Welcome to BoBo Feed

BoBo is a French expression, short for Bourgeois Bohème, and it pretty much describes who we are.

Bobo Feed will be sharing things that inspire us or please us-
from the worlds of architecture & design, fashion & styling, food and drink, travel, urban living, whatever...

We hope you enjoy.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Something about Kaiser Karl

The Milano Fall 2010 presentations are currently underway.
Karl Lagerfeld for FENDI is to our minds outstanding,no matter what.... as you can see from above,he just keeps them coming....season after season.
How he hits it,right on the money is nothing short of amazing,considering all the other collections he designs and oversees.
Check FENDI out on the New York Times Fashion and Style link below.
Photos courtesy of Style.com

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saigon Subs: the steak sandwich redux

We've mentioned before that a fave cookbook of ours is Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by locals Alford & Duguid. And within that favourite book is a favourite recipe for the Vietnamese Submarine sandwich.
One thing that often happens when cultures clash and then meld is that exciting new foods are born. In the best instances the sum will be greater than the individual parts. In the case of the Saigon Sub, Vietnamese cooks took French components, specifically the baguette, pâté, and mayonnaise and married them with sweet, sour & salty carrot pickle and coriander. Other than those key elements, the list of ingredients is widely variable & up to you.
In our case, we prefer to add sliced medium-rare rib eye. Because there are a lot of ingredients stuffed between the crusty layers, we will generally share a small mini-baguette between us. (We use the Ace Bakery frozen baguette, which we find has both the correct density and crust texture)
The balance that the pickle and the pungent herb bring to the richness of the European ingredients is nothing short of divine. Actually, we prefer to think there's something redemptive about the raw carrots & cilantro that make up for the fact that you're scarfing down all that red meat, liver and eggs!


...at Sanagan's Meat Locker in Kensington MarketThe most gold medals & closing in on second place overall!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Food... Glorious Food, Pt. 2

From our *...Glorious Food, Pt.1* post one might think that we strongly believe that the "grass is greener on the other side", but nothing could be further from the truth regarding our culinary tastes.

Our home, Toronto, is often called a city of neighbourhoods and because of these "neighbourhoods", we are blessed with a plethora of choice. Amen to that!

One of our favourite neighbourhoods is Kensington Market, one of the oldest parts of the city. Kensington Market began in the early 20th century with European Jews immigrating and creating a self sufficient community there. Throughout the years, due to it's racial and ethnic harmony, Kensington has continued to welcome people from all over the world where they often find their first home.
We cannot be away from Kensington too long before we NEED to go back. Whether it is for our fave Vietnamese at Pho Hung (see post2/6/10) or Mexican at El Trompo (see post1/25/10 ) or Chilean at Jumbo Empanada (see post2/20/10 ) we can't get enough.

Kensington is often the first place we visit that reconnects us to Toronto when ever we return from a holiday.
For some reason it has taken us this long (very) to think of Kensington for our every day produce, like meat, fruit and veg from old time Portuguese fruit and veg vendors, to the best kosher butchers where you can get free range chickens the size of small turkeys, for a fraction of what they charge uptown! Really we kid you not.As with most urban areas, a new generation has started to come to the market: Locavores, most often environmentally conscious, just out of culinary or trade schools, they are taking over where some have retired. Nothing like new blood to recharge a neighbourhood.One of these is a sea food merchant that has recently opened,where for the first time we saw uni being sold (not so local.. but hey..) and oysters from both our coasts. We also found sushi grade tuna, sashimi, Alaskan crab, as well as Ontario Pickerel, yumm. A new butcher has also just opened where for decades an old butcher stood selling a few meager ox tail in his window. Now the window is filled with locally raised beef and pork. Each time we have gone by, there seems to always be a group just staring in amazement at the variety being offered. We recently purchased for $6 (!) two amazingly fresh Osso Bucco that blew our socks off. Again at half the price we would have paid in the 'hood.Toronto also boasts one of the largest Chinese Communities in North America, we have heard second only to San Fransisco, with at least 4 or 5 quite substantial Chinatowns. One of those, north of the city, has the best, we are told, authentic Chinese food this side of the pacific. (we're sure our cousins in Vancouver would object) with prices to match. Not having a vehicle to take us there and sample these delicacies has been unfortunate, but perhaps one day...
Til then we will satisfy ourselves with the many Chinatowns that are around us. There are many "supermarkets" in our local Chinatown but none is bigger than T&T. They have taken the north american supermarket idea and made it their own. Vast and clean, one can choose from the most authentic take away or all the fixin's for an authentic Chinese feast. One can also pick up fresh fish, pastries, fruit, veg and meat as well as all those great oriental snacks. We often stop to get a sushi platter there, fresh and made in house, you can't beat it.We will continue to review the many tastes of Toronto.
Keep checking back for Korean, South Asian, Caribbean and more food...glorious food!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Uno Prii- A Sunday Stroll in the Annex

We love to wander around our town, stopping to closely examine the texture of places that catch our eyes. Imagine our interest in reading (Globe & Mail article here) about an upcoming guided tour of the Annex neighbourhood which would feature the *Jetsons* style residential architecture of the late Uno Prii. We just had to jump at the opportunity, and we were certainly not disappointed. Mother Nature cooperated with a spectacular late February day and our group of around 30 curious folks was treated to an entertaining & highly informative tour conducted this past Sunday by Catherine Drillis. (seen below explaining how *not* to do it)
above, the group assembles before heading out

Drillis & partner Angus Skene have in the past operated a service called Architours (visit their site here) which conducted walking tours of Toronto neighbourhoods, and they now seem poised to resume again after somewhat of a hiatus. We certainly encourage them to do so.

Our tour started at the best preserved of the cluster of residential buildings that Prii generously sprinkled around a few square blocks of the Annex from the mid '60's to mid '70's, the iconic 20 Prince Arthur Avenue. As Catherine explained, citing 20 Prince Arthur as a positive example, some owners more than others have made the necessary investments to maintain these historic buildings.
Above, 20 Prince Arthur Av. Below, 485 Huron Street.
Sadly, the lack of upkeep was apparent in later sites we visited. Here at 11 Walmer (below) the balconies are in rough shape & the original brickwork has been stuccoed over giving the solid masses a brutal feel. Still, one can still sense delight in the roofline's curvaceous echo of the balcony forms.
Furthermore, some owners who have made necessary upgrades have failed to respect the design integrity of the original construction, with the most common transgression being the changing of the balcony facings. Attempts to modernize have had the effect of removing the very historic elements that make the buildings so desirable.
22 Walmer Rd. , above & below, once had a decorative metal-screened facade, which is certainly very different from the new look. What has been made evident by the screen's removal is Mr. Prii's sure hand at developing a building's proportions- this one still looks good without the screen.
As seen at 44 WalmerRd. (above & below), the replacement of the balcony fronts has completely altered the character of the building. Notice that the connection of the concrete entry canopy to the building looks clumsily naked without the patterned band of the balcony fronts. Gone is the interconnectedness of the building's detailing. The circular cutouts of the entrance canopy & round fountain seem somewhat frivolous or arbitrary without the strongly punched horizontal bands that once were there.

Ms. Drillis noted the irony in the current fondness that the neighbourhood feels for these structures, and the grassroots efforts to ensure their preservation. It seems that at the time they were built the local community fought very vocally to stop their construction, citing the destruction of the character of the Annex as it was at that time. When it comes to people's resistance to change, it's true that *plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose*
Elegant porte-cochère at 35 Walmer Rd.
Prii was a true *modernist* in that he espoused the right for all to healthy living spaces, even those who could only afford rental accommodations in an era when not owning property was equated with being lower class. He understood that the architectural program must dictate the physical solution. In the case of the structures we visited, that meant simple, inexpensively constructed buildings that earned their owner handsome profits, yet which were ingeniously infused with a forward looking exuberance that we dare say hasn't been matched since.
100 Spadina Rd

Catherine Drillis is an Uno Prii scholar who is obviously passionate about this architect's body of work. She curated a Prii exhibition last autumn at the U of T's School of Architecture, which we are truly sad to have missed. She maintains a web site, Uno Prii Architect, which catalogues as many of his structures- which are prolifically distributed across the GTA- as possible. As his records are no longer in existence, she suspects there are countless buildings around town that are as yet unattributed to the man. It will be fun, armed with a little insight thanks to our Annex tour, to add *Prii sleuthing* to the activities we can indulge in as we stroll our fascinating streets.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Lunch at Jumbo Empanadas

A popular fixture in Kensington Market, this place is usually too crowded to get a seat, except in the summer when their front patio extends their seating capacity, likely by about triple. Today, however, we lucked out- probably 'cause we were running a little late.
Indeed, at nine tables, there is nothing *jumbo* about the interior.
As a chef came & went through the dining room, heading upstairs to what must be a prep kitchen with tubs full of dough, & back down again with platters laden with empanadas ready for the ovens, the counter staff were a swirl of activity, taking orders, sliding the empanadas from the racks into the ovens, then running them to the waiting customers.
Today we opted for the *carne*- a savoury beef filling with the texture of pulled pork, spiked with raisins, chopped hardboiled eggs & olives- yummm. The pastry is a marvel, having a bit of *tooth* while remaining light. A loose salsa with just the right amount of both acid & heat complements the beef.
Of course, meat & pastry do not a complete meal make, so we shared a *Chilean* salad with lettuce, tomato, avocado, tiny broccoli florettes, marinated thinly sliced red onion, and a fresh citrusy vinaigrette. We had to finish off with a couple of alfajores because....well, because they were there....
(photo off the web)

Immortalized in Ischia...

We are occasionally accused by family & friends of failing to include ourselves in the photos we take of the exotic places we visit. So we must extend a heartfelt thanks to Google for including us in their Street View of one of the most scenic spots on the Italian island of Ischia.
(That's us between the silver station wagon & the metal gate. Not to be immodest, but you can zoom closer if you'd like)

Here's our shot of the same view- so much nicer without all us messy humans & our vehicles, don't you think!?
It's probably safe to say that Ischia is not on the radar of most North Americans. This idyllic island in the Gulf of Naples is too often overshadowed by it's more superficially glamorous
little sister, Capri.
Ischia, though, is a gem- largest of the 3 islands off Napoli's coast, and home to numerous natural thermal facilities, it has been a favourite vacation spot for decades of Europeans "in the know".

We recently spent a week on the island, reprising a visit about 5 years before. We returned to the same apartment we had previously rented in the tiny commune of Fiaiano, high above the coast.
As you can see from some of our photos, there was an obvious draw- that sensational view of the bay with Vesuvius in the background!
We spent time in the main town, Ischia Porto (above) & the adjacent Ischia Ponte.
Ponte- aka "bridge"- refers to the little isthmus that links the Castello Aragonese di Ischia's small promontory island to the main island.
Castello Aragonese (above) Ischia Ponte (below)
Chapel & outdoor cafe high above Ischia Ponte at Castello Aragonese (above)

We travelled around the island, seeing places we had not previously seen. Below is the charming town square in Casamicciola Terme, a spa centre from decades past located on the north coast of the island. Unfortunately, less than a month after we returned home, torrential rains caused a terrible mud slide that swept down through the town
A short distance away, on the west coast, is the town of Forio (below). In the background is the hillside of the island's highest peak, Monte Epomeo. Forio is the town on the coast below us in the Google image at the top of this post.
The little church of Soccoroso above is dedicated to Santa Maria della Neve & references its sea-faring congregation on its interior. Around back overlooking the endless sea is a heart-wrenching knot of locks. Legend has it that a lock is put in place following a prayer for someone who has gone missing at sea, only to be unlocked & removed following their safe return. Unfortunately, the knot continues to grow.
The original reason for getting spied by Google was a visit to the Giardini La Mortella north of Forio. We were in search of very elusive parking when we came to the overlook & had to stop.

The garden is a spectacular place that inhabits a small lush space in its local hillside valley, then climbs higher & higher up the mountain, offering a small outdoor concert bowl near the top with breathtaking views down over the coast.
Eventually, all roads led back to *la nostra casa* and that killer view!