Toronto

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st, 2010

What did you do to celebrate?

Apparently we ate our faces off.

Starting with last night. John was feeling like exercising his culinary chops, so he made his very first risotto. Perfection (and looking forward to the leftovers tonight).

An unusual midweek day off for us meant heading over to the Annex to visit a favourite brunch spot that has been off our roster lately. At Insomnia, we always sit at the bar, and I secretly am peeved when someone is sitting in our precise spot, as there was today (bar was otherwise empty). Our favourite waitress was there which made up for that! By the way, Insomnia has great coffee. You just want to sit there and drink and drink and drink. I got the eggs florentine. They put dill in the sauce, and their potatoes are crazy ketchupy and strangely yummy.

John got the waffle with fruit. I took it to the extreme and had one quarter of it for dessert. What is my problem?

Because we slept in this morning (luxurious!), we literally headed home after brunch and packed up our stuff for a picnic in the park. We met Aprile and Jory, and Chloé and Adam at the busy High Park entrance. I proceeded to lead them into uncharted territory in the search for the perfect picnic spot. We ended up near the restaurant (charted territory). John brought his trusty splint basket!

A nice little spot.

Aprile and Jory are using the Furoshiki paper gift we brought back for them from Japan!

And the eating begins again! Aprile roasted pork this morning and we had sandwiches. Delish.

Jory’s potato salad.

A musical interlude.

Chloé’s blueberry scones, Aprile’s apple and raspberry pie, and oh no! I forgot to have Aprile’s granola bar for the road. Dang. Recipes please. Chloé had the bright idea of putting whip cream and strawberries on the scones to make them into impromptu strawberry shortcakes and my stomach approved.

Food coma.

Aprile’s homemade raspberry lemonade. Pretty!

That was my first ever High Park picnic, and it was so relaxing and fun. So glad that we live nearby! Thanks to everyone for all the delicious food that you brought. Sorry we kind of free loaded. Heh…..

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Nikole Herriott’s home

June 9th, 2010

Did everyone get a chance to see Nikole Herriot’s home on Design Sponge this week?

Nikole and Celine (Bonjour Celine) got together to photograph the space and the result is just fantastic! Nikole definitely scored a perfect apartment in one of Toronto’s older buildings, my guess it’s a low-rise. It just goes to show it’s not about how much space you have, it’s how you choose to use (and accessorize) the space.

We love the simplicity of Nikole’s bedroom. The wonderful black painted wall, crisp white sheets, and Eames rocker with a reindeer hide draped over it.

We’re still waiting on a few things to come together before we reveal our own finished bedroom, but it’s really coming along.

A beautiful white kitchen with ceramic tiles and open shelves.

Does that glass brush looks familiar?

Make sure you check out the full post here (love the bathroom!).

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Mitzi’s cafe

May 28th, 2010

Today we got up early to have some breakfast before opening the store. We were headed to Grapefruit Moon but because of the crazy Gardiner closure (for the whole summer, no less!) the traffic going cross town was horrendous. Regardless, it was a beautiful day and we wanted to be outside so we went to one of our favorite localish haunts “Mitzi’s” on Sorauren (the College St. location is equally great).

Juli was wearing her new outfit from Robber.

I had my summer hat on.

This brunch is by far the best bang for your buck in Toronto! We always get the “Mitzi’s breakfast”: the best ever sour dough toast, two eggs, bacon, greens (we substitute the potatoes for greens), and a good amount of fruit, X 2 and two cups of coffee costs around 20 bucks.

YUMMERS!

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Spaces: Juliana Neufeld, version 2.0

May 18th, 2010

Hey Everyone, we hope all of you had a great weekend!

Ours ended with a very nice email from one of our first Kitka submitters, Juliana Neufeld (click to be sure to check out her old space, to see how things have evolved!).

She’s got a new place and sent some photos to share! BTW, we love the idea of using a black board wall as a large mural canvas, to be changed up once and awhile. If only we weren’t so graphically challenged here at Kitka!

SPACE:

Me, Juliana Neufeld, illustrator and painter and Sammy Rawal, music video director and photographer both lived in a basement prior to our current apartment and were craving hardwood and light when we started our search for a new dwelling. We found a lovely 3rd floor Apartment at College and Gladstone with skylights in the kitchen and bathroom and a nice sized patio. Sammy and I have similar graphic sensibilities so we were both so excited to decorate the place, combining our love of thrift and antique store finds with bold textiles, graphic lines and colour.

We knew when we moved into a larger space that we wanted to do a blackboard wall. Right now we have a Keith Haring-esque drawing going on, but we like to change it up every month, to give the whole kitchen/living room area a totally different vibe. I’ve got plans to draw a giant owl mural next.

Everything displayed on these shelves are gifts from friends and loved ones over the years. The combination of sentimental value and good design make these items pretty priceless to both of us.

The table was a good find at Cindiloowhoo on Ossington.We have plans to paint the chairs a glossy white but haven’t found the time yet. A good summer project, I guess. The image above the table is a beautiful photograph of a silver toy sail boat by  friend and fellow Ryerson photo graduate Chris Boyne.

We had a little wall space snuggled in between the hall dividing our bedrooms, so we decided to throw up some of our old favorite books. We have more globes than we know what to do with, so the floating shelf was a perfect space to balance one of them.

My bedroom is still a work in progress..I get so excited about textiles and can’t help picking them up wherever I travel. It’s always a fun challenge trying to balance and layer them in ways that still project a sense of calm.

The chair was a $15 Roncesvalles find and the framed poster I found (and fell head over heels for) at The Public Butter in Parkdale.

I found this adorable old ketchup squeeze bottle at the downstairs of 69 Vintage on Bloor, which is now a perfect dispenser for dishwashing soap.

The living room is an eclectic mix of our finds over the years. The apartment is by no means big, but we’ve managed to get lots of “stuff” in here. The newest find was a vintage film poster advertising the sixties films “Seven Thieves” and “Tall Story” that I picked up at Queen West Antiques in Roncesvalles.

A major work in progress…We have plans to let greenery take over the space. Would love to get vines, some potted trees and plants scattered around the patio. And of course a BBQ!

This pup is one half of a salt and pepper duo that I found at a friend’s garage sale. I kind of like him better all by himself.

Sammy painted this awesome Keith Haring  mural on his wall. And the the poster above the bed is Artist John Todd’s adaptation of the Keep Calm Carry On poster from Function 13 in Kensington market.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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Untitled, Per Kristiansen

April 28th, 2010

Visit us at mjölk during the month of May to see Per Kristiansen’s photographic series, Untitled.

There is something beyond an edifying pleasure in the act of comparing, in the impulse to investigate and catalog the infinite ways any one thing can appear, its ‘mood’; its ‘feel’; as cast in the Mandelbrodian algorithms of nature. To really look closely at something, as a fly on the wall of the ceaseless changes that happen with or without our hand, is the search, however delusive, for its true form.

While you are at it, make it a date to The Junction and visit the 20+ venues who are also participating in the CONTACT Photography Festival (search Junction).

On Saturday, May 8 from 6-9pm there will be a public reception throughout the neighborhood, but we invite our loyal Kitka readers to the private reception from 9-11pm. If you would like to attend, we require you to RSVP to info[at]kitkadesigntoronto[dot]com.

We couldn’t do this alone. A warm and special thanks goes out to:

Richard Marazzi, for his design work.

The Go Lightly Jazz Band, for their great music.

Rekorderlig Berry Cider, for a great local cider.

Rekorderlig Cider, for a great local cider.

Warsteiner Beer, for supplying a fantastic beer.

Organized Crime Winery, for a champion Ontario wine.

The Junction BIA, for their support of the arts.

Guuing is addictive.

March 23rd, 2010

Looks like this is the week of good eats! Last night we went with our fellow Japanophiles Aprile and Jory to Guu Izakaya (398 Church St). I know there’s been a lot of buzz since they opened but *LOVE*. The style is Tokyo pub, beer and appetizers with communal tables and a boisterous hum. At first the yelling is distracting but it quickly becomes charming a few sips of Sapporo in. Every person that comes or goes from the restaurant is greeted with big smiles that are genuinely endearing.

It was really hard to decide on what to eat – everything looked so good – so we just ordered with reckless abandon.

The large glass of beer dwarfs Jory. Aprile ordered some crazy marble pop. John had warm sake and I had a small Sapporo (designated driver!).

The parade of food begins (I am fully guessing at the descriptions)…deep fried octopus balls, I think.

Calamari

hmm…grilled ribs?

Udon noodles with roe – tasted like salmon a bit, John said it was cod?

Aprile and I got the butakimchi bibimbap.

Jellyfish something or other (sorry, not helpful!).

John ordered fried chicken accidentally, but it was delicious and not greasy. Of course there is the obligatory edamame.

Grilled pork.

I feel like we had even more food than this but it appears this is it.

The girls. Really casual, warm atmosphere.

With really nice architectural features like these little windows.

The boys. Jory is thinking really hard about what he wants to order next.

Birthday noms. Everyone sings Happy Birthday like they do at family restaurants, minus the awkward silence before and after. It was sweet, because everyone in the restaurant is having a good time.

Tempura banana with coconut ice cream. Amazing, we wish we ordered more!

The most modern bowl of ice cream ever. I mean, charcoal? It’s sesame flavored – weird but actually pretty good.

The prices are really great which makes you order like it’s the last supper. The sheer length of our bill was pretty ridiculous, but we had such a good time it was worth it! At the bottom of the receipt it says “Be Careful!! Guuing is addictive.” and we’d have to agree. If it wasn’t for the 2 hour maximum we would have stayed all night. We’re praying that they open another location in the west end (it is after all a Vancouver-based “chain”), but we’ll make the trek again and again if we have to.

ps. this place is still mad busy, so show up early or expect a wait! Also, best to go in a group!

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