Tag Archives: in yer neighbourhood

How Inappropriate!

Why is it that every time we see a dog humping someone or something we are wildly amused? I cannot tell you how many times I have been at the dog park, accompanying my friends who have doggies, and witnessed some little (or big) go-getter attempt to get it on with a fellow, (and typically disinterested) K9.  Everyone just sort of stands there voyeuristically observing and laughing…

It’s not unlike this:

– Sylvia “Is-Going-To-Be-Late-For-Work-on-Account-of-Watching-Videos-of-Animals-Fornicating” Stout.

Tagged , , , , , ,

World War Z

In light of the recent Miami based zombie attack, I thought it important to do some research about guns and weaponry, more specifically where one eager Torontonian could purchase such things in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. These things are important; you never want to be caught with your proverbial pants around your ankles when it comes to zombies. They don’t give a sweet fanny-anny fuck if your face is organic, free-range, dolphin friendly, preservative/nitrate free etc.

Enjoy another video on The Globe and Mail Dot Com.

So after typing into Google: “where to buy guns Toronto”, this is what I came up with:

You can purchase them from Kijiji and Craiglist (of course!), but this would not be ideal if suddenly one morning you woke up to a complete shit-show zombie take over. There is a small privately owned ‘husband/wife’ outfit located at Wilson and Dufferin called, “Giovanni’s Gun Shop”. This would be the best bet probably, but they may sell out fast.  There appears to be lots of places to purchase air guns, but those are useless.

I have to say that when it comes to guns, it really sucks to live in Canada. There is no where to purchase anything easily. Who knew that one day I would curse the gun control laws of our country, those laws that at one point I so vehemently supported. Alas… There is no right or wrong, left or right, when it comes to the flesh-eating undead, just survival.

At the very least stock up on big kitchen knives, apparently you’re gonna need something.

Sylvia “Is-Ordering-Her-Machete-From-Craiglist” Stout

Tagged , , , , ,

Eat Yrself Clean

I don’t buy a lot of groceries, but when I do buy groceries, I want them to be ETHICAL GROCERIES. Local …. organic …. sustainable …. dolphin-friendly …. fair-trade …. albatross-friendly …. ocean-wise …. WTF. There are so many things to consider when shopping for food that sometimes I just freeze, right there in the aisle, then grab a box of cereal and bolt. I guess the thing about all of these enviroethical concerns is that once you become aware of them and decide to care, you can’t just de-aware and un-care. Knowledge is power, but it’s also responsibility, and once I really learn what goes into some of the foods I eat, I feel morally compelled to stop buying them. Or, (truth), I keep buying them, and feel terrible about it. For a long time, I’ve been intending to do some research and find out what’s up with some of my favourite foods*, but now I don’t have to because Brad Long of Veritas and Cafe Belong is going to tell me!

He’ll be at Patagonia (500 King St W) this Thursday, along with food educator Debbie Field, to discuss these dilemmas, and hopefully advise attendees (me) how we can “vote” with our grocery dollars/sleep well at night knowing we’re not supporting people who chop the beaks off of chickens. The event begins at six and is free to attend, although they do recommend RSVPing via Facebook, as space is limited. And hey … maybe there’ll be snacks??

Hope to see ya there!


* coffee, cereal, poutine, orange juice, honey, Caesars, yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, Steam Whistle, ice cream, hummus, apples, eggs, Ezekiel bread, and whiskey

Tagged , , , , ,

Durumi & Chocolate Shoes

Toronto is chock-full of cool-ass shit.

So … we are implementing something new around here. Once a week we are going to share a business card belonging to either an inspirational individual or a local Toronto based business with the intent of highlighting  some of our city’s unique offerings. For example, just the other day I was angrily cursing the city’s west side parking ‘situation,’ as I was attempting an eight point turn on Sudbury Street in my mother’s hideous beast of a car aptly named “Bess,” aka the PT Bruiser. I did, however notice that 99 Sudbury offers a Sunday market of fresh local produce, wildflowers, meats, cheeses, so on and so forth. I can’t wait to return and peruse, obviously on foot.

This week we are featuring Durumi & Chocolate Shoes, two separate business entities sharing a collective space located at 416 Queen West, because as Hyeon Moon, owner of Chocolate Shoes says: “Our shoes and clothes go well together.” I went in today to gander about and inject some pretty into my already over-stimulated brain, and was mighty impressed by the selection, quality, and overall decor of the shop. Everything is imported from Korea and is relatively inexpensive for the designs, even if the largest sized shoe they carry looked hopelessly small for my unfortunate gunboats. If you also love to look at aesthetically pleasing things, click on the link above to be redirected to their blog.

(Original photos by Toronto based photog Dennis Marciniak and pulled from BlogTO.)

Also have a look at this article published on BlogTO, for some more pictures and info about this awesome already-noticed-by-s0me-but-not-all gem.

– Sylvia “Why Can’t My Feet Be a Size 8?” Stout

Tagged , , , , ,

Red Wigglers

Sounds dirty… and it is! Dirt is dirty by it’s very nature after all.

The dirt (super-nutrient rich soil, really) in question, is that produced by my brand spankin’ new Dumptown Worm Condo. I purchased this inventive recycled ice cream container turned composter, at the Mutts & Co. travelling market this weekend past. Dumptown, an ongoing urban ‘garbage’ reclamation project started by Mel Sinclair and Warren Ounjian, proves that one person’s trash can most certainly be another person’s treasure. These two next level, enviro-entrpeneurs create new uses for old things. They turn pop bottles into mini mountable herb gardens, old windows into desks and picture frames, milk crates into hanging shelves, and dog hair sheddings into paintbrushes… Rubbish to rubies! Refreshing in a world that seemingly values ‘newness’ and needless wasting.

The Worm Condo is fabricated from three reused commercial sized ice cream containers, and fits comfortably under my kitchen sink. Due to it’s size, it can not feasibly act as a stand alone method for composting, and I will continue to make good use of my green bin in conjunction with my little red wigglers, but I love that this option is relatively odourless and produces the, “gold standard of natural fertilizers” for my new garden.

The worm condo houses a generous smattering of red wigglers, shredded news paper, and kitchen scraps. It employs the stacking system of two hole poked containers resting in a third solid container, as to make easy the process of separating  the wormies from their castings (poop!!!). Once separated, the worm castings can be mixed in with existing soils as a form of nutrient enrichment; you can even soak it in water to “make an energizing fertilizer tea that you pour over crops”.

Now for some Oligochaetology: Red wigglers (aka, panfish worms, trout worms, tiger worms, and red Californian earth worms) are commonly used for vermicomposting due to their adaptability to decaying organic material. These worms like to eat vegan scrappings, so no fats, diary, meat, or related table scraps, but feeding them a crushed egg shell (or a Tums) once a month will provide them with the calcium they need to procreate. They thrive in small spaces, in close proximity to other wigglers, and they prefer warmth and darkness. Sounds like my kind of worm!

I am both excited and intrigued to make use of my new worm condo. I will post pictures in a couple of months when I plant something with the first batch of castings. Stay tuned for any worm related mishaps (Gary is coming over this week), although I hope that doesn’t happen, because it would mean my precious new friends aren’t happy and thriving. In the meantime, check out Dumptown’s tumblr for some reclaimed rubbish eye-candy. Great stuff!

– Sylvia and her Wigglaz.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mutts & Co.

Our dear friends and proprietors of Muttonhead Collective, a unique and enviro-friendly fashion label hailing out of Toronto, are hosting yet another pop-up shoppe and this time are aptly naming it a ‘traveling market’. Who doesn’t love the impermanence, intrigue, and mystery of venues that travel? Think circuses, freak-shows, and carnivals: There is always something to see, eat, drink, point at, and in this case – most certainly to purchase!

On the agenda this time around:

Wednesday- Raw food cooking demo by foodie Gillian Young (5-7)
Thursday – Craft Brewing 101 + Beer tasting (5-7)
Friday – Urban Gardening installation (all day)
Saturday/Sunday – Maverick (from Crown Shaving Co.) is providing gentlemanly shaves + cuts 50% off (11-5)

Check out the poster below for more details, take a wander on over to College at Crawford to get yer magpie on and show your support for local designers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Fun on a hotdawg bun!

– Syl.

Tagged , , , , ,

Gawking at Hawker

Today is one of those days just overflowing with positivity and promise… and all that other hippy-dippy crap. But seriously, it started with a delicious albeit gluttonous brunch of caesers, Freedom Toasts, Ossington Massives et al., at The Lakeview; shared with great friends and lots of laughter. Reason 520 why I love my city: It is just the right size, large-ish and metropolitan, yet cozy enough that on any given “brunch day”, you can collide with great friends by happenstance. Especially is the case on a beautiful and warm spring holiday while dining anywhere near Bellwoods.

On our way homeward we decided to pop our heads into the soon to open Hawker Bar on Ossington, the Laliberte brother’s newest venture; a cozy neighbourhood nook specializing in Singapore street food. (Click the link to learn more about the culture behind this unique cuisine). I have seen it in its many phases of development, but now having witnessed it come together in its final stages, I must say I damn near floated away on a cloud of excitement. I dare not give too much away, it is always more fun to see these brand new spaces for oneself, but whatever you do – pay this spot a visit when she launches. There shan’t be an undilated pupil in the joint.

Gawk on these in the meantime:

Early Stages:

Delicious Fishes:

Mood Lighting: * A comment about this: Lighting really can make or break a space, especially in a bar, especially in a small bar. An overlooked nuance to many, I believe it is one of the most important considerations. The Lalibertes have pulled something off here with their choice. My magpie brain approves!

Now off to frolic with the wildlife avec my partner in crime, Sourz Dino Egg in one hand, one hitter in the other.

– Sssssylvia.

Tagged , , , ,

Nights and Weekends?

There is a band playing RIGHT NOW at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt. Looks like they’re having the time of their lives. “Nights and Weekends” ….. I don’t know who you are, but thank you for creating this impromptu sidewalk party!

Tagged , , ,

Spring Round 2

Friends, Family, lovers, and strangers alike united on this beautiful spring day to share in the second real day of warmth this year.

We hit up Trinity Bellwoods, laid out our blankets, cracked our tall cans, and collectively created this beautiful sketchbook mural – all with the sun at our backs.

Spring has certainly sprung! MENhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Tagged , , , , ,

Paradise Animals

Thanks to Young Lions Music Club for introducing Paradise Animals to us! They’re playing at the Drake tomorrow night. We can’t go but if you like what you hear, you should!

Tagged , , , ,

Rustic Cosmo Cafe

closed roads and
empty tongues
between us tonight
missing that part
of your neck
I bite the tops
of watermelon slices
– Giulia Caruso

So reads the poem plastered to the front window of the Rustic Cosmo Cafe that sits nestled at Queen St. West and Gywnne. This was my second visit to the unassuming cafe nook in Parkdale proper. The first time, I wandered in by happenstance in search of a quick bite and a hot coffee, but it was so jam-packed that people were nearly standing on top of one another begging on a seat.

I was happy to nab a table this past Saturday, the last one available situated right next to the front window. I ambled to the back of the cafe where the cash counter and small yet pragmatic open-style kitchen preside. It took me a few moments to adjust my gaze to the blackboard menu from the spread of drool worthy, sloppy in that homemade-yet-begging-to-be-eaten-kind-of-way tarts, treats, and cupcakes unabashedly perched and on display just out of arms reach. OH THE ICING! OH THE GLUTTONY!

With pupils dilated I trained my gaze to the selection of breakfast options scratched in a rainbow of chalk across the blackboards behind the counter. Being a Saturday I figured a BLT with garlic aioli and a large Americano were in good order. Even though I wasn’t partaking in any libations on this particular day (shocking, I know), this place is licensed. TROUBLE.

While I waited for my order I had a good chance to soak in the surrounding atmosphere and decor. It is just as the sign reads, rustic and little bit quirky. The space isn’t huge, but the high tiled ceiling and exposed brick wall ensures that it appears open and airy. A variety of photographs hang from chains lending a splash of colour and culture. There are about five booths and a smattering of tables. Save for the brick wall, the space has been painted in shades of slate and burgundy; dark but not dreary. I imagine that some of the regular patrons are appreciative of this, especially after a late night prior.

On Saturday it was mostly a young crowd – a fairly typical bunch for the Parkdale scene, babbling joyously about life and the events of last eve. This place is fitting for a solo, a couple, or a small crowd. The prices are average and fair, the service is efficient, even if it is a bit indifferent, and the atmosphere is inviting. As I munched my simply delectable BLT and sipped my americano, I made a definite decision to come back. I like it!

The Rustic Cosmo Cafe was opened 17 years ago and is owned and operated by a local family. It is open for business seven days a week, brunch on the weekend, and is located at 1278 Queen Street West. Check it out!

Tagged , , ,

Pvt. Wars — Made Public For Our Entertainment and Edification

Last night we went to see a great play. Pvt. Wars, written in 1979 by James McLure, tells the story of three Vietnam War veterans: Gately, Natwick, and Silvio. Patients in an army hospital, they have various physical and emotional wounds. The Red One Theatre Collective’s production stays mostly faithful to the script, altering only a few lines — those that reference 1970s pop culture — in order to create a more timeless, relevant piece.

Red One members Benjamin Blais (Gately) and David Reale (Silvio), along with Joe Dinicol (Natwick), are young Toronto actors at the top of their game … they’re kinetic and intensely alive, inhabiting their characters in the most organic way imaginable, and clearly enjoying themselves immensely. They’re pretty agile, too, which is a blessing given the very limited stage space they are afforded. The Department, on Dundas West at Beaconsfield, is a smallish gallery, but following some unexpected venue woes, it became a godsend for the production. The space works surprisingly well; the show is performed in the round and at very close range, lending a sense of immediacy, and hilarity. Just don’t stretch your legs while sitting in the front row: you may inadvertently trip Reale as he storms past in his satin bathrobe and work boots, crotch-grabbing maniacally as he goes.

Throughout the play, bits of important information are gradually revealed to us. But most of the backstory is still shrouded in mystery, so it’s largely up to the characters themselves to elicit and hold our interest. The compelling script, combined with the strong cast, achieves this. There’s a lot of veering back and forth between the crass, the humourous, the profound. Overall I’d say Pvt. Wars is a comedy … maybe … I guess? But it’s overlaid with poignancy, longing, and loss. Regardless, there’s no fat left on the show; it’s all been trimmed off. What remains is short, sharp, and snappy. When the show was over, my first thought was, “Already??”

I left feeling inspired by the actors — their passion and ingenuity, their maverick attitude towards theatre. By all appearances, Red One operates on a shoestring, but they do it with style, which I admire. Available at the shows are dog tags customized with the name of the show and the date, for a suggested donation of $2. I thought this was a creative way to solicit donations for a very DIY collective. Also, I bought five of them, deftly demonstrating one of the Cardinal Rules of Swag: human peoples like shiny things!

Pvt. Wars shows twice nightly through Saturday the 25th at The Department (1389 Dundas W)

Tagged , , ,

We love Permanent Daylight

Raina Douris was born from a fairytale. I know this because I have met her unicorn.

Take a glimpse inside her mind by checking out her awesome prints: Permanent Daylight. I have posted some of my favourites in the meantime.

Tagged , , , ,

Beautiful Strangers

Speaking of Die Antwoord, I caught their show at the Phoenix last night, and, well, the love affair continues. I can’t get enough of these weirdos! Apparently I am not alone; the show was Sold Out, and since we’d neglected to buy tickets, guess who stood out in the rain for an hour rustlin’ up a pair? This girl. It just goes to show how important it is to plan these things out beforehand. I also forgot my earplugs, but a really nice guy who works at the Phoenix managed to find some for me (thank you Paul!) It was one of several warm and friendly human connections we made that evening. We also witnessed plenty of rudeness and passive-aggressive snarking, which seem to be common at shows in Toronto.

In fact, I’ve been thinking about the concept of “show ettiquette” a lot lately … does it even exist? Seldom are we Torontonians forced into such close quarters with our fellow humans, and when we are, the results can be volatile. It’s like the subway at rush hour, but with some serious emotion involved: “You think you love this band? love this band!” Add some alcohol and drugs, and you’ve got a human soup that may bubble over in all kinds of ways. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject, dear readers …..

Anyways, Die Antwoord. Which is Afrikaans for “The Answer.” I’m not at all sure what the question is. But if I had to guess I’d say it’s, “Where can I find some avant-garde South African hip-hop/performance art that’s flashy, trashy, and funny, featuring a male singer who has been wearing the same pair of boxer shorts for years, and a female singer with a really intense mullet?”


Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er are backed by DJ Hi-Tek. Not Talib’s guy; he’s a South African DJ who has for some reason chosen to go by the same moniker. Regardless, he spun some fat tracks, went shirtless, got sweaty, and in all other ways held it down. Ninja is a great stage personality …. ugly-cute and charismatic, he interacted with fans in the front row, crowdsurfed like a pro, and even paused during a verse to break up some animosity in the pit. However compelling Ninja was, though, I spent very little time actually watching him since it was so difficult to drag my eyes away from Miss Vi$$er. “Pixie” doesn’t even begin to describe her tininess, her cuteness, and her fierceness. She spat verses in a cartoonishly squeaky voice. And when she rolled out all of her R’s in “Rich Bitch,” making it sound more like “Rrrreeach Beach,” I practically barfed a rainbow.

As well as being bandmates, Ninja and Yo-Landi are real-life husband and wife, and the love really showed on stage. Each acted as the other’s hype man, and they danced in unison while wearing matching oversized sweatsuits. They kept the energy high throughout a set that went by all too quickly.

I loved every minute of the show … Die Antwoord sound much better live than on any recording I’ve heard, which is always a good sign. There was an incredible energy in the room. More than anything I enjoyed the confluence of talent, humour, and oddness. I could spend hours pulling back the onion skin layers of reality-vs-art-vs-artifice, but I’m having too much fun with Die Antwoord to care.

In the comments for this vid: “Someone can explain this…. ? Please”

Tagged , , , , , ,

On Late Nite Bites …

Whether you’re a born and bred Torontonian or a relocated Canadian of sorts, you’re aware of how rapidly this city is expanding, and it is exciting to be a part of the growth. Countless times, we’ve heard our beloved Toronto compared to the great and vast American cities of Chicago and NYC. Last night we were at the Lakeview Restaurant, and we think it helps solidify the validity of these comparisons …

New York is notoriously the city that never sleeps. But our nocturnal experiences in Toronto over the past year or so have made us realize that it, too, fosters a serious late night/early morning culture.  Any city that supports a network of night crawlers must have good, accessible, all-night eateries. They can serve as a last stop to fill the belly before bed, or a quick fueling station before the party goes after-hours. The Lakeview reminds us of 24 hour diners in NYC: full of young drunks, and cheerfully sketchy. Yet there is something very satisfying — maybe even profound — about the experience of eating with your fellow partiers in an environment like that.

The Lakeview originally opened in 1932. Presumably, at that time, one could actually view the Lake from Dundas and Ossington. (If you have any information on this subject, please, dear reader, enlighten us! We’re balls at topography, but we love to learn!) In 1947, the restaurant was reopened as The Lakeview Lunch, which was its longest incarnation and the one many Torontonians best recall. From what I could gather, reading reviews and reminiscences, it was a loveable (?) dive. A BlogTO review from 2007 (http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/lakeviewlunch) is affectionate, but many of the comments vehemently contradict the reviewer’s impressions. Regardless, it seems obvious the Lunch was in need of a major overhaul, which is what it received in 2008.

Today, the place looks and feels amazing. As others have noted, it embodies charming kitsch dujour — just like countless other places in Toronto. The difference is that at the Lakeview, there’s a solid foundation of history underneath that retro textured wallpaper. And … well … maybe it was the joint we’d smoked prior to entry, but I swear you can just feel it.

All history aside, though, the place is slickly run by some very clever people who understand their target market. The music is indie, the servers are alternawhatever, and the food is retro trash. Yes, they serve disco fries! The words “organic,” “free-run,” and “naturally raised” all appear on the menu. It’s a neighbourhood place. And it is, literally, always open. For those countless members of our generation who crave tradition, authenticity, and a sense of community … it’s bangarang magic.

And that’s what we want it to be. We probably won’t ever head there for brunch, lunch, or dinner. We’re blessed with so many great restaurants in our area that can serve up those traditional meals far better than The Lakeview can. It is, after all, a diner. But it’s majestic, somehow … rich with past. And at three am, it is everything we crave.

Tagged , , , ,

Yeti MENH!

Nothing says wintertime like a grinnin’ Yeti! This one we happened across in Kensington Market and we believe he is friendly!

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: