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Weeknight Breakfast at Carrigan’s Downtown

breakfast at Carrigan's

breakfast at Carrigan's

We’ve all hit that point midway through a particularly grueling workweek that demands more than your average comfort. The kind of week that demands breakfast food. Luckily, the good folks at Carrigan’s Public House launched a solution this fall: a “breakfast for supper” special each Wednesday evening.

Carrigan’s has marketed the meal as a reward for making it through your Wednesday. And at $10 for the breakfast dish plus mimosa, it definitely is. It’s also a genius antidote to any hump day blues. As the great Ron Swanson said, “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”

This is no ordinary diner menu, though. It’s a single dish, and it may or may not be announced ahead of time. Past examples have included sausage and egg in a waffle sandwich, goat cheese-topped eggs in a basket nestled against curls of prosciutto, and a bagel and lox served with the prettiest poached eggs. All in keeping with the downtown loft district’s gastropub vibe.

One of our favorite things about the neighborhood is its rotating roster of specialty brunch availability–Saturdays at El Barrio and Feast & Forest, select Saturdays at Yo Mama’s, and Sundays at Trattoria Centrale–but Wednesday evening is a whole new ballgame. We frankly wouldn’t complain if every day was some sort of brunch day, but we’re perfectly happy to celebrate incremental wins.  

True brunch may be a meal reserved for leisurely weekends, but fancy breakfast food need not wait that long. The Carrigan’s solution seems both fancy and spartan, going out with a hint of staying in. All in keeping with the mixed use dynamic of downtown loft living.

We can’t promise a solution to all your hump day problems, but breakfast at Carrigan’s is a fine start. Or at least a merciful end. Here’s to hump day!

 

 

Boutique Food on the Downtown Revelator Coffee Menu

downtown Revelator Coffee menu

downtown Revelator Coffee menu

You’d be forgiven for not knowing the downtown Revelator Coffee menu includes food. It’s not online after all, and there are only passing references to it on social media. It’s worth paying attention, though, because there are some easy treasures here.

Focused on basic staples–avocado, hummus, boiled eggs, and fresh veggies–the lunch menu is a fancy version of what you might pack yourself or throw together at home. But with this presentation and price point (around eight dollars, with add-ons from one dollar to one-fifty), why would you?

The presentation is gorgeous but not overdone, as though the space’s architecture has been translated into food. The PM bowl reminds us of bibimbap: an artful arrangement of bite-size color and texture begging to be eaten. There’s creamy hummus, lightly-dressed arugula, and sticks of raw veggies for a lunch that feels positively virtuous in its healthiness but will still fill you up.

The avocado toast is another popular option (they were out of it by the time we swung by for a late lunch). Asher Lutz, son of local style blogger Lindsey Lutz of Life Lutzurious, reportedly loves the avocado toast here. And this is a kid with a favorite Bottega dish, so he clearly knows what’s what.

Food here is slightly less secretive than the coffee cocktail–food options are at least printed–but there’s no permanent online presence. The menu seems designed as an additional offering for an established crowd rather than a real marketing draw. And that strategy makes sense with Revelator’s boutique feel.

It’s as though they cleverly foresaw the move toward actual boutiques downtown and established themselves early in the game. Revelator’s been on the vanguard of this end of the loft district, after all. The Lyric wasn’t yet operating when it opened here, nor had the Pizitz Building or Thomas Jefferson Tower redevelopments begun. So it seems like no accident that they’ve added more complex offerings as this area has become one to linger in.

So, whether you’re looking for a non-sad working lunch or an easy, open-ended chat, it’s worth putting Revelator on your list.

 

Stately Bohemian Style at Rojo in Highland Park

Rojo in Highland Park

Rojo in Highland Park

It’s no secret we love this neighborhood gem. We included it in both our neighborhood roundup and an ode to its weekend-long brunch service. But we also love the feel of it, the way its tree-lined location, full bar, and interior stylings create an excuse to linger. So, how do those interiors create help create the Rojo in Highland Park we know and love? And more importantly, what lessons can they offer for your home, in Highland Park or elsewhere?

When we first considered a post on Rojo’s style, we thought artsy, eclectic, almost Five Points South in feel. But when we revisited photos of the restaurant’s actual interiors, we realized parts of it are downright stately. What we came away with is an approach for making even the grandest homes feel relaxed and fun based on Rojo in Highland Park.

 

Deep impact

There are two things that stand out most about the restaurant: its deep red interiors and its large-scale gunslinger mural. Fortunately, both those things are replicable, at least to a degree, while carving out your own casual style attitude.

Red may be a bit dramatic for your own home space, and so long as your name doesn’t literally translate to “red,” no pressure. Think about other deep tones — a rich navy, a flirty emerald, a cozy charcoal — all still on point for interior colors, especially in high-ceilinged historic homes. Just don’t leave those ceilings white if you’re looking to replicate Rojo’s cozy feel. Houzz has a compelling argument for black ceilings (like Rojo’s), but there are plenty of Pinterest options involving a single deep wall, ceiling, and trim paint color.

Then there’s that mural. The combination of bold color and standout art defines the feel of the space, even while keeping the rest of it pretty low key. Large local art won’t be your cheapest accessorizing option. But there are few splurges we feel better about than buying a nice piece during Art Crawl or one of Rojo’s side-room showings.

 

Built-in definition

The built-in elements are what make this space most compellingly Highland Park. That iconic gunslinger? He’s surrounded by a wall of built-in bookcases with a simple dark stain. The best trick is how the built-ins frame the art so that it owns the room without occupying all that much of it.

Built-ins are the kind of detail that’s expensive to replicated but that well may exist in a historic Highland Park home. In fact, it’s one of the things we love most about them. And while Rojo’s shelves store their extensive collection of libations, yours could just as easily hold books. Perhaps offset with sculptural bookends or the odd accessory piece. Though carving out space for Redmont bottles and small-batch bourbon would be a classy alternative to a bar cart.  

 

 

Lakeview Modern Style at Cashio’s Meatball Market

Lakeview modern style at Cashio's Meatball Market
Photo by Jean Allsopp via Appleseed Workshop

We’ve said before that Cashio’s Meatball Market is no grandma restaurant, and that still holds true. But that’s not to say it’s absent older influences. In their blog post on the space, design/build firm Appleseed Workshop details its “eclectic mix of styles,” from modern lines to a Sicilian palette. The overall effect is something we think of as Lakeview Modern style, a blend of design eras for a thoroughly fresh feel.

The most established strip of Lakeview’s entertainment district–an L-shaped stretch down 29th and onto 7th Avenue South–is a tour through the Mediterranean-style Cashio’s building, the craftsman air of Slice and the Tudor timbers of the Avon Theater. Add in the colorful horizontal lines of 29 Seven, and there’s a distinctly modern bent to the neighborhood as well.

It could almost be too modern, were it not for places like Cashio’s adding a sense of cohesion. That’s why we’re looking to it as a lesson in bringing Lakeview attitude to historic homes in surrounding neighborhoods–like Highland Park, Avondale, or even the downtown Loft District. Here’s how:

 

Choose marble

It’s not the workhorse that you get with a stone like granite, but Cashio’s proves just how versatile marble can be. From modern wall applications to classic cafe tabletops, Appleseed identifies the native Alabama stone as a key ingredient for an all-new space rooted in tradition.

 

Embrace texture

Smooth surfaces would bring plenty of mod attitude but not enough Lakeview charm. Cashio’s splits the difference, breaking up its vinyl seating with tufting on the banquette back and nailhead bar stool trim.

 

Be bold

Besides an eye-catching tomato red, the space is defined by a single graphic element: an anthropomorphized ball of spaghetti. Its mirror application defies the logic of a traditional frame, but its black-and-white palette keeps things neat. Choose your focal point, in other words, then run with it.

 

Style Spotlight: Revelator Coffee Downtown

revelator coffee downtown

revelator coffee downtown

We’re taking a look at some neighborhood style icons this week, exploring what makes them work so well and what lessons they can offer their neighbors. Up today is Revelator Coffee downtown, and check back Wednesday for a look at Cashio’s Meatball Market in Lakeview and Saturday for Rojo in Highland Park.

 

Revelator Coffee has seen a major style evolution over its two years of operation, shifting from a dramatically modern space to a more stylishly homey one. It’s less grandly modern, more cozily mid-mod. Still very stylish, but in a way that’s more accessible. With the rapid expansion of the downtown loft district, we think Revelator’s an excellent muse when developing your own open-plan loft style. To help, we’ve put together a list of Revelator style cues.

 

Let small tables travel.

Multi-purpose tables get pressed into heavy use here. Some of the same laptop tables make an appearance in side chat arrangements, in fact, as in Sky Castle’s lounge-y space. There’s also a clever nesting coffee table that’ll hold a standard spread of books and coffee with a smaller pull out section when you need more surface area.

 

Get creative with seating.

Revelator relies heavily on a series of comfy armchairs in their mastery of flexible seating. Two are in a pretty traditional grouping with the low-slung leather couch. Two others frame the back of the dining area, made purposeful by an elegantly arched floor lamp. The final two take up residence by the door, creating an extra place to sit and chat while dressing up what would otherwise be dead entryway space.

 

Keep lighting in focus.

Revelator has one big, statement light in the space. It’s a grand one, too, made grander since there’s nothing else competing with it. Simple, linear track lighting brightens the counters and prep space, with framing colors that blend into the ceiling paint choices.

 

Take advantage of natural nooks.

Revelator’s rectangular communal table, which is basically a nice mid-century dining table, sits along its bumped-out window bay. The result feels very natural as a defined “space” and takes advantage of great natural light for both eating and functional work surface.

 

Give the kitchen new friends.

It’s natural, and in many ways practical, for your dining table to back up to your breakfast bar. There are clear benefits, like natural overflow seating with room to eat. But unless you regularly use it that way–and most of us don’t–you might end up feeling more connected to the rest of your home’s (and guest’s) activity if the living area is closest to the kitchen. Revelator has let their sofa ease toward the dining table for a sense of separate zoning that preserves visual flow.

 

 

Modern Dreams at Public Office Woodlawn

public office woodlawn

public office woodlawn

Are you ever drawn in by the siren song of pale wood and natural light that appears so often in Dwell Magazine? It’s lovely to look at, of course, but sometimes you also want to visit. And possibly get a style souvenir. You can now do both at the Public Office in Woodlawn.

Another project of Armand Margjeka, Public Office extends his artistic eye from Open Shop to a neighboring corner. It also offers an unlikely mix of skincare, candles, camping mugs, and cutting-edge coffee brewing. It is, in a word, unique. In a way we can’t help but love.

There’s something about this little corner of Woodlawn that’s like shopping or eating in someone’s very stylish home. In a way we’d almost expect to go with the loft-y atmosphere and creative minds downtown. Instead, it’s in Woodlawn that folks like Margjeka and the Johnsons of Club Duquette have carved out public homes to purvey some of their personal favorites.

It’s a new take on specialty shop, defined, as we’ve mentioned before, as much by personality as product mission. And it works in part because of Woodlawn’s location adjacent to arts-minded communities in Avondale and Crestwood.

Visiting Public Office, though, feels like a design moment. As though you should take notes for your next home project. And maybe you should. (We might have.) It’s an exercise in modern character, not just scarcity, like the European approach to overhauling an older building.

Instead of reclaimed and industrial, it’s natural and bright. It feels finished, which is a different sort of complement to older architectural styles and a nice alternative to rustic reclaimed trends. We’ve rarely met walls of shelving we didn’t love, and Public Office’s are no exception.

There’s a movement afoot in Woodlawn. One less rooted in reclaiming a grand past and more in imagining a small-batch future. Not an either/or proposition, mind, but a well-crafted addition.

 

This is part III of our weekend in Woodlawn series. Check out Monday’s post on Woodlawn Cycle Cafe brunch, and Wednesday’s post on Open Shop

Open Shop Woodlawn’s Artistic Development Vision

open shop woodlawn

open shop woodlawn

If Winslet & Rhys is like shopping an art museum, Open Shop Woodlawn is retail as modern art installation. From the irony of its exterior design to the studied androgyny of its wares, there’s something incredibly cerebral about the Open Shop shopping experience.

Owner Armand Margjeka also owns personal care/coffee supply offshoot Public Office and co-owns Woodlawn Cycle Cafe, yet he’s opted against an obvious common brand. Where the cafe’s interior is a window-lined white, Open Shop’s is deliberately dark and devoid of natural light.

But instead of a goth-inspired den of depression, the darkness is an interesting shift in focus. Like shopping an artist’s closet rather than a standard boutique. It also adds an air of gritty masculinity to the atmosphere.

Items range from minimalist backpacks to art books, collarless blazers to chunky wool sweaters. It’s technically menswear, but the simple lines and classic motifs of the button downs and sweaters could just as easily attract female customers. In fact, that was the conversation we overheard at the cash register–that female customers end up with some of the store’s thick wool sweaters.

And it’d be hard not to envy the wonderfully sculptural approach to clothing display. There’s no making your way through strategically scattered clothing racks. Instead, large oriental rugs and a sofa in the perfect shade of chartreuse occupy the shop’s center. The hanging racks and shelving along the walls are so stripped down you can’t help but focus on an individual item’s artistry.

If anything’s emblematic of Woodlawn’s hip business energy, it might be Open Shop. Because this burgeoning district is about a shift in focus. About a viscerally different, yet wonderfully charming, idea of how development can look. In a way, in might be the most personally artistic neighborhood in the city, because it’s so full of individually unique visions.

 

This is part II of our weekend in Woodlawn series. Check out Monday’s post on Woodlawn Cycle Cafe brunch, and check back Saturday for our final post on Public Office. 

 

Understated Arts at Woodlawn Cycle Cafe Brunch

woodlawn cycle cafe brunch

woodlawn cycle cafe brunch

Our love of brunch is well-documented, but as a meal, sometimes it’s frankly too time-limited. If nothing says weekend quite like brunch, why do most restaurants serve it only one day per week? Clearly simpatico, Woodlawn Cycle Cafe brunch is an all-weekend affair.

We can’t say what exactly they’ll offer when you go. That’s the beauty of a rotating menu, after all. But there will likely always be some variation on the toastie and salad combo, in keeping with their understated arts. On a visit in early November, we fell hard for a fried egg, cheese, and bacon version built around a sweet potato biscuit and topped with pepper jelly.

The biscuit was tender beyond measure and flaky only where it needed to be. Basically, it’s a biscuit sandwich you’ll want to eat with a knife and fork. And we say that for informational purposes only, not as a complaint. A hit of heat from the pepper jelly offset any added sweetness from the biscuit or any heaviness from bacon and cheese. It was a nearly perfect breakfast bite.

Add in some bright sunlight in a whitewashed space plus one of our all-time favorite lattes, and getting out of bed on the weekend starts to look appealing. The crowd ebbs and flows, so don’t be alarmed if it seems busy when you arrive. It’ll settle out and leave plenty of room for a leisurely meal.

But what would brunch be without a bit of walking around afterward? A handful of small shops in the same block–Open Shop Woodlawn, Public Office, and Club Duquette–offer post-meal options. Their related aesthetic and unique product lines make brunch at Woodlawn Cycle Cafe not just a meal but an event. And if your Saturday doesn’t come together the way you’d planned, you can always try again Sunday. That’s the beauty of Woodlawn’s brunch weekend.

 

Check back Wednesday and Saturday for posts on Open Shop and Public Office, so you can plan your weekend in Woodlawn.

 

Avondale: Front Porch Railing Inspiration Lives Here

front porch railing inspiration

front porch railing inspiration

There’s a lot happening around Avondale Park. Besides the gothic grandeur of Avondale United Methodist Church, there’s Parkside, the public library, and the slew of hip new options around Fancy’s on Fifth. So you’d be forgiven if you’ve failed to really track the residential architecture nearby. But you really should. Besides the cottage charm along this stretch, the area is also rife with front porch railing inspiration.

We get that that may not seem like a thing. After all, we’re used to seeing two styles: classic vertical balusters or the modern architecture influence of horizontal railings. What becomes clear from older homes in Avondale is the wealth of options that’s really available, not to mention the amount of pop some humble wood can produce. For instance:

There’s the alternating ladder style–almost like a brickwork pattern but with negative space–that on its own almost seems too mod for a historic home. Paired with some simpler, classic trim along the porch roof, though, it makes perfect, charming sense. And if you’re trying to marry classic architecture with mod furniture influences, it would be a nice way to carry the theme outdoors.

Then there’s the Victorian feel of a neighboring porch. Instead of Stickley simplicity, it has a hint of prim gingerbread. The result is a lovely balance of sturdy bungalow scale and almost lacy delicacy. Fish scale shakes along the front gable tie in to the curvier texture without creating a look that’s overblown.

Another classic, tailored look is the wide “X” design down the street, which gives the porch a nice open feel. It’s less practical for the safety of kids and pets, but it’s a lovely look for the right lifestyle.

There are even lessons in adjusting the scale of a classic balustrade design for added interest. Extra-wide intervals make a deep porch feel more sunny and open. Extra-narrow intervals add to the petite appeal of the tidy cottage next door.

Choose your own porch adventure, in other words, and know you have more options than you may have realized.

 

Exterior Inspiration from Five Points South Historic Homes

Five Points South historic homes

Five Points South historic homes

One of the things we love most about Five Points South historic homes is the wealth of color. It’s a little like living with the everyday version of Painted Ladies, which feels good for the creative soul. But no matter your home’s era, there are ideas to be had here.

If you love the idea of true color scheme but have trouble visualizing beyond white, wandering through Five Points South is your ideal starting point.

The architecture, full of Victorian and American Foursquare examples, is what makes color so vibrant in these areas. Victorian styles, especially, make use of bold contrast colors to highlight intricate trim details. And since they frequently include a scheme of three or four distinct shades, they offer a broad range of palette ideas.

Generally speaking, two of those shades will be in the same family, likely the same paint card. That makes for a simple way to translate elaborate historic color schemes into a more subdued plan.

But even on simpler midcentury homes, there’s room for some exterior paint fun. B-metro featured a Homewood craftsman recently with its window woodwork painted turquoise. So feel free to pull a similarly bright hue to accent more minimal architecture.

What kind of colors are you likely to find? Greens are popular, from the fresh minty and evergreen combo of the Oasis Counseling Center to softer shades of sage and juniper nearby. Whether in brickwork or trim accents, reds play a starring role.

One of our favorite simple palettes is an overcast pale blue with clean white trim and a rosy red door. There’s also a lovely pale gray with charcoal trim and buttery accents. Both of which feel highly accessible for less bohemian neighborhoods.

So next time you’re headed for Dreamland, take a Southside winding road ‘till inspiration strikes.