GUTS Canadian Feminism Magazine publishes literary essays and reviews, long-form journalism, interviews, fiction, and new media that further feminist correspondence, criticism, and community in Canada. Just in the last year, they have been producing fresh, bold content that has been catching the attention of readers across North America.
Last year, thanks to my friend Siobhan, I found out about the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape Bowl-a-Thon and I decided to get involved. Each year, The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR) does so much good helping women in Toronto impacted by sexual violence.
I love trying out new things. Although I'm not the most creative person in the world, there has been a big trend recently that has talked about how making art can actually be a stress reliever. This is where Paint Cabin, a recently opened art studio/gallery and cafe-bar in the East End of Toronto comes into play. The biggest goals behind Paint Cabin is that you can come in, make your own work in a safe environment either by yourself or with a friend and well, be proud of it. At Paint Cabin, they provide you with all the necessary tools for various different workshops including painting and woodcutting and as an attendee, we get the joys of sculpting something from wood or painting something (with brushes and paint) and being able to express ourselves under the guidance of the Paint Cabin owners.
So true to form, I dragged my girlfriend Rachelle out to a workshop at Paint Cabin with me. It was a work-stamp class - one that I had taken once before via The Shop. I had kept tweeting prior to our class about how I was going to stab myself in the stomach with one of the woodworking tool, so you know: off to a good, stress relieving wise. I obviously have no chill.
As we entered the studio space, Paint Cabin’s founder Gord Wong welcomed us in and showed us around and gave us a candid look at the space. He explained to us that Paint Cabin was for everyone, those who were into the arts as a hobby or those who were into arts as a profession. He wanted people to come here and enjoy their time in a safe and fun environment.
So for me personally, there were a lot of reasons why I wanted to visit Paint Cabin as a form of stress relief: a distraction from the awful holiday season, self-care and meditative flow. You see, once you get into the ebb and flow of the class, you kind of block out the negative energy of everything else happening in the world and just soak in all the positive vibes of what is happening around you. It really truly is magical.
That evening, Rachelle decided to make a racoon wood-stamp and I decided to make a festive holiday bear wood-stamp. I also decided to have two glasses of wine and while that probably wouldn't have helped with my fears of being stabbed by the wood-cutting tools, they tasted great going down.
Paint Cabin offers a range of workshops in various skill levels using acrylic, watercolour, sketching, woodcut art and mixed media. The workshops range in price from $40-50, including all supplies. Plus as mentioned, there is a full service cafe on-hand serving up coffee, wine, craft beer and other bakery goods.
If you're looking to try something different or just want to go and paint, then perhaps try out Paint Cabin in the new year. It's worth a shot and also worth relieving some of your adult stresses with!
It may be really hard to believe, but yes: you can go to the The Keg Steakhouse + Bar for more than just steak. I know this first hand because my most recent trip there with my girlfriend Laura consisted of everything but steak and all the simple pleasures in life: cocktails, apps, dessert and gossip. They are all of the creature comforts one desires when deciding to leave your bed fort in winter or at least, these are all of the creature comforts I need when deciding to leave my bed fort during the winter months. On the night in question, Laura and I decided to visit one of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar's brand new locations on King Street West in Toronto and honestly, it was the coziest little place you ever did see. Case in point: our server placed us at this cute table tucked beside a mini Library and a faux fireplace where no one could bother us. Heaven is a place on earth!
When I was growing up, The Keg was always one of those places that my parents would go on special occasions to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries but it was never one of those places to go just for a good evening out. As I have gotten older (and well, started to experience The Keg for myself), I have come to realize that what made The Keg so special is not only was the food consistent, and the service great but they always had great choices across the board. Plus: it didn't leave the biggest dent in your wallet like some other steakhouses could (and well, would) and let's be real: we all want to go someone fancy but not always have the budget to do so.
On this evening in particular, I had been invited by The Keg to come in and try out their new winter cocktails. Laura and I had so much catching up to do about life, love, work and well - everything and it seems like The Keg would be the perfect place to do just that. Plus, downing a few cocktails would probably help us with the natural flow of conservation, laughs and just well vibes. Between the two of us, we tried the following:
CRANBERRY SMASH - Woodford Reserve bourbon, Chambord, Jägermeister, cranberry juice and simple syrup, fresh lemon juice and muddled cranberries GINGER DARK AND STORMY - Gosling’s Black Seal rum, ginger syrup and fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of ginger ale BLACKBERRY MULE - ￼￼￼￼Absolut vodka, Cassis, fresh lime juice, muddled blackberries and a splash of ginger beer Each and every single time, we ordered our cocktails in Keg size (because Keg size is obviously the only size you should be ordering in) and comes in a hearty 2 ounce serving. Typically when you order a Keg size serving, the cocktail ranges from $11-$12 compared to the $7.50-$8.50 for the 1 ounce, regular serving. The cocktails that both Laura and I tried that eve were all so incredibly tasty and well, a lot boozier than one may expect so I would say the value for money is totally there. Laura and I both agreed that the Pomegranate Royale was our favourite, so I've included the recipe on how to make it for yourself at home below.
Now with all of these cocktails, we needed to dig into some food and of course, the appetizers menu at The Keg can't be beat. We always hear about how good the steaks are but seriously one thing I'm going to recommend you try (and one thing that is fairly new to their menu) is the Ahi Tuna Tartare ($15). Now I know what you're thinking: fish at a steakhouse? But yes: fish at a steakhouse. Trust me on this one. The fish is well-seasoned in a soy-glaze and served on huge chunks of avocado. Honestly, if I could have this tartare every single day - I would.
But if you're looking for a more classic Keg dish to share, then I'm going to suggest the Mushrooms Neptune ($13). Served up with six to a plate, they are small tiny bites of well, you guessed it: mushrooms. But stuffed to the brim with crab and cream cheese so they are little explosions of goodness in your mouth. They one of the classic Keg dishes that have been on the menu for as long as I can remember and honestly, they are one of the dishes that you cannot leave the Keg without getting.
Finally, anyone who knows me knows that I do not have a sweet tooth but knows that I cannot resist ice cream or cookies. I do not know what it is exactly about the Billy Miner Pie at The Keg but it's the perfect accompaniment for any Keg Night Out. If you have never experienced Billy Miner Pie for yourself, picture this towering mocha ice cream cake with a chocolate cookie crust drizzled in hot fudge, caramel and almonds and well, there you have it.
If you feel like you need your own night out (and who doesn't) and you want to try a few of these Winter Cocktails out for yourself, then I'd like to help you!
I'm giving away one $100 gift-card courtesy of The Keg Steakhouse + Bar today! So how do you enter?
1) Give me a follow on Instagram here 2) Follow AmaScriver.com on Facebook 2) Please sign up for my newsletter, found at the bottom of the website 3) Retweet the following tweet linked here 4) The contest will run from Monday December 14th until Sunday December 20th at 5PM EST. We’ll announce on Sunday, so stay tuned!
One of Toronto's first of its kind LGBTQ+ focused craft, art, fashion and literature events. This weekend, the Pink Market is offering up its version of a holiday market with PINK XMAS on December 12 and 13 at The 519 Community Centre. I had the chance to chat with Natalia Manzocco, organizer of Pink Market who told me a bit about the roots of the event and why Pink Market is so important to queer arts in general.