Saturday, August 24, 2013

Recommendation: Fanny Chadwick's

Fanny Chadwick's has been recommended to me for brunch by more than one source.

I went this morning with my brunch/life partner, Dan. Wowza! We arrived just as they were opening at 10AM and got a place on their bran-spankin' new patio - constructed about a month ago.  There are white triangular canopies and strings of lights with globe shaped bulbs over head.  Bright green Astroturf underfoot. Light wood fencing with horizontal slats all around.  It feels clean and bright, but very welcoming. I imagine it would be stunning at sunset.  From eavesdropping, I learn that pretty much everything is made in house.  The salad dressing, the ketchup, the English muffins, etc.

I got a quick snap of the canopy. Globe string lights on the right.

I ordered the eggs benny with house made sausage and greens.  The Hollandaise sauce was so light and frothy, I had to ask about it.  The waitress told me the secret: beer!  I'm in love.  The house made sausage of the day was jalapeño. Dan ordered the Finnish pancakes.  They were half way between the consistency of a flapjack and a crepe and so good!  They came with a fruit compote and whipped cream. The portions were generous.  Neither of us could finish our meals.

The guys at the next table ordered the potato hash with their meals.  I think I'll get that next time because it looked amazing.

The lady at the table behind me was raving about the sticky buns and wanted to know if she could buy a whole bunch (if you want to do this, call a few days ahead and they'll make extra for you). I had no room for a sticky bun, but I've been craving a cronut lately and knew I wouldn't have time to go to Le Dolci today, so I got one to go.  I'm eating it right now, and let me tell you: YUM!  It's very large for a sticky bun (a two-person treat), caramel-y on the outside and soft on the inside. Sticky-bun perfection.

My only complaint: there's not enough bicycle parking close by!

268 Howland Ave.

Brunch hours:
Saturday and Sunday

Friday, August 23, 2013

Living in a Small Space: Pot Rack Edition

This is the first of what I hope will be many posts about how to fit two people's lives who are used to living in a low rent, large space market in Ottawa into 45 sq metres (500 sqft) in Toronto.

A common one - too many pots and pans and no where to store them.  I googled around for some DIY ideas and liked this article by Apartment Therapy. I love the idea of using a old wooden ladder suspended from the ceiling, but I couldn't find one in a pinch, so here we go...

What I Used: 
Home Builder Triple Grip Anchor
It's very important to properly support your new pot rack. Get Triple Grip or a butterfly style dry wall anchor. It's more work up front, what with the measuring and pre-drilling, but trust me, you'll thank yourself later when your pots and pan don't come crashing down on your fresh baked casserole.

Each Grundtal rail come with three screws. Two which look like normal screws (threads on one side, flat on the other) to attach the rail to its brackets on each side, and a third which has threads on both sides to connect rails together. I used this third one to connect two rails together. This wasn't the best idea for a pot rack, as you'll see later.

I measured out where my drywall anchors would go using a level, a tape measure, and a pencil. Then I pre-drilled holes just slightly smaller than my anchors (some anchors will come with the perfect sized drill bit) for a snug fit. I hammered in the anchors and fasten on the Grundtal brackets.  Here's where I needed a hand.  I couldn't hold up the rail and fasten it to the brackets alone!  There are nine foot ceiling in my place. I'm 5'2" and my foot stool in 1'8".  The math doesn't add up here, so I needed some help from my upstairs neighbour (Thanks Monika)! If you're in the same boat, call a tall friend to help. Next, I got out a pot and an S-hook and tested it out.  I found that it wasn't holding up as well as I would like at the mid point.  So I took another one of the Grundtal brackets and installed it horizontally in the middle of the rail for extra support and ...

The Result:

The rail is level, the ceiling is not. 

In hindsight, I should have just mounted the two rails, with brackets on both sides, side-by-side.  Pots and pans are heavy and the Grundtal connecting screw does not provide enough support for rails of 80cm each.

Happy small space living!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How (Not) to Make a Chalkboard Wall Inside Your House

Product I used: Krylon Chalkboard Paint in a spray can

Where I got it: Canadian Tire at Dundas St. W and Bay St. in Toronto. $6.99 per can.
Recommended for: Projects you can do outside and bring in once they are dry.
Why? The spray can format causes a fine dust of the product to settle on every surface.

Although I covered every surface, including the ceiling, about two feet around the wall to be chalkboarded, a fine black dust settled on everything in the vicinity. And I do mean EVERYTHING.  Once I noticed this happening, I covered the floor with newsprint, the furniture across the room with a drop cloth.  I have mopped the floor three times and I'm still getting black on the bottom of my feet. When I went to cook later in the day, I noticed black dust on my stove top, which is around the corner from the surface I applied the paint to.  I had to clean out the filter in my AC unit and the blades of my fan.  It took three hours to clean up.

Result: The Krylon Chalkboard Paint made a nice finish.  I used a can and a half to fully cover this 0.9m X 1.7m (3' X 5'6") surface.  This is consistent with the packaging which indicates each can covers 1.1 sq. metres (12 sqft).
Left: The Kylon Chalkboard Paint made a rich, velvety finish.
Right: I've used the surface now.  It erases well!

Since the finish is so nice, I do recommend it if you have a project which you can take outside. Just make sure there aren't any cars downwind. If you don't heed my advice and choose to do this indoors, please cover everything and wear a mask so you don't inhale the product. It says a to use it in a well ventilated area, which is good advice, but if you have fans going, it's just going to disperse the product even more.  Weigh your pros and cons.

In hindsight, I probably should have used something like Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint since you can apply it with a brush and avoid a big mess.  I can't vouch for the finish though.

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