Are You Afraid to Prepare Seafood?

Does seafood intimidate you?  Not to eat it (yummmmmy), but to prepare it?  You know I don’t cook, so of course preparing seafood scares the crap out of me.  But I’ll let you in on a little secret – it kind of intimidates the live-in chef in my house (aka husband Ian) too.  Just a little bit.  He’s less adventurous cooking fish than he is with meat. Which is silly, because the few times he’s grilled fish or scallops, or steamed mussels (and made frites from scratch), it’s been amazing.

There was a great article in the Globe and Mail last week that covered 12 Simple (but Essential) Rules For Buying and Cooking Fish.  Super helpful.  But if you still need assistance, or want to take your skills to the next level, check out Hooked, the awesome fishmonger in Leslieville.  They just announced their Spring Classes, where you can learn to shuck oysters, grill fish, and more. Heck, I might even sign up.

[image of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton from one of my favourite scenes in one of my favourite movies, Annie Hall]


Leslieville Home Featured in Apartment Therapy

There was a Leslieville home featured over on Apartment Therapy!  It belongs to Mazen El-Abdallah, founder of Mazen Studio.  My favourite part are the drapes throughout the home – I love how the curtain rods are hung high above the window casings.  It really showcases the 10-foot high ceilings, and makes the rooms look dramatic – especially the living room (pictured above).

Read more about the home here, and see all the photos here.

Hide the Credit Cards: Shopcastr

Now this is dangerous.  Shopcastr is a new Toronto website that features products from local businesses, arranged in an easy-to-see format like Pinterest.  Select your neighbourhood (I picked Leslieville, of course), and see some great items for sale from local vendors. Nathalie-Roze & Co, Timmie Doggie Outfitters, Little Peeps, Baby on the Hip, Atomic Toybot, Empire, Studio WE!, Doll Factory by Damzels, The Bone House, Pied-A-Terre, Telegramme Prints, Arts Market… they’re all on there.  Drool.

Red Door Shoebox Project

Red Door is a women’s and children’s shelter in my community. Many of the charitable gifts they receive at this time of year are for the kids, which is great, but the women and mothers tend to get overlooked.  That’s where the Red Door Shoebox Project comes in. You can help by “creating a shoebox filled with small gifts that women appreciate – items that a woman would enjoy but would not splurge on herself in difficult times. The contents should be fun and useful. Each shoebox should have a value of approximately $60.”  We’re talking stuff like lip gloss, nice bath soap, mittens, socks, Tim’s card, etc etc.

Would you like to join me in putting together a shoebox for the Red Door Shoebox Project filled with small items that a lady would like for the holidays? I’ll be putting a box together this week, so I can drop it off by Friday. If you’d like to help out, please shoot me an email – avery [at]

Leslieville Wanderlust

Mark your calendars… Leslieville Wanderlust is next Thursday, January November 24.  Local businesses stay open late (6-10pm), and offer treats and special deals.35 businesses are participating this year.

You can follow the Wanderlust Gnome on Twitter for the latest info (and prizes!) or check out the Leslieville Wanderlust Facebook page.

We’ll be out for sure – we want to get a photo of Clara and Isabel with Santa at Timmie Doggie Outfitters.

Leslieville Pumpkin Parade

On Tuesday night, after all the Halloween fun is over, what are you going to do with your pumpkin? Take it to Leslie Grove Park (Queen St. East and Jones) to be part of the pumpkin parade!

This has been happening in Sorauren Park in Parkdale for years – neighbours come out, bring their jack-o-lanterns to line the park pathways, and create a gorgeous “pumpkin parade” for all to enjoy and admire.  The next day, the pumpkins are removed by the city.

Come out on Tuesday night and meet your neighbours.  Apparently it starts around 6:00 or 6:30 in Leslie Grove Park.  Bring your pumpkin, and don’t forget a tea light to light it up!

[photos above of the Souraren Park Pumpkin Parade by Flickr user KateDW.  See more photos from the Souraren Park Pumpkin Parade here]


A list of FREE baby activities in Leslieville

Now that the weather is turning, I’ve been looking into playgroups and drop-in activities in the ‘hood for those days when the cabin fever sets in.

I’ve compiled a handy “week at a glance” style listing of the free activities for babies in Leslieville.  I know, the Edgewood Connection and the South Riverdale Parent/Child Centre aren’t “technically” in Leslieville, but they’re close enough.

You can download my PDF here.  And please let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed that can be added.  Hope to see you out and about at some of these activities!

Where in Toronto Would You Take Visitors?

There was a great piece today at the tail end of Metro Morning on CBC Radio, where host Matt Galloway asked a few interesting people where they would take guests visiting Toronto.  Not the usual suspects like the CN Tower and the ROM – where are the hidden spots that you’d want to share?

The owner of the Cookbook Store on Yonge Street said she’d like to take visitors to the newly opened green roof at City Hall and the Rectory Cafe on Ward’s Island.  The Mayor’s new Arts and Culture Advisor said he’d take visitors to the 401 Richmond Building.  Excellent suggestions.

My cousin visited from Texas last summer, and I took her to Harbourfront and the Toronto Islands, the AGO, and shopping around Leslieville.  Then she went over to my sister’s place in the Annex where they poked along Bloor Street and went to Kensington Market.

On a delightfully hot summer day like today, I’d take guests to Sugar Beach to chill by the lake, and then check out the indoor slide at the Corus Quay Building, and finish it off with a drink at the new lakeside bar Against The Grain.

Where would you take visitors to Toronto?  Or, if you’re playing tourist in your own city, where would you go?

Sidewalk Sale in Leslieville on Saturday

I just heard about a sidewalk sale that will be happening in the ‘hood tomorrow.  Along Queen Street, between Carlaw and Greenwood, many retailers will be having sidewalk sales or “garage sale type events” (as the gal from Damzels told me). Some of the retailers involved are:

  • Doll Factory by Damzels
  • Nathalie Roze & Co
  • Realosophy
  • Atomic Toy Bot
  • Studio Fresh
  • Pentimento Gallery
  • Flik by Design
  • Love The Design
  • Lil Bean and Green
  • Telegramme Prints
  • Max’s Studio

To name a few.  Sounds great, huh?  I also heard that there’s a big street sale happening on Austin Avenue that will feature some baby stuff, so I’ll probably check that out too.  I love Leslieville.

[photo by Flickr user SeanHoward]