Amsterdam for the weekend

I booked a last minute jaunt to Amsterdam for a long weekend to meet a girlfriend and it was a wonderful weekend!

Lets start with the hotel. We stayed the the Soho house which did not disappoint! From the location (everywhere you want to go in Amsterdam no matter where it is seems just around the corner), to the beds, products and service. It wasn’t warm enough to use the pool but was still nice to hang out on the roof top and enjoy the bar at night!

We had both been to Amsterdam before so picked a different area every day to wander around. Day 1 we wandered around the central area which was more touristy and made sure to pass through the red light district as the sun was going down. We went into the Jewish museum and picked up an area map with walking tour that took you by the botanical gardens and zoo entrance. We explored the nine streets, 9 cute canal lined streets with unique shops, cafes and bars. We liked Pancakes for brunch and afternoon pick me ups at Joe and the Juice and De Kaaskamer van Amsterdam . Amsterdam isn’t really known for its food but a very popular cuisine is Indonesian which we tried at kanjil but were disappointment and decided on night 1 that we didn’t need to go out of our way to fulfill our other reservations and instead ate fries in cones from VieminchX but you can skip the long lines for Stroopwafels at Vanwonderen. If you are a black liqourice fan, the dutch know how to do it so buy a bag at a convenience store!

I knew I wanted to enjoy the Canal’s by boat so Gs boat brunch seemed like a great option. Gs was on everyone’s list for brunch so why not enjoy a bloody mary while we cruised around for an hour and a half. If you are looking for a “tour” this is not the canal ride for you. Flagship seemed popular and fun. We loved going to foodhallen for dinner and drinks, great vibe, food and drinks. we tried bittenballen here!

Bloemenmarkt was a great way to get your tulip fix and Anne Frank was incredibly well done, make sure you book in advance! Explore Vondelpark and the surrounding designer boutiques and museums and something we just stumbled upon while waiting for your table at The Avocado show (an instagramable brunch spot that’s overrated) was the Albert Cuypmarkt market with lots to see, eat and buy in De Pijp! You can’t go wrong eating at Cecconi’s world wide so we relaxed here our last night!

Things we didn’t make it to:

Best cookie: Vanstapele

Best apple pie: Winkel 43

Saturday Market: Noordermarkt

Cheese: Abrahamkef

Tulips: Keukenhof

WEBSITES I USED: GOOP, EATER

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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1. HOPSON GRACE WATER PITCHER

2. HOPSON GRACE TORTOISE SPREADERS

3. ABSOLUTELY BABY ALPACA THROW

4. CRATE AND BARREL LUCITE FRAME

5. CB2 MATCH STRIKER

6. LE LABO CANDLE

7. ABSOLUTLEY MINI SPOONS

8. ELTE MKT CUTTING BOARD

9. CB2 CANDLE SNUFFER AND WICK TRIMMER SET

10. DON JULIO TEQUILA

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1. CHANEL LIP STAIN

2. DIOR LIP GLOW

3. EBERJAY PAJAMAS SET

4. SHOP THE SPACE CASHMERE SCARF

5. jESSICA JEWELRY PEARL EARRINGS

6. PROVINCE APOTHECARY JADE FACE ROLLER

7. GOOP HIMALAYAN SALT SCRUB

8. DR. SABAGH HYDRATING MASK

9. BYREDO 3 PACK

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1. SASHI TILU BRACELETS

2.HOPSON GRACE MARBLE BUTTER KEEPER

3. OTTO LENGHI SIMPLE

4. INA GARTEN COOK LIKE A PRO

5. GUCCI BELT BAG

6. OLIVE OIL EMPORIUM TRADITIONAL AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR

7. VITNER’S DAUGHTER ACTIVE BOTANICAL SERUM

8. LE CREUSET SALT AND PEPPER MILLS

9. SISLEY PARIS SO CURL MASCARA

10. ABSOLUTELY MARBLE SALT AND PEPPER BOWLS WITH SPOONS

11. TATA HARPER LIP AND CHEEK STAIN

PROJECT PEARS BASEMENT

We started with a blank slate in project pears' basement. After a flood, everything had to be replaced. I'm not usually a big fan of an accent wall but I was able to get behind an 'accent nook' in Benjamin Moore's Old Navy 2063-10, paired with cream broadloom. Gold Sconces from Universal Lamp, a neutral sofa from Elte, custom made tufted ottoman in navy velvet and a mix of fabrics including the jumping off point for the colour scheme - Designers Guild Palasini-Cobalt from primavera.

NURSERY INSPIRATION

I wanted to share my good friends nursery! She designed it on her own and was inspired by the wallpaper used in project lippincott's bedroom and a photo she saw on pinterest.

Didn't she do a fantastic job? From the white millwork, black door knobs, peacock pillow and roman blind, gold pops and black crib from ella + elliot, and white rocker from pottery barn - I think she has one lucky little girl! 

CHICAGO

Chicago is one of my all time favourite weekend destinations, it is very convenient from Toronto's Billy Bishop airport especially into Midway airport and it's the perfect place to eat, shop, go to a cubs game and enjoy all the beautiful architecture.

My last visit I stayed at the Soho House. It was an incredible hotel with an even better roof top pool and lots of great people/celeb watching. 

I'm always asked where my favourite places to eat are in Chicago so here goes:

Brunch

Dinner

Snacks

Other restaurants I have been to include, mercadito, lou mitchells, zed451, bavettes, publican, gt fish and oyster, hot dougs.

 

 

CHOCOLATE + NUTELLA BABKA FROM BREADS BAKERY

Breads Bakery at 18 East 16th St. NYC has hands down the best Babka I have ever tasted. After trying it for the first time, I knew I had to try and create it at home and man did it pay off - best dessert I have ever made! 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup whole milk

1 1/2 packets active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted

2 1/2 cups pastry flour, sifted

2 large eggs

1/2 cup, plus 1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

30 oz Nutella

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Start by making the syrup. Add sugar and water to a pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce and let it simmer until the sugar dissolves (2 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it cool. You can refrigerate it in an air-tight container for up to 30 days.

Get your dough started by activating the yeast according to the directions on the package.

Pouring the milk into a large bowl and add the yeast mixture.

Add the flour first, then the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and half of the butter. Blend until combined with an electric mixer on the lowest speed with a dough hook attachment — about 3 or 4 minutes. You can also use your hands if you like to get down and dirty with your dough!

Increase the mixer speed and slowly add the rest of the butter until combined.

Place the dough on your work surface and knead by hand for about 2 minutes. Then shape it into a square, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Once your dough is nice and cold, roll out your dough [about 1/5 inch thick] and spread the Nutella evenly. Sprinkle it with chocolate chips.

Roll the dough tightly and lay seam-side down. Cut it into thirds, then cut each piece in half length wise.

Lay 2 of the pieces on top of each other to form an X and roll each end of each piece over the other to form a twist with the two pieces. Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces.

Transfer each “braided” loaf to a 8 x 3 pan, tucking the ends under. Cover with a dry towel and let is rise for about an hour.

Set the oven to 350 degrees on convection.

Bake the loaves for 25 minutes each [or just 20 minutes if you’re not using convection].

Remove from the oven and brush immediately with the syrup.

This video from Eden Eats helped me with the braiding 

Recipe From Sadie and Co

CHARCUTERIE PARTY

To say I have a tendency to go overboard would be putting it lightly...I love having people over and putting out elaborate spreads! For my boyfriends birthday,  we decided to turn our harvest style dining table into possibly the biggest charcuterie board ever created? We put as much as we could directly on the table - made clean up a breeze too !

here is what you will need to create your own charcuterie table...

  • 1 roll of brown kraft paper
  • mason jars, tongs, bowls, napkins, plates, toothpics
  • meats
  • cheeses (pre cube what you can)
  • cantelope + grapes
  • dried fruits + nuts
  • gerkins, pickles + olives
  • mustards
  • jams + honey
  • crackers + breads