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lazy sunday…hip(ster) vids!

Original Photos: Left by Jonathan Levitt, Right one by Ana Kraš.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for good food and beverages, soft lighting, minimalist fashion, cheeky humour and passionate people.  Some would call that condescending and pretentious, others would call it hipster.  I think it’s cool when people and artisans are just so committed to a craft and I reckon that Anthony Bourdain would appreciate it despite the contention that surrounds the term ‘hipster’.  So on this slow Sunday, I thought I’d share some cool videos from the hipster-sphere on great food and drink, and a hilarious and way-too-true-to-life video coming from expats in Hanoi, Vietnam.  I just love these snapshots of a sub-culture.  Happy slow Sunday!

American Hipster – My jaw dropped in delight when I first saw this post about American Hipster on Refinery 29.  This wholly original series from Seedwell Productions presents portraits of American (they should really include Canadians!) trendsetters.  This American Hipster film series will spotlight 10 American cities and profile trendsetters in the areas of art, food, style, music and the social scene with 5 short episodes per city.  And new episodes every Monday!  Check out this first video on mixology culture and the Bon Vivants in San Francisco!


Young Turks – Oh London! How I miss you! And knowing about the Young Turks just makes it even worse.  This collective of young chefs organises pop-up eating events in and around the city with a focus on locavore eating.  They even produced a big eating event at Frank’s Cafe & Campari Bar (I love this place in the summatime) and captured it all on video. So of course I had to watch and it just made my heart swoon.


Roost – Oh golly.  Foodporn!  This beautiful site from Coco in Birmingham, Alabama is just so incredibly sumptuous and delectable.  The photos are stunny and gorgeous and the recipes are incredibly healthy as they’re all gluten, grain, sugar, starch and lactose-free to accommodate those affected by Crohn’s Disease.  So I stumbled upon this video on the making of perfect Almond and Yogurt Waffles with Orange Honey Syrup, and it was so pleasing and lovely, I just had to post. Who doesn’t love beautiful weekend waffles?

Saturday Waffles from Coco|Roost on Vimeo.

Sh*t Expats in Hanoi Say – So on a grinding Friday morning, my friend Erin sent this over to me and I immediately lit up and couldn’t stop laughing.  While Hanoi isn’t necessarily Phnom Penh – I can definitely say, the experiences are pretty similar.  We’ve all said those same phrases.


Lola Versus – From the makers of 500 Days (of Summer) comes Lola Versus (US/Can June 8).  I just can’t wait for this movie.  Perfect hip(ster) girlie sorta-rom, but still-com with a great soundtrack (judging from the trailer) and the fun of Greta Gerwig.  Finally – a girlie movie I can’t wait to see!


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bloglovin’ – cities!

Toronto love. Original photo by n+s

First of all – I gotta give some bloglovin’ to my friend Steph for her Facebook shout out!  I also have to give her props for giving me the idea for this blog.  Steph – you probably don’t know this but you basically encouraged infinitff in those amazing ways of yours. And liebe groβe to everyone who visits too!

And now onto the post.  I totally love cities.  I thrive in them.  They are like my heart and soul.  Alain de Botton has a great quote about cities too that I love – “Cities are, as it were, enormous libraries filled not with books but with people.” I could not agree more.

I also love odes to cities, so movies like Paris, I Love You, New York, I Love You and anything by Woody Allen are always a must-see.  So in the blogosphere, I’m loving London vs. Paris and Paris vs. New York.  No joke – 2 very separate blogs, but very so similarly awesome in their content!

London vs. Paris

Photos by Xanthe Berkeley and Irene Nam.

When a London-friend contemplated a move to lovely Paris – I had to send this to her!  Isn’t it cool? London vs. Paris is collaboration between bloggers Irene Nam (an American in Paris, hehe) and Xanthe Berkeley (based in London) who are both professional photographers and regularly juxtapose their snapshots of their family lives in these two dreamy cities.

Paris vs. New York City

Artwork by Vahram Muratyam at Paris vs. New York City.

And then there’s Vahram Muratyam’s amazing designs on Paris vs. New York City.  His juxtapositions are so full of whimsy and fun; I’d love to have one hanging in our home one day.  He’s even just a released a book of his designs! Paris vs. New York: A Tally of Two Cities!

I also wanted to end with another of my homes – Phnom Penh.  Don’t ya just love cities? Mwah!

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speaking of baggage…

Photo by the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland, via Re-Nest

It makes for an amazing way to decorate, don’t you think?  I’ve always been fascinated by vintage trunks and suitcases.  My mom had a great one in her closet and I spent most of my childhood wondering what was in there.  But now, I just love them for their styling purposes and the fact that they also hold things! They even had a great selection at the various London markets.  Sadly, I had no solid home to bring them back to at the time.  But hopefully one day, I’ll get to return to the Camden Stables and Portobello Markets for some vintage baggage madness!  In the meantime…

Love love love a vintage trunk at the end of a bed. Classic! Photo by Restoration Hardware via Freshome

Cuteness! Design and photo by Decordemon via Houzz

La Pièce de résistance! Photo by Frisson, via Houzz

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there’s a little place in london…

…where you can sing your heart out among good friends and battle for the microphone with a much older Chinese man, who has obviously been practicing the art of karaoke since likely before you were born.  Welcome to Eat + Drink Chinese (11 Artillery Passage, E1 7LJ)

Located in the heart of the Aldgate/Liverpool Street area of (almost) east London, I spent a great reunion night with friends last weekend.  The place is operated by a family from Hong Kong and they do serve what I can only perceive to be decent HK-based Chinese fare, but the prime reason to come to Eat + Drink Chinese is the karaoke.  Unlike most other places in London that demand you to rent a karaoke room for upwards of £40 per hour, Eat + Drink Chinese allows you to eat, drink and sing your heart out for FREE (!!!), to the tune of a bottle of TsingTao.

While it looks like they haven’t changed their decor since they opened, the owners are friendly, they have an Encyclopedia Britannica-sized catalogue of songs to choose from and they will let you and your inebriated choir sing until you notice that you’ve lost your voice. The clientele is the local Liverpool Street banker type, so do expect many a business-attired clan to share the microphone with.

It totally harkened me back to my days in Phnom Penh, when my friends and I took our lungs to Mr. Cho’s – a Korean-owned establishment of similar organisation.  Check it out if you’re ever there and need to sing your heart out!

NB – Hanson’s MmmBop may seem incredibly tempting, but when you’ve already knocked back a few, the words will seem like they’re jumping at you a mile a minute!  A better choice? Spandau Ballet’s Gold…where your voice will seem INDESTRUCTIBLE…..

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dumplings on my mind…

the best lunch ever in Phnom Penh

Oooof. It’s nowhere near lunchtime yet and I’ve got food on my mind, and particularly on…

potstickers, wontons, siu long bau, din tai fun, mandu, gyoza, ravioli, tortellini, maltauschen, perogis, momos, pelmeni, mantu, kreplach, vareniki, steamed, fried, deep-fried, boiled, sauce, no sauce….the list goes on.

All of these lovely filled pockets of goodness are dumplings and good god how much do I love them.  I associate dumplings with home.  My family always had a bag of frozen Chinese dumplings in our freezer.  A huge variation of them too so we could have the pan fried ones or the boiled ones filled with pork and Chinese leeks on a cold winter’s day.  In fact, I think I would light up if I saw potstickers simmering away.  Warm, filled with something amazing and savoury…perfect to melt the heart!  And as my mom’s cuisines (she was the resident chef) diversified from the standard Asian and Western fare my family consumed, we soon had frozen perogis available too!  YUM!

I hope this place never disappears...and since it probably won't, you can find Chinese Noodle on Monivong Blvd at approximately the corner with street 308.

And when I lived in Cambodia from 2007-2010, they still were that source of homey goodness for me.  We had this hole in the wall, owned by long-term Chinese residents of Cambodia (the ones who left China because of the People’s Revolution and scattered themselves across southeast Asia).  It was simply called Chinese Noodle (check out the above pic) and I loved it oh so much. $1 for a bowl of dumplings! $1! I think they may have raised the price to $1.20 after the economic meltdown of 2008, but still!!! And delicious!  And the noodle soup…they hand pulled those noodles right on the street!  And there was even a surly lady of the house!.  Perfection!  Then we discovered another amazing dumpling house in PP…but after a trip home for a month, I returned to have discovered that it was turned into a goat-stew restaurant. Sigh.


I also remember discovering momos, a Nepalese dumpling, while I was living in Cambodia.  A friend had worked in India and had declared those her addiction.  I think momos are the perfect blending of east and south Asias…the dumpling itself and the way it’s cooked (pan fried or steamed) – very East Asian; the filling – straight outta Kathmandu, Delhi, Rajasthan – yup all of the region’s flavours. And they’re even from the nexus of the 2 Asias…Nepal!

And for those of us in London, you can get your frozen dumplings in the grocery stores in Chinatown, or you can have them served to you at places like Dumpling’s Legend, Leong’s Legend…the list goes on. But I’ve actually got my eye on a tiny little blink and you’ll miss it place called Jen Cafe on Newport Place.  They handmake the dumplings right in the windowfront! They are cheap and are dumplings the way they should be!

And when back in Toronto, I plan on making my way to Mother’s Dumplings for her amazing diversity in those steamed, stuffed, pan-fried goodies.  Though I hear they’ve moved and jacked up their prices. 

And now I’m hungry…oh no….it must be time to crack into that guiness-ganache-d chocolate goodness I just baked…..


calm…cool….and herb-y in london

So a bunch of my posts are going to be retrospective…things we did in London or even SouthEastAsia that I wanted to make known to all.  And this is one of those things…

A few weeks back we attended a very cool pop-up dinner run by the Rambling Restaurantchickas.  It was a fab dinner (to be taken with the recommended GSOH), but I want to tell you about where it took place! 

a rambulance dinner! yum yum! everything was from the garden!

The Urban Physic Garden, just a 2 minute walk from the Southwark Tube stop is a veritable London hippie garden.  It’s a very cool space in the middle of the city, set amid reclaimed warehouses and a train track above it, where medicinal herbs and other green things are grown by a team of volunteers!  In addition to the Rambulance (from the Rambling Restaurant girls) that it hosted this summer (which has sadly ended its term there), they also hold workshops and talks all season long

So check it out! They even have these really rad see-saws to try out too! I still have no clue how those things work!

PS – for a review of the Rambulance Dinner from the Rambling girls, and a review of my favourite Brixton Guyanese Roti truck, check out this post from the Lemurs are Hungry.

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of rooftops and riots…

Frank's Cafe

it's Frank's Cafe!!!!

Last Friday evening, my friends and I fled the mohagoney clutches of the school library, and made our flight to Peckham, in south London.  There, a rooftop wonder was awaiting us, at the recommendation of my wonderful friend and classmate, Jo, who had stirred my interest when he said the words “pop-up Campari bar on the roof of a carpark” months earlier!

Frank’s Cafe is righteously cool.  It is indeed a rooftop pop-up Campari bar in Peckham and it has an absolutely stunning view of London from the south side of the river Thames.  It’s got a young, hip crowd and the Bold Tendencies sculpture exhibition is going on at the same time!

Unfortunately, as you might have heard, London’s bit hit by a slew of riots across the city (and across England) this past week (more on that later).  Peckham is known as a poorer area of south London where there has been gang activity in the past, but it was, and is, currently on the upturn.  But sadly, it was also the site of some of the riots that occurred this week.  So when my friend, Tara, tried to go to Frank’s Cafe this past week, it was closed :P.

Nonetheless, I imagine that they are back open now.  So if you are in London and looking for a most unique place to have  a cocktail on a warm night…do check out Frank’s…get there early….and check out some very cool sculptures, and that view of course!

my wonderful friends...and love the outbit between them

my wonderful friends, steph and jon....and loving the outfit that's between them

How amazing is that view?

And we hit up another rooftop bar last night…more on that soon too!

xoxo, t