Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bill's Organic Produce

Bill did a fun banner last week for Queen Fruit Mart, his favourite grocer on Queen West for their organic food cooler.
The produce enters from stage right.
I love the way this turnip is painted.
And this scallion in bell bottoms
I adore this cheeky beet in her long green skirt,
and her squash friend.
Bon appétit, Bathurst and Queen!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baldwin Street Village

On Sunday, in total denial of the -27C wind chill, John and I decided to brunch at  John's Italian Caffe in Baldwin Street Village. We caught a streetcar to Baldwin and Spadina and walked across Baldwin Street with its fun architecture. I love the working class cottages above.
Prefer mansions? How about George Brown's 2nd Empire Victorian version? Senator Brown was one of the Fathers of Confederation, you know. It apparently has some nice original details remaining ...chandeliers and such.
Crossing Beverley Street we enter the Village. It's Arctic out here so we duck quickly into our destination, John's Italian Caffe. Our friends, Harriet and Nellie introduced it to us a week ago. Can't wait for summer so we can sit on the patio.
Upon entering you are greeted with the funky bar which promises cafe lattes.
We were the first fools to brave the cold to come eat so we had our pick of window tables.
We both ordered frittatas; a Porcetta for me, a Verdure for John. Tasty with nice roasted potatoes, a salad, fruit and crostini. Thats my bowl of cafe latte and John's beer. Very satisfying and not badly priced.
After brunch we cut up Henry St and passed the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, crossing onto Cecil St. Soon we were up on College St headed towards our fave 2nd-hand bookstores -- a Sunday ritual.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Clear, cold, Sunday

It was a clear, cold day in January. It was too cold to ride our bikes, so we walked along the lake shore on our way to catch the Spadina streetcar.
The ice on the lake was thin enough to seem to breath as the water swelled under it. That's the reflection of the Malting Plant silos.
We caught the Spadina car north and got out in Chinatown. The Pho Hung was unusually quiet for a Sunday afternoon.
Shelley Savor introduced us to what is now one of Bill's favourite Vietnamese lunches -- two kinds of pork on rice with a fried egg. 
I love their rice with sauteed vegetables.
Clearly we are at the melting point but it sure felt a lot colder than that.
Bill slipped into Cora's Kitchen on Kensington Avenue for a sweet. I stayed out on the sidewalk and took this picture. The next moment a car pulled up and parked right in front of the dog. (Please click on the pics to see them larger.)
Waiting for Bill outside the grocery store on Augusta Avenue I was taking pictures without looking through the camera when this handsome guy walked right into my headlights.
Bill and I had a look at the books at She Said Boom on College Street, then waited to cross Bathurst with this couple. I hadn't meant for these two pictures to go together but they do. Bill found a book of Dore illustrations at Balfour Books then we hurried home to our cozy nest.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A date with Nellie & Harriet

On Saturday John and I met Harriet and her cousin, Nellie Holmes at John's Italian Caffe on Baldwin Street for lunch.
Harriet and John above. Me and Nellie bellow.
After much deliberation Harriet, John and I had yummy lasagnas and Nellie had a divine linguine with pesto and goat cheese. Then we walked over to the Textile Museum at 55 Centre Avenue in old Chinatown.
John (above) is standing in front of a thread sculpture by Kai Chan, part of A Spider's Logic, a great retrospective, covering 35 years of Chan's work.
Nellie, a textile artist, had specifically come into town to see Drawing with Scissors: Molas from Kuna Yala, a show of the appliqué panels that decorate the blouses of the Kuna people, an indigenous race from Panama.
Both shows are well worth a visit!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reta at 91

Bill's mother Reta invited us to lunch before her 91st birthday dinner. We surprised her with a tiny bottle of Moët et Chandon Champagne which, she claimed, went straight to her head. Then Bill set up the DVD of "Babies" -- which we all loved.
Reta showed us how the poinsettia we brought for Christmas was still healthy and happy.
Her daughter Kathy and her husband Brian dropped in soon after, then her son Len and his wife Merla. They posed for me in the parking lot in front of the Mandarin Restaurant in St Catharines.
While we were waiting to be seated, Reta cracked up while I Kinneared her.
Such a happy, healthy 91 year old ham!
Reta and Kathy survey the wine list, before heading off to sample the extensive buffet of both Chinese and American cuisine.
Look Reta, here's my first Mandarin plate! Lots of little tastes: clockwise from one o'clock: roast chicken, lemon chicken, grilled shrimp on skewers, baked salmon, green beans sauteed with red pepper, an egg roll with plum sauce, noodles,  black pepper steak and french fries.

First Snowfall

John headed off to work in a blur of snow on Saturday. It was the first snowfall of note that Toronto has experienced so far this winter. We got about 5 cm, I believe. I headed off to Kensington Market to shop.
As I walked into the market along Nassau street the little yards had been transformed by the white stuff.
Walking down Spadina Avenue afterwards the bright signage of Chinatown was made all the more colourful by the blanket of white
As a winter cyclist I had mixed-feelings about the beauty of these bicycles buried in snow.
Everything including hoardings looked fresh along Queen Street West.
Walking down Bathurst Street, I passed these Victorian houses which I have loved for decades. Winter has officially arrived!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Dinner

On New Year's Day Bill and I have a tradition of sharing a meal with our friends Gareth and Graham. This year they asked us to have dinner at their place.
Before dinner, Gareth took us upstairs to show us a new arrangement of paintings.
I wandered about the house looking for pictures.
Dinner was a lovely roast of lamb with winter vegetables. They patiently allowed me to take a picture of my food. Does that look delicious? The steamed green beans and celery were a nice light addition.
Graham is a connoisseur of desserts. Here is a slice of an orange cake he wanted to try out, with a salad of mandarin sections, blueberries and pomegranate seeds. The cake was delicious, with a pudding-quality. Yummers!
After dinner we relaxed in the living room
and enjoyed the first night of the new year together.