Category Archives: City

Supercrawl 2013

A couple weeks ago, I went to Supercrawl in Hamilton, a city about an hour away from Toronto.  Supercrawl was a two-day festival over Friday and Saturday, celebrating music, art, and culture. While I had heard about the emerging art scene in Hamilton, this was my first time experiencing it, and I was excited to explore Hamilton!

Each year, Supercrawl gets bigger and I can definitely see why. The biggest draw to Supercrawl for me initially is the music line-up. This year they had some big bands such as Passion Pit, Yo La Tengo and Said the Whale. But I fell in love with so much more.

Supercrawl took place along a blocked off James Street North, so there was no need to worry about cars except for one crossing. We spotted interesting art in strange places.

SupercrawlA functional merry go round made out of scrap metal.

Supercrawl-003Sculptures made out of packing tape

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There were so many cool vendors both on the street and vintage shops along James Street North.  

In particular, I found out about a very cute pop up vintage vendor, Dizzy Alice. Their selection of goods was so charming! I was also impressed at the quality. In my brief foray into vintage stores, I noticed things like broken zippers and frayed ends, which I understood was part of the hunt, but it was sometimes frustrating. So I was happy that I found a cute purse in good shape there. Not too adventurous, but I had been looking like something like this for a while.

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I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of their stall as it was freezing that Friday night we were there. This is Dizzy Alice’s write-up about Supercrawl. There were a couple items that I was eying that night. Now  I am kicking myself for not getting them. But I will definitely try to follow these girls around as their “shop” pops up in more places.

Part of the Supercrawl took place by Lake Ontario, as there was another stage by the water a bit further north than the rest of the event. This provided some serene views.

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Lastly, the music was fantastic. I was happy to see Young Galaxy play. It was also amazing to see the legends from the ’90s, Yo La Tengo, play. I wasn’t too ready for the ambient sounds live, but it was a good time. 

Then for the last musical act of the weekend, I somehow ended up literally front and centre for Passion Pit. That was a surreal experience in such a large (and younger) crowd. It was a lively show.

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This was a grand break from school and a lovely way to spend a fall-ish weekend.

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Endless Summer

Be right back.

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spring-summer bake

I know most don’t associate summer with a hot oven, but I quite enjoy baking so I’ve taken advantage of some more free time to bake. I did try to make summery baked goods though.

First, browned butter blueberry muffins from Joy the Baker’s cookbook. This was my first time making browned  butter and I can see how intoxicating it is! I need some more practice browning butter, but I don’t mind that opportunity. That said, these muffins are definitely not the healthy kind.

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June12-001I made a lime ginger cake with a lime frosting. I liked the idea of using ginger with a bright flavour like lime, since most of the time I think of ginger with molasses and wintertime.

June12-003Peanut butter bacon pancakes… yep. 

June12-002Lastly, a non-food shot: I’ve been going back home more frequently and I snapped this shot at Union waiting for the train. There’s a lotof work going on and it’s quite exciting.

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Christmas time is (almost) here

Finished exams, two more papers, let’s go.

Mini cupcakes from Prairie Girl Bakery: eggnog on vanilla and Irish cream on chocolate. Treat yo’ self, right?

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Victorian carollers in St. James Park.

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I finally went inside the Allan Gardens Conservatory at Jarvis. What a lovely surprise in the middle of the city. It was warm and humid, and just smelled wonderful. The hours of operation are 10-5, but it is open on weekends.

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Rude Veg!

I had the great luck somehow to win front row centre tickets to see Jamie Oliver at Massey Hall in Toronto last Friday. I have never sat in the front row before, so this was extra exciting. We did have to look up from our seats, but we didn’t have to crane our necks at all.

Jamie was very charming, and talked about a mix of strange childhood and parenting anecdotes, as well as some serious points about food and our communities. For example, grocery stores divert vegetables such as carrots or potatoes that look like “rude” things or body parts, ahem… Jame called these “rude veg.” Ha ha! Not selling rude veg wastes a lot of food though, so it is also an important issue. Of course, the whole talk was in Jamie’s lovely British accent. Matt Galloway from the CBC interviewed Jamie.

My own experiments in the kitchen have been a little non-existent, but here are some highlights.

Simple, yet comforting: tortilla wrap with peanut butter and banana. What a grade school lunch 😉

Oatmeal with banana and Mutsu apples from the St. Lawrence Market, using up the last of the peanut butter in the jar.

I made pork chops recently by frying them on both sides. I deglazed the pan with orange juice and marmalade to make a tangy sauce. This dish was from a recipe in Michael Smith’s Fast Flavours. I am really cooking through a lot of the recipes in this book.

Finally, my sister was super swell, and made us roast beef last night – a perfect Sunday roast. She didn’t use a recipe from Jamie’s new cookbook, Jamie’s Great Britain, which came with the ticket to the talk, but I thought it was appropriate to show it in this photo. I hope I can try some recipes from Jamie’s book soon. I’ve certainly been admiring all the wonderful pictures inside.

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word up

Fall is officially here: time to eat oatmeal with diced apple, my first apples of the season!

And time to make a pot of spicy lentils with kale and sweet potato, from this recipe. After an unpleasant experience with jalapeno peppers when I was about ten, I have a slight fear of handling peppers, so instead of seranno pepper, I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes.  Cooking bucket list item?

I stopped by Word on the Street for a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday fall afternoon.  I enjoyed seeing the different publishers and magazines all around Queen’s Park Circle.

I must admit I was mostly there to see Food Network celebrity chef Michael Smith speak about cookbooks. He was pretty honest about his status in the book world, when he acknowledged that he was following a talk by John Ralston Saul and preceding one by David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin. He made, however, a very passionate case about the food we eat and where it comes from.

After the talk, I picked up his new cookbook, Fast Flavours. I met him briefly when I got the book signed — indeed, he is very tall!

Tonight I made a recipe from Fast Flavours: apple chicken with rosemary vanilla chutney.  Well, I didn’t have dried rosemary so I used thyme; I guess that would make it thyme vanilla chutney. I also felt like adding cinnamon to go with the apples and so I did, in true Michael Smith fashion. The key to the “fast flavours” was browning the chicken before cooking it covered to speed up the cooking time. It was quite a pleasant fall dinner.

There are a lot more recipes from Fast Flavours I hope to try. They actually seem approachable both in terms of ingredients and the time required.

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summer/fall

It’s funny that it took a game of evening lawn bowling to make me comfortable with fall approaching, since lawn bowling is more of a summer sport. The brisk air made me think of pumpkin pie. Lawn bowling was such a great break from school.

West Toronto Lawn Bowling Club

Dreamy mural at Keele subway station, near the lawn bowling club.

Last week I made a batch of ratatouille following Michael Smith’s recipe, which called to saute the veggies including the zucchini and eggplant separately first to develop their flavours, instead of throwing everything into a pot. It took a bit more effort, but it was worth it. One evening, I had the ratatouille with brown rice and a fried egg.

Weekend breakfast of scrambled tofu with onion and a couple of tomatoes that my sister lovingly grew on our balcony (and I lovingly ate) + basil/parsley also from the balcony garden + tortilla.

On Friday I stopped by Gourmet Gringos, a Latin American street food truck, to get some chicken tacos. The food truck was parked in Corktown Gas — yup, a gas station. It was also raining when I went, but that didn’t stop people from lining up. It was quite funny watching people put down their umbrellas to add hot sauce to their food and then scramble away to eat their lunch. I did exactly the same 🙂

There was a generous portion of braised chicken, which was moist and flavourful. The cilantro added brightness to the dish. I didn’t like the mayo sauce as much, but that may have been just personal preference.

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