Category Archives: Field Trip

Kristin’s Golden Years

Where Am I? Hint: Not in Kansas

I know most of you know me as the Wicked Witch of the East but I do love a broom ride to the west side. One of my “retirement” case scenarios is that I’m an old bat in a vintage Juicy Couture velour sweatsuit (it’s the future!) living with a barrel bodied, overfed chihuahua in a bedsit right in the heart of Kensington Market. I don’t really know what a bedsit is, I think I heard the word on Coronation Street but I am sure they have them in the KM. Everything is in Kensington Market, even forgotten time. I visit it every so often, like a tourist, and I am always surprised that the shops take Canadian currency. Architecturally, it’s a couple of blocks of crazy. It looks like my Grade 4 Project where I recreated an African village using shoe boxes, pipe cleaners, and plasticine. It seems like you could drop a match and the whole place would burn….but why would you? It is one the sweetest hoods in Toronto.

Yes, go home Frank Gehry and leave an old lady alone with her popsicles sticks and glue gun. Kensington Market should be its own little municipality like the Vatican. The shopping here is actually holy. Back in the early 1980s, my very first “serious” boyfriend (I use the word serious with curlicues on the side because I can laugh about it now but at the time it was as maudlin as anything Morrisey ever moaned about), took a trip to New York City with his buddy and we he came back, he trilled, gayly: “The shopping! You can get anything in New York!” My present was a five foot long fully functioning pencil. A giant pencil…no joke. He couldn’t get on that plane now because they would have held him in customs for being an asshole. Move on (he turned out to be a hoarder, amongst other things)….Blue Banana is a giant, two level store on Augusta where you can get anything as long as you’re not looking for it. Two levels of really cool, unique, stuff and not a giant pencil in sight:

Take that for loads of crap, Manhattan!

And after parusing this store (trust me, it could take hours, your butt cheeks will chafe for sure), trot across the street to Waterfalls for a pint and some Indian Tapas:

It’s a great place for people watching, Flying Monkeys on tap, and somosas and bajias. Don’t feel sad for me when I’m a batty old lady because I will the Queen Of Kensington! (feel free to perform an intervention if I become a hoarder)

What to Wear? Hint: Not Yoga Pants

Stupid Lululemon.  In my winter of discontent, I wore black yoga pants almost everyday…all covered in dog hair, with visible panty lines in a misguided attempt to cover up the camel toe.  Initially I trusted them make me look cute at the gym but instead all they did was cradle my expanding girth.  The irony, and oh, the humanity.  But Spring has sprung, my leaky nostrils and quivering loins tell me so…and as you know through recent posts I have been Eating Better (except for the fry truck, gravy shot at CanTire,shhh) and I have been hula hooping, getting the old mojo pumped.  Today I took a Pilates class for the first time and I liked it!  I`ll keep up with it in the summer, there is no way I will wear Spanx in July.  With the turn of the season, the age old question is what to wear?  I am a Lady Of a Certain Age with the mentality of a 12 year old boy.  Earlier this month at the One of a Kind Show, I bought a dress from Precocious.  They make dresses out of old tshirts:

They even do custom work so you can wear your ex- boyfriend’s Ed Hardy tshirt mixed in with some other remnant, like the ubiquitis 3 Wolf Moon shirt from 2009….yes, I have one:

I can’t wait to see what couture they come up with this … and by appointment 416-895-8537.

Also at the One of a Kind Show was IF: Indivially Fashioned with some very cool dresses that would appeal to women of all ages.  This Sunday, April 18, there is a special sale at Praxis Gallery 1614 Queen St WEST (West!!!  Go west this time, which is why it is a Field Trip), 3 blocks east of Roncasvailles, 11 am to 5 pm…sounds like fun and I hope to get there after the Sprockets Festival (see previous post).

Last Fall, I particularly liked Banana Republic for it Madmen theme … and duh, obviously I am Joan.  For my Real Estate Lady outfits, I embraced saturated colours and pencils skirts.  And Spanx, of course.  But I’m going to soften things up this spring and shop in this store, Sweetings, on Queen Street East:

Here is Maria, the shop owner’s daughter with her favourite dress.  There’s lots to choose from here and I love to support local clothing boutiques because they have unique pieces.  Sweetings is at 1920 Queen St East, 2 blocks east of Woodbine  So If I am caught wearing yoga pants this summer, it is because I am to and from a Pilates class and didn’t have time to change, that’s my story for now.

Kristin’s Gin Soaked Adventure

I never thought I would say this but:  Forget about vodka and George Clooney.  It’s all about gin (Hendrick’s) and Xavier Padovani (Global Gentleman Mixologist and International  Bon Vivant).  First let me preface the story by saying that gin and I have never been very good friends.  Usually the only alcohol we had in the house when I was growing up was a bottle of Beefeaters and when I was in Grade 9 I once poured some in a cup of tea, thinking it would be a good mix because of the British dandy on the bottle.  Well it wasn’t.  And I did drink the whole thing, even back then I wouldn’t waste alcohol.  But that was it for me and gin (gross!) and I would have a Pavlovian barf reaction every time I would smell it.  I wanted to like it though.  Gin drinks are sophisticated and have cool names like the Negroni.  Then last summer at the Roger’s Cup, they were pushing a gin based drink called Pimm’s and it was yum.  I like to go to the Roger’s Cup and not so much watch tennis as hang around in the tent and drink cocktails.  I developed a taste for gin sort of but it only lasted for part of the summer, I forgot about it after Labour Day.  It seems like its one of those Waspy rules where not only that you can’t wear white after Labour Day, you have to switch from gin to scotch.  Then last week,  my gym buddy Michelle Hunt invited me and my friend Lorraine to an event that featured cocktails with Hendrick’s and hosted by “the sexiest man alive”.  How could I say no to free cocktails and a hot guy?  Michelle and her partner, Laura, own the Martini Club in the heart of the Distillery District.  They cater events and also do the recipes for the LCBO magazine, totally a dream job!  Last night they had a cocktail party featuring Hendrick’s gin and their mixologist , Xavier Padovani.  There is something to be said about European men, they’ve got all the mojo.  The party had a very glam 1920s vibe.  We started with what looked like tea (there’s that gin and tea thing again) but was really mulled gin with cinnamon, cloves, and pineapple juice…so gin is not just a summer drink, it was delish!  Then we went on to something called Smash….move over mojto….the Smash is similar but with gin, and replaced the mint with basil.  We also had a martini with cucumber and lemon.  Hendrick’s gin is infused with cucumber which makes it unique and interesting.  Cucumber and booze have a perfect symbiotic relationship because cukes are so watery and fibrous, they also work well in the morning as slices over the eyes to reduce puffiness.  I think I had 4 Smashes and I don’t remember the other drinks, and I am hoping the recipes will be featured in an upcoming LCBO magazine.

Here we are, The Bon Vivants: Michelle, Xavier, and me

And as all great parties do, it hopped in a cab and went across town to Barchef a fantastic martini bar on Queen West at Augusta.  Now I know I blog about east end neighbourhoods but I do go outside of my box for time to time.  And speaking of my box, the mixologist (Frankie)  had his share of mojo.  Here he is in action all fired up, mixing something:

I had to sit in front of a 50 pound bar of ice to cool down.  We had more drinks made of Hendrick’s, they take their cocktails pretty seriously here.  Everything is hand squeezed and painstakingly mixed together.  By the second cocktail, Lorraine and I were so crazed we ordered a beer.  You can only consume so much exquisiteness in one evening.  And I was walking around with a giant grain of sugar stuck to my nose.  We were drunkity, drunk, drunk but you know, I woke up this morning and was clear and perky.  Must be the cucumber in the gin!!  It was the funnest night and I would like to thank our hosts. And for sure I am going get me a bottle of Hendrick’s today, but this time I won’t mix it with tea, maybe just some soda and lime.