courtesy of neighborhoodnotes.comLast Friday I spent the evening hanging out with my friend Christine walking down Alberta Avenue. It had been awhile since either of us had been over in that neighborhood, and the last couple times I had been there it was morning not at night, which is a completely different experience. Initially the plan was to go to collage for one of their $5 Friday night art classes, but timing didn't quite work out for that. When we happened to walk by the large picture windows fronting collage's class space, it was definitely the popular place to be. I'm really interested in taking the "Let's Get Waxy" class detailing encaustic painting, I've been digging on artists layering and incorporating mixed media without it looking hodge podge. I think the overall beeswax nature of the encaustic process gives the pieces enough cohesion that the hodge podgy'ness is limited, anyway, I guess we'll see.
courtesy of urbanspoonWalking down Alberta Street on a Friday night was fun, there were a lot of people out, although it was early so not as many people as were going to be out. The stores, restaurants, bars, galleries, tons of bakeries, stretched on and on. That's something that I wish we had in my neighborhood, but unfortunately we have a really finite space to develop here in Hillsdale and it's my understanding that most of the commercial spaces are owned by one family, so there hasn't been as much growth and change as on Alberta. Every restaurant seemed to have the luxury of a patio, many heated and covered so they're good to go all year long. A particularly lively place sported a couple of ping pong tables on their patio with pints of beers perilously balanced on them. We ended up eating dinner in one of these double-duty spaces seated in front of a roaring outdoor fire place. The Tin Shed was cozy and welcoming, loud -with groups of people talking over each other, like a big Italian family.
courtesy of neighborhoodnotes.com
The appeal of Alberta Avenue was more than the amount of retail eye candy bounding the street, it was the diversity of buildings and how they individually occupied their part of the strip. There was the obvious infill of two story, concrete, wood and aluminum storefront windows. Sprinkled throughout with former homes now shops, with those lovely color palettes that make bungalows sing. Ochre yellow, burnt red, moss green, plumbs, maroons. Whole blocks with hanging signs affixed to buildings with the elegance of a pair of hung earings, perfectly in scale with the next but uniquely identifying it's wares beneath.
courtesy of Hammer & Hand ContractorsWe capped the evening with a stop at Salt & Straw, an evidently ridiculously popular ice cream place. I couldn't tell if the long line of people were mostly neighborhood regulars or people that had traveled there specifically, but everybody was in a good mood regardless. Of course, it's ice cream, well worth the wait. Sea salt with ribbons of caramel, very salty light on the caramel. Cinnamon snickerdoodle, very spicy and light on the snickerdoodle chuncks. I guess, we'll just have to go back and try some other flavors, there's no lack of options, although I'm avoiding the Bone Marrow & Smoked Bing Cherry flavor....