Sonse Home Design

Sonse Home Design is a store that offers so much tucked into a small space. It’s lovely having a shop open in uptown New Westminster that offers what she offers – from small gifts to furniture to art and accessories. Proprietor Joanne also has everything beautifully displayed and has an incredible eye for emerging trends. We’ve written about Sonse Home Design before, back when it had just opened. I stopped by yesterday to finish off my Christmas shopping, and Joanne had just what I needed. I picked up three amazing Skeem candles (Peach Velvet – oh my!) that will burn for 50 hours (oh my again!) to add to some stockings, and I found a number of gifts that Santa could put under my tree. This beautiful stand up clock, for example:

Beautiful stand up clock
Beautiful stand up clock

My shopping partner fell for a beautiful hot pink picture frame and a corkscrew with a vintage faucet handle. My son was pretty in love with blue cushions with a great zig zag pattern. It was busy (yay for shopping local) or I would have stayed to chat with Joanne some more. Sonse offers the frosting every home needs. Make plans to stop in at Sonse – they probably have what you are looking for! Right now almost everything is on sale for the holidays.

They are online and also on Twitter and Facebook, or call at 604-522-3377.

Here’s a gallery:

Free Bobs & Lolo concert at Royal City Centre Nov. 26

Bobs & Lolo
Bobs & Lolo

British Columbia tot pop stars Bobs & Lolo are coming to New Westminster for a free concert to kick off Royal City Centre‘s Christmas activities this year.

On Saturday, November 26 the Juno-nominated sweet-voiced duo will perform a special family show starting at 11am. The mall will also offer free face painting by Mrs. Picasso, 12noon to 4pm. You can preview some of the tunes they’ll sing on the Bobs & Lolo YouTube channel.

The mall will also be offering pet photos with Santa every Sunday between November 27 and December 18 from noon to 4pm.

New home decor store Sonse Home Design opens in Uptown New West

Sonse Home Design.
Sonse Home Design.

I heard about Sonse Home Design from Sheila Keenan whom I follow on Twitter (she writes a great blog about shopping locally in New West) a week or so ago. Promptly forgot about it, but caught a glimpse of Sonse today as I exited London Drugs and decided I’d better check it out before I forgot again!

It just opened a few weeks ago and the place looks amazing. Walking in, I experienced an immediate feeling of calm, sensed friendly energy and was drawn into her colourful and thoughtful staging. Joanne greeted me with a warm smile and friendly conversation.

We got to talking, and it turns out this is Joanne’s first foray into the retail rat race, but she’s got over 15 years of decorating experience in the television industry so she’s well equipped with design chops and her enthusiasm and knowledge shines through during our conversation. Clearly she’s a great resource, not to mention has a talented eye for the aesthetic, and offers staging, redecorating, room planning and holiday decorating services to support her retail location at 544 6th Street.

Sonse (pronounced son-say) is full of beautiful finds. Having just redecorated my home office in a cottage shabby shic style attempt, I was on the lookout for a few knick knacks and I hit the jackpot here! My budget is pretty weak, but I found some pretty seashells and may go back for gorgeous patterned wallpaper which I’ll frame as an inexpensive art option.

I’m glad I stopped by. Oh – and she’s been a New West resident for more than five years and couldn’t imagine opening a storefront anywhere else! Happy to support local shopping!

Find Sonse Home Design on Twitter or Facebook, or call 604-522-3377.

Okonomi – As You Like It

There’s a little sushi joint in New West on Fourth Street, at Columbia, in the building that formerly housed Lafflines. Apparently it used to be an Italian restaurant, but for the life of me I can’t remember anything like that there. In a city with a billion sushi restaurants (okay, I exaggerate, but seriously, there are a lot), Okonomi has won me over completely with their inventive and interesting rolls, awesome service, and great pricing. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve just opened up a second location in the space formerly housing The Orange Room.

Okonomi Sushi (6th St) on Urbanspoon

What makes Okonomi unique in a sea of local sushi competition is the fact that both their downtown and uptown locations are enormous. There are always enough seats, I never feel crowded, and they can accomodate spur of the moment meet ups of 10 or 12 people with relative ease. Their food is fresh, delicious, and well made. The menu alone has something ridiculous, like 200 items, and it can take a good number of minutes to pick from the extensive menu. Tip: don’t go when you are starving and can’t concentrate.

Their rice is also pink, which threw me off at first. The server explained they boil organic blueberries and cabbage additives in the water they use to cook the rice to make it more nutritious. I didn’t notice a taste difference but one of my dining companions did. They also have burning stone tataki, a fun experience where you get to cook your own food on an incredibly hot rock.

The portions are great and I’ve over-ordered a few times. Their prices are very reasonable. I’m not really a fan of leftover sushi, but I’ve gotten used to their portion sized and so that happens a lot less these days. Okonomi means “as you like it”, and I definitely like it.

They have free delivery, free wifi, and are licensed.

Okonomi Downtown is at 26 4th Street or 778-397-0567

Okonomi Uptown is at 620 6th Street or 778-397-1003

Coming Home Cafe is zany, colourful and lovingly retro

The Coming Home Cafe
The Coming Home Cafe

A cash-only diner with serve-yourself coffee ready to pour from a hot plate, the Coming Home Cafe may be low on frills but it doesn’t skimp on the flourishes. Homey meals like mac ‘n cheese are spiced up with gourmet additions like chorizo, and on that hot plate coffee is Kicking Horse Coffee – quality stuff. Inside, the decor is the kind of thrift-store chic you’d see in an art-school major’s first college flat. It’s zany, colourful and lovingly retro.

I’ve heard a lot of people rave about the Coming Home Cafe, but I’m not often around that part of Sixth. Until recently I’d only stopped by for a brief coffee on the patio, but after seeing a bunch of people mention the cafe on Twitter and in the comments on various posts, I made a point of coming by again.

I’m using Coming Home’s free wifi to write this post now on my second visit this week. Last time I had the divine pulled pork sandwiches (flavourful, topped with coleslaw on a just-crispy-enough bun). Today though, I’m trying the mac ‘n cheese special mentioned above. The nostalgic classic is decadently creamy and cheesy, and that chorizo gives it a nice touch of spice. The prices seemed a mite high at first glance until I tasted the quality ingredients – and saw the note on the board that all prices include HST. Mains range between about $6-8 for the most part, and the coffee starts at $2.75 (but includes a free refill with meal).

I haven’t tried the all-day breakfast yet, but the menu looks great, and I would expect the quality would be as good as lunch. There are also a few nice options like gluten-free bread and options like adding tofu or sauerkraut when you build your own breakfast.

As an aside, if I ever write a post on remarkable bathrooms of New West, the Coming Home Cafe would make the list. Their washroom is a cheeky corner featuring decoupaged paper with bathroom trivia and a few hilarious diagrams. It’s not the fanciest washroom in New West, but it’s definitely memorable!

I have only three quibbles with the restaurant: like most mom-n-pop stores in New West, it’s closed on Mondays (annoying to discover when you’re standing outside the door, as I did on my first attempt to revisit this place), there’s no debit or credit card processing (if you bring out the plastic you’re directed to the G&F Financial cash machine across the street) and the music is terrible. The fiercely poppy mix is not at all my cup of tea (though some of it is so bad it edges towards ironic goodness). The first two points can be overcome with a little planning, and the last can be endured (and I suppose could be a plus for fans of autotune and MC Hammer / Black Eyed Peas mashups).

It’s a short walk from the centre of Uptown, but The Coming Home Cafe is worth going a little out of your way. The food is excellent, the service is friendly and the atmosphere is creative and fun.

Coming Home Café on Urbanspoon

New West Public Health Unit is moving uptown May 2

Just an FYI for parents of babies & toddlers and other regulars at the public health office: the New Westminster Public Health Unit is relocating to Uptown from its current home at 537 Carnarvon.

As of May 2 the public health nurses will be offering vaccinations and other services at 218-610 Sixth St. The phone number will remain the same, 604-777-6740. I just thought I’d pass on the news because I know I’d automatically head down to the old office for my kids’ next vaccinations if I hadn’t heard the news!

Here’s a map showing the new location:

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