We started the day in Vancouver at Caban, which is Club Monaco's "lifestyle" store. Caban (located in South Granville) "is the most well edited lifestyle store in the city. Fashion (James Perse, Fred Perry, Da-Nang, Hervé Chapelier bags) fused with interior design (Eames chairs, Marimekko pillows) and plenty of cool one-of-a-kind items."
Next we stopped for a quick bite to eat at one of my favorite lunching spots in Vancouver, a place called Picnic (also located in South Granville). Picnic was opened by Linda Meinhardt of Meinhardt Fine Foods. Picnic possess one communal table but in good weather you can eat outside at tiny individual tables. Picnic is a perfect place is strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Last time I ordered one of their spectacular salads. On this visit I went with a sandwich (ham, tomato, and brie), some salt and vinegar flavored Kettle chips with, of course, a can of Aranciata.
After Picnic we headed to Liberty, got stuck in an elevator, took some time to compose ourselves, then headed to Kitsilano to put in an appearance at a store called Ta Da!! Ta Da! is located across the street from the "Regal Beagle" (which I once again forgot to photograph). Unfortunately in the months since I was last in Vancouver the shop has closed. Fortunately one can still purchase items through their website.
Then we made our way to a shop called The Regional Assembly of Text. What a precious place. If you love vintage typewriters, stationary, journals, unique boxes, buttons, chalk boards, interesting t-shirt designs, and especially text-based items then this place will be right up your alley. Plus they offer a monthly letter writing club where one can use their vintage typewriters to type up your letters. Nearly everything in the store is hand made by the two artist-owners Brandy Fedoruk and Rebecca Dolen (two graduates from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design). I had to restrain myself from buying too much. But will def. be back for one of their chalkboards and darling birthday party invites.
Next we headed to Yaletown to check out The Cross Decor and Design. This was my first visit and boy was I smitten. "The Cross brings a new style to Vancouver that is often seen in European homes and magazines; a relaxed feeling, yet complimented with beautifully appointed luxury items and found objects, sexy antiques and exquisite furnishings. From bedding to bath, sofas to scented candles & ribbons to wrap, The Cross has all of the elements required for a lifetime of style and beauty."
After shopping I insisted we drive across the city to a place called Cupcakes (located near English Bay). Cupcakes offers "old fashioned cupcakes, cakes and other nostalgic indulgences". I was so excited to finally see the cupcakes I've been admiring on their website for months now. Their website is stunning by the way, total cupcake porn. So my expectations were quite high. The presentation inside the store is perfect. Unfortunately I found the cupcakes to be barely edible. The frosting was disgusting and the cake was dry and flavorless. I find it amazing that a place that specializes in cupcakes could produce such lackluster offerings. Apparently they'll be opening another store on Main Street very soon if you're interested. I will be making another visit to find out if they were just having an off day plus I want one of their pink "I heart cupcakes" t shirts.
Then it was back to South Granville for dinner at Vij's. Vij's just happens to be the most sensational Indian restaurant I've ever come across. Don't just take my word for it, apparently the New York Times is smitten as well, stating that Vij's is "easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world". After being seating we were handed delicious cups of chai tea while we perused the menu. On this particular evening Vij himself made an appearance. Graciously checking on each of us. We decided to order three entrees and share. After much contemplation we went with wine marinated lamb in fenugreek cream curry (my favorite), seared venison medallions and asparagus with fig and roasted pomegranate spiced khoa, and grilled specialty chicken breast in coconut onion curry with bitter melon, red bell peppers and paneer. It was all incredible. I always order a merridale cider to accompany the meal. Highly recommended.
You know that drinking game "I Never"? Well, if we were playing right now and someone said "I've never been stuck in an elevator", I'd be taking a great big gulp. The whole "stuck in elevator" fiasco transpired at a shop called Liberty in Vancouver. I was spending the day in the city with two friends and we ended up on Liberty's lower level. Rather than traipsing up the two flights of stairs to the third floor we decide to take a leisurely ride in their elevator. We press the "third floor" button and the elevator starts to move but then comes to a quick stop. We push the door open button, nothing happens. We push the first floor button and the lower floor button, again nothing happens. Then we push the call button thinking we'll be put in touch with someone in the store. But no. We're connected to the company that services the elevator. They ask for the address, but of course how could we possibly have remembered the address of a store we've been to only once. We give them the store name, street name, and closest cross street, thinking this information will suffice. They inform us someone will be to our rescue in approximately 15 minutes. So we wait, getting more and more anxious. Finally we decide to start pounding on the door. No response. Then we resort to yelling along with the pounding. Still no response. We try to push the call button again, but all we hear is screechy modem like noise. By this time over 20 minutes have passed and no one has come to help. We finally hear footsteps near the door and start yelling for help. But the footsteps retreat without acknowledgment. So by this time I'm getting really frantic. We decide to pound on the door some more and finally hear a mans voice. First we think it's the repair company but it turns out it's just a store employee who has finally heard our yelling. So he starts trying to figure out how to open the doors himself while another employee calls the repair company. It turns out because we didn't know the stores address the repair company DID NOT SEND ANYONE TO HELP. Apparently it was too much trouble to look up the stores address in a phone book. Plus don't they have a list of all the buildings in which they service elevators?! So finally the store employee manages to open the outer door but the inner door is latched shut. He eventually finds the release lever and after about 45 minutes we're let out of the elevator. The man who opened the doors to the elevator is this slight Asian man. He's so clever to have figured out how to unlatch the door, apparently he's a mechanic in his spare time (which is very hard to picture as he doesn't fit the type). So of course the store is very apologetic offering us gifts when we leave. We're each given the stores "signature" candle which sits in a silver stand. It cost $35 (of course I peeked) and was not worth nearly an hour trapped in an elevator. Personally I would have preferred that they offered us a hard drink and a soft couch.
2. Finally cook a recipe given to me 5 years ago by my ex boss (an accomplished chef from the South). The recipe is titled "How to catch a man" chicken (can just picture Reese cooking this to woo Ryan Phillippe). My boss is from the school of thought that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. This particular recipe should be cooked wearing something along the lines of this little number. [Update - since several of you expressed an intrest in this recipe, here it is...]
How to catch a man - chicken! (recipe by Victoria)
Serve from an oven proof casserole dish
1. 1 frying chicken, cut up legs, thighs, breasts and wings (use back and wing tips for stock)
2. 1 large bunch of fresh parsley
3. 1 large onion diced
4. 1 bottle Chenin Blanc
9. 1/4 stick butter
10. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Open wine - have a glass!
Put stock onto boil. In a plastic bag put flour and spices and shake well. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, shake to coat and place in hot oil/butter mixture in a frying pan. Cook until golden brown (not completely done). Meanwhile, have a sip of wine and chop the onion and parsley. Place the chicken pieces attractively in casserole. In the same pan with small amount of leftover butter/oil, saute the onion and 1/2 of the chopped parsley. Scrape all the brown bits and just soften onion (don't brown). Add 2 cups of wine and boil to clean the pan - pour over casserole. Add 1/2 of the reserved parsley, salt and pepper to taste and cover and cook in 358 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. Use last of the parsley to garnish. Serve with wild rice cooked in stock and another bottle of wine!!
"The time in the oven gives you plenty of time to set a really romantic table to help set the mood!!" [let me know if this works for anyone!]
3. Drink tea daily. Okay I know tea isn't really a "food" but this was one of my New Years resolutions. I love the history and tradition that goes along with taking time to have a mid day cup of tea. Currently I'm drinking a lot of Tea Forte and Revolution Tea.
4. Bake a friend or relative a Birthday Cake. Preferably with a recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (as just paid $40 for it so should start breaking it in). I have never actually done this and feel like it's time to start returning the favor for all the Birthday cakes cooked for me by my Mother.
5. Continue the search for the perfect macaroni and cheese. So far my favorite mac and cheese can be found at Icon Grill in Seattle. Last year I tried the macaroni and cheese from Artisanal in NYC. I expected to be thoroughly impressed because if anyone can create the perfect macaroni and cheese it should be a "Fromagerie Bistro". But unfortunately it just did not live up to my expectations.
I never was particularly taken with Jay during the first season of Project Runway. I liked him well enough but was so smitten with Austin that it was hard to feel anything much for the other designers. That is until I watched Project Jay. He's hilarious and the new haircut is adorable. I love how honestly overwhelmed he was. The whole scene with Heidi and the Emmy dress was definitely a shocker. She sure is nervy. "The flippant [Jay] McCarroll is a polarizing personality. He's funny but can be grating. His chain-smoking honesty and obvious passion for his work are offset by a distinct narcissism that's perfect for the fashion world. His catty wisecracking is a mask for self-image problems. He laughs, he cries, he cusses, he pontificates." And regarding the Project Runway reunion, did Santino's impersonations have anyone else crying? Tim Gunn discusses Santino's impersonations at length on his podcast, go listen. He explains the origin of "what happened to Andrae?"
bumping into T (who I have not seen since we worked together during summer vacations, about eight years ago), checking out the newest Luella items at Target, lunching with Mom (delicious spinach salad), doing practical things like dishes and vacuuming, finishing several books, trying Starbucks new cupcakes (the chocolate is terrific by the way but the vanilla is just so-so), and reading the newest issues of Bazaar, ReadyMade, and BUST. The current issue of Bust is a gem. Inside is an interview with Peaches, Feist's photo diary, reviews of the newest Cat Power and Saint Etienne CDs, and an article about a new Blythe book.
Yesterday my friend Sara and I discussed our upcoming travel plans over spider rolls, tempura and green tea. After dinner we watched this really horrifying movie, which I refuse to divulge the title of. Then ended the evening with ice cream andShirley Temples (very PG but oh so fun).
Today I decided to sell some books that either I could not get into (Word Freak : Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive ScrabblePlayers) or read and wasn't that impressed with (The Pleasure of My Company, Citizen Girl) or books I liked but just didn't care to keep (All Over Creation). I put the $29.00 I received from selling my books towards the purchase of Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook ($40.00!!) and the travel memoir I & Claudius. I & Claudius is about a 28 year old journalist from London who decides to quit her job and take a road trip across the United States (New York to San Francisco via the southern states) with her aging Burmese cat named Claudius. I know this sounds like it could be a bit silly but a travel memoir that involves a feline is right up my alley (Kasia, I'm sending you this when I'm done). Then I went to get my taxes done. Surprise surprise, I'm getting $1,045.00 back! This year the money is all going into my travel fund.
[The above pictures are of the tea cup from Joy (in use), the teacup I sent to my swap partner Renee, and chocolate Starbucks cupcakes.]
Yes, Valentine's Day has come and gone, but mix tapes hold such a special place in my heart that I felt it was okay to mention this three days late. The team at LA design Studio Exopolis created a Valentine's mix tape that "brings back all those nostalgic awkward memories of teenage love." Check it out (love the commentary between each song) and while you're at it check out the book Mix Tape : The Art of Cassette Culture, edited by Thurston Moore (which I posted about last May). "I Melt With You" by Modern English just happens to be on the last Valentine's Day mix tape I made way back in 2001. It's not too late to send this to someone you "<3".