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There’s no place like home. I have to admit, I did feel some pressure to perform with our second issue. After all, our launch issue was well-received, as evidenced by the number of readers who signed up for a free subscription, took time to send feedback and shared a desire to visit Prague and Nashville (our feature destinations). How can we thank you? Well, I guess we can start by turning out an engaging and original second issue. So, I decided to take you to my hometown, Santa Monica. Frankly, it feels a bit like bringing a boyfriend home to meet your parents. I mean, you want everyone to like each other and, in this case, I really hope you’ll love Santa Monica as much as I do. We’ve packed this issue with great design, delicious food ideas (try to resist pie after reading Fiona Van Alstyne’s tribute to the circular treat) and still more travel, like Heather Greenwood Davis’s tour of Tofino or the Puerto Rico feature I did with my good friends Beth Halstead and Ana Dapena. We even hit the skies with Kathy Buckworth as she took on her first Dabble Dare. To our readers. Heart-felt thanks for your ongoing support of Dabble. Let us know what you think and, when you get a chance, tell us what you Dabble in (see contest on page 180).

Kimberley Seldon

Editor in Chief

PS Speaking of parents, that’s my daughter Raleigh with me on the

Santa Monica pier. Raleigh is studying fashion at my alma mater, California State University at Long Beach. I know what you’re thinking and yes, she may be part of the reason we visited Santa Monica in this issue, but I think you’ll be glad we did.

Follow me... t

f w

@kimberleyseldon May/June 2011 dabble 5


Kimberley Seldon Editor in Chief

Simon Burn Creative Director and Principal Photographer

Cheryl Horne Managing Editor

Victoria Drainville Associate Editor

Farida Karim Writer / Editor

Sophie Vander Travel and Market Editor

Bob Seldon Captain Crisis

Design Contributors Lisa Canning, Christine Da Costa, Nyla Free, Nicholas Rosaci

Travel Contributors Kathy Buckworth, Heather Greenwood Davis, Stephanie Gray, Beth Halstead, Anne Taylor Hartzell, Jennifer Weatherhead

Food Contributors Theresa Albert, Dee Brun, Corey Burgan, Jameson Fink, David Laudenback, Fiona Van Alstyne

Design & Styling Team Erin Mercer, Kathy Seale, Bret Tinson, Linda Jennings

Marketing & Social Media Tim Das, Aysun Kuck

Advertising Inquiries Owned and Published by Kimberley Seldon Productions Inc. Cheryl Horne, Manager 909 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Z6 101 California Ave, Santa Monica, California 90403 While every effort has been made to ensure that advertisements and articles appear correctly, Dabble Magazine and Kimberley Seldon Productions inc. cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the contents of this publication. All material is intended for information purposes only. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of its publisher or editor. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part prohibited

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y er ev in sue is

14 Dabble Here, Dabble There, Dabble Dabble Everywhere 18

Dabble Digs


Dabble Launch Party

180 I dabble in... 182 Just a Dab

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TRAVEL BY DESIGN 116 Puerto Rico Follow Kimberley Seldon through this exotic island paradise.



Take 3 Vanity Insanity


Industry Profile Frank Lloyd Wright


DIY Guy Headboard Project


Reality Check Choosing Bedding


Infusion Springtime Colour

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Chic and Shabby


Retro Revitalized


The Forecast is Sunny


Rocker Style


Room with a View Vineyard Vistas


Dabble Dare Come Fly with Me


104 Best Places For Biking 112 113

Travel Geek 3 Sites Inspire, Plan and Share Dabble Express Deals on Wheels

114 Exposures Better than Boring


Road Raves Finding Tofino


Dabble Does... Santa Monica

106 Snapshot Magical Mystery Tour - India

May/June 2011 dabble 11

food 157 There’s an App Salmon Chip 164 Dinner Date Lobster says 'I love you' 168 Entertain Me A Tailgate Party

170 A Taste Of... Pie 176 From Scratch Croissants 178 Sindulgence Love Nest Monster

FEATURES 152 A Day With Chef Marc Matsumoto 158 Eat Like a... Tuscan

12 dabble May/June 2011

Apr 30 -May 1 10th Annual Designer Market More than a home show— it’s a shopping event. Satisfy all your shopping and decorating needs in one location. 40 exclusive vendors share fabulous finds and great deals. $5 at the door Distillery District 55 Mill St., Toronto, Ontario

Dabble’s Editor-in-Chief Kimberley Seldon has a busy schedule... just try and keep up!

Jun 6–12

Design Express: Prague, Vienna & Budapest Join Kimberley Seldon for the travel experience of a lifetime. Explore Central Europe's unique architecture, design, art, culture and food. Bring a friend or make new ones. $5,495 double occupancy see website for complete details

May 18


Dabble Bowling Night

Design + Food + Travel Enthusiasts Join us for a night of fun, food and great prizes. $35 per person—payable at the event. Includes bowling, shoe rental and food. Space is limited, so RSVP today. Lucky Strike Lanes - 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan

May 19 CityLine: Kimberley Seldon Appearances Kimberley hangs out with host Tracy Moore as guest design expert on CityTV’s CityLine.

Look for Dabble Contributors...

May 16-18

May 30

June 16



#140 Conference

Watch for Editor in Chief Kimberley Seldon and design contributor Nyla Free at Blogfest in New York City.

Travel contributor Kathy Buckworth talks about women in business at MomBiz in Toronto.

Join Kathy Buckworth in New York City as she speaks on the effects of the internet. May/June 2011 dabble 15

On the web...

Follow us... t



Dabble TV

Wanna step into the shoes of a professional designer? You can. Simply go to our website and watch the video of Dabble Design contributor Nyla Free as she reveals key tips for choosing bedding. For the full article, go to page 64 in this issue of Dabble Magazine.

e id u G l ve Tra If you enjoyed reading about Prague in the March/April issue of Dabble magazine, there’s more on our website. Follow Kimberley Seldon through Prague, a city rich with history, culture, design, food, breathtaking views and home to the world’s finest beers.

s ze ri P est and


Win a two-piece set of Hardside Fasionaire luggage from Samsonite. Stylish, lightweight and extremely durable with a mounted lock for additional security, Fashionaire is the ideal travelling companion. Enter for your chance to win.

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Carol Richardson from Toronto, ON Congratulations to lucky Dabble contest winner, Carol Richardson from Toronto, ON. Carol wins a Samsung Netbook computer, from Coast Wholesale Appliance. We thank everyone who entered--don’t forget to check out this month’s contest.

Travel and Market Editor Sophie Vander unearths Dabble-worthy products for the design, travel and food enthusiasts.

Design Destination Escape to glamour without leaving your sofa. Needlepoint pillows, US$98 each, Jonathan Adler

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n ig Des Branch Out The intricacies and unexpected beauty of twigs are cast into this multi-purpose vessel. Nickel Wire Bowl, Small US$52, Large US$116, Shop Ten 25

Punk Rocker The kids won’t care that this is Scandinavian designed—but you will. Rocking Sheep by Povl Kjer, CA$550, Mjölk

Standing Tall Tahir Mahmood uses an eco-conscious lathe technique to create silent reflections of the sun in your space. Chaand Lamp, CA$475, Tahirmah Mood

Bent Out of Shape Soldering pure geometry with rustic flair. The Farmhouse Chair, US$450, Bend Goods

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l ve Tra Case of the Blues A handsome iPad case from cool cat Canadian leather designer, Holly Strate. Tree Silhouette Case, CA$50, HollyHawk

We ♥ This Know where your heart belongs no matter how far you roam. My Heart Belongs Hoop, CA$25, BoPeepBaby

Bottled Up Careful the hostess doesn’t think the on-the-go wine cooler is hers to keep—a chilling thought. Wine Traveler, US$19.99, Skybar

Suits You An old-fashioned suitcase never goes out of style. Safari 21" Trolley Case, £735, Globe-Trotter

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Green Herbs Take a recycled wine bottle, seeds, pebbles, water, a little talking to, and voilà —instant herb garden. Grow Bottle by Potting Shed Creations, US$44, Style Factory

Manicure Friendly Gardening in the morning, fine dining in the evening, and no manicure retouching in between. DigIt Gloves, CA$34, DigIt Handware

Stake Your Claim Confuse your cilantro with your Italian parsley? Custom Vintage Silverware Garden Markers, from US$26 Set of 3, BeachHouseLiving

Clothes Hose Watering your tomato plants has never been so stylish. Hose Clothes 25', US$24, DirtCouture

Constant Gardener Use it for its purpose, or simply heed its message. Thoughtful Gardener Watering Can, CA$39.99, Chapters Indigo May/June 2011 dabble 21

ty ar P h Launc More than 1,000 design, travel and food enthusiasts turned out to celebrate the launch of Dabble Magazine. ABOVE Hosted by ELTE, the bar is set for Dabble’s launch party. BELOW Editor in Chief Kimberley Seldon nails her cues with CityLine

cameraman, Patrick Reynolds.

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LEFT A cool partygoer strikes her cover pose. ABOVE Dabble’s DIY Guy, Nicholas Rosaci chums with designer

pal Glen Peloso.


LEFT CityLine guest experts, designer Yanic Simard and Leigh-Ann Allaire. ABOVE Thanks to food contributor Dee Brun (aka Cocktail Deeva), the crowd

enjoyed signature, Skyy Vodka Dabble’tinis. Find the recipe at May/June 2011 dabble 23

Design Contributors ABOVE Design contributors Lisa Canning, Christine Da Costa and Nyla Free. RIGHT Chef Corey Burgan handsomely sports Dabble blue nailpolish. BELOW Elegant platters of chicken skewers were provided by Maple Leaf Foods.

Chicken Skewers 24 dabble May/June 2011


Food Contributor

vel Contributors

ABOVE Group shot. BELOW Dabble tweeters converge (left to right): @VickeyDabbles

@KathyBuckworth @CocktailDeeva @DabbleChef @TheresaAlbert. LEFT: Managing Editor, Cheryl Horne (far right) catches up with travel contributors Stephanie Gray and Jennifer Weatherhead.

May/June 2011 dabble 25

Christine Da Costa

Christine is a certified interior designer who approaches each room like a woman’s outfit. “Decorate as you dress.” Buy timeless pieces that have longevity and accessorize with less expensive items. A design motto to hang your hat on.

Victoria Drainville

If it's interior design related, then Nyla is passionate about it. Nyla also loves travel and says she keeps her bags packed and ready at the door. Hint, hint Dabble.

Victoria is the Associate Editor of Dabble Magazine and an interior designer. She explores her passions by managing design features, working with international designers on home tours and creating dead-smart layouts for Dabble.

Something you don't know about Nyla? "I have naturally curly hair that I've been straightening since 7th grade. The only time I let my curls loose is when I'm on a beach type vacay for low maintenance. Translation—Holiday Hair!!

Something you don’t know about Victoria? "I started collecting antiques at a very young age when my mom dragged me to all the local flea markets. My first collection was Raggedy Ann dolls. Today, I much prefer fine French furniture."

I dabble in... interior design, photography, anything creative and being a Mom.

I dabble in… belly dancing, off-roading and snowboarding, oh my!

Nyla Free

Meet our

design contributors

Something you don’t know about Christine? "As a kid my dream was to be a famous actress. I once appeared on a CBC show called Hanging’ In alongside Keanu Reeves, before he made it big." I dabble in… shoe shopping. Heels must be 3” or higher, don't you agree? @glamamama

26 dabble May/June 2011 @nylafree @vickeydabbles

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Take 3



At first blush, a vanity table may seem like an outmoded, though elegant, means of dressing—something your grandma used. If you’re tired of leaning over the bathroom sink for a view of your face, retrieving your makeup brush from the wet bowl and leaving the house with a toothpaste stripe across your abdomen, it may be time to reconsider the ease of a dressing table. Dabble’s in-house design team offers three stylish solutions to make your morning makeup application anything but routine.

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Formal Evening Wear

How civilized to find a seat in front of a large gracious mirror, with everything you need for beauty close at hand. In combination with the Mica Shell wallpaper the handsome walnut wood bench, upholstered in a woven brown raffia, has just enough shimmer to make the setting sizzle. The brown glass vase holds spring tulips and a woven tray corrals grooming essentials.

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Turkish Delight

Global influences abound with this ornate mother of pearl Turkish style mirror and leather clad British colonial style chair. The bronze Hindu hand keeps long necklaces tangle free and adds a sculptural element to the practical setting.


Design Tip

Found objects, such as the Hindu hand sculpture, are an ideal display for jewellery.

Three Casual Dress Code

A comfy poof or ottoman, provided it’s the right height, makes an efficient perch for makeup application and the small magnifying mirror is a great assistant. The silver tray complements the chrome studding on the seat.

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y tr us Indfile Celebrating Frank Pro with Jeffrey Herr WORDS BY CHRISTINE DA COSTA

Curator Jeffrey Herr poses in front of the massive living room fire pit. 32 dabble May/June 2011


Hollyhock House, western façade

A stunning Japanese screen dominates living room wall.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867, making his upcoming birthday (were he still living) number 144. Immortalized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time”, FLW’s personal life made headlines as often as his professional one. Dabble talks to Jeffrey Herr, curator at Hollyhock House in Hollywood. DAB: Jeffrey, thank you for the private tour. Tell us about Hollyhock House, FLW’s first Los Angeles project. JH: FLW built the house from 1919 to 1921 for American oil heriress, Aline Barnsdall. Sitting on 12 acres, Hollyhock House is adjacent to a 10,000 square-foot gallery, 299-seat auditorium and junior arts education center. DAB: Why the name Hollyhock House? JH: Hollyhocks were Barnsdall’s favourite flowers so FLW incorporated its stylized motif into the architecture, even using it in the design of the furniture, carpet and concrete bas-relief over the fireplace. DAB: How would you describe the style of Hollyhock House? JH: FLW designed the house as part of its LA surroundings, with panoramic views of the hills. The style is attributed to his Romanza Period,

which falls after Prairie Style and before Block style. DAB: Describe the furniture FLW designed. JH: Many of the original pieces have been lost over time. Part of my job is to research the furniture and accessories and find duplicates— or have precise copies made. We were able to reproduce some Tiffany vases and, in the case of the upholstered chairs, we found a swatch of the original fabric. DAB: Is it true Frank Lloyd Wright was fired from the project? JH: Yes. At the time FLW was building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. He also fancied himself as a Japanese art dealer and actually sold several pieces to his client. Cost overruns, conflicting schedules and clashing personalities led to a feud that resulted in FLW’s removal from the project. May/June 2011 dabble 33


DAB: Once Frank Lloyd Wright was fired, who took over the project?

“FLW’s Hollyhock design galvanized the modernist movement,” says curator Jeffrey Herr.

JH: Hollyhock House construction was managed by one of FLW’s talented apprentices, Rudolph Schindler. Later, Schindler brought on an architect friend and another burgeoning talent, Richard Neutra. Both of these now famous architects were no doubt influenced by FLW. DAB: What’s next for Hollyhock House? JH: Hollyhock House is now a National Historic Landmark. To keep it accessible for future generations, the restoration process continues.

 34 dabble May/June 2011

Learn more about the man: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, and the myth in this scintillating exposé:The Fellowship by Roger Freidland and Harold Zellman.

DESIGN Golden hollyhocks emerge from a Japanese style vase.

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Despite a proliferation of self-help books and TV shows which seem contrary to this opinion, not everyone struggles with decorating. DIY’er Sunny Ravanbach says, “If you stick to your personal style, know where to shop and trust your instincts, the process is enjoyable.” Visiting her lovely Santa Monica condo makes it impossible to argue with the tangible results of her personal decorating philosophy.

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HOME TOUR “I don’t think about decorating - it’s super easy for me,” says Sunny. “I know people struggle with it, but I just buy what I love and somehow it all works.” Of course, she lives enviably close to some of LA’s best design shops, including the original Shabby Chic store on nearby Montana Avenue. “I absolutely love the simple colours and the easygoing vibe of the furniture at Shabby Chic. Although the iconic shop, which first opened its doors in 1989, is the basis for her look, Sunny wanted her home to feel more ethnic, so she’s added touches from India and Morocco. “And don’t call it country,” she insists. “It’s got its roots in elegant European design.” Undaunted by occasional design work, Sunny 'aged' a new dining table with layers of paint and strategic sanding. Rather than opting for a matching set of dining chairs, the fearless decorator selected eight mis-matched seats, allowing the dining table to play host to lingering dinner parties where friends needn’t worry about spilling a glass of wine. An event production designer by trade, Sunny’s company White Lilac Inc. has been serving an impressive roster of discerning LA clients like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior for more than 12 years.

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With the largest pieces of furniture accounted for, the avid collector was able to focus on accessorizing. Purchases include coloured glassware, mercury glass and assorted candlesticks.

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40 dabble May/June 2011

othing here is precious,” sa


ays Sunny, “it’s meant to be used.” LEFT The coloured bead chandelier over the gas fireplace and the dome chandelier resting on the console are two additional Shabby Chic purchases. BELOW Before buying, the event planner used the statue professionally as a rental prop.

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“It’s true that my job is somewhat design oriented,” muses Sunny. “Maybe that makes it easier for me to jump-start my project.” She did that by purchasing the oversize coffee table. “I don’t like small things,” says Sunny, “I buy big furniture and accent with attention-getting accessories.”

“I dabble in collecting. I love to mix and match candlesticks, cake stands, china and glassware.” Having done such a lovely job decorating for herself, we want to know if Sunny ever considers going pro ? “I’ve been tempted to,” she laughs, “but I get to satisfy my need to decorate on a large scale through my event planning business. That’s enough for me right now.”

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Sunny Shops

Shabby Chic, Santa Monica It’s no surprise that Shabby Chic (photo right) is Sunny’s ultimate shopping experience. Bountiful, Venice Beach An enormous selection of glassware, mirrors, cake stands, candlesticks, artwork and distressed furniture fills the Abbott-Kinney shop. Wertz Brothers Antiques Mall, Santa Monica If it’s vintage or antique, you’ll likely find it here. In fact, it’s where Sunny purchased the graphic New York Grand Central Station typography sign from 1954 (seen on page 39). Cisco Home, Brentwood Sustainable furnishings and organic textiles are stock-in-trade at this design savvy Brentwood shop. Anthropologie, Santa Monica Although it’s a chain, Anthropologie is always on target with funky accessories and graphic textiles.

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Rachel Ashwell’s original Shabby Chic store opened here, on Montana Avenue, in Santa Monica in 1989.

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Andy Warhol’s “Diamond Dust Shoes” takes pride of place above the slab marble fireplace.

RETRO REVITALIZED 46 dabble May/June 2011


Thanks to the broad, sweeping lines contemporary designers crave, this1970s home is a worthy candidate for stylish revitalization.

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LARGE SCALE INTIMACY Interior designer Eric McClelland of Fleur-de-Lis Design Inc. was eager to maintain the retro-modern edge of this urban Toronto home. With his client’s wishes for minimal colour firmly established, he set out to improve the functionality of the main rooms while respecting the home’s inherent architecture. Ask anyone in a small condo if they’d like more space and the answer is likely a resounding 'yes'. But extra large rooms have their own challenges. “By dividing the long family room into two distinct seating areas,” says Eric, “we were able to create a more intimate scale for family gatherings and conversation.” An extreme change of ceiling height (from 9 to 18 feet) provided another challenge, easily solved by strategically positioning nine hanging mirrored orbs to create a visual balance between the adjacent areas. Using a simple palette of smoky taupe on the large upholstered pieces provides warmth and comfort without distracting from the room’s best commodity, an impressive art collection. Bright fuchsia toss cushions are a single nod to the client’s favourite colour.

The horizontal mirror reflects the opposite side of the family room and the large hanging orbs used for ambient lighting. Aluminum floating beams with adjustable AR lamps act as spotlights for artwork. 48 dabble May/June 2011


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50 dabble May/June 2011


light matters To create more usable space, appliances were relocated within the renovated kitchen and desk space was allocated to an underutilized adjoining hallway. The Lagos Blue limestone anchors the setting by providing a warm contrast to the all-white kitchen. “Previously, the lighting was comprised of giant pot lights, making a Swiss cheese effect on the ceiling.” says Eric. “To modernize the lighting plan, we introduced multiple MR 16 store fixtures and recessed pot lights into simple architectural coves.”

vy v Sa e bl ab D

• Group AR bulbs in a series of three or four to create a single architectural fixture, avoiding a sea of pot lights.

• Drop a ceiling when necessary

• Light sources with rotating heads

to add cove lighting, which tucks up into ceilings. offer flexibility, allowing you to put the focus on artwork or noteworthy collections.

The chrome banding on upper cabinets mimics the horizontal thrust of the island’s bar, made of honed Lagos Blue limestone. May/June 2011 dabble 51


shades of white “The key to working with an all-white scheme,” says Eric, “is to vary textures and finishes.” Here, sleek white lacquer cabinets are paired with a textured tumbled marble back splash made up of small mosaics. White leather barstools add another layer of interest and provide secondary seating within the generous kitchen.

ABOVE A Brueton ‘Ginger’ dining table is surrounded by four white leather chairs and positioned within the sunny kitchen alcove.

Relocating a well-loved piece of art sparks new appreciation. Case in point, the playful chrome sculpture moved from home office to kitchen.

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y u G Y DI

Easy Headboard

“The bed is the focal point of any bedroom," says Dabble’s DIY Guy, Nicholas Rosaci, "so give it the attention it deserves with a chic headboard makeover." Benjamin Moore’s Racing Orange 2169-10 MATERIALS REQUIRED A 30”h x 60"w x 2"d artist’s canvas on wooden support frame (for queen-sized bed ) Fabric (45" x 75") Cotton batting, cut to the same size as the fabric—available at fabric craft stores Staple gun Flush mount picture frame hangers (cleats) —from hardware store

OPTIONAL ½" foam cut the same size as the canvas— from fabric craft stores 1½" wide ribbon (5½ yards) 1½" clear, heavy-duty double sided tape, no wider than ribbon

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1 2 3


Cut the batting and foam (optional) to match the size of the fabric, 45" x 75".


Position batting flat on the floor and center foam onto batting. Centre the canvas face down onto the foam. Stretch the batting firmly to the back wooden edge of the canvas and staple it to the canvas's wood frame. Space staples approximately 2" apart.


Once batting is in place, repeat the second step using fabric instead of batting. (Nicholas used a taupe cotton fabric with a mid-weight, linen texture.) Ensure fabric is tightly stretched and smooth over the canvas front. Staple the corners, carefully folding the fabric to make neat and consistent edges, as though you were wrapping a gift.





Using colourful ribbon, it’s possible to style the headboard in a variety of ways. For this project, Nicholas striped three sides of the headboard, 3" from the outer edges. To create neat corners, fold the ends of the ribbon on a 45° angle and iron the edges. Apply the double-sided tape to the back of the ribbon and press firmly into place.

Position the headboard 1" above mattress height and level it to mark the wall for the mounting cleats. Double check that the marks are level. Then install the cleats properly into the wall, verify the distance between cleats and mount them on the top corners of the headboard frame. Slide the headboard onto the wall cleats to lock into place.

Web extra


The forecast is Is yellow the new black? Well, no. However, if you ask designer Lori Andrews, she might say, ‘It ought to be.’ What could possibly be sunnier or more inviting than this bright and cheery primary? 56 dabble May/June 2011



“Yellow is a current obsession,” says Lori, who is not only a professional interior designer but a photographer as well. Years in art school have made her fearless and there’s no colour that’s off limits. According to the Calgary native, she’s been adding more yellow into her designs during the past year, allowing the colour to grow brighter and bolder. Even professional designers work with inspiration when decorating and, in this case, Lori says her inspiration was very specific. “I envisioned a bathroom that glistened like sparkling water with lemon, a refreshing spa feeling for guests.” Lori positioned the saturated yellow against crisp white walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Oxford White. Although the overall look would be quite different, Lori maintains a dark gray background would look equally stunning.

May/June 2011 dabble 57


The advantage of a neutral background is that colour really pops. So many people are afraid of adding colour because they don’t know how to ‘pull it all together’. Lori says, “Don’t even try. A colourful armoire or chair is like a handbag. It doesn’t need to match the rest of the outfit; it simply needs to complement it.” The floors are finished with matte white octagon and dot porcelain tiles which warm the toes, thanks to electric floor heating. The white oak vanity by Roca and the light wishbone chair add natural warmth. The painted yellow door leads to the hallway and the sunny armoire provides storage for linens as well as a spot to hang freshly laundered clothes.

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Lori advises her clients to be fearless when it comes to a room’s purpose. If you’re not a bath person, for example, don’t be afraid to remove an underutilized tub to gain a bigger shower. Like most interior designers, Lori agrees it’s easier to design for clients than for herself. “I have strong convictions and have no difficulty convincing clients to go with bold colours or unusual materials,” says Lori. “Of course, in my own home I agonize over all the choices. Just like everyone else.” Is there a colour Lori won’t work with? “No,” she says, “but I do feel sorry for terracotta. It’s going to have a heck of a hill to climb back up again.”


May/June 2011 dabble 59

ROCKER Talented Nashville artist, designer, photographer, video director and transplanted New Yorker, Veta Cicolello finds pleasure in the madness.

Salome, oil on canvas, overlooks Veta (the artist) and a vibrant red sofa in the living room. 60 dabble May/June 2011

DESIGN Dining room chairs from the Eighth Avenue Antique Mall and light fixtures from ‘some Russian junk man on Coney Island’ match the home's vintage—originally built in 1933.

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HOME TOUR The stunning Sohaila, mixed media on panel, holds court over the fireplace and Veta’s cat, Baci.

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“I dabble in literature, music and the ‘theatre’ of a good meal” “I believe the only way I’ll learn anything is to do the very things that frighten me most. So in that way, yes, you could say I am fearless when it comes to design,” says Veta. “I start with a mood and challenge the other pieces, especially the artwork, to hold its own against the surroundings”. With her 70s-style shag haircut, reminiscent of a young Jane Fonda, Veta’s talent for mixing modern with a dash of New York vibe is evident throughout her two-story home. “I like to have fun with design. It has to be beautiful and it has to work,” says Veta, a graduate of New York City’s School of Visual Arts. In the living room, books and art rule. “I love the look, feel and smell of books. They have a tremendous influence on me,” Veta confides. Not to be outshone, a tomato red sofa sits opposite the fireplace, a gift from Veta’s friend and hair stylist Michael Fox. The fabric is a New York City flea

market find. In the dining area, bold yellow chairs circle an acrylic table on which rest a metal skull, colourful glass bottles and candle holders. Both Veta and her husband, Theo Antoniadis, are passionate cooks. “When we moved in, the kitchen was a disaster,” remembers Veta. They gutted the original room to the studs and removed five layers of old linoleum before the original pine flooring finally emerged. A vibrant vinyl window treatment on the glossy black door leading to the pantry adds a dramatic accent. “I labor over design choices and take each step seriously, but there is de­finitely a flow that just feels natural, “ Veta explains. That being said, the playful and stylish mood of her home is a testament to Veta’s fearless flair for meshing rocker style with contemporary and vintage New York. May/June 2011 dabble 63


Why is the master bedroom frequently the most design-neglected room in the house? Nyla Free says even professional interior designers are guilty of giving precedence to more public spaces like the living room or kitchen. “I’m through hiding under the covers,” says the Dabble design contributor.

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Choosing Step-by-step guide to a designer’s process PHOTOGRAPHY BY LORI ANDREWS

When it comes to decorating the bedroom, outfitting the actual bed is perhaps the most important design consideration, since it’s nearly always the focal point of the room. Follow Dabble’s step-by-step guide to selecting stylish bedding. May/June 2011 dabble 65


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Start with a plan


Take measurements

Even with a task is as seemingly simple as choosing new bedding, there are multiple considerations. If a duvet is required, how big should it be and is it made of faux feathers or the real thing? How many sets of sheets are required and are they all one colour or coordinating shades? If the bed requires a skirt, which type? Some love the heft of a coverlet while others appreciate the weightlessness of a throw. How about Euros and sleeping pillows and the topic of much debate between couples, decorative pillows?

To make accurate decisions while shopping, it’s important to gather vital information before leaving the house. Measure:

Mattress height. There’s no such thing as standard anymore and you’ll want sheets that fit without a struggle. Bed skirt height. Measure from the top of the box spring to the floor, with bed skirt resting ¼" above the floor. Width and fall of mattress. To determine the correct size for a coverlet or duvet, measure up the side, across the mattress and down the other side to ensure an adequate ‘drop’, with fabric dipping just below the frame of the bed.


Sheets—more than numbers

A high thread count is never a sole indicator of quality. Instead consider thread count in tandem with material content and construction. Sheets made of 100% natural fibres such as cotton or linen are best. Egyptian cotton is coveted for its strength and the length of its fibres. A tight weave indicates quality construction and more lasting value.


Thread count

When you do consider thread count, remember it’s a preference game. Love a soft satiny or sateen feel? Then you may prefer a higher thread count with fibres that have been polished. Some prefer a crisper hand, similar to a men’s shirt, in which case the thread count will be lower. If you buy from a reputable dealer, it’s a simple matter of preference. May/June 2011 dabble 67



Get touchy feel-y


Under the covers


Pull focus

Since bedding is next to your skin, it’s essential to open the package and cop a feel. Just ask the salesperson first.

A duvet is a popular option for covering the bed. A quality down duvet is the priciest option but it provides lasting value. Look for a lofty appearance and baffles or stitching which keep feathers from bunching up in a single spot. Avoid synthetics for true quality and comfort.

If you want the bed itself to be the room’s focal point, a patterned duvet cover or one in a colour that contrasts with walls is a great choice. Mix large patterns with small ones, florals with geometrics and fill in the blanks with solids and textures.

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Load up the layers


Pillow fight


Who doesn’t love the look of snuggly layers? To add visual depth and practical warmth, top the sheets with a duvet plus a coverlet or throw. Fold at the end of the bed for decorative impact when not in use. There are no real rules when it comes to pillows, though some find loads of toss cushions a nuisance. Function is first and foremost, so spend time trying out the feel of sleeping pillows and remember, you don’t have to choose the same type as your spouse.

A good night’s sleep...


Photographer and interior designer Lori Andrews is giddy with springtime inspiration.

Village of Yorkville

Hampshire Taupe

Calke Green

Formal Garden

Terre D’Egypte


Coastal Mist

Mmmm springtime. Quiet earth tones infused with splashes of colour herald sultry summer breezes, patio evenings and bare skin brushing against natural textures.


Float your happy feet atop a smooth-as-honey leather poof.


Wallpaper or a fave cotton shirt, spring florals look best with white.


Vibrant green brings springtime freshness indoors. May/June 2011 dabble 69

Heather Greenwood Davis Kathy Buckworth

Kathy is an award-winning writer, public speaker, television personality and the author of five books, including Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children & Chardonnay. A feature writer for and a columnist for various national and international publications.

Heather is an award-winning freelance writer. Her articles in The Toronto Star, Canadian Family, Budget Travel, Hemispheres and more have taken readers along on journeys to the hills of Peru, the shores of South Africa, the kitchens of Italy and beyond. This year she's adding more pins to her map as she heads off with her family on a one-year trip around the world.

Beth Halstead

Beth’s not sure whether it's her career as a decorative artist that compels her to explore cultures near and far, or her exploration of foreign lands that fuels her artistic juices. Perhaps some things should remain a mystery. Happy trails and remember, Confucius says, ‘When travelling, he who gets off the bus frequently has a much richer experience.’

Meet our

travel contributors Something you don’t know about Kathy? “My favourite author is Dorothy Parker, and my biggest wish is that she would have been alive to be on Twitter.” I dabble in… travel babble, badly played Scrabble, social media rabble and getting my kids to skedaddle. @kathybuckworth

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Something you don't know about Heather? “I'm a picky eater. But I’m hoping to rectify that by sampling foods in lots of different countries this year!”

Something you don’t know about Beth? “I carry travel chop sticks with me everywhere I go— you never know when a meal could break out.”

I dabble in... school PTA meetings, chocolate chip cookie baking and the fine art of a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

I dabble in… gardening, cooking, hiking, biking, dancing, singing and furniture building. Just not all at the same time. @greenwooddavis

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For Heather Greenwood Davis, it’s a lingering good-bye to Canada before she departs on a one-year journey around the world. This month, she takes on foodie mecca, Tofino.

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After a five-hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, an overnight at the gorgeous Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, and then a one-hour jumper flight to Tofino on Vancouver Island, I’m finally seated at a small table in The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn. If all I did was eat the poutine made with short ribs and blue cheese, sip on the ginger beer made on premise, turn around and fly home again, it would be worth the trip. It’s that good. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise though. Tofino is fast gathering a reputation as a wilderness foodie town. They’ve created a culinary nirvana. People regularly climb into swaying eight-seater planes for the chance to nosh on food prepared by chefs as committed to the environment that surrounds their place of business as to the food that comes out of their kitchens. The result is a uniquely Canadian luxury experience.


On a recent visit to Tofino, the area’s uncanny knack for providing incredible meals – that left a friend and me gobsmacked and fatter than we came – was cause for constant conversation. Everyone we met had an opinion: “Have you been to Shelter? You have to have the Tuna appetizer. You have to.” “You’re going to SOBO right? The fish tacos there are amazing!” And there were whispers too. About something big that was coming, Something that foodies would rejoice over.

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“Tofino is fast gathering a reputation as a wilderness foodie town”. 74 dabble May/June 2011

The secret is out now. During the entire month of May, Tofino and neighbouring Uculet will host ‘Feast’, a culinary celebration of the local bounty. Area chefs, restaurants, fishermen, foragers and farmers are working together and have invited some of Canada’s most famed culinarians along for the ride. Michael Noble (Notable, Calgary), Hayato Okamitsu (winner of the Gold Medal Plate in 2009) and Rob Feenie (Canada’s only Iron Chef) are among them. The event is bound to be a huge success. Food is celebrated here in a way that can only happen in a place where creativity often has to win out over a scheduled delivery from the mainland held up by inclement weather, A place where there are no chain restaurants cramping the ‘mom and pop’ offerings and, the town of 1,600 locals swells with up to 1.5 million visitors a year, all looking for something good to eat. But even if it’s the food that brings you here, it’s the scenery that haunts you long after you leave. Up here among the


black rocks and windblown sitkas, where storm waters can rise in turbulent waves up to 20 feet high and then crash against the sides of weathered buildings, tourists come in droves to be dwarfed by the trees. Nature walks help explain the symbiotic relationship between Native communities and the rainforests scattered over the area but, even without someone to define it, the beauty is undeniable. One moment you’re stepping over driftwood logs the size of small children, the next you’re contemplating joining the locals jogging up and down the hard-packed sandy beach. And then, maybe because you’re mesmerised by the power of the water before you, or breathless from the way the scene resembles an Ansel Adams photo, you completely lose your mind and find yourself looking at swells bobbing and crashing, throwing grown men to

and fro, and your mind says, “I think I would like to try surfing.” If you’re lucky, you’ll be close to the Long Beach Lodge Resort and meet someone like Josh who only fans the flame. Josh is a prime example of what a ‘local’ looks like. He was a valet at the Wickaninnish Inn, then a sea kayak guide, and then a guide at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. He moved here in 1999 after coming for visits since he was a teen. Now he teaches photography and, in the off season, doubles as the surf pro. Josh will take up to five newbie surfers out at a time. Today it’s just the three of us. “We’re not swimming out there,” he explains as we look out at the precarious waves. “It’s actually quite shallow. We’ll be touching bottom the whole time.”

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It sounds so non-threatening, but this is not Hawaii. These waters might be eight degrees Celsius at most and the water is shallow. But when it’s whipped into a frenzy it can lift you higher than you may want to go. It’s one reason the area is the surfing capital of Canada, and why professionals from around the world flock to these shores. It’s too late now. My friend and I have already begun to wiggle and squirm like slapstick seals to get into black drysuits with built-in hoods. Once suited, I’m so exhausted that I need to sit and catch my breath. We add gloves and booties, grab the boards, and begin our slow waddle out to the shore. After a long discussion about the undercurrents, and a few body surfing experiences, I feel more confident and ready to go it alone. I am warmer than I expected, but that could be the adrenaline. Waves grow larger and faster until I see one that looks doable. I jump on the board. I manage to get up on my knees before it all goes fuzzy. The board 76 dabble May/June 2011

is in the air; then it’s bouncing off my head. I swallow a mouthful of salty water, feel my eyes stinging, and instinctively put a sandy hand into my eyes. It’s not going well. I finally make it to my feet, breathless and dizzy, I turn to head in and then I hear myself gasp. From the water, the beach and rainforest are even more beautiful. Our audience of couples in yellow slickers, dog walkers, kids making signs with sticks in the sand, and a loose Dalmatian complete the picture. Josh asks if I want to continue and I shake my head. I’m done for the day. He suggests we meet in the lodge’s Great Room where floor-to-ceiling windows and a fireplace await. There he asks the question that is always answered in the affirmative in this town. “Hungry?”

Follow Heather on her journey at:


th wi m oo R view a


Beautiful hotels sprout like grapes in the world’s wine regions, but finding exquisite lodgings, nestled within the vineyards themselves, takes viticulture appreciation to the next level.

Canvas Wine Lodge

WHO: Cavas Wine Lodge

WHO: Burrowing Owl Estate Winery

WHO: Les Sources de Caudalie

WHERE: Mendoza, Argentina

WHERE: Oliver, British Columbia,

WHERE: Bordeaux, France

WHAT: The 35-acre vineyard at

the foothills of the Andes envelops the estate’s Spanish-style adobes. The view from your terrace skims rows of succulent grapes through to the blue haze of the world’s longest mountain range. Don a bathing suit for a private pool plunge or sample a flight from any of the 900 local wineries.

COST: Rooms from US$395 per night, including breakfast.


WHAT: A green carpet of tamed

tendrils stretches all the way to the horizon where the sun sets on another perfect day in Canada’s most prestigious wine region, the Okanagan. Breakfast by the pool, sample the estate’s own vintage at lunch, and, yes, more tasting at the Sonora Room wine bar before dinner.

COST: Rooms from CA$175 per

night, including breakfast (two-night minimum stay in high season).

WHAT: You won’t need the effects

of any one of the 16,000 bottles of wine housed in the hotel’s cellar to find relaxation, as the property exudes serenity. Choose to stay in the avant-garde L’ile aux Oiseaux suite, set on stilts over the lake. Watch swans glide while looking over extensive vineyards, then sneak out at midnight to soak in the natural hot springs barrel bath.

COST: Rooms from 250€. L’ile aux Oiseaux suite from 750€ per night.

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Kathy Buckworth takes flight in an Ultralight aircraft with Toronto Aerosport Inc. while musing about unsuspecting cows.

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Come fly with me WORDS BY Kathy Buckworth PHOTOGRAPHY BY Ben Bonnici

“Don’t worry. There’s nothing to hit way up here.” With these comforting words, flying instructor Steve Hall (below) takes his hands off the controls of the ultralight Savannah, leaving my hands in complete control of the up-and-down motion of the plane for about 10 seconds. Arrrrrrrrrgh.

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What motivates a feet-on-the-ground kind of woman to sign up for flying lessons? Let’s call it a Dabble dare. The editors, knowing my tendency to overthink things and my healthy fear of heights, thought it would be hysterical to challenge my personal comfort. Aren’t they funny? During the plane’s on-ground inspection, I scrutinize the slender wings (could these really stay aloft?) and a 2-inch gap where a tightly sealed door should be. “You get venting!” laughs Steve. Our takeoff from the 2,400-foot ‘runway’ (aka bumpy farmer’s field north of Toronto in Georgina) is remarkably effortless. As we make a speedy ascent into the clear blue Ontario skies, the instructor assures me, “We’re up high enough that I can correct any mistakes you make.” Great, given that a mistake in my overactive imagination involves a smoking death spiral onto an unsuspecting cow. I nervously take the controls and then, before I can panic, realize I’m flying. No sooner do I find a relative comfort with being in control than the instructor informs me it's time to land. I brace myself for any sudden surges of power that may blow us off our course. Nothing. Back on the ‘runway’, my heart is pounding and my lips are twisted into a giddy smile. Is a pilot’s license in my immediate future? Likely not. I have to admit though, hurtling through the air in a tiny plane, made of what feels like paper-thin steel, without the aid of a parachute or airsickness bag (I might add) is definitely a rush. What’s more, the flight today was surprisingly smooth and back on the ground I feel overwhelmingly safe, relieved and empowered. Thanks Dabble. I think.

: t gh li f Take

Many private airfields offer flying lessons. Find instruction here:

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Smitten with sun, sand and surf? Then pack your bags and grab your sunscreen. Our three Dabble Does contributors agree, Santa Monica is a traveller’s triple threat: coastal chic, healthful eats and an urban beat.

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anta Monica’s iconic pier is a colourful backdrop to the city’s liberal politics, healthful living and laid back beach style. Our three contributors—Erin Mercer (design), Janeen Laudenback (food) and Raleigh Seldon (travel)—slather on the sunscreen and hit the streets, boardwalk and sand to discover what makes this urban beach town tick. Erin scans the horizon for celebrities while sourcing the city’s best design. Janeen finds fresh, healthy food at the top of every menu. And Raleigh gets a workout thanks to the city’s jogging, hiking, biking and body surfing venues. The verdict is unanimous; Santa Monica is a traveller’s paradise.

Our three Dabble travellers pause mid-swing to pose for a photo on Santa Monica’s sandy beach.

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Interior designer Erin Mercer explores the stylish streets of Santa Monica and gains new appreciation for serious design in the laid back beach town. 86 dabble May/June 2011

Urban Country in neighbouring Venice Beach is an eclectic mix of rural industrial treasures and vintage carnival fun.





Linger for an hour or two at Brentwood Country Mart and make sure to save time for Calypso Home St. Barth. Global inspired furnishings and accessories are artfully displayed in the gracious setting.


Design enthusiasts adore the mad mix of urban clothing and home décor at Hip’tique. Sassy pillows with expressions like ‘call your mother’ mingle with funky light fixtures and accessories (see photo below). For the record, the jewelry is pretty tempting too. It’s obvious that Erin enjoys the shopping at Caylpso Home St. Barth.


Let’s not squabble over technicalities. Although Urban Country and Obsolete are a few steps out of Santa Monica and into Venice, they are must visit design destinations. Urban Country features a funhouse mix of vintage and industrial rarities while Obsolete’s focus is artwork and unique objets d’art. The price tags are equally serious, but design inspiration is free.


Owners Asher and Jessica Richter of Weego Home are rightfully proud of the locally made custom furnishings their Main Street shop brings to the ‘hood. Shopping here is rewarding and fun.

5 better part of a day shopping Montana Avenue. It’s easy to spend the

Retro funk at Main Street shop Hip’tique.

Pom Pom ranks high for casual European charm. The linen napkins, bedding and tabletop selections are exceptional.

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Four Way Shopping Main Street’s motto, ‘a world away from ordinary, a block away from the beach’ lures Erin on day one. First stop: fashion/design store, Hip’tique. Down the block Erin scans Weego Baby, hoping to spot Pink who’s rumoured to be on a spree. She misses the pop star but gets a big hello from ‘that bald guy from Lost’ en route to sister shop Weego Home. After purchasing some wall decals she’s off to Urban Country and Obsolete for jaw dropping one-ofa-kind design objects with price tags to match. To keep up stamina, make a onehanded snack of Sunny Blue’s omusubi (triangular sushi ball) or pizza from the open window at Wildflour.

Since 1948 Brentwood Country Mart—the rambling red barn and its upscale shops—have been a go-to location for celebs and yummy mummies alike. Turpan specializes in exceptionally designed housewares. Calypso Home St. Barth prompts design envy with its funky mix of earthy, organic textiles and globally influenced furnishings. Roberta Roller Rabbit carries block print home and body fashions. Don’t go home without fresh flowers from Botany. Erin’s BCM experience is perhaps most memorable thanks to her chance encounter (modest collision really) with The Mentalist star, Simon Baker. “Ahhhh,” says Erin, “I love Santa Monica.”

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Main Street Brentwood Country Mart


Upscale shoppers flock to trendy Montana Ave to rub elbows with local celebs like Marcia Cross and Adam Sandler or to design drool at shops from 7th to 17th. Fuel up with coffee from CaffÊ Luxxe, then head to Stephanie Grace for table top accessories. Whimsical Jonathan Adler never disappoints and neither does Mary Steenburgen’s Rooms & Gardens with its cozy global furnishings. Euro chic from Shabby Chic, Pom Pom and Rosemarie McCaffrey Antiques complete the day.

Montana Avenue 3rd St Promenade

At lunchtime, snag a sidewalk table and order the shrimp tacos from Babalu or chill out with a frozen Pinkberry.

People watching and shopping are equal draws at the pedestrian friendly outdoor mall known as 3rd Street Promenade. Big name brands such as Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie anchor the shopping, which starts at Wilshire Blvd. Walk towards Broadway for more shopping in the recently revamped Santa Monica Place with its signature Nordstrom and Kitson stores. The Promenade has abundant food choices. Splurge on trendy Sushi-Roku or find a comfy seat on the outdoor patio at Sonoma Wine Garden.

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Shabby Chic remains true to its original premise, appreciating the inherent beauty in well-loved objects. 90 dabble May/June 2011


“I feel like I’ve entered a temple of design,” says Erin marvelling as she steps into Shabby Chic on Montana Avenue. “I’ve always wanted to see the original store, it’s gorgeous.” No feature on the Santa Monica design scene is complete without mentioning that the Shabby Chic movement got its start right here. “But that’s just the beginning,” enthuses Erin, “There is so much more to discover.” Impressed by the number of shops that feature one-of-a-kind gift items, Erin’s credit card got nearly as much exercise as her feet, running from store to store.

Erin’s perfect



Main Street has an easy-going vibe that makes a leisurely day wandering the shops feel like a vacation. Take a seat in the outdoor courtyard at The World Café and you’ll feel transported to somewhere exotic. Try the poached pear salad.


Picking a single hotel is difficult thanks to outstanding local choices. Ultimately, a design crush on Kelly Wearstler sways Erin towards the Viceroy Santa Monica with its eye-popping colour and near-beach location. The pool side cabanas are a perfect place to linger after a leisurely day shopping.


Wander off the main shopping streets and there is still more to see. Make sure to visit Fred Segal on Broadway with its over-the-top housewares section (celebrity spottings are practically guaranteed). On Ocean Avenue take a break from gazing at the sea to shop at Carlyle Design, which is tucked behind garden gates. The furniture is large scale and nicely tailored without fussiness. They have a great selection of Indian and Turkish style coffee tables and enough small accessories that you’re sure to find something to squeeze into your suitcase.


ABOVE Calypso Home St.

Barth is a go-to destination for global funk and tempting textiles.

Impressive doesn’t begin to describe the hilltop setting or extensive collections at the world famous Getty Center. Richard Meier’s architectural masterpiece is clad in cleft-cut travertine and features a curvilinear design that wanders through a variety of natural gardens. Admission is free but you do need to make a reservation.

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WHOLE FOOD Lighter, healthier whole foods are menu mainstays in waist-conscious Santa Monica says food contributor Janeen Laudenback.

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A healthful feast at A Votre Sante includes sesame crusted salmon in a ginger, citrus sauce.

Oliver Woolley offers Janeen a bouquet from his floral company, Sugar Bush Ranch.





Locals plan their produce shopping around the Farmer’s Market on Arizona between 2nd and 4th streets. Organic meats, cheeses, and every kind of green imaginable are on display. Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.


A second Farmer’s Market happens every Sunday from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm at Main Street and Ocean Park in Heritage Square. The setting is lively with musical performances and childrens’ pony rides providing additional reasons to shop for produce at the weekly fair. Come hungry and sample mouth-watering burritos. There’s metered parking on the street, or pedal over and leave your wheels with the bike valet.


There’s plenty of sand to spread your blanket on, so why not pack or pick up a picnic to enjoy al fresco? Forgo alcohol, which is forbidden on the beach, and opt for a fresh brewed iced tea.


Raw, vegan, vegetarian, organic— whether it’s a lifestyle commitment or you’re simply cuisine-curious, many restaurants will even impress your omnivore friends. Try A Votre Sante, Real Food Daily, and Chandni Vegetarian Restaurant. Always on a roll, LA food trucks are famous for their variety of fare. Quell midday hunger with a visit to Pennsylvania and 26th streets where you’ll find at least a dozen trucks Monday-Friday. The setting is meh, but $5.00 buys a feast—fish tacos, kogi beef skewers, fish and chips and more. There's even a green salad truck.


Sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes are a delicious perch for eggs, sunnyside up at Huckleberry on Wilshire.

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Miguel Loureiro, Fair Hills Farms

Granola types, movie moguls, seniors with wire baskets and young moms with baby joggers— the mix of people at the outdoor markets is fascinating.

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Breakfast burritos, a market tradition.



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Ah, shucks. The fresh fish and oysters are always on ice at Santa Monica Seafood Co. 96 dabble May/June 2011


“Artisanal, locally grown food is equally well suited to the active seaside lifestyle,” says Janeen, “and the discerning palate.” Unlike so many other popular vacation spots, So Cal, and particularly Santa Monica, is an easy place to eat healthfully. Whole foods, organics and locally grown goods are part of the daily mantra for the city’s busiest and brightest chefs.

Janeen’s perfect



Breakfast. The most important meal of the day is off to a good start at Cora’s Coffee Shoppe. Sit under the bougainvillea canopy and order the orange pancakes. Yum. While Huckleberry’s location on Wilshire is not nearly as picturesque, there’s ample parking in back and the sautéed spinach, roasted potatoes and eggs are divine (see photo page 93).


Shutters on the Beach

Two out of three contributors agree, the Gruyère and spicy mayo burger from Father’s Office is the best they’ve ever eaten. Our third contributor, Raleigh, is a vegetarian but vouches for the fries. The place is always jumping and you’ll have to share a table, but it’s a great night out. Just don’t ask for ketchup. They don’t have any.


Shutters on the Beach is hands down the best lobby bar in all of LA, says Janeen. Relaxing on comfy sofas, listening to the house pianist and watching sun-dipped patrons is pure bliss. Although it’s a wee splurge to spend the night, seaside views are unparalleled.


Fresh fish rules at Santa Monica Seafood Company, a family-owned business since 1939. A retail space, oyster bar, indoor and outdoor café and over 70 varieties of fish on ice make us giddy. Do park in the rear as empty meters are ticketed frequently.


Lining the walls at Saluté Wine Bar is a most unusual sight, an adult version of a soda fountain that dispenses—wait for it—wine samples. A prepaid card lets you choose from 40 different bottles. The martinis are mighty fine too. May/June 2011 dabble 97

Travis Stone and Marissa Mazz contemplate the sea.


Charlee Palmer braces for surf action.

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ON THE MOVE Trying to avoid activity in sunny Santa Monica is futile, so be prepared. It’s an active lifestyle and soon the absence of a yoga mat in your hand shames you into a downward dog. Just ask Travel Contributor Raleigh Seldon— that is, if you can catch her.





Arguably the most pedestrian-friendly city in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers more than 80 trailheads for hikers to explore. Give your gams a workout on the week-long 67-mile Backbone Trail Trek. Or if you’re pressed for time, opt for the two-mile Sequit Loop. Trail maps of the area are available at the National Parks Service.


No matter your fitness level, venturing out on the 22-mile bike path is pure joy. Visitors can rent bikes from beachside Perry’s. Hop on a Schwinn performance bike, a tandem or a tricycle. (Oh yeah, Raleigh’s mom, Dabble’s Editor in Chief, used to meet up with friends at Perry’s, back in the day. It’s still cool.)


Duuuude, take surfing lessons and you’ll be hangin’ like a true Californian. Don’t expect to be carving backside 360s on your first try, but you’ll still feel the stoke. The City of Santa Monica offers a list of surf instructors.


Did you say free? Santa Monica has a variety of events that are 100% free. Music fans will love Jazz on the Lawn, every Sunday in August. Show up for free zumba lessons Saturday mornings on the 3rd floor dining deck at Santa Monica Place.


Sign up for the Amazing Santa Monica Race. Part scavenger hunt, part reality show, it begins at 11:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays. Note: Start locations vary, so lace up your runners and get clear directions when you register.

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Singer and songwriter, Sarah Buxton’s Stupid Boy made it to #3 on the country charts in 2007 as sung by Keith Urban. BELOW Decades of Nashville music history on neon-lit Broadway.

ABOVE Washington State University students

enjoy sand-side service from Perry’s Beach Butler and a good look at Marissa Mazz. GENTLEMEN FRONT TO BACK Travis Stone, Brian Yorozu, Andrew Chartrand, Ryan Olson and Beach Butler Cameron Chacker (son of Perry’s owner, Richard Chacker). 100 dabble May/June 2011


Schlepping chairs, towels, umbrella, sunscreen and a cooler to the beach is no one’s idea of vacation. Why not hire the Beach Butler? Park your car at Pico and Ocean Park, pick up a walkie talkie and your wish is his command. Book your personal butler service through Perry’s.

Raleigh’s perfect



With a student’s budget Raleigh, a sophomore at California State University in Long Beach, frequents Veggie Grill and is a fan of the yummy sweet potato fries and vegan Bali Bliss, an Indonesian style tempeh, grilled with chipotle ranch sauce.


Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel offers a beach-side seat near the fireplace and a perfect ending to an LA day. The Huntley Penthouse bar gets an honorable mention for its great view and the fun atmosphere for a GNO (girls’ night out).


The Santa Monica Pier ought to have a star on the walk of fame, it’s been in so many movies—Forrest Gump and The Sting to name two. And, did you know solar panels drive the eco-conscious ferris wheel by day, and 160,000 LEDs light it up Hollywood-style by night?


Originally a stop on the now-defunct Red Line trolley, Bergamot Station is currently a groovy arts centre with 30 plus galleries, shops, a museum and café. Free general admission.


Performer on 3rd St. Promenade; Nothing Bundt Cake; Tattooed and bronzed, Josh Lopez.


Sunscreen. Let’s be honest, Raleigh’s mom made her say that. “Really,” says Raleigh, “you should buy some killer vintage clothing at Wasteland on 4th Street.”

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a ni or if al C in'... Dream

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… for s ce la Best p


An expert at exploring the world just off the beaten track, Matthew Long rides ahead to show us the hottest spots for two wheels. Copenhagen, Denmark

PHOTO BY: Christian Alsing

Copenhagen truly is the international capital of biking, and without a doubt the most bikefriendly city in the world. Even recognised by the International Cycling Union as the first Bike City. There are many bike-only lanes and you can even score a free rental. Just visit any of the 110 bicycle parking areas, leave a small deposit ($3), ride as much as you want, and return the bike to reclaim your deposit (available mid-April to November). For a unique experience, cycle around the squares and illuminated buildings at night, stopping for a nightcap at one of the city’s many brew pubs. Then let someone else do the pedaling for you while you relax in a rickshaw on the way back to your hotel.

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem’s labyrinthine stone passageways are caretakers of the city’s remarkable history, and one of the best ways to discover its secrets is by bike. The best tour we found is the EcoBike Jerusalem Bike Tour. The fourhour ride covers all of Jerusalem’s essentials and provides amazing views of the city, from the Jaffa Gate to the Haas Promenade. The price includes bike rental and tours are suitable for family members and all experience levels. Rather than get lost in the souks on your first day, take this tour and learn your way around Jerusalem in a few hours. 104 dabble May/June 2011


Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The well-heeled families of the Gilded Age made their annual summertime retreat along the same path you can bike today, the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through famed beachside retreats. Trailheads can be found in Dennis and Wellfleet, which has free public parking. Start the morning in Dennis, pack a few delicacies in your bike’s basket for an ocean side picnic in Wellfleet, and return to Dennis in time for a dinner of fried clams from Captain Frosty’s Fish and Chips. Cape Cod has many bike rental facilities, depending on where you are staying.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The mad streets of Ho Chi Minh have been described as orderly chaos, and they are best experienced on bike. You can rent your own or, better yet, go with an organised group. To brave it alone, search out a travel agency in the Pham Ngu Lao ward and ride through central Ho Chi Minh to Phan Thiet beach for some respite from the crazy streets of the city. For a true adventure, take the two-day bicycle tour offered by Vietnam Bike Tours. This brief escape takes bikers from Ho Chi Minh through the heart of the Mekong Delta, exploring the rich culture found in rural Vietnam. Designed for the intermediate or experienced cyclist, each day includes about 50 km of biking and finishes back in Ho Chi Minh at the end of the second day. There’s no better way to get closer to the people and culture of Vietnam than by bike.

Lana’i is known as the island where Hawaiians go to get away from it all. In addition to sandy beaches and the quiet pineapple plantation area of Lana’i City, you can also find one of the best mountain biking trails in the state. In the lush forested Lana’i highlands is the 12-mile Munro Trail. Bike up to the impressive Koloiki Ridge and breathe in magnificent views of Maunalei gulch, as well as nearby Maui and Molokai. If it’s the rainy season the trail can be tricky to navigate, so check with the hotel before starting the trek. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a reclusive mouflon (wild sheep) or axis deer. Rent bikes from one of three hotels on the tiny island. May/June 2011 dabble 105

PHOTO BY: Copenhagen Tourism

Lana’i, Hawaii


a i d In Magical Mystery Tour


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A decision to let the powers that be guide her through a country not easily navigated, led Beth Halstead to a meeting that would change lives. Sensory overload comes thick and fast at the markets, which are an absolute thrill to attend. Street food steaming over open pots, rainbow rows of fresh produce, sacks of spices I want to dive my hands into, pyramids of bright powders and flowers for the Hindu puja ceremony, jangling jewellery, gold-flecked saris, carved deities and decorative items—all ready for barter. In fact, making a purchase at the initial price is an insult to both parties and those who show perseverance (which can include return trips over several days) are well rewarded.

“I call it adventurous, others call it crazy, but on this, my third trip to India, I summon the courage to embark on my own ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ by arriving in Mumbai without a plan. I allow divine intervention to decide my journey. Crazy? Maybe.” May/June 2011 dabble 107





From the moment you step onto the streets of Mumbai, it is a negotiation. Densely populated, it is said that over 30,000 sleep on the streets which are shared with rickshaws, cows, camels, painted elephants, monkeys, and parades of people. A torrent of emotions is unleashed—one minute you’re marvelling at sublime beauty, the next, your heart is breaking at the images before you. The contrast, although challenging, is part of this ancient culture’s charm. 4


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When travelling to developing countries, my goal is to contribute. And paying a fair price to a working citizen is, in my view, a responsible way to give. After a week in Mumbai, I feel an unexplainable pull to Bangalore - a city economically famed as a technology outsourcing Mecca. But of greater interest to me are its ashrams, or “places of striving,” where like-minded people gather to explore their spirituality with the guidance of a guru. The plane trip is a reprieve from the intensity of the busy city and I looked forward to making some headway in my book The Autobiography of a Yogi, a lesson-packed novel of the famous yogi, Yogananda, and his journey to enlightenment. My peaceful plan holds true for the first hour. When I return from the washroom I discover I have been joined in my empty row by a woman boasting

OPPOSITE Photography by Beth Halstead: 1, 2, 3 and 7, Photography by Marjorie Choinière: 4, 5, 6 and 8

henna tattoos and wearing a full sari, but also with the sure sign of Westernization—sneakers. She is holding my book and smiling at me, all knowingly, as I belt myself back in. “Are you reading this?” she asks. When I reply in the affirmative, she continues to keep the book firmly clutched in her left hand. “This is very interesting,” she says. “You see, I am returning to India from Chicago for my father’s funeral, and throughout my childhood he was always carrying this book.” My guest now has my full attention. “What is the purpose of your trip?” she asks. I explain I want to deepen my trust in the divine, practice my yoga, and hopefully contribute in some way to India. She replies, “This is very interesting. You see, my father was the founder of a yoga ashram near Bangalore. I think you should go there.” Convinced she is offering divine navigation, I joyfully agree. She provides me

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SNAPSHOT with directions and then, as though satisfied I have been set on my path, sets the book down. After a dusty, bumpy, one-hour cab ride in an old Morris Oxford, I arrive at the ashram. The quiet countryside is a welcome change to the senses, with the sound of birds singing and vibrant flowers in bloom. After being shown to my clean but sparse room, my overall peace and mental ease are ‘assessed’ by a gentle Hindu nun dressed in white. She ascertains a high stress level, due to the fact that I live alone—an unacceptable notion in India, where several generations often reside together. With my mental state determined, I visit with a doctor named Gautam (an honourable name stemming from Siddhartha Gautama, commonly The Buddha), to ensure my physical state can withstand the yoga asanas and walking meditations. No note is made at the time that we will be rising at 4 am to chant from the Bhagavaad Gita (one of the Hindu holy books), clearing our nasal passages with neti pots and baby catheters, or sitting cross-legged for many hours, every day, on itchy grass cloth carpets. In our exchange there is an obvious commonality and Gautam and I begin a tradition of taking midmorning tea together. One afternoon, a few days before my departure, I gently push Gautam to share a few of his aspirations. He reveals that because doctors in India make a modest salary, his dream to study with his teacher in Rishikish, in the north, a guru with great knowledge of curing “dis-ease” in the mind, may not be fulfilled. It is during our last tea time that Gautam, who knows my keen desire to contribute, poses an idea. I can pay for his trip to Rishikish. Although he is not able to pay me back, he can use the knowledge to help people live more powerful and peaceful lives. We then calculate, convert and arrive at a figure of, if granted, $1,200.00. 110 dabble May/June 2011

TRAVEL Then, with great sadness, I leave to catch a train for the last leg of my journey. As the train pulls out of the station, I close my eyes and think of Gautam, the crazy disciplines, the unrecognisable veggie fare at the ashram and the fact that I never did embrace those prickly grass carpets. Weeks later at home - alone - in Toronto, I receive a call from my accountant. My tax refund is ready. The amount? Exactly $1,200. Coincidence? Maybe.

Smiling inside, I quickly transfer the gift to its rightful guardian and rejoice at uncovering the Magic in my Mystery Tour. Ah, the spell of India. PS: Gautam did go to Rishikish for one year to be with his teacher and grow his “baby roots of knowledge” as he calls it. He is happily married and heads up an organisation which offers much-needed vocational training and life skills to single mothers.

Beth’s letter to India: Thank you, India, for teaching me… ...if I wade through my resistance, I can actually learn to love new and unexpected situations. ...the difference between cleanliness and comfort. When pressed, I discover cleanliness wins hands down. ...when I contribute to others from my abundance, it opens up a space that feels good for both parties.

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Travel Geek

3 Sites Inspire, Plan and Share Travel news, insider info and new gadgets from Anne Taylor Hartzell. Travel inspiration starts innocently enough - you see a photo, a post from a Facebook friend, a great travel deal in your inbox, or have a conversation over dinner - and the trip is suddenly on. But where to stay? Where to eat? Where to play? We rely heavily on trusted resources to answer these questions and ensure a winning trip.

Noteworthy sites

• Amble

From the brand that defines luxury, Louis Vuitton’s Amble allows you to plot stops at favourite restaurants and stores on your journey, creating your own city guide. Explore hidden gems in Celebrity Ambles, download the iPhone app, and capture highlights of your trip.

• Where I’ve Been

What started as a wildly popular and fun interactive world map on Facebook has blossomed into a community to inspire and share travel ideas. Traveler Scrapbooks are virtual trip planners to share with friends.

Liquid Image Explorer Series 5.0MP

Get camera ready for summer snorkelling trips. The world’s only swim mask with handsfree integrated digital still camera and video. US$98.95 from

• IgoUgo

IgoUgo’s thorough travel reviews and stunning photos spark wanderlust. Connect with your Facebook account and tap into more than 9,000 destinations worldwide.

Gadgets on Dabble’s radar

Apps for the Road

Sony 3D Bloggie HD Camera

White Noise Lite

Imagine capturing the whale in 3D as it breaches by your boat during your trip to Alaska. 3D imagery is no longer just for Disney Pixar. Sony’s Bloggie changes all that. Video or still image recording, 2D or 3D capability. $249.

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Catch some Zs when jet lag threatens by choosing from 40 soothing sounds, like Ocean Waves or Tibetan Singing Bowl. Free to try; upgrade to full version $1.99.

IgoUgo just added a sharable video player with 50 featured city destinations.

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Deals on Wheels


Tip 1:

B. Y. O. GPS Negotiating unfamiliar highways and rules of the road in a foreign city is a challenge made manageable with the help of a GPS. Most car rental companies offer them for around $15 per day. Or, do what I do and travel with your own portable version. I take “Gabby” (short for Gabriella Pareja Sanchez) everywhere. I have consistent guidance and the option to save favourite destinations.

Tip 2:

Save money on your next car rental: • Book in advance to qualify for the best rates offered. • Check rental company websites for discounts; most offer big savings and free upgrades. • Frequent travellers may benefit from customer loyalty programs, which offer additional perks and upgrades.

Tip 3:

Save money on car rentals by using the points earned from your American Express Gold Rewards Card to cover the cost. Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance is another great benefit of the Card as it can save you the daily insurance fee (usually $16 to $23 per day) charged by the car rental company.

Brought to you by the American Express Gold Rewards Card.

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n io cat lo n O Puerto Rico


Better than boring. It’s a challenge to make an interesting image of something that millions of other people shoot. Think Eiffel Tower or Leaning Tower of Pisa. Every travel brochure, magazine article, or photographer’s image collection has one—and they tend to look pretty similar.


2 3

I felt this dilemma on our recent trip to Puerto Rico. The iconic image of the island is usually one of the 400 year old garitas, or sentry boxes, jutting from the fortified town of Old San Juan. Before I took a single photo, I walked the perimeter of the walls, looking for an interesting angle. With tired feet, I realized I wasn’t going to find a brilliant shot in the time I had, so I starting shooting some rather typical images. Then, I ran out of light and the wind started howling. At this time of day and with these conditions, I reasoned my image would be unique. So I set up my tripod and created the photo (left). Long exposures, particularly with moving objects, create dramatic effects. The clouds above were low and moving swiftly in the wind, so I knew with a 25-second exposure I could capture a dramatic sense of directional movement in the sky. I think the palm trees, rocking back and forth, contribute to a final image that is far from boring.

LEFT The money

shot: Low light, wind, and a long exposure are used to create unique perspective.



RIGHT 1, 2, 3 Shot midday.

Pretty boring. 4 Sunsets are appealing, but aren’t that original. Less boring. 5 Shot in low light to enhance colour and texture. I’m liking this one. May/June 2011 dabble 115

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Spanish colonial architecture, a pulsing Latin beat and 580 kilometers of unspoiled coastline have Kimberley Seldon saying, "Qué Rico" to La Isla del Encanto. After all, they don’t call it the Island of Enchantment for nothing.

LEFT Ponce, on the southern

edge of Puerto Rico.

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Opening my eyes just the tiniest bit, I let the bright sunlight sink into my brain slowly. "Right," I say to myself with a wee grin, "I’m in Puerto Rico." And just like that, I skip out on the end of winter in Toronto. "Well played," I think to myself.

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Nearly every day in Puerto Rico is a ‘spin the compass’ kind of day, where the spontaneous traveller can head north, east, south or west to explore the island’s charms. Whether it’s a short weekend hop or a week to lose yourself, let Dabble’s practical guide direct your heart and footsteps.
























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SAN JUAN Wheels down at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport puts sun-starved visitors within 10 minutes of beachfront. And the weather? Muy caliente, often chasing 80 degrees by 7:00 am. Thankfully, occasional bursts of rain, gentle ocean breezes and cold Medalla beer are civilized ways to handle the heat. A non-incorporated American territory since 1900, Puerto Rico is enticingly exotic, yet strikingly familiar. Like other “discovered” destinations, the island was already inhabited when Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) arrived on his second journey to the New World. Aboriginal Taínos called their native home Borinquen and it is still quite common to hear locals refer to themselves as Boricua. The American citizens of Isla del Encanto are friendly and eager to share their island with visitors. Though they don’t always agree on politics­—become an independent Puerto Rico or the 51st state?—they are unanimously proud of their heritage as puertorriqueños.

Stay and Eat

For first time visitors, Isla Verde and Condado are equally popular San Juan neighbourhoods to use as home base.

Isla Verde

The seaside setting of Ritz-Carlton San Juan Casino and Spa is unparalleled. Onsite restaurants like BLT Steak dish superb creations (try the mac-and-cheese) and poolside fish tacos feature succulent baked mahi-mahi, covered in lime cilantro cole slaw. The jumping casino serves hot soup and alcohol to eager gamblers. Casual boutique hotel, Hosteria del Mar rents simply appointed beachside rooms. Its onsite Uvva Restaurant is good enough to return to nightly.


Chic and sophisticated nicely describes La Concha Restort. Splurge on an ocean or pool view. If you prefer to overnight in a setting that feels residential, Acacia Boutique Hotel is a charming choice.

Poolside, Ritz-Carlton

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Weekend Escape by Beth Halstead

After multiple visits to San Juan I’ve learned that getting in sync with the locals means slowing down, even embracing the predictable tardiness and laid back attitudes. Not always easy for this multi-tasking Northerner. In my experience, the only things that move quickly in Puerto Rico are conversations and cab drivers. I suggest you fasten your seat belt for both. On a short vacation, what you do first is muy importante. If you’re staying at one of the city’s finer hotels, pace yourself and enjoy at least one day poolside. When you feel the need to move, walk the white sand beaches and take a comfortable dip in the endless blue waters. When it’s time to venture out, you’ll find Puerto Ricans love their food. Good restaurants are typically filled with locals and noise levels can be high. For unique local colour, head to Piñones and soak in the open-air atmosphere of rustic kiosks with their wood burning fogón. Menus vary little and the food (though delicious) is fried, fried, fried. As a decorative artist, I appreciate Puerto Rico’s thriving arts scene. I always try to save time to visit Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Dabble Savvy: Admission is free every Wednesday from 2:00 pm-8:00 pm. If a change is as good as a rest, then even a short trip to Puerto Rico is a revitalizing and welcome experience.


cool while feeling the heat from the wood burning fogón. RIGHT Fresh from the coconut, a popular roadside snack. May/June 2011 dabble 123


Enjoy an ideal seaside setting coupled with masterfully prepared local dishes at Uvva Restaurant and Hosteria del Mar. Come for a drink or spend the weekend.

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Plaza del Mercado The colourful Caribbean style architecture and humble atmosphere of this busy Latin market give the impression that time stands still. Bananas hang in bunches above mounds of coconuts and juicy, ripe mangos. Stacks of fedoras, locally made cigars (Cuban too), and herbs for medicinal and spiritual needs round out the offerings. Dabble Savvy: Make a meal of bastidas or fruit smoothies. $3.00 buys a pitcher that’s enough to share. Try the coconut water, papaya, mango, vanilla and cinnamon. Deliciosa.

ABOVE Don Francisco

Osorio is an 85 year old Aztec Indian who credits mavi, a beverage made from fermented tree bark, for his happy outlook and youthful exhuberance.

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GUAVA STICKS This melt-in-the-mouth local treat tops the list of suitcase-worthy take homes. Available at fine food stores like La Hacienda Meat Center or online at Isla. Guava sticks by Sweet Sensations. 126 dabble May/June 2011


Buen Provecho

With few exceptions, the dining scene in Puerto Rico is unpretentious, so come as you are. Expect excellent food in a casual setting and a welcoming wait staff to wish you, ‘buen provecho’. BREAKFAST Kasalta Panderia Everyone eats at Kasalta—politicians, school kids, housewives and secretaries. The glass countered bakery serves tempting pastries and a divine Cubanito (mini ham and Swiss).

LUNCH It’s not fancy, but the burrittos and tacos are delicioso at La B de Burro in Ocean Park. In addition, ginger and tamarind are the finest companions to tequila imaginable, so ask about 2 for 1 margarita specials.

Panadería España Repostería Another reliable local hangout with a similar atmsophere to Kasalta. Consider the cheese and wine selection if you’re planning a picnic.

Bebo dishes up well-priced local fare to its dedicated clientele. Try arroz mamposteado (rice and beans) or empanada de pollo (chicken empanada) and ripe plantains.

Dabble Savvy: Save on restaurant meals by ordering water like the locals do: “I’ll have the Carraiso Springs.” A joke that references the city’s main source of tap water.

Under the Trees Sit on the outdoor patio, order a mimosa and a fabulous brunch experience is assured.

Raquel puts final touches on her vanilla and dulce leche ‘Splash Cake’.

DINNER Once you find the well-hidden restaurant, José Enrique is a fine dining experience that is unparalleled. Start with the cheese plate and order the red snapper as a main. You won’t have room for dessert, but the three chocolate dish is to die for. I celebrated a recent (delicious) birthday at Uvva Restaurant in Hosteria del Mar. Almond crusted lamb chops in mint chimichuri sauce are every bit as tasty as they look (see photo page 124). As we sat on the beach the next day, the owner noticed our group and sent over a round of drinks—matching our order from the night before. Now, that’s service. Chef Robert Trevino (of Iron Chef fame) masterminds the Budatai fusion menu, serving elegant sushi and divine seared ahi.

DESSERT When pastry chef Raquel Holcman launched Sweet Sentations, her fanciful concoctions became instant classics.

Chef Wilo Bennet’s Varita in Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza revitalizes local delicacies such as roasted pig. Start with the lettuce wraps and save room for mini coconut tembleque (coconut flan). May/June 2011 dabble 127


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Colourful Puertorrican Expressions

A special kind of learning takes place when you see a country through the eyes of a local guide. As I toured Puerto Rico with Ana Dapena, her pride and enthusiasm were infectious. Along the way, I learned some colourful expressions that added to my travel experience (all family approved).

Cuando Colón baje el dedo.

When Columbus puts his finger down. Compares to: when hell freezes over.

Ese huevo quiere sal.

That egg wants salt. That person has a hidden agenda or is up to something.

A lo hecho, pecho.

If you’re going to make a mistake, at least do it with a proud chest.

Me lo da en arroz y habichuelas.

Tell me in rice and beans. Or, dumb it down; give it to me in layman’s terms.

Sudando la gota gorda.

I’m sweating a big fat drop. Compares to: sweating like a pig.

Puse cara de cabro degollado.

To give the face of a slaughtered animal in order to illicit pity from someone.

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La Vida Activa Staying healthy in San Juan takes some effort, especially when local delicacies are deliciously fried. Dabble’s guide and puertorriqueña Ana Dapena keeps her long limbs toned and her mind serene by living la vida activa. Yoga Ashtanga vinyasa classes at It’s Yoga are a joyful experience thanks to the open air studio and lyrical chanting of instructor Valerie Santiago. A $17 drop-in fee nets a mat to use and a bottle of water.

Paddleball “At low tide there’s more playing field,” jokes Ana, who explains why she wears a watch that tracks such things. Come to Ocean Park beach on any weekend and you’re sure to find a paddleball companion.

Biking Wheeling to work is somewhat dangerous with weekday traffic, but weekend excursions are a joy. Piñones has a six-mile trail through pine forest and past ocean views. For an extensive list of bike trails online, try Single Tracks.

Volleyball The former national and professional volleyball player says the summer tournaments at Ocean Park and Condado beach attract a larger number of fans. New friends are always welcome.

Ana’s Playlist Lucesita Benitez – 'Genesis' Marc Anthony – ‘Te conozco bien’ Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón –'Che Che Cole’ Ismael (Maelo) Rivera – 'Las Caras lindas’ Ricky Martin – ‘María’ Cultura Profética – ‘La Complicidad’

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Ana Dapena and Adelisa Gonzalez enjoy a game of paddleball in Ocean Park.


Healthful Eats The setting at Sushi Nagoya is unspectacular, but the sashimi and sushi are fresh and light. At Pure and Natural expect a great veggie burger and islandslow service. Satisfy a craving for green salad with a visit to the Sidewalk CafĂŠ at La Concha Hotel.

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Originally conceived as a military stronghold, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is more than 400 years old. Its seven square blocks of cobblestone roads meander past colourful Spanish colonial facades on their way to the ocean. Sudden showers do nothing to dampen my spirits as I wind my way up, down and around the narrow streets of Old Town. The rain does make the adoquine, the blue cobblestones glisten and shimmer, an effect that adds to the city’s iridescent charms. Almendro trees, vibrant ginger flowers and bronze sculptures adorn the landscape which is dotted with remarkable Spanish colonial architecture, in some cases dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. In another city, another world, the colours would be too much, even gaudy, but here the mint, periwinkle, salmon and buttercup yellow are sublime. Painting the exterior of your home in Old San Juan means selecting from an approved palette of colours and making a choice that is different from your neighbours.

Catedral de San Juan is the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere and an unusual New World example of medieval architecture. Originally dating from 1521 its restored interior is remarkably humble by European standards. Though the fountain of youth remains undiscovered, history fans thrill to find the tomb of Ponce de León inside.

Stay Dabble Savvy: Parking in Old San Juan is challenging. If you’re driving, use one of the well-marked paid facilities and walk the town.

A former convent from the 17th century, Hotel El Convento is ideally situated beside the Catedral de San Juan. Stay for a weekend or enjoy a cool drink in the open air Patio del Nispero, named for the fruit trees in the garden. Hand-carved doors, colonial furniture and decorative paint finishes will interest design enthusiasts. May/June 2011 dabble 133


A Passion for Travel by Kimberley Seldon My passion for travel is well documented—and certainly part of the reason I launched Dabble. Following our successful launch, the folks at American Express Canada approached me to test drive their new travel rewards card, The American Express Gold Rewards Card. Since it offers double points on purchases I make regularly—the grocer, drug store, gas station—and on all travel spending I was keen to see what it could do. Even more enticing for a frequent traveller like me, the points transfer 1:1 with Aeroplan, don’t expire and have no restrictions or blackout dates. To get me started, American Express offered me 50,000 Membership Rewards points, in addition to the 15,000 bonus points I received— enough for a roundtrip flight to Paris, London or Rome—when I signed up for the card. Let’s just say, I had some fun earning points in Puerto Rico.

LEFT: Of course you like

piña coladas, who doesn’t really? The historic marble plaque at 104 Calle La Fortaleza heralds the 1963 birth of the famous coconut concoction.

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TRAVEL BY DESIGN Shopping in Old San Juan In such an historic setting it’s jarring to see Radio Shack and Foot Locker, but then again, this is America, so why not? Local boutiques easily compensate for occasional chain stores with a joyful mix of crafts, art galleries, hip restaurants and residences to appreciate.


If you’re looking for Panama hats, handmade cigars or folk art, then El Galpón is the place. Dabble Savvy: Above the Calle del Criston shop is an apartment to rent. Handmade tote bags line the walls at Eco Eco. Owner, Angie Ortiz Rivera is on site and eager to serve. The owners are rightfully proud of the original, contemporary Caribbean art on display at Galería Éxodo. Board games are popular in Puerto Rico. At Kamel International Bazaar we found a chess set with nearly naked Taíno Indians squared off against the fully armed Spanish army. Not much of a match.

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American Express Gold Rewards Card As it turns out, racking up rewards points is a breeze in Old San Juan. Flight, hotel and rental car garner double points, and I still earned a point for every dollar spent on shopping. In total, I earned 8,000 points on my trip to Puerto Rico simply by using my Gold Rewards Card. Stay tuned for the next issue of Dabble, when I visit the French islands St-Pierre and Miquelon. I'll share more insight into my experience with the Card and how I plan to redeem my points. Thanks, American Express Canada. May/June 2011 dabble 135


The colourful tile flooring is criolla, a typical choice from the 1930s. 136 dabble May/June 2011


LIVING IN OLD SAN JUAN Extending a warm greeting, after a day’s work at the hospital, Dr. Carlos Gonzalez assures me he feels more like a ‘Carli’ than a ‘Dr. Gonzalez’ as he unlocks the door to his Old San Juan apartment. He offers chilled Medalla, the local brew, and talks passionately about his charming apartment, its tiled courtyard and the rare neighbourhood he calls home. “When you live in Old San Juan, everyone comes to you,” says Carli. And why wouldn’t they? “It’s a magical place that’s brimming with history and, unlike any other city in Puerto Rico, you can walk everywhere in the Old Town. In fact, on weekends, I rarely use my car.”

When you live in Old San Juan, everyone comes to you.

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DINING IN OLD SAN JUAN A passion for improved education keeps Adelisa Gonzalez engaged in local and national politics. But there’s always time for a social life. Within minutes of returning from work she’s greeting her dog and throwing open the balcony and patio doors of her comfortable colonial style apartment. Friends drop in for an impromptu visit and, by all appearances, living in Old San Juan is a joyful experience. For that matter, so is dining in Old San Juan. These are Adelisa’s favourite restaurant choices.


St Germaine is the kind of casual café, where locals gather to linger over coffee and gossip. Come for lunch or brunch. La Mallorca is a not-too-fancy local haunt for sweet buns and hot coffee. Lusty describes the setting and menu at Dragonfly, Puerto Rico’s first LatinAsian restaurant. Red walls, beaded curtains and fringed lamps are right out of Shanghai Surprise, but the food is memorable. Tuna kebobs with cucumber slaw are a perfect match to chilled sangria at Torro del Salao Enjoy both in the lantern-lit courtyard patio. In perfect harmony with the vibrant white and candy-hued interior, the menu at Marmalade is full of flavour. The white bean soup is muy popular. Enjoy a rare and blissfully quiet dining experience at 311 Trois Once Cent. As the name suggests, the menu is French.

RIGHT Adelisa strolls with Arena, an abandoned pup she rescued from the beach (the name means sand in Spanish).

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Cueva Clara is the largest of the Camuy Park caves and visitors arrive early to see the spectacular site. 140 dabble May/June 2011


Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy Yawning before us is the opening to Cueva Clara, the largest of likely more than 1,000 caves within the Camuy River Cave Park. Archaeologic evidence suggests these natural limestone caverns may have been explored by the island’s first inhabitants, the Taíno Indians, but they remained undocumented until 1973. A fraction of the system is open to visitors who wait patiently to step onto a tram and journey down into the natural wonder. Feeling like a time traveller who stepped into Jurassic Park, we descend by tram to air that is thicker and mustier than the stuff on top. Fortunately, there is penetrating daylight in most sections of the cave and no one feels claustrophobic. The tour lasts about one and a half hours and is led by a local guide for a fee of $15, which includes the supplementary audio guide. Dabble Savvy: Most hotels offer packages to see main tourist sites. If you’re travelling with children, a trip to Arecibo Lighthouse Park can extend the day’s adventures. The small theme park is well kept and its replicas of Columbus’s ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, remind you of all that history you learned back in school. Getting Around Puerto Rico To explore the island at a leisurely pace, rent a car for a few days. The cost is relatively inexpensive, starting at approximately $25.00 per day, or a bit more if you arrange to have it delivered to your hotel. In addition, public transportation works well for short hops, say from San Juan to Old San Juan.


Plan to start early when visiting the caves, which open at 8:30 am. If you arrive early, stop for a sweet bun at La Isla Bakery, and mingle with the locals. Or, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery. May/June 2011 dabble 141



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El Yunque Fuentes de la Juventud It’s easy to imagine Ponce de León searching for the Fountain of Youth in the primeval setting of the National Rain Forest, El Yunque. The temperature cools by 10 degrees as we drive up and into the national park for a day of hiking and swimming in the natural reserve. On the way up the mountain, while travelling single file on the narrow road, a fellow traveller in the car ahead stops traffic to, um...answer the call of mother nature. The honking that ensues is intolerable but he shows no signs of being in any kind of hurry. Ah yes, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Once you’ve taken in the natural beauty of El Yunque, head to Puerto Rico’s Riviera, Luquillo Beach. This public beach is a crowd pleaser as it has decent public toilets and shower facilities. Nearby are dozens of the picturesque kiosks so popular in Puerto Rico.

An easy walking path (though lacking guide rails, likely not suitable for young children) makes hiking up to several lookout points an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Dabble Savvy: Pack a picnic, bathing suit and sunscreen.

Vieques and Culebra islands Adventurers will want to explore Puerto Rico’s other islands, Vieques and Culebra. Situated off the eastern shores, head to Fajardo and catch the ferry to either island. Vieques is the closest, most touristic choice and it’s recently welcomed a W Hotel to its shores. Culebra is more isolated, a great place to lose yourself.

Eat & Stay

True luxury is what guests find at St Regis Bahia Beach Restort. Close to El Yunque National Forest, there’s an adjacent golf course as well. Foodies will rush to reserve a table at Fern, whose chef is worldrenowned Jean-Georges Vongerichten. May/June 2011 dabble 143


SOUTH - PONCE Puerto Rico’s second largest city, Ponce, earns its nickname, Majestic City, thanks to neoclassical architecture and a picturesque main square, Plaza de las Delicias. Unless it’s the weekend, don’t count on Ponce to be lively. It’s a slow pace for locals Sunday to Thursday. Nonetheless, the town is set in a lovely square and you will find worthy restaurants and interesting sites to fill the better part of half a day.

Did you know? Puerto Ricans are mostly a mixed culture of Taíno Indians, Spaniards and Africans. Eat

Order the pechuga relleno de queso blanca y guayaba, aka chicken stuffed with guava and cheese at Dulce Fruta Bistro y Cafe and thank us later. Yum. Stories above Plaza de las Delicias (Ponce’s main square) is the modern interior of Archipielago. The food is a fusion of Creole and continental. The halibut with coconut rice and vegetable curry is exceptional.


In town, you can stay at the bright yellow Ramada Ponce. However, golfers will prefer the green appeal of the nearby Hilton Golf and Casino.

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COFFEE Brew snobs are humbled by the fragrant beans and resulting coffees Puerto Rico pours. Rich volcanic soil and an ideal climate in the interior create a ripe growing environment that at one point in history supplied beans to the Vatican. How do the locals take their coffee? Pocillo or espresso, typically served black. Cordatito, an espresso with a sheen of steamed milk. Café con leche is espresso with a generous portion of milk. Ponce has its very own coffee plantation, Hacienda Buena Vista, which today operates as a museum and features Spanish colonial and Criollio style (Creole) architecture. Industrial enthusiasts will appreciate the vintage farm machinery on display.


ABOVE Service and sangria with a

smile at Dulce Fruta Bistro y Cafe.

Ramada, Ponce

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WEST - SURFIN’ USA Question of the day: Is the water warmer in the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean? This thought consumes me as I make the drive to Rincón, the surfing capital of the Caribbean. Without a board, and strictly for research purposes, I test the water in both locations and determine that yes, it’s slightly warmer in the Caribbean Sea. My work is done here.

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The reef-lined Atlantic beaches of Puerto Rico’s western shore are a winter mecca for skilled surfers. Locals speak with awe of watching the endangered humpback whales visit each winter. And, nearby, the bioluminescent bays are an alluring attraction during moonless evenings. BIOLUMINESCENT BAYS Occurring sporadically in warm seas around the world, the phosphorescence or bioluminescence generated by microscopic organisms (dinoflagellates) causes the water in La Parguera to glow with an eerie blue light whenever the surface is disturbed, an effect that is particularly powerful on moonless nights. Some scientists believe the tiny organisms light up their surroundings so predators can more easily see other prey—perhaps more desirable prey—nearby. The natural spectacle is magical, as anyone who’s visited can attest. Vieques, an island off the eastern side of Puerto Rico, has another phosphorescent bay called Puerto Mosquito.

Whale WATCHING The month of February is peak season for Humpback whale watching off the coast of Rincón. The endangered species is most easy to spot during their mating and birthing season from January to late March.

Kayaking is permitted in the bay and can be arranged through local vendors. Swimming is allowed on a limited basis through guided tours.

La Parguera fishing village.

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1-2-3 days in Puerto Rico

Day 1 MORNING Wake to the gentle sound of rolling waves and remember, “Yes, I really am on vacation.” Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s even better when someone sings to you. So, visit Mares at the Ritz-Carlton when Jeremy Baptiste is working the omelette station. Jeremy moved from Boston two years ago and says he hasn’t stopped singing since. On Sundays, there’s also an unlimited Mimosa bar. AFTERNOON Fortified with a proper breakfast, find a spot pool- or beach-side. Pack a juicy paperback and a big bottle of sunscreen. LATE AFTERNOON Seriously, do you really want to move now? If you must, a walk on the beach and a swim in the ocean are restorative. EVENING Dinner at Jose Enrique is guaranteed to be memorable, once you find it. Your cab driver can help.

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Day 2 MORNING If you’re enjoying the food (and I bet you are) an early morning yoga class at It’s Yoga may be in order. Following class (let’s face it, you worked hard) cross the road to Kasalta and order a cordatito, espresso with a sheen of steamed milk. Then, good luck choosing just one of the tempting pastries on display. MID-MORNING Make your way to Old San Juan and enjoy a leisurely day exploring. Kimberley’s suggestions are on page 132. Include a visit to Él Morro (seen here) with its 18-foot-thick walls rising some 140 feet above the sea. Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. San Juan’s sister protector, Castillo de San Cristóbal covers 27 acres. As a strategic defense it’s something of a masterpiece, built around five self-sufficient, independent units connected by moat and tunnel. Open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.   EVENING Having enjoyed the shopping, history and setting of Old San Juan for the day, you’ll want to stay for dinner. In the mood for romance? Try 311. See our other options on page 138.

Day 3 MORNING Whether you are renting a car or participating in an organized tour, you’ll want to set out early to explore El Yunque National Rainforest. Hike the trails and take a dip in the crystal clear waterfalls. Perhaps these are the fabled Fuente de Juventud (Fountain of Youth)? AFTERNOON It’s a short drive to rest and relaxation at Luquillo Beach. Parking is tricky, but be patient and you’ll find a spot. If you’re hungry, there are 50 roadside kiosks at the ready with deep fried (and fried again in some cases) snacks. For lighter fare try Ceviche Hut #38 or Martes #26 for puertorriqueños meat tacos. It’s worth saying the kiosks at Piñones are more picturesque, so if you’re staying in San Juan it may be worthwhile to head in that direction.   EVENING For a casual beachside dining experience, you can’t beat the setting or the food at Uvva Restaurant. For an urban, NYC bistro vibe, try BLT Steak. They serve fresh popovers at the start of the meal and provide patrons with a copy of the recipe. The house red, Gnarly Head cabernet, at $8.00 per glass is great value.

Striking a formidable pose against the night sky is Él Morro, a six-level fortress that dates from 1540. May/June 2011 dabble 149

Dee Brun

Dee is a self-proclaimed cocktail, entertaining and vodka know-it-all. Awardwinning author, cocktail stylist, TV personality, humorist and wanna be foodie. A mom of four, shoe-aholic, TV junkie and boarderline George Clooney stalker. All in all, just a really cool chick.

Theresa Albert

As a Food and Health writer Theresa is thrilled to focus more on sweet pleasure here at Dabble. Her love of food comes straight out of the days in her Tante Louise’s Kitchen in a tiny town in Quebec. In fact, it’s her middle name, Louise.

Corey Burgan

Corey fell in love with cooking when he was 13 and has been in the kitchen ever since. His passion is hosting friends and family. It’s just a bonus that’s it’s also his career.

Meet our

food contributors

Something you don’t know about Dee? “When I grow up I wanna be a stand-up comic, or a rock star…I can't decide.” I dabble in… Vodka, George Clooney stalking, party crashing and booze. @cocktaildeeva

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Something you don't know about Theresa? “I’m a Vespa addict. I mourn for a ride in the winter.” I dabble in… grooming my dog, making my friends laugh and paying the bills. @theresaalbert

Something you don’t know about Corey? “I have a one year old cockapoo, fittingly named Chef.” I dabble in… food science, competitive sports (my fave is soccer) and DIY projects. @dabblechef

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One bite at a time. That’s how Marc Matsumoto savours the world around him. A globetrotting chef, he shares international recipes with fellow foodies on and complements the pairings with beautiful photography on He’s so busy, he has Dabble wondering how he ever has time for his day job, as a private chef in New York City. Busy or not, Marc says he always makes time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A dayChef with

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Baked Eggs 2 slices thick cut bacon 1 shallot, minced 2 tbsp parsley, chopped 5 ramps, bulbs minced, leaves chopped 1½ cups stewed tomatoes, chopped salt and pepper honey (optional) 2-3 eggs ricotta insalata OPTIONAL parsley basil chives scallions ramp leaves

Preheat broiler. Move oven rack to the top position. For tomato sauce, place bacon on oven-safe pan and fry over medium heat until some oil renders out. Add minced shallots and ramp bulbs, sautĂŠ until soft and fragrant. Add chopped parsley and ramp leaves; cook until they are just wilted. Add tomatoes, then salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too tart, add honey to sweeten slightly. Use a spoon to make 2-3 wells in the tomato sauce and drop an egg into each well. Crumble cheese on top and bring the sauce to a boil. When the bottoms of the eggs start to turn white, transfer the pan to the oven. Broil directly under the heating element for about 1 minute, or until the cheese is browned and the eggs have turned white on top. Quickly garnish baked eggs with parsley, basil, chives, scallions, or ramp leaves. Serve on toasted bread. Serves: 2-3

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lunch “

Cooking is simple. It’s 50% technique, 40% inspiration and 10% ingredients. Armed with some basic techniques and a little inspiration, you can make a tasty meal from even the most derelict pantry.

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Matsutake Mushroom Risotto 4 cups dashi kombu 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tbsp shallots, minced 6 oz fresh matsutake mushrooms, cleaned 3 tbsp unsalted cultured butter 2 tbsp olive oil ¼ cup sake 5 oz Carnaroli rice 2 tbsp panko (Japanese bread crumbs) ½ oz parmigiano reggiano, grated Soak an 8” by 2” piece of dashi kombu in cold water overnight or reconstitute powdered dashi in water according to the package directions to make 4 cups of kombu dashi. Put the dashi and salt into a saucepan and heat until steam rises. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and julienne them into matchsticks. Slice the caps into ⅛” thick pieces. Heat a large non-stick frying pan with 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil until hot. Add shallots and julienned matsutake stems, stirring gently until butter is browned and mushrooms turn light brown in color. Add rice and fry for 1 minute, stirring to coat each grain of rice. Add sake and stir until it evaporates. Then add two ladles of dashi. Stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding dashi 1 ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has reached a suitable texture. Al dente risotto requires approximately 3½ cups of dashi. While risotto is cooking, heat a second pan and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the sliced matsutake caps until browned and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer mushrooms to a plate. Then add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the panko and toast the bread crumbs in the butter, stirring until they are golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. When the risotto is done, add cheese and the remaining tablespoon of butter; stir until they are incorporated. Salt to taste if necessary. Plate the risotto and top with sautéed matsutake caps and toasted bread crumbs. Serves: 4

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Shiso Pesto Pasta 2 oz green shiso leaves (Japanese perilla) 1 oz grated pecorino romano 1 tsp kosher salt (halve if using regular salt) ½ cup olive oil 1 tbsp lime juice 8 oz linguine, cooked according to package small handful of pine nuts or coco nibs, toasted 1 oz uni (sea urchin roe) or ikura (salmon roe)

In a blender or the mixing bowl of a food processor, add shiso, cheese, salt, olive oil, and lime juice. Blend until it is a fine green purĂŠe. Boil the pasta according to the package directions in generously salted water. When the pasta is done, rinse under hot water, drain well and toss in a bowl. Add the pesto a bit at a time until it reaches your desired level of flavour. Plate the pasta and top with toasted pine nuts or coco nibs. For extra colour and brine, and a touch of class, top with uni or ikura. Serves: 2

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There’s an app for that... Dabble’s libations expert Jameson Fink could never be accused of having a chip on his shoulder. On his appetizer menu, sure. But never his shoulder. Everyday Champagne The only thing I like as much as Champagne and popcorn is Champagne and potato chips. Crisp, salty snacks and bubbles forever. Homemade or store-bought, a single thick potato chip with a dollop of cream cheese, a few buttery flakes of subtly smoked salmon and a sprig of fresh dill just begs for bubbles. Jameson’s Pick: Vilmart Grand Cellier NV

Beyond Bubbles What? Bubbles leave you flat? Well then, let’s stick with France and reach for a Sancerre. These seafood-loving Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire Valley have an acidity that pairs perfectly with tangy cream cheese and fresh dill. Jameson's Pick: Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol 2009

Salty Capers Salt lovers may want to toss on a few briny capers, in which case I recommend heading straight over to Riesling territory. I’m thinking of the criminally underrated dry Australian Rieslings from the Claire Valley. Jameson's Pick: “The Merle” Reserve Riesling 2010

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eat like a WORDS BY Kevin Lynch RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY Amber Share

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In Tuscany there’s an expression: A tavola non si invecchia, which means, “At the table you won’t grow old.” It’s implied that at the table, you won’t be alone, you’ll be cooking and dining with friends and family. Tuscany is one of those places where you arrive a stranger and depart a friend, or as is sometimes the case, the newest adopted member of a family. More than anywhere else, cooking and eating in Tuscany are the activities that foster relationships and create lasting memories, as we discovered during an extended stay to research the food and wine of the region for an upcoming book. Tuscans are prone to making categorical remarks when they’re discussing topics they feel passionate about, namely eating, drinking and Tuscany. “I cannot eat steak without beans,” avers Florentine Zeno Fioravanti, one of the owners of the Pitti Gola e Cantina, “for me, this is impossible!” Others we met, like Laura Brunelli, winemaker at Gianni Brunelli, say emphatically, “To respect the soil is to respect the environment, which is respect for the generations!” And Lucese chef Aurelio Barratini reminds us that, “A Tuscan cook needs to cook Tuscan food!”

BOTTOM RIGHT Owners of Pitti Gola e Cantina in Florence: Zeno Fioravanti, Manuele Giovanelli and Edorardo Fioravanti. May/June 2011 dabble 159

EAT LIKE A These and other energetic pronouncements teach us that eating like a Tuscan involves more than putting local food and wine into your mouth. It takes an understanding of the land, the history and the people. To do this we covered all parts of Tuscany interviewing chefs, farmers, cheese makers, wine makers, butchers, bakers, you name it. After seven months, we began to feel intimate with Tuscany. We fondly remember putting our hands into the soils, rummaging in the woods with local truffle hunter Stefano Braccini and his delicacy sniffing dog Rocky (as in Balboa, the Italian Stallion). We learned the history of places like Prato and San Gimignano by spending time with locals who told us anecdotal stories about Tuscan characters like Francesco di Marco Datini (1335-1410) who invented the I.O.U., sent boatloads of cats to the King of Majorca to put an end to his rat infestation, and slept with his arms folded over his chest to “practise being dead.” Almost daily we were lucky recipients of incredible hospitality and generosity. When asked to help make pecorino cheese, we did so gladly. When invited to taste fruits and vegetables while standing in the orchards, we did so with gratitude. At each stop we learned not only the technical aspects of cooking or grape growing, we learned to appreciate life. To eat like a Tuscan is explained best by Chef Barratini, “In Tuscany there is no fast food. For good food you need to take your time.” Don’t all of us need to do more of that?


Truffle hunter Stefano Braccini and his dog Rocky; Ancient vines along the road to Rignano sull’Arno; Pecorino Toscano aging; Baby artichokes from farmer’s market.

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Serves 8 Prep Time 30 min. Preheat 400°F

Fegatini Tuscan Chicken Liver Spread ½ lb. chicken livers ½ yellow onion, diced 1 carrot, diced 1 celery, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp tomato paste 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup water ⅓ cup Vin Santo 3 tbsp capers, rinsed ¾ tsp fine sea salt + 2 pinches black pepper, freshly ground Extra olive oil and capers for garnish 1 baguette or loaf of Italian bread, sliced and cut into cracker size pieces Heat a wide frying pan over medium. Add olive oil, swirl around pan then add onion, carrot, celery and a couple pinches of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir and cook another 2 minutes. Add livers and cook another 5 minutes, turning to brown the outsides. Dilute tomato paste in the Vin Santo and water. Deglaze the pan with the liquid mixture. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool slightly. Scrape down pan and transfer to a food processor, add capers and process until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil as needed to keep the mixture loose. Brush bread with olive oil and toast on a cookie sheet in oven for 6-8 minutes.

Place the fegatini in small bowls, drizzle with olive oil and top with capers. Serve warm or at room temperature with the toasts.

Fegatini is the paté of Tuscany. It is served everywhere, especially at aperitivo, and each cook makes it slightly differently.

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Serves 4

Seasonal zucchini blossoms

Prep Time 1½ hrs.

Fiori Fritti Fried Flowers

16-20 zucchini blossoms (male or female) 1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour dash nutmeg ¼ tsp fine sea salt black pepper, freshly cracked 3 eggs 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ¾ cup white wine, dry (Pinot Grigio or Vernaccia) ¾ cup water, possibly more olive oil (for frying) sea salt

Trim blossoms by gently removing the interior pistils or stamens, removing the small outer green leaves and trimming the stem or removing the baby zucchini. Rinse and lay on paper towels. Keep in a cool place until ready to use. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Separate the eggs, then add yolks, oil, wine and water to the dry ingredients and whisk well. The consistency should be similar to crêpe batter, add more water as necessary. Place egg whites in a separate bowl. Cover batter and egg whites separately and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and whisk whites to soft peaks and fold into batter. Set aside. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Bring the oil up to temperature slowly. You want the oil hot enough so that the blossoms sizzle when they hit the oil but not so hot that the oil is smoking. Test by dropping some batter in the oil. Dip the blossoms in the batter, shake off excess, and fry 1-2 at a time until golden, turning once with tongs or a wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Enjoy immediately. May/June 2011 dabble 163

te da r ne Din

Bring out the

big guns Guys, can you relate to Dabble food contributor David Laudenback when he says there are lots of ways to blow it with the Mrs.? If you need to make a lasting impression, try surprising your sweetheart with some simple home cooking.

The Challenge: You really blew it this time and flowers aren’t nearly enough. It’s time to bring out the big guns...or should we say claws? The Solution: Get cooking. Lobster in champagne vanilla sauce is sure to gain you forgiveness. Naturally, you’ll want to top off the meal with a great bottle of Champagne. Guy Wisdom: Save lobster for really big mistakes.

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Lobster in Champagne Vanilla Sauce INGREDIENTS


2 Lobster Tails 2 oz butter (salted) 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp chives

Preheat oven to 350°F.

FOR SAUCE ½ cup Champagne 1 tsp vanilla 2 thyme sprigs (fresh) 1 tbsp shallots, diced 1 tbsp butter

Split along top of each lobster tail (see photo below) and cut 1/4 inch into the meat. Mix salted butter, lemon juice and chives. Divide mixture evenly and spread into the openings of the lobster shells. Place the lobster tails into a dish and bake for 25 minutes. The Champagne Vanilla Sauce can be made while lobster is baking. Combine Champagne, vanilla, thyme, shallots and butter in a pan. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Divide sauce into two small bowls for dipping and serve on plate next to lobster. Serve lobster with a side of melted butter and a fresh salad.

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The Thrift Store Bandits enjoying a post game celebration. LEFT TO RIGHT Jay Van Pelt, Ricardo Lopes, Stephanie Harrison, Audrey Stefan, Matt Haywood and Nik Orbovic. 166 dabble May/June 2011


tailgate party “I may be a Deeva, but I loves me some baseball,” says Dabble’s Cocktail Deeva, Dee Brun. I’ve played softball every year since I was three years old. That’s about 22 years if you’re counting, wink. The best part of any sporting event is hanging out with teammates after the game. A tailgate party takes your next sporting event from base hit to homerun.

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Invites—1st base Start with an outta-the-park invitation. How about an invite that looks like a sporting event ticket? They are easy to make on websites like Special Event Ticketing. Or, build anticipation, by sending a baseball to each invitee with party details written on the ball.

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Food—2nd base Baseball may be as American as apple pie, but for me it means hot dogs on the menu. Schneider’s hot dogs are always crowd pleasers, especially topped with mustard, ketchup and relish. The most important tool at the party is the grill. Coleman’s Paul Jr. Grill is large enough to feed all your guests in a quick time frame, and easy to transport. For drinks, think outside the same old beer case. Get creative with one of the new micro brews like Innis & Gunn or mix it up with a variety of killer coolers from Blackfly, we love the blueberry flavour.


Setting—3rd base If you’re planning your tailgate party in a public park or outside a sports venue such as an arena, be sure to check city codes regarding alcohol and open grills. If there’s an actual game component, try and have the after party nearby or onsite, although a private backyard makes a great setting too.

HOME RUN With invites, food and venue determined you’re nearly to home base. But let’s face it, a tailgate party needs...a tailgate. The bed of a bright red GMC pickup truck underscores the party theme and provides a generous surface for the food and bar. It also makes a great backdrop to photos.

of e st ta a




Wherever your wanderlust takes you, pie awaits. We skipped across the pond and beyond for our favourite spins on this universal comfort food. Hungry?


Mustikkapiirakka - Blueberry Pie (Serves 4) Wild blueberries grow abundantly in the forests of this scenic, hockey-loving country. The subtle cardamom flavour in this traditional blueberry pie is a hallmark of Nordic pastry.

1 stick (4 oz) butter, at room temperature ½ cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour ¾ tsp baking powder ⅛ tsp salt ½ cup (4 oz) granulated sugar, halved ¼ tsp ground cardamom 2 large eggs 1¼ cups (10 oz) blueberries, defrosted if frozen ½ cup (4 oz) sour cream 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400˚F and grease an 8" square cake pan. In a food processor, combine butter, flour, baking powder, salt, half the sugar and one of the eggs. Pulse until just combined. Pour into prepared cake pan, spreading up sides. Spread blueberries evenly over batter. In a medium bowl, beat together the sour cream, cardamom and vanilla with remaining egg and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour mixture over blueberries. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until filling is just set. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm with whipped cream.

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South America

Torta Havannet - Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pie (Serves 8) Pastry, dulce de leche and chocolate? What’s not to love about this rich and gooey South American pie? Make it a day ahead and chill overnight in the refrigerator for best results. 1¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ⅛ tsp salt 1 stick (4oz) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled 1 large egg, lightly beaten 2¼ cups (18 fl oz) dulce de leche (Manjar brand) 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped ¼ cup (2 fl oz) heavy cream

In a food processor, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add lightly beaten egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Gently form dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 10" pie or cake tin. Roll dough out to 12" circle and press into prepared tin. Place a circle of parchment paper and a cup of dried beans or rice on top of pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans/ rice and parchment and bake for a further 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. When pie shell is cool, fill with dulce de leche. Warm cream in a small, heavy bottomed pan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Pour chocolate mixture over dulce de leche and spread evenly. Refrigerate until chocolate is hardened, preferably overnight, then unmold and cut into thin slices with a sharp knife.

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TIP If you want to make mini galettes, cut dough into four pieces and roll each one into a separate circle.


Peach, Blackberry and Almond Galette (Serves 4) Galette - also called crostata in Italy - is rustic, pretty and easy to make with whatever fruit is in season.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until

4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided

mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With motor running, drizzle in just

¼ tsp salt

enough ice water so pastry forms a ball. Gently form dough into a disc,

1 stick (4 oz) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

⅓ cup ice water ¼ cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

3 cups (1 lb) sliced peaches (defrosted if frozen)

Place dough on top. Roll out dough to a rough 12" circle. Toss fruit with

⅓ cup blackberries

remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Spread breadcrumbs over pastry and

2 tbsp flaked or slivered almonds

arrange fruit on top, leaving a 2" margin. Fold uncovered edges of pastry

2 tbsp apricot or peach jam, warmed

circle up and over to contain fruit. Brush fruit with warm jam. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. May/June 2011 dabble 173



Banoffee Pie (Serves 6) Better known for its rib-sticking meat pies, England is home to some equally hearty dessert pies like this composition of banana, caramel, cream and cookie. 1½ cups graham crackers, crushed 1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, melted 1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche 3 large bananas, sliced 1½ cups (12 fl oz) heavy cream, chilled 4 oz dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9" pie or tart pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Pour dulce de leche into crust and spread evenly. Chill for 30 minutes. Arrange banana slices over dulce de leche. Place heavy cream into a large bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Spread cream over bananas. Melt chocolate and drizzle over cream. Serve in thin slices and attempt to restrain yourself.

TIP Add a pinch of instant coffee to the cream before whipping to offset the sweetness of this pie.

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h tc ra sc from

mini croissants WORDS BY COREY BURGAN

Dabble’s resident chef, Corey Burgan, makes mini croissants. May/June 2011 dabble 175


INGREDIENTS 4 cups all-purpose flour 4 tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt ½ oz fresh yeast (or 1 tbsp dry) 1¼ cups milk 12 oz unsalted butter, room temperature 1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)

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FOOD DIRECTIONS Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl using the dough hook of an electric mixer. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk, then add to flour mixture and blend until dough forms a ball. Place dough in bowl, then cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size. Punch down the dough, recover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge. Cut a deep cross in the dough and spread out the quarter sections so that the centre is the thickest. Roll in opposite directions to form a four-leaf clover, while maintaining thick centre. Mold butter into a lower block as shown and place diagonally in the centre of the clover. Bring the edges of the dough to the centre, enclosing the butter completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Pound lightly and evenly with your rolling pin to make the dough malleable. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 9" by 16" with the 9" side facing you. Fold into thirds, starting with the closest end. You have now completed the first turn. Turn the dough clockwise a quarter turn so the narrow end faces you. Again, roll out the dough and fold into thirds to complete the second turn. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Pound the dough evenly, roll and fold to complete three more turns. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for 50-60 minutes. Divide the dough in half and roll into two rectangles approximately 1/16" thick. Cut each rectangle into 5" squares then cut diagonally into triangles. Roll triangles from the widest edge to the point. Preheat oven to 400ยบF. Place on baking sheet and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Brush each croissant with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 20 minutes before devouring. May/June 2011 dabble 177

e nc ge Sindul

Love Nest Monster


Be very gentle. We are making meringues. They’re not hard to make, but they are a wee bit temperamental. So, take your time. Allow the egg whites to warm gently to room temperature. Then add the ingredients ever so slowly, one at a time. Finally, bake at a low temperature. Done correctly, you end up with a base that is strong enough to support all kinds of delicious toppings, yet light enough to melt in your mouth. Yumminess.

178 dabble May/June 2011

INGREDIENTS 3 egg whites ½ tsp salt ¾ tsp cream of tartar ¾ cup granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS Preheat oven to 250°F. Separate egg whites from egg yolks and allow whites to warm to room temperature. Place whites into a clear glass bowl. Add salt and cream of tartar, then beat with a hand blender or a whisk until it is very foamy and no white remains at the bottom of the bowl. Blend in sugar one tablespoon at a time until mixture is very firm and forms glossy, pointed peaks when you lift the beaters. Use a ¼ cup scoop to form 5 or 6 small nests. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and open the door leaving meringues inside to cool. Serve each meringue on a dish of mixed berries and top it with fresh, real whipped cream.


Serves 6 Prep Time 15 min. Preheat 250째F

May/June 2011 dabble 179

“I started yoga as a way of conquering myself— mentally and physically. I notice that all people, no matter how powerful they seem, have the same basic issues. Yoga helps me get to the root of my problems and shape my future.”

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At the age of eight Daniel Lacerda was introduced to yoga at a gymnastic camp. Although he spent most of his time facing the corner for misbehaviour, a passion sparked. Today, Daniel touches the lives of so many through his insightful teachings and commitment to the craft.

180 dabble May/June 2011

I dabble in...kama sutra

Don’t miss the Best Places for Yoga in the July/August issue of Dabble.

“I started kama sutra at a young age, as a deeper way of connecting spiritually with my girlfriend.”

“In my mind, conquering myself is more impressive than conquering a complete nation.”

I dabble in...super hero comic books “I’ve always wanted to be a super hero. My yoga poses help me become the superhero I wanted to be as a child.”

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May/June 2011 dabble 181

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Each issue of Dabble Magazine brings you inspiring design from around the world, immerses you in cities ripe for discovery, gives you a tast...

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