcione Fine Food, Dundas

hotcross buns, Picone Fine Food, Dundas

Picone Fine Foods, Dundas Ontario
meat pie, Picone Fine Food, Dundas

We left with two varieties of meat pie, one chicken and the other beef.   I was told that the pies were handmade by the Picone family matriarch.

*Picone Fine Food, 34 King St. West, Dundas, Ontario

 

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