Concrete Jungle

Flatiron building in nyc

It’s pretty easy to fall in love with Manhattan; everything you could ever dream of seeing, experiencing or purchasing can be found somewhere on this vast island.  As a five-day tourist, it was oddly energizing to just explore different neighbourhoods, to take in all the sights, smells (winter is more pleasant than summer in this case), artistic inspiration and culinary offerings that my limited time would allow me.  From Soho to Chelsea, East / West, Upper, Mid and Lower, it was almost overwhelming to fathom the sheer magnitude of establishments and dreams crammed into a 23 square mile island, and this definitely wasn’t my first visit either.

To the city that never sleeps, your tireless innovation has left this (unemployed) artist dreaming bigger, mind spinning with ideas, hoping to soon be part of something meaningful.

Design

Radiator chair found in nyc boutique Anthropologie

I should have been an industrial designer.  It’s always easy in hindsight to map out how things should occurred, and I somehow regret not enrolling in the industrial design program, but for now, my inspiration and guilty pleasure will remain in the realm of chairs.  Yes, chairs.  There is something about the functionality, comfort, necessity and the aesthetic of a chair that sums up the quintessential item for design and innovation.  From Mies van der Rohe to Le Corbusier, to Gehry, Breuer and Eames, whenever I see an original (or even reproduction for that matter), my heart starts pumping like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

When I discovered the radiator chair, neatly tucked away in the corner of an Anthropologie store in Soho, NYC, I immediately fell in love.  True, the comfort level is definitely lacking, but the sheer amount of creativity required to conceive and produce this piece is commendable.  If money weren’t an issue, which thankfully it is, or else I probably would have turned my home into a small shrine with all of my favorite pieces.

Some girls go crazy over shoes, I drool over chairs.

 

Valentine’s Dinner

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Yes, I know, people who post photos of their food are obnoxious.  I’ll admit to having scrolled by photo after photo of aerial shots of a sloppily-presented plate with a “cute” caption like “yummy lunch with my bestie!!<3″.  Even though there are no ill-intentions, I just find it’s far overdone.  Yes, I am guilty of such snapshots occasionally, BUT… hear me out!  When you actually make the food, labour over the prepping, chopping, mixing, cooking, you earn the chance to brag.

Enter example “Valentine’s dinner”.  My husband Phil knew that beef tartare is one of my favourite dishes (kind of ironic coming from an ex-vegetarian of 2 years, but that’s another topic altogether).  Instead of making a reservation weeks in advance at an overcrowded restaurant with overpriced food and stressed out wait staff for this annual romantic evening, he went through the trouble of recreating my favourite meal at home.  Not an easy feat.  To make it a surprise, he packed travel bowls and knives early in the morning, purchased the fresh ingredients at the local butcher and prepared everything at a friend’s house and left it in his fridge until it was time to come home after work.

Now that’s a photo-worthy demonstration of love!

Mile Public House

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After moving to the ‘burbs a year ago, I have been really missing the quaint cafés and bistros that thrive in the city.  Yes, I could jump into my car and drive across the bridge, but it’s always nice to have a trendy spot close to home.  Around here in Brossard, you’ll find either the chain fast-food joints, the typical breakfast franchises and coffee shops or pretentious high-end gastronomic establishments where you’ll pay your month’s grocery budget on a dinner for two.  True, Asian food thrives here (and it’s excellent), but if you’re after a gourmet burger or spicy tartare, nothing within a 15 kilometer radius could fill that craving, until… Mile Public House!  Open a month ago, the warm, rustic, country house feel is not only the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch, but also a cool atmosphere for drinks with friends (haute couture not required).  Friendly staff, delicious and creative dishes, this pub has quickly moved to the top of my “favourite” list.  Here’s to many delicious soirées ahead!

Tire sur la neige

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I love fresh snow on the ground because it gives me an excuse to heat up some maple syrup for the traditional Québeçois treat “tire sur la neige”.

To prepare: in a small saucepan, boil the maple syrup to a max of 115C or 239F (a candy thermometer would be necessary).  Depending on the quantity of syrup in the saucepan, you can test to see if the “tire” is ready before it reaches the 239F mark by spooning some out and dropping it in a cold glass of water.  If it congeals into a droplet (and doesn’t disperse into the water), then it’s ready.  Remove from heat and pour over fresh snow.  Use a popsicle stick, chopstick, or utensil to twist it up into a ball before it hardens.  Enjoy!

Sunset

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I’m always in awe of cloud formations; what makes their imperfect yet harmonious patterns, how they catch the light yet float listlessly by, melding and reforming. Tonight’s sunset was especially breath-taking.

 
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