Somewhere Spotlight: May 2020
Welcome to the May 2020 edition of Somewhere Spotlight. In case you missed it, I recently launched this series, backdating to April. Check out April’s edition here and read this post for some background on the series.
In Somewhere Spotlight, you’ll find three sections – Explore, Food & Drink, Products, each with four elements. Hopefully you’ll find something new to try – a brand, restaurant, neighbourhood or sweet treat!
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although I receive a commission for using and linking Amazon and other company products, I am an independent blogger and the reviews are based on my own opinions. It also comes at no additional cost to you.
I first ventured to the Junction a couple of years ago when I was seeking out Chica’s Chicken. Read this Instagram post for more context.
I returned this May for a slow walk through the neighbourhood and to pick up mussels at Honest Weight. Restaurants and shops weren’t open yet, so instead I meandered in awe of the stunning architecture and took note of places that I’d like to returning to. Next time you’re in the Junction, take a minute to study the buildings – you’ll know what I mean when I say every building feels like it’s holding a great story.
Some of my favourite Junction spots are: Pictus Goods for eco-conscious flowers and gifts (it’s technically in the Junction Triangle, not the Junction, but it’s a close walk), Honest Weight for seafood, Mabel’s for freshly baked bread and of course, Chica’s Chicken for some of the city’s best Nashville Hot Chicken. If you have time, walk 15 minutes south to High Park to see why it’s one of Toronto’s best green spaces.
I’m especially looking forward to returning to check out Blua (for Balkan-inspired snacks & stunning cocktails), Junction Craft Brewing (to check out the latest in the craft beer scene and of course, pick up some of True History’s latest brews), The Hole in the Wall (for oysters, live music and in all likelihood, to devour their fried chicken platter) and Wildhood (a tiny flower & gift shop that I’ve been ogling on Instagram).
In May, I ventured to a park for the first time during quarantine. It was also the first time I went to a park with an arsenal of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, but I was desperate for sunshine and a socially distanced day with friends. We specifically picked a park that we thought would be fairly empty (and it was!) and the four of us spent the afternoon hitting baseballs and eating our separate picnics on the grass.
Later in the month, I spent an afternoon in Sunnybrook Park and finally put a bocce ball set that I’ve had for over a year to use. Buy your own set here (but make sure you use it!).
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying park days and think I’ve spent more time in Toronto’s green space during quarantine than I have over the last few years combined. It makes me wonder how I used to spend my weekends…
I took part in an online natural perfumery class with Toronto-based company, LOHN.
Ahead of the workshop, I received 18 samples of essential oils. The co-founders were lovely hosts and walked the intimate group through how to combine top, middle and bottom notes to make various scents. Ultimately, you end the workshop by making a custom rollerball perfume.
I highly recommend the class or one of Lohn’s wonderfully scented, hand poured candles.
I have a tiny pink vase that I brought back from Norway a few years ago, but I never really knew what to put in it.
After randomly coming across Pictus Goods on Instagram, I DMed the owner – Jaz – to see if she might be able to provide a suggestion. She recommended I bring my vase down to her shop so that we could find the perfect match. We landed on dried lavender, which meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about funneling water into the tiny vase opening.
Similarly to other shops and restaurants I’ve mentioned in the Somewhere Spotlight series, Pictus Goods is a fair drive from my house. But, as it often goes, I’m so glad I made the effort to head over there.
Jaz was fantastic and I absolutely love her shop – she offers beautiful fresh and dried flowers, flower subscriptions and a wonderfully curated selection of Canadian-made goods.
Food & Drink
Delivery & Takeout
We ordered Parallel for my boyfriend’s birthday in early May, and still can’t stop recommending it to anyone who will listen. Everything was delicious and if you followed what I had been eating in May (tip: lots and lots of burgers), I welcomed having a healthy option available for delivery.
If you love cilantro, get the tabouli salad – it’s a salad I would order time and time again (this, coming from a girl who has a strong preference for burgers and pizza). We also thoroughly enjoyed the cauliflower, falafels, hummus and the chicken thigh platter. The chicken comes with the most heavenly grilled pitas that I would consider eating by the dozen.
Our order was more than enough for two (we probably could have halved it), but we got to enjoy great leftovers!
Looking forward to checking out their patio in person. You should definitely give Parallel a try!
Since I loved the Project Gigglewater cocktail that I ordered for delivery in April, I decided to test out another cocktail kit.
This time, I went with Salty Paloma. The cocktail kit came with a bottle of Whitley Neil blood orange gin, two handmade cocktail syrups and one of Salty Paloma’s signature cocktail rimmer.
The founder of Salty Paloma ran a cocktail class on the day I received my order. I had a great time learning how to make three signature drinks and have continued to enjoy the blood orange gin and the cocktail rimmer.
While Salty Paloma no longer seems to be selling cocktail kits, you can still purchase their signature cocktail rimmers or sign up for a private cocktail class.
The main reason I ventured back to the Junction was to pick up pre-marinated mussels from Honest Weight.
It was the first time I was making mussels, so I thought opting for ones that were pre-marinated would help guarantee success. A bit of a cheat, but I was easing in. I can confirm, they were delicious!
Honest Weight also offers prepared food (chowders, fish burgers, and so on) as well as fresh fish for online and phone ordering.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but it seems to be in full force in quarantine. This has resulted in me ordering many treats for delivery. In May, it was Girl Gang Goodies.
The founder, Morgan, inherited her signature recipe from her family. Think traditional gooey chocolate chip cookies, with a hint of Christmas spice. You really have to try them to understand why they’re so addicting. So go ahead, order a box for delivery or surprise someone from your girl gang.
Check out our Q&A with Morgan here!
I recently purchased a rose quartz facial roller. I’m not sure if I am completely bought into the benefits – they’re supposed to help reduce puffiness, wrinkles and provide sinus pressure relief – but it feels so refreshing and has become a mainstay on my vanity.
I have a rose quartz version (rather than jade) and it remains naturally cool without needing to put it in the fridge. I roll it on my freshly washed face and the cooling sensation leaves me happily relaxed.
I am a night owl, but sometimes it isn’t by choice. I have a hard time falling asleep and was gifted thisworks body cocoon lotion (thanks mom!). And well…it works. I don’t quite fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but the soothing lavender scent helps relax my busy mind at night.
I’ve also heard fantastic things about the thisworks pillow spray. Check out the over 2,000 reviews on Amazon.
Clothing & Accessories
I love Kit & Ace, and snagged a pair of high waisted stretch shorts on sale a while back. They’ve quickly become a work-from-home staple; I think I wore them for almost half the month of May (and I am wearing them as I write this).
The shorts are super high waisted, which I love, and the fabric is unbelievably soft. I’ve since purchased a few similar shorts from other companies, but none have been as amazing as these.
Although they no longer have the olive colour that I bought, you can find other colours here.
On my trip to Pictus Goods, I picked up the cutest pink lemon juicer.
It not only looks great, but is useful for squeezing out every last ounce of juice – perfect for cooking or cocktails.
Be sure to check out the great curated roster of female artisans in the Pictus Goods shop or on their website.
73 Questions with the Founder of Middle of Somewhere
Many home businesses have cropped up throughout the pandemic and there are a few that are giving back. Learn about these inspirational entrepreneurs who are all about delicious food & doing good.
Many home businesses have cropped up throughout the pandemic. Read here for a roundup of the latest home businesses on Toronto’s food scene!