By Shelley Budd
No need to even cross the street, it’s all on the uptown side! The spark that lit this trip to W 4th on fire was the enchanting and abounding, family owned store called Moulé (www.moulestores.com moolay, meaning to shape or mold), on the corner of W 4th and Maple. The lovely, dark-wood pillared, multi-level space with exposed ceiling, houses rich and special finds of all kinds, like handsomely unique home and giftware, including a frosted gold piggy-bank, delicate white porcelain mugs that stack into a totem pole, world map globes of varying colours and design, contemporary menorahs and more, as well as the best of the best in beautiful, quality clothing. The Guys section occupies it’s own Guy space, separated from the Women by a circular cut-out walkthrough and stocked with gorgeous timepieces, dazzling cufflinks, not to mention the snazzy and casual clothing – a serious one-stop-shop for Father’s Day (if he’s damn hip), or a brothers/boyfriends birthday. The maturity of the store remains in touch with youthful silliness and the slight hook of subtle humour; it’s like when, as a kid, you go visit that despairingly well-off friend’s house, expecting this gaudy mansion to be bloated with “expensive” stuff, only to find that you love everything about this house, this interesting stuff, this family and decide a) they totally deserve all that they have, and b) you want to stay, forever. That’s always an awkward phone call home.
The seed of this ‘solid-gold-store’ was planted in 1987 when Mother Hen, then childless, went in search of beautiful silks in Marrakesh and brought back her bounty to fill a store. Today, you’ll find a Moulé wherever there is a bit of family – thanks to her son, there are 2 in Vancouver, the original Mother Hen remains in Winnipeg, and daughter/sister heads up a Portland store, which is also home to her clothing line carried by Moulé. Rachel Mara (www.rachelmara.com); the line itself is worth the trip, if the stunningly solid and hearty home décor that fills the front didn’t seal the deal for you (side note: the décor is just beyond the actual front, which is home to a really special children’s section, another nod to their focus on family). In the world of Rachel Mara, unique and complex patterns play on lush fabric, shirts hang just how they should, everyday black pants are anything but ordinary with pouched pockets, calf-hugging, oh so flattering Capri length and satin-to-the-touch sheen – her clothes are the perfect way to feel fully polished and at the top of your game professionally.
And because Moulé is so fantastic, and you’re going to walk out of there with new, amazing stuff, a stop at Zulu for an appropriate sound might be in order – nothing like waggling a newly outfitted tush at a listening booth; may I suggest the new Black Keys disc? (If you haven’t been to Zulu yet, I’m not sure why – this place is a Mecca that words can’t describe, you just need to get there. www.zulurecords.com ) And finally, Refuel (www.refuelrestaurant.com) is just a couple more doors down, and serves up some super-fine relaxed cuisine to match the super-fine but chillin Moulé – a seat at the bar is good for one, with a view of the magic beneath your nose. My personal favorite too-good-to-be-true indulgence is the roasted bone marrow with green apple, parsley and maldon salt, served right in the bone as a scrape-able feast, and the creamy broccoli soup is a comfort classic – after experiencing their unique, beer infused cheese toast on top, I get the feeling everything served at Refuel is going to hit that indulgent spot on the knot in an interesting and new way.