Archive for August, 2010

O&B Canteen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Also had the chance this past weekend to try out the O&B Canteen for dinner at the new TIFF Bell Lightbox at King & John St. before the hoards of film fanatics descend on Toronto for the film festival. The Lightbox is the new 5-storey complex that will be the home of the Toronto International Film Festival. The building will house multiple cinemas, galleries, learning studios, an event space, a restaurant and lounge and the delicious Canteen already nestled in the corner at street level.

Canteen is a new concept from the Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants. I walk by this building almost every day and once it opened, I was intrigued by the clean design and openness of the space. With glass walls all around and a patio out front, it’s a nice place to sit and view the bustling street outside.

The soup of the day was a gazpacho with watermelon. It came out like a work of art and tasted as good as it looks. Very refreshing and perfect for a hot summer evening.

I had Gallo Mussels with white wine, garlic and herbs and fries. Very good for a light dinner. I just wish there was a bit more bread to sop up the tasty juices at the bottom of the bowl.  My friends tried the Gnocchi with braised Ontario lamb and the Mac & Cheese with garganelli, aged Quebec cheddar and smoked ham. A bit salty, but both very tasty as well. One friend wished there was a bit more gnocchi.

We finished off our meal with 3 delicious desserts (from L to R):  a Lemon Posset (lemon curd), the Gateau Basque (cake with a custard filled center topped with vanilla ice cream) and a Soma Brownie (infamous Toronto chocolate makers). I wouldn’t hesitate to order all 3 again…possibly all at the same time.

The also have items available for take-out and their menu can be found here. Canteen is definately worth a try and a welcome addition to the entertainment district.

** Ah yes, “not enough gnocchi” has reminded me that we have to go back and try the Canteen Breakfast Butties, a variety of made-to-order breakfast sandwiches. To me, it’s a bit of an unfortunate name, but I guess it’s honest, cause that’s where all this delicious eating is gonna go! Ugh…maybe if I walk up the escalator, I can indulge again :D

~ Lurgs

St. Lawrence Market & BuskerFest 2010

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Always a good summer day out is Toronto’s annual BuskerFest. First we had to get some sustenance and there’s no better place than St. Lawrence Market. I split a veal and eggplant sandwich and then had a custard tart while checking out all the potential great meals in the market.

Then we headed out to the crowded street to check out all the great street performers from around the world. Over 4 days, BuskerFest showcases all sorts of performances from magicians, acrobats, puppet masters, clowns, making us laugh and alternately gasp at death defying stunts . I always like the aerial acrobatics and watching the artists dance across the sky.

The shows always draw big crowds so always wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to tip-toe to peer past tall people. One of the best inventions we ever saw were little periscope viewers used by a father and son, perfect for these events!



Sketch a Wedding!

Friday, August 27th, 2010

The invitations have been sent…you got the flowers, the caterer, the photographer….what about a sketch artist?

Before I even met the talented Brian Wong, I knew him as the guy who’s always drawing in the atrium at school. And for those who know him, he is almost literally always drawing — a furrowed brow and a flurry of hand movements over a sketchbook.

So when I saw his latest project, I thought what a perfect idea especially for him and what a unique way to capture a very special day. Brian was hired to capture a wedding in sketch form. These sketches seem to capture specific details of the moment, gestures and personalities in a more visceral way than photographs. He followed the events for the whole day and sketched in pen on the spot.  Additional tones, high-lights and refinements were added afterwards. He was on the move the whole day (15 hrs. !?!) and an average sketch took about 2-3 minutes. I can only imagine the stamina it takes to do this.

The couple received the entire sketchbook in the end of the original artwork. To see the full day of sketches, check it out here.  It’s truly a carpal tunnel provoking mass of work. His other sketches are also posted on his blog and feel free to contact him if you need a wedding artist or have an illustration project in mind.


This American Life

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

In a world of 3D! Visual Effects!! In your face flying robot death ray explosions! Give your eyes a rest and your brain some nourishment. This American Life is a weekly radio show produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. For a while, I was addicted to listening to these stories of everyday people and the situations they faced, sometimes heart-breaking, often humourous, but simply captivating. Each episode would center around a theme like “break-ups”, “fear of sleeping”, “my brilliant plan” and gather first-hand interviews with people, stories and pieces from writers, songs, poetry, theatrical performances, things to tickle your ears. These are perfect for long car rides, crafting times, when you’re cleaning — luckily I’m mainly engaged in visual tasks at work so my ears are free.

All their radio shows are archived on their website for free streaming online and their most recent episode is available for free download in the week that it’s broadcast. Here are a few of my favourites:

Music Lessons
Act V

I’ve learned so much from this little radio show and have been introduced to such great writers as David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, and Sarah Vowell (who isn’t just the voice of Voilet in the Incredibles!). It’s a goldmine people! so check it out! As my friend Tam declared after finishing an episode and removing her headphones with emotion, “I would marry This American Life!”.

~ Lurgs

Buildings & Vampires

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I’m in love with this little film. It’s what my dreams would be made out of. Watch it here. Made by some talented people in Barcelona. Oh Barcelona! Another place of of my dreams. ~ Lurgs


Forest City Lovers

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

The Sweatshop took a night off and went to check out indie folk band Forest City Lovers at the Great Hall. My first time at this venue and it’s quite nice. Yes, it kinda looks like we’re waiting for a school assembly to start…I guess people were tired.

The night opened with Carmen Elle (a girl and a drummer rockin’ out) and Gentleman Reg (fun! fun! fun!). Both very talented.

This concert marked the release for Forest City Lover’s new album Carriage and they have the single of the week for itunes Canada! (So go check ‘em out cause you have nothing to lose and some new tunes to gain) Lots of happy, tender, melodies and everyone’s so frickin’ multi-talented with the switching around of instruments. I’m a sucker for violins too.

Giddy up

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Andalusian Horse Dress.

Cute print. Ruffles. Horses. What more could you want? I do covet, but even if I had the money, $358 is a bit steep for my pockets.  I read the reviews too and according to, they’re having buyer’s remorse (re: price). And I’ve broken up with buyer’s remorse, she’s on the outs. No, I think I’ll just admire…it’s really cute, right? ~yy

The State of a Union

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Union has been open for over a year now. Located on Ossington, its bistro menu focuses on locally grown produce presented in a simple yet refreshing way. As I sat down, I saw a couple of baskets of fruits, as though they were just picked from the farm that day.

The lunch menu has only about 12 items total. This to me is a good thing. I’m always wary of places that boast many items, because I feel quality is always sacrificed when this is the case. My brother and I both got the dish of the day which was a steak on an open face sandwich with tomatoes, basil, and aioli on the side. The beef was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and the tomatoes were as fresh as can be. I really enjoyed this dish and was pleasantly full just from having that. The only complaint I have was that there weren’t many people in the place for lunch, but strangely it took awhile for our food to get to us.

The staff there were friendly. Head chef Teo Paul was there and yes, he is quite the handsome man.

I really love the decor of the place. From the exposed brick walls, to the open kitchen with metal bar seats, to the green and cream coloured fabric covered chairs.

Traditional with a contemporary twist. Next time, I’m going to try the Elk sliders.~yy

Not the best picture for sure...but it was delish!

The Regional Assembly of Text

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

When I was in Vancouver a while ago, my aunt took us to an awesome store…behold!! The Regional Assembly of Text!

The store was opened in 2005 by Rebecca and Brandy, both graduates of Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design.  I loved the whole look of the store with the numerous filing cabinets, typewriters and so much great stationery! There was also a little nook aka. The Lowercase Gallery that housed an artist exhibit.

They also hold a monthly letter writing club on the first Thursday of each month (supplies provided!). With all their cute cards and note papers, you’ll be inspired to write to friends near and far. Hurray for snail mail! So definately check them out if you’re ever in the neighbourhood or you can shop online on their website.

Regional Assembly of Text
3934 Main St. Vancouver BC

*Also, for those in Toronto, the Magic Pony also stocks some of their products. I was there browsing one day and recognized the logo at once…huzzah!! Like unexpectedly seeing a friend half-way across the world (ok, across the country). Anyways, a delightful surprise and good for us locals.

Metric in Toronto

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Metric had a free concert here in Toronto last week right outside Union Station. As it was a long day at work, I only meandered over in time to catch the last song. Though Metric is a great band, I’m kind of glad I wasn’t caught in the middle of the crowd especially in the humidity that we’ve been experiencing. Even approaching the edge of the audience to snap this picture was like entering a sauna.

I first got acquainted with Metric with “Combat Baby” blasting through my headphones during late nights at the computer lab.  They’ve come a long way and keep getting better I think.

Here’s an interview with Emily Haines and a piano version of “Help, I’m Alive!”.  It’s a testament to a great song that can be just as powerful stripped down to the bare essentials as it is in full on kickass band version.  Also, it’s comforting to know that even the talented and successful struggle with direction and creativity.  It speaks to my own stage in life and a lot of other people I know too, who are searching and on the brink of making some decisions to shake things up in their lives. Maybe it’s time to book a flight to Buenos Aires!