“Argentinean Cafe & Home Accessories Shop”
506 Adelaide Street West
One of my favourite little stores in Toronto is La Merceria. I heard about it thru a friend who loves small independent boutiques, a few years back. I ventured one day to check it out. What a gem!
Turns out, I knew the owner - Sandra Rojas-Chinni - from first year university. Her and her husband opened this shop together.
I loved this store from the beginning. It had the lovely combination of quaint coffee shop mixed in with a great boutique selling everything from housewares, paper items & clothing. The first thing I thought of was “Wow, this place reminds me of a little Caban.”
Sidebar: Caban was a store that Club Monaco opened in a few select cities that sold real cool stuff: housewares, clothing, jewelry, books, candles, books, etc. They closed them, to everyone’s disappointment, to make way for Joe Fresh (rumor has it). Turns out, Sandra (if I remember correctly) worked for a while with Caban - hence the Caban inspired products she sells.
It’s a small space but well thought out. Cafe in the front, then store along the side and to the back. Coffee bar on the opposite side. Sandra has a great eye for detail - her branding is nice and simple right down to the packaging. Oh, and I love the font she uses.
What I love about this place: It’s off the beaten path - on Adelaide street between Bathurst and Portland - downtown Toronto. Not much around for stores. Great coffee. Amazing Empanada’s. K. Hall Candles. Small selection of jewelry. I love it all!
Please check them out!
(image from styleathome.com)
What’s the best way to get to know a city (apart from on foot and the internet)? The written word! I love magazines and love when cities have their own “bible” as a resource for all things politics, food, culture, arts, fashion, etc.
When I was living in Toronto, I had a subscription to Toronto Life (torontolife.com). I loved it. Sometimes a little to high brow for my liking, but it always had interesting articles and of course, reviews on food and restaurants.
On the other side, there were two newspapers that were published every Thursday: NOW Magazine (nowtoronto.com) & The Grid (thegridto.com). I would say these were catering to hipsters, hippies, people who really cared about the city, music lovers and the LGBT crowd. These two papers are always good for up to date info on live music, arts, movie and theatre reviews, along with street fashion and my fav, the “Sightings” section.
So what has been my “go to” since I moved to San Francisco?
First, there’s San Francisco (sanfranmag.com). It’s thick, glossy, large and crammed with stuff. It’s my Toronto Life. Pretty much contains the same stuff, catering to a higher income group of people. Food, arts, “social” scene, politics, real estate, etc. Thankfully, on one of my many solo adventures out to a music festival, they had a booth, I drew a ticket and boom! I now have a year’s subscription to the magazine. Jumpy claps!
Second there is 7x7 (7x7.com) That’s right, a magazine named after the 7 by 7 square miles that this city is. Clever. I like this magazine a lot. It’s a little hipper (and hipster) and younger than San Fran Mag. It also has great movie reviews and restaurant reviews.
BONUS: I have also thrown in Sunset (sunset.com) magazine. It’s a great general magazine for “west coast living”. REALLY good recipes and also good ideas for weekend getaways. It’s found a sweet spot in my magazine rack because it also includes British Columbia.
Happy Reading lovies!
It’s true, I moved to the San Francisco, a city that sits on one of the most active fault lines in the world. Toronto, not so much - although it has had two tremors in the last year. Since experiencing two significant shakers in one day (October 20), I have become fascinated with this website from the US Geological Survey: Where, When, How big, etc. My only beef with it - it doesn’t tell you when, or where, the next one will happen.
Check it out:
Also, apparently there is predictions for a big one coming soon. YIKES!
(Oh, and I am not ashamed to admit it, the second one I felt in my 11th floor apartment made me feel very unsettled for quite some time after.)
One of my FAVOURITE things about Toronto is they host TIFF: The Toronto International Film Festival. The only public film festival in the world.
I started off volunteering at the festival about 8 years ago and then started going as a general viewer. Soon after that, my sister and I starting making TIFF our annual “thing” - getting a ten pack of tickets, making our 1st and 2nd selects, and then getting giddy about the 5 movies we were going to see. Thanks sister, as you generally did all the leg work getting the tickets!
We became one of “those” festival goers. Zipping from one film to another, hydrating and then dissecting what we had seen after. So. Much. Fun.
So, in the spirit of “opening day” for TIFF11, I give you a random dump of movies that I would go see - commentary courtesy of torontolife.com
The Descendants - George Clooney is back on the Oscar campaign with this one. The Descendants, wowed just about everybody at the recent Telluride Film Festival and is now being proclaimed a certain Best Picture nominee. It’s the latest from Academy fave Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways), and features Clooney as an absentee dad forced to take care of his daughters after his wife falls into a coma. Aw. FYI, I am a huge Clooney fan and am sad that he’s in town & I am not ;-)
The Eye of the Storm - Australian Fred Schepisi (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Six Degrees of Separation) is arguably one of the greatest living film directors, but because he occasionally has to pay the bills (ahem, It Runs in the Family), he never gets the credit he deserves. His latest, about a brother and sister vying for their mother’s inheritance, got rave reviews at the recent Melbourne International Film Festival, as did his sterling cast: Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling. FYI, I am a huge fan of Geoffrey Rush. Met him last year after The King’s Speech. Charmer.
Drive - This thriller about a Hollywood stuntman (Ryan Gosling) who commits a crime in order to help out a neighbour (Carey Mulligan) has already been anointed the next big thing by critics who saw it at Cannes. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (the Pusher trilogy, Bronson) apparently pulls out all the stops and shows today’s Hollywood hacks how to do action right. Let’s hope the critics weren’t just drunk on French wine. FYI, Gosling is Canadian. I support Canadian content!!
Take This Waltz - Sarah Polley returns to the director’s chair after her great Alice Munro adaptation Away From Her. Those who’ve read the script for Take This Waltz, about three Queen West types (Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby) who get caught up in a summer love triangle, say it’s an utterly different film, but every bit as nuanced. It’s also supposed to be quite the love letter to Toronto, which is clear in the three clips that recently debuted online. FYI, I generally like whatever Sarah Pollley is in, but I love what she directs even more. I look forward to seeing this one.
A Separation - This Iranian film won the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, and the award was well-deserved. Director Asghar Farhadi (About Elly) has fashioned a gripping and humane portrait of life in contemporary Iran by focusing on a fiercely personal legal battle between two couples. We can’t think of another recent film that more convincingly illustrates the limits of the law in achieving truth and justice. FYI - TIFF makes it possible to see many films from around the world that you would normally not be exposed to. This movie I would definitely go and see.
To round out those movies, I would also see From the Sky Down, the documentary from David Guggenheim about U2 and also PJ20: Pearl Jam 20 from the amazing Cameron Crowe.
Happy Movie Going!
Thanks to Lori for sending these to me. My favourite is this one (because it’s so true):
“The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco” - Mark Twain
“One day if I do go to heaven I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.” – Herb Caen
Now there’s a grown-up swinging town. – Frank Sinatra
“The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I’m here.” - Billy Graham
“I love this city. If I’m elected, I will move the White House to San Francisco. I went to Fisherman’s Wharf and they even let me into Allioto`s. It may be Baghdad by the Bay to you, but to me it’s Resurrection City.” - Robert Kennedy
“I’m proud to have been a Yankee. But I have found more happiness and contentment since I came back home to San Francisco than any man has a right to deserve. This is the friendliest city in the world.” - Joe DiMaggio, at his fiftieth birthday party.
“You are fortunate to live here. If I were your President, I would levy a tax on you for living in San Francisco!” - Mikhail Gorbachev
“Your city is remarkable not only for its beauty. It is also, of all the cities in the United States, the one whose name, the world over, conjures up the most visions and more than any other, incites one to dream. - Georges Pompidou
“East is East, and West is San Francisco.” - O. Henry
“San Francisco has only one drawback. ”Tis hard to leave.” - Rudyard Kipling
“No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does. Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living” - William Saroyan
“What fetched me instantly (and thousands of other newcomers with me) was the subtle but unmistakable sense of escape from the United States.”
- H.L. Mencken
“It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world” - Oscar Wilde
“Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible.” - Walter Cronkite
“It’s simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn’t be anywhere else — it’s so beautiful, and there’s that location, and the sense of the free spirit. Who couldn’t become ravenous in such a place?” - Julia Child
“We’re crazy about this city. First time we came here, we walked the streets all day, all over town and nobody hassled us. People smiled, friendly-like, and we knew we could live here. We’d like to keep our place in Greenwich Village and have an apartment here, God and the Immigration Service willing. Los Angeles? That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” - John Lennon
“Isn’t it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?” - Herb Caen
“If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life.” - William Saroyan
On a quick trip home, I recently visited the fairly new (8 months old) restaurant Campagnolo - good honest home cooked food. I believe it! My boyfriend and I sat at the chef’s bar (which we love to do) and were amazed by the food creations being prepared. Mainly an Italian style restaurant, we ate till we rolled out.
I definitely recommend this place to others - campagnolotoronto.com