AppleBerry Cafe 312 King Street East
J.H. Gordon Books 314 King Street East
I’m pleased to present the first Crossover post! When the blog began, I really didn’t know about the bursting online community in Hamilton, and getting to connect with fellow bloggers is something I would like to do more of – hence my idea to start a new feature where I link up with another blog for a meetup.
I knew without a doubt that I had to start with Seema, who runs This Must Be The Place, one of my favourite local blogs. Seema began her blog shortly before I Heart Hamilton and it has been fun to follow along and share our Hamilton finds with each other.
Having set a date to meet up for lunch, I ended up first meeting Seema earlier in the week at the Supercrawl Pop Up show. We confirmed our plans then and decided on a spot that neither of us had been to – AppleBerry Café in downtown’s International Village, which I had spotted on Twitter. After scanning their page, we learned they make a variety of food and drinks, while specializing in Caribbean food. We were excited to check it out!
AppleBerry has been open for about a month – the green building is bright, inviting, and easy to spot. It’s a small space and they take a lot of walk-in orders, and they also deliver orders to nearby establishments that are along the street. I love the details of the light fixtures that matched the International Village’s colourful logo, one brick wall, and the colourful chalkboard menus. There are only a few tables, and we grabbed the best seat in the place, in a little nook right by the window. Seema and I had a great time getting to know each other better and chatting about the City.
With so much to choose from on the menu, we took some time deciding. I went for the Chicken Quesadilla and Seema chose one of the lunch combos – pan-fried fish fillet with vegetables, rice, and beans. Drinks were a no-brainer. Lemonade! Perfect for the hot, summer day. It was actually my first lemonade of the season. Very refreshing!
After our lunch we chatted with AppleBerry’s owner Opal Osiol, who was so lovely and friendly. We learned that she had run her own restaurant in Turks and Caicos and this is her first venture in Hamilton. We praised the food for being so wholesome and homemade, and she said that’s exactly what she was going for. She made our lemonade fresh right there, and rather than having frozen mixes onhand, smoothies are all made fresh. I’ll definitely be back to try one of those! In our fast-paced world where people want to just grab something and go, it was refreshing to see an approach that was more slowed down and personal. After a quick impromptu photo shoot inside AppleBerry, Seema and I headed back out into the heat to our next stop.
We strolled next door to another new edition to King Street, J.H. Gordon Books. Another colourful and inviting storefront – this one was a beautiful shade of blue. It was an ideal spot for Seema and I to continue our exploring, with me having been an English major and Seema being a teacher. We enjoyed comparing notes on what we read in school and what we’re reading now. I’m on the lookout to continue through the canon of classics, seeking out ones that were not assigned in school. I was drawn to the Shakespeare section of the shop, aptly labeled “The Bard,” and Seema even picked up a copy of Hamlet, one of my very favourites. We could have spent even longer than we did perusing those shelves!
We had a great chat with owner Julie Gordon. The book store has been open for about two months and she spoke of her initial struggles to get the place up and running, no easy feat for a new business in Hamilton. But it was worth the wait – the space is gorgeous and airy with its high ceilings, chandeliers, colourful bouquet of flowers on the centre table, and shelves of a fantastic selection of new and used books lining three walls. The remainder of the walls are accented with antique-looking frames, which are a nice touch. I kept looking around and noting how pretty the shop is!
We learned that Julie is originally from Calgary, and when we got talking about Hamilton, I encountered one of our classic full circle moments we keep having on our Tour. Julie said the first place she ate in Hamilton was Papagayo, and the Mexican restaurant is a special place because it’s where the blog first came together and we just celebrated the blog’s one year anniversary there in May. Bam!
To prove how neighbourly local business owners are, we saw Julie come into AppleBerry to order a smoothly just as we were leaving, and when we were at J.H. Gordon Books, Opal dropped by to deliver Julie her smoothie! I would like to explore some more places along King Street; it’s fabulous to see new shops popping up all the time.
Thanks to Seema for joining me for the day. It was a lot of fun and I was happy to connect with a fellow blogger and a new friend. Be sure to check out Seema’s post about the day on her blog in Part One and Part Two.