Coffee Break at Little Nicky’s

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Maybe I had been resisting my first visit to Little Nicky’s because I am in the neighborhood so often that I thought it would easier to resist temptation if I hadn’t experienced it. Makes sense, right? So anyhow, my brother Aaron offered to take me when we were both in the area this week, and I couldn’t say no. And it was amazing.

Taking in all the details around me while sipping my latte, the interior design caught my attention. The shop gives off a relaxed vibe, but also very polished and very done – very Toronto. The efficient use of space stood out – making great use of the high ceilings, they have placed an assortment of vintage furniture and fixtures to keep your eyes occupied, if you can pry your attention from the coffee and donuts that is.

Their mini donuts are a novel idea – made fresh right in front of you. I think they are priced at about $4 for a dozen – though I’m pretty sure we got a few extra. They are definitely a perfect accompaniment to a latte. If you haven’t been yet, you should go.

Purple Rain

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Michael from Naketano just sent me this amazing jacket from their Spring/Summer 2011 collection and I totally love it.

The colour is a dusty purple-grey (though it photographs differently in each picture!) The fabric feels like a matte microsuede almost – really soft! It has a removable hood, an internal pocket, and you can roll up the sleeves and snap them into place. I am going to get a lot of use out of it this!

The jacket is called the AMY and should be in their online store soon.

Aaron and I did a bit of an absurd photo shoot – complete with ninja moves, which you should check out over here on flickr.

Japanese Paper Place Visit

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First image (3d objects) by Cybele Young, second image (mobile) created by Genevieve Jodouin

While waiting for the Jeannie Thib talk to begin at The Japanese Paper Place, I took a lot of photographs in their gallery. It is completely amazing what these artists have accomplished, many of which using washi.

During the talk, Jeannie Thib shared with us her work, mostly black and white, and a number of pieces which were created during various artist residencies. The stories of these international residencies sound amazing and romantic and possibly altogether much different than they are in reality – or so I imagine.

The first image below is from a series Jeannie generated through dissecting damask prints. She pulled sections out of a larger repeat print and isolated them. Kind of fantastic. The second image is from a series of hands she carved out of lino blocks. Some of the hands have pattern on them, and others contain words and shapes and read like an aerial map. Also amazing.

Since moving from their prominent retail space of 23  years on Queen Street across from Trinity Bellwoods park, the Japanese Paper Place has been located at Brock and Queen since 2005. Now a wholesale supplier of Japanese paper, they regularly host events and workshops and are definitely worth connecting with – you can even check them out on facebook or follow them on twitter. And they have been known to serve tea and Portuguese egg tarts after lectures. Just sayin.

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Best Day Ever!

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I recently went to Shops at Don Mills for the first time, and had such an amazing time!

First I met up with Natalie at McEwan grocery, where we spent so long I don’t even want to acknowledge it – I’m pretty sure it was hours. They carry product I’ve only ever seen abroad, like Niederegger marzipan, and brands like Wilkin & Sons who make jams and marmalade (even lime marmalade!) which you can find around, but not easily. And while pasta is not something that is usually of much interest to me, they carry the most amazingly beautiful pastas – I had to pick up some of the rainbow bowtie pasta – they have stripes of 6 different colours. They even carry beautiful butterfly-shaped pasta!

Of course I had to try some chocolate, so I chose an organic mexican taza chocolate disc for drinking, and a small Simon Coll con leche chocolate bar from Barcelona.

Then, passing through by the condiments aisle, I could not leave without some Blackcurrant Tarragon mustard from France. It’s purple. Need I say more?

Lastly, while admiring the whimsical, fanciful pastries, a woman came out from behind the bakery counter to see if we needed anything. We spoke for some time about baking during the holidays, family traditions, and delicious memories. Finally, when it was time to move on, she gave us a little rocky road brownie for energy. It was so something my mother would do and say. Needless to say, I found it endearing.

Okay, so this has quickly turned into a post entirely about McEwan. I’ll post more about my visit to Shops at Don Mills soon. In the meantime, here are some highlights on my List of 10 reasons why you might want to visit McEwan:

1. Niederegger marzipan and drink mixes
2. Large selection of tea (including Kusmi) and drinking chocolate
3. Unsweetened matcha lattes
4. Marble slab ice cream
5. Variety of Honey, including chestnut honey
6. Impressive mustard selection
7. Kewpie mayonnaise from Japan (what?!)
8. Most colourful pasta selection I’ve ever seen
9. Bakery (would love a birthday cake from here!)
10. Customer service

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