May 2011

cupcake ride: may 2011

May 31, 2011

I can’t remember just how I heard about Cupcake Ride, but it seemed like the perfect way to kick off Toronto Bike Month. Cupcakes and a beautiful Sunday ride? Yes, please.

When the ride picked up some major press last week – in the National Post and on Metro Morning – I was even more excited to meet up with Hyedie and the rest of the riders.

We started out at Dlish, a cupcake shop I’ve walked past many times but had never stopped in to sample. Verge, the super-generous shop owner, set our ride off to a sweet start with complimentary cupcakes and water. I chose a simple vanilla/vanilla combo (in my opinion, the best gauge with which to judge a bakery) that was light, fluffy and, well, Dlish. Needless to say, I’ll be stopping from here on in.

dlish cupcakes toronto bakery

With our blood sugar levels sufficiently spiked, we rambled through Trinity-Bellwoods on a western tour that included the new-to-me West Toronto Railpath (an amazing paved path that runs north/south on the east side of the train tracks between Dundas and Dupont) and a lilac-scented meander through High Park on our way to Bunner’s Bake Shop in the Junction.

cupcake ride toronto may 2011 high park hyedie hashimoto

Bunner’s is the city’s only vegan and gluten-free bakery, which is not something I typically look for, but enjoyed nonetheless. I again opted for a vanilla variety, but this time topped with yummy strawberry icing. Pretty owner Ashley sent us all off with a protein-packed supersonic gypsy cookie (super YUM), and I also brought home a chocolate chip creamie (a whoopie pie made with chocolate chip cookies and filled with non-dairy buttercream icing) for husband.

Bunners bakery toronto the junction

Cupcakes aside, as someone who usually rides solo, it was such a treat to bike with a non-competitive girl group through neighbourhoods I don’t often get to. The route was easy enough for even beginner bikers and the pace was perfect for meeting and chatting with fellow riders.

cupcake ride group photo may 2011 hyedie hashimoto

Thanks so much to Hyedie for starting such an amazing monthly event! I’m already looking forward to June’s ride. Don’t miss out: check out the Cupcake Ride blog, join the Cupcake Bike Ride group on Facebook, follow them on Twitter.

P.S., if you’re really disappointed you missed out on this month’s ride (you should be) and feel like re-creating it, I Google-mapped (that is so totally a verb, by the way) the route.

Photos: cupcakes (Dlish Cupcakes); group photos (Hyedie Hashimoto)

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christies antique market dundas ontario letters

Having visited the Aberfoyle Antique Market, I thought I was prepared for what awaited me at the Christie Antique Show last Saturday. I mean, really, how big could it be?

Well, it takes place in a conservation area (kind of appropriate, right?), in a giant field, limited only by a lake (Christie Lake, to be precise). That’s a lot of antiques, people.

In fact, after a while, everything kind of starts to look the same. Your eyes glaze over with endless stalls of 12-seater farm tables, Depression glass, vintage linens and other unidentifiable objects. And yet it’s hard to know when to say when, to stop looking for treasures you don’t know you need until you uncover them in the back corner of a vendor’s tent.

There were a few highly styled tents that really stood out; they were not only organized but carefully curated with an eye for (mostly) cottage chic. One in particular was an ode to ultra feminine details, like this Victorian-era wire bustle. Can you even imagine wearing that all day?

christies antique market dundas ontario wire bustle

Having just completed this round-up of vintage picnic baskets over on At Home with Kim Vallée, I couldn’t help but spot them everywhere I looked. These were just two that caught my eye (though it looks like they’ve had their fair share of rained out picnics).

There was so much I coulda, shoulda, woulda brought home – a pair of Paris park chairs, countless embroidered tablecloths, any number of pretty little tschotskes.

Like blue apothecary bottles just asking to be filled with single stems…

christies antique market dundas ontario apothecary bottles blue

Amazing hand-sewn quilts…

christies antique market dundas ontario quilts vintage

And stacks of worn leather suitcases labelled with their travels.

christies antique market dundas ontario vintage suitcases brown

In the end, I brought home an 1890s milk glass bowl and a stack of handmade doilies that will be put to use as part of my sister’s wedding decor later this fall. Oh, and mini pies from The Tiny Shop Bakery – which we hit up on the way out of the conservation area (you can’t miss the cute little red cottage right across the road from the entrance).

There’s some debate amongst antiquers over whether it’s best to bring a list or not, but I think next time I’ll at least try to take an inventory of what we could use for our apartment so as not be quite so overwhelmed by the wares. Jen from Rambling Renovators has a great list of tips which are worth reading if you plan to hit up any other antique sales this season.

The next Christie Antique Show is in September, so you have lots of time to prepare. See you there!

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salad dressing real simple travel bottle

Warm weather = mostly salads for lunch. The latest haphazard creation to come out of my kitchen during the morning shuffle? It knocks that boring one pictured up there out of the proverbial park. It’s like a slightly more robust version of a Thai mango salad, what with the greens and the sprouts and the (oh, yes) havarti. Very tasty indeed.

Of course, the main problem with bringing a salad for lunch is its needy counterpart, dressing.

Digression alert!

No one wants to schlepp a bottle of salad dressing to work everyday when you only need a splash or two. And who wants to keep only one boring variety in the workplace fridge? Especially since you know there won’t be any there when you really want it, yet also want to avoid encouraging your co-workers to post a photo of your thoughtfully labelled salad dressing on Passive Agressive Notes. I’ve tried adding my dressing to the container first, only to end up with soggy lettuce leaves and a more-challenging-than-it-ought-to-be tossing situation.

Solution: use a travel-size toiletry bottle (preferably one that hasn’t had Pantene in it) like the smart folks over at Real Simple suggest. It’s the perfect size to keep your calorie count in check and leaves room in your lunch bag for a sweet little 3 o’clock pick-me-up.

Photo: Gemma Comas and James Merrell for Real Simple

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