Hamilton. A place I’d driven through, by or passed countless times en route to what I thought were greener (read: more interesting) pastures. Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, Buffalo…. But on a recent work trip scouting a location for an event for a client I spent a few days exploring the city I’ve discovered I’ve spent too long ignoring. From the food, to the quaint shops and the incredibly kind and down-to-earth people, I think I might be falling.
Yes, Hamilton, I have a crush on you and here are a few reasons why:
I’m a sucker for a good home decor store. Especially one that smells delicious and is chocked full of whimsy. From soaring cherubs clothed in tule to glowing chandeliers, Pure’s expansive second floor space is a place I could disappear into time and time again. This is the perfect spot to purchase a gift or to treat yourself to an a little indulgence. Even just browsing around is an inspiring endeavour, one that leaves you feeling happier than when you first walked in.
I went here with some of my team and we were all faced with the forever impossible conundrum: fries or salad… I know the answer is most often then not – GET THE FRIES – but from spying the plates around me, the salads looked equally appetizing and surprisingly robust. We opted for the best of both worlds, salads and soups with a communal order of fries. The food was awesome with options for meaties, veggies and vegans alike, but the best part of the meal was on our way out. As we were leaving we asked one of the staff for directions. He not only told us where to go, but, in the frigid cold, walked us down the street giving us a brief history lesson on the area and pointing out various other local shops that we might find of interest.
There is literally nothing like small town charm, or pride, for that matter.
St James Espresso Bar and Eatery
For those of us whom have become accustomed to coffee shops with decent coffee and bad food, I promise you, it doesn’t have to be that way and St James is proving it. Their coffee is not only good, it’s ethically sourced. Their food is not only delicious (two words – blueberry pancakes) they make it in house, from scratch!
I could have spent hours in their cafe contemplating life, people watching, all in a mild food coma, but, well, life. But I can assure you their pancakes, avocado toast AND coffee are all worth the drive back to The Hammer.
If for some reason you think Hamilton and don’t think good design, think again. I, for one, was not a believer. I didn’t believe that Hamilton could possibly have more than one stylish joint, come to find out they have a ton and The French is, to me, at the top of the list.
Delicious food, incredibly tasteful decor and beautiful cocktails, what more can you ask for?
What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? I’d love to know as I will be heading out there again and love a great recommendation!
photos by Samantha Clarke
Burnt Tongue photo by Robert Okine