Spring Pop Up @ Senisi’s

We’ll be popping up at Senisi Fine Foods this Friday to help you jump into spring looking your best! We promise the snow will fade away just in time…

Come by for NEW spring fashion fresh from Haiti and Joe’s deliciously inspired treats of sandwiches and coffee! 

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Kensington Shopping Guide Part One

This week features a rather obvious choice, Kensington Market. We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect day to go to the market. The last Sunday of every month from May to October is Pedestrian Sunday in the Market. From 12-7 the streets are closed to thru traffic as vendors, musicians, artists, artisans and spoken word artists hit the streets. The place is crowded, but functions as an excellent place to shop, eat, people watch and get lost among the crowds. Of course due to the Markets size, and the amount of amazing stores, cafes, restaurants and people we have decided to separate it into two segments.

As one of our passions includes eating and sipping delicious coffee we could not help but start our shopping extravaganza off with a bit of munchies. As Sway is looking to cut out all dairy from her diet, and I am trying to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan, we opted for the Urban Herbivore. As it was busy and after lunch much from the menu was out. This actually pleased us as we were getting a little fed up watching restaurants (where we work) and supermarkets throw out vast quantities food that does not get used in time or is deemed not presentable. We constantly wonder why so much stock is ordered in, if it is only to be thrown out?

We settled on a lovely salad and went next door to Wanda’s Pie in the Sky for a sandwich. Wanda’s has delicious food and coffee. While, oddly enough we have never sampled the pie, the rest of our purchases have always brought a smile to our faces and we can only presume the pie to be excellent. Once fully fueled we headed off in search of beautiful things.

We passed by the Grilled Cheese House, where luckily enough, before we made the foray into being dairy free we sampled the sandwiches. Definitely recommended if you are fan of melted cheese on bread, it really does not get much better than this restaurant complete with picnic tables and dill pickles and potato chips with each sandwich!

To finish off the food part of this blog we must make note of the delicious Torito, a Spanish tapas restaurant only open during the evening. We first encountered Torito at the St Joseph Street Festival earlier this year as they were part of the local, slow food movement. One of their chefs allowed us to sample a delicious sorbet made from local strawberries and rhubarb. This place comes highly recommended if you are looking for a slightly nicer meal atmosphere while still staying in the market.

Of course Kensington has delicious markets, and while the Kensington bakery is absolutely fantastic I have to say we are partial to Cobs Bakery. Not only is the majority of their bread vegan friendly but they also do not sweeten their breads with sugar! And the staff is really friendly, the free daily samples don’t hurt either:)

On to the shopping…or rather window browsing.

Entering the Blue Banana is always a good time. They feature everything from fashion, to beauty products, home decor and journals and books. It functions kind of like a market featuring much of Toronto’s local talent. They have a local, fair trade coffee shop inside that is reputed to have some of the best coffee TO has to offer.

A little further down on Augusta is Bungalow. This store is great as it has both used and new clothing, all fairly reasonably priced. Head to the back of the store where you will find their second hand/vintage section nicely organized! Here, a little while back, we got an idea for two of the vests for the Kennedy line. One made from an old t-shirt for women. And for men, a vest made from old suit jackets.

Model Citizen
What a warm welcome! What an inspiring store concept I cannot help but share!! Not only does it feature the lines of local designers, the talented Julian offers silkscreen workshops. Participants leave with the skills to make all sorts of prints on all kinds of materials from the comfort of their home or studio. Nigel took the course, started a t-shirt line, and now sells his line at Model Citizen! It’s worth looking into if not to start a clothing line then to engage in a really creative hobby printing on fabric, paper or t-shirts.

Joy Apparel is another line they carry in their store and another brilliant concept! Each t-shirt has the face and story of a real person. The t-shirt inspires you to think about how we are all connected and how our actions impact each other and our world. It is a stand against racism and discrimination. With the purchases of a t-shirt you then upload a picture of yourself and a story to be bought and worn by somebody else. Seems so in tune with what we believe, it’s so refreshing to be in a neighbourhood that really believes in and promotes the power of the individual, and the strength in a community! Thanks to Meg for the introduction to these great lines in Model Citizen, and for her support of Local Buttons!!

The Funky Junky is a great visit. There is an endless supply of one-of-a-kind items ranging from records, pins, posters, kitchenware, suitcases, the list goes on! The recently held an out door auction where furniture, art, housewares and more were purchased at bargain prices. It was no task to convince me that this event was a lot of fun. It was a great day, with many more stops that would be worth a mention for their style or fine cheese for example!

See you there!

Urban Herbivore
http://www.fressenrestaurant.com/herbivore/index.html

Wanda’s Pie In The Sky
http://www.wandaspieinthesky.com/

Grilled Cheese
66 Nassau Street

Torito
276 Augusta Ave

Cobs Bread
http://www.cobsbread.com/home/

Blue Banana Market
http://bluebananamarket.com/

Bungalow
http://www.bungalow.to/Default.asp?id=8&l=1

Model Citizen
http://modelcitizentoronto.com

Joy T-shirt
http://www.joytshirt.com/

The Funky Junky
168 Baldwin St.

Annex Shopping Guide

This week we’re featuring the Annex. We attempted to start out in Yorkville, but my how it has changed. It’s funny to think it was once the ‘hippy’ area of Toronto…oh how it has fallen, or risen I guess depending on your view point. Regardless, Yorkville is always an interesting place to look around. There, at the back of a cute Italian coffee shop, we watched the end of a disappointing soccer game, where Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup.

Drowning our sorrows by bike, we headed over to the Annex starting just West of Spadina at Grassroots. Grassroots is a little gem of a store and a great place to check out. Not only is it focused on environmentally friendly products-from cleaning supplies, body products, bedding, clothing and more, they are also committed to searching out local Toronto and Canadian products. This bed featured here was made entirely in Ontario!

The manager of this location is incredibly friendly, helpful and well informed. She informed us that not only can you bring in your old bottles of cleaning supplies to refill with environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, but they will soon be selling refillable environmentally and people friendly shampoos and conditioners! AND the line is Canadian. This was music to my ears as I have been searching for refillable shampoos and conditioners for awhile now!

After leaving Grassroots, we headed just down the street to a little store called the Outer Layer. Not everything in this store is local or environmentally/people friendly, but there are some pretty fantastic brands here. These water bottles pictured tell the story of how many plastic water bottles are purchased in the US each year, and how they end up filling the landfills. The Outer Layer also showcases a line of organic bath and body products. For those of you looking for jewellery, they have many nice lines. My favourite is the BIDO line which is made in Toronto!

Just south of Bloor we visited Trove, a little clothing and shoe store. There we found a few treasures and splashes of Canadian design amongst the rest. Our favourite-the Yoga brand jeans made in Montreal and fairly reasonably priced at $110.

We finished off our Annex tour in Mirvish village on Markham St just one block west of Bathurst and South of Bloor. Markham street is one of my favourite streets in Toronto. At one point Ed Mirvish had applied to tear down the old Victorian homes to create a parking lot for Honest Eds. When he was refused, at the urging of his wife, Anne, he rented the buildings out cheaply to artists, artisans and book dealers in order to help keep the art scene alive in Toronto. While we suggest you enter Honest Eds just to experience the craziness that it is, you probably won’t find too many ethical products inside. I do, however, recommend you go to the Wine Rack attached to the building which does supply a few Ontario wines, we suggest the STRUT line:)

Markham St is full of cute vintage clothing and furniture stores, galleries, restaurants and local design. Our favourite place, all be it biased as they were in our fashion show, would have to be the Coal Miner’s Daughter. This store features an array of local Toronto and Quebec designers, showcasing both clothing and jewellery. The women who run the store are exceptionally friendly and helpful. The best part is that they design some of the clothing and the jewellery in the store! I couldn’t choose a favourite in this store, but every time we have gone in someone we are with has left with something they love!

Next time you are meandering around the Annex be sure to check out

Clothing and Accessories

Grassroots: 408 Bloor St West http://www.grassrootsstore.com/

Outer Layer: 430 Bloor St West http://www.outerlayer.com/

Trove: 791 Bathurst St http://www.trove.ca/Welcome_to_TROVE.html

Coal Miner’s Daughter: 587 Markham St http://www.coalminersdaughter.ca/

Food:

For organic groceries and a vegan food bar: Noah’s: 322 Bloor St West http://www.noahsnaturalfoods.ca

For delicious Vegan Food: Live Organic Food Bar: 264 Dupont St. http://www.livefoodbar.com/

Perfect Pizza, using local organic whenever possible (they even give you an apple with your bill) Magic Oven: 270 Dupont St. http://www.magicoven.com/

Amazing Coffee and Decadent Snacks (and Wine Nights starting at 5pm Wed-Sat) Ezra’s Pound: 238 Dupont St http://www.ezraspound.com/

A pint of local beer at the end your day: Victory Cafe: 581 Markham St. www.victorycafe.ca Butler’s Pantry: 591 Markham St www.butlerspantry.ca