Help me seal the deal in the GTA.
August 25, 2009 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan the PERFECT date with a cool vegan, hipster yoga teacher / fashion designer in TORONTO for tomorrow ?

I've been chasing this girl for months and she's finally agreed to go out on a date with me. Only problem is the date is tomorrow and I haven't the faintest idea what to do with her.

She's very hip and independent and likes cute bistro type places. She's also a strict vegan which seriously limits the food choices.

I don't think she'd be into the biking on Toronto Island or other physical date activity, think more intellectual here. She's also a hopeless romantic

What should we do together ? Where can we go ? What would be fun and memorable date ?
posted by dawdle to Human Relations (29 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Toronto Vegetarian Society's Restaurant Directory for lots of good food ideas!

After dinner, you could do Dream in High Park...
posted by purlgurly at 8:36 PM on August 25, 2009

...Or before dinner/during dinner. Maybe you could get some picnic-type foods!
posted by purlgurly at 8:39 PM on August 25, 2009

It's pretty nice weather out - and parks are fun

Get food from Juice for Life (Crawford & Queen) and go hang out in Trinity-Bellwoods Park
Then off for booze Queen West (there's always the drake)

Shakespeare in the park

Darkhorse contender:
They used to rent out the fire pit in Dufferin Grove park -and campfire in the city makes for a pretty good picnic setting - and picnic bypasses the restricted food concerns.
Warning though: last time we did this, they had attendants babysit us.
They hung out with us until their shift was done - then they had to watch us extinguish the fire... but then were polite enough to not return after we re-lit it.
posted by sloe at 8:41 PM on August 25, 2009

Dude, don't despair on the food. First, a Google search for Toronto vegan gave some very promising results. Look them over, and make sure that wherever you choose has lots of good _vegan_ options (there are restaurants with one vegan item - often not very satisfying). If you can find one of those Chinese vegan/vegetarian restaurants that makes faux shrimp out of soy or seitan, bonus!

I'd recommend coming up with three restaurant choices that fit with the rest of the date (location, etc.), then asking her which she'd prefer. Some vegans actually won't like the fake seitan shrimp ("I don't like it if it's imitating meat" one vegetarian friend of mine has said - she's from India, FWIW), and she may have eaten at one of them five bajillion times already if it's the only good option in a nearby area - just check if you can. Plus, it will let her know what to expect food-wise, so she won't feel she has to "pre-eat" (something I do when I'm going out with friends / over to someone's house if I don't know what kind of food I'll find there; I'll eat most of a meal beforehand so it won't be a big deal if there doesn't happen to be food that I can eat. If she knows you're going somewhere awesome, she may be confident enough to bring her appetite!).

If you need more advice about restaurant choices, the Toronto Vegetarian Society could probably help.

Finally, if she's vegan, she probably really likes animals, especially cute animals. Maybe that could help you come up with something fun to do. If you like animals, too, then that could be a lovely way to connect with her.
posted by amtho at 8:42 PM on August 25, 2009

One more caveat about the restaurants - CALL to make sure the restaurant you choose will be open when you need it to be. A lot of vegetarian/vegan restaurants operate on a shoestring and sometimes go out of business unexpectedly, and their hours can change suddenly also (if they only have one or two employees, especially).
posted by amtho at 8:44 PM on August 25, 2009

Great tips on the restaurants ! Can anyone recommend a cute bistro type place that's Vegan ?

Also loced the Shakespeare idea but I'm not sure if she'll go for that. What else could be good ?
posted by dawdle at 8:48 PM on August 25, 2009

Another destination idea - Riverdale Farm (if you decide to go east).
posted by purlgurly at 8:49 PM on August 25, 2009

Also, I have a car so going out of the city is a viable option also.
posted by dawdle at 8:52 PM on August 25, 2009

What time is the date, dawdle?
posted by purlgurly at 8:53 PM on August 25, 2009

starting in the afternoon into the evening... when it ends all depends on how it starts I guess...
posted by dawdle at 8:57 PM on August 25, 2009

ok I think I've found a good afternoon eatery and it's close to High Park should we decide to do the Shakespeare thing...

but maybe she'll want to go for a fancier dinner type place...
posted by dawdle at 8:59 PM on August 25, 2009

Is book-shopping suitable for your purposes? My most memorable Toronto date involved going to Atticus to browse for a while. There is all kinds of weird and awesome old stuff there, especially in the basement.
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:06 PM on August 25, 2009

(Oops, just realized that the jinx should have been directed to *am*tho.)
posted by purlgurly at 9:12 PM on August 25, 2009

keep 'em coming....
posted by dawdle at 9:40 PM on August 25, 2009

High Park is pretty nice for a walk around. You could take a ball or frisbee and play some catch or soccer, too.

If you go to Dream in High Park, take:

A blanket to sit on
A bottle of wine (she sounds like a hippie so reuseable glasses will probably go over well) or a few beers
Some snacks (olives, cheese, crackers and grapes would be my stand bys, but you could get away with just fruit- maybe cherries and strawberries and figs or something like that)
A flashlight
Dress with a couple extra layers so you can seem all gallant when you give her your hoodie- it gets cold at night!

After the show pack up your stuff and wander down to Grenadier Pond and you can sit and talk by the water, that'd be pretty slick, too. Good place for smooching if things go that way.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:16 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Warning! Red Alert! - the Rawlicious Café you found is all about raw food -- which also happens to be vegan at that cafe -- but raw may or may not be what your date is into. If it's not, this could be a very disappointing meal.

As my dear fiancé's parents discovered when they tried to take us out in their new hometown.

Nothing against the raw foodies, but if you're expecting a warm, comforting meal, and you get raw food -- even if it looks like lasagna -- it's just not going to satisfy those expectations.
posted by amtho at 11:20 PM on August 25, 2009

vegetarian haven on Baldwin is great - though they don't serve liquor, from what I recall, but the patio is cozy, and the food tasty and reasonably priced

Fressen on queen street is lovely and the sort of place you take people to to impress
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:10 AM on August 26, 2009

Am I the only one who came back here to see how the date went?
posted by rokusan at 1:24 AM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Me too rokusan. Maybe it's still going! :D
posted by like_neon at 4:12 AM on August 26, 2009

Actually, I bet it hasn't even happened yet.
posted by alligatorman at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2009

Just a note on wine: be sure to research how it was made; it's my understanding some grinding of fish bones or something occurs at some point in the process of a great deal of wine-making, rendering a lot of the stuff vegan-unfriendly.
posted by springbound at 8:12 AM on August 26, 2009

I love the restaurant Fresh (which used to be called Juice for Life when I lived in TO). The food is amazing and either all vegan or mostly vegan. The website lists three locations, but I've only been to the one on Bloor.

(Try the Buddha bowl -- delicious!)
posted by cider at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I promise to post updates after the date. So far I've got some great ideas. Thank you very much.

But it appears to have rained last night so Shakespeare in the park may not be a good idea as the ground may be wet.

Also as for Rawlicious, she's also intothe whole raw food thing so it's something she will enjoy. But thanks for the warning.

I was thinking of going to Kleinburg and going to the McMichael Art Gallery. Or also the CN tower. I know that sounds cheesy, but I've lived here for 4 years and have never been up to the top. I thought it could be a cool thing to do.
posted by dawdle at 8:39 AM on August 26, 2009

Atticus Books recently closed.
posted by avocet at 10:37 AM on August 26, 2009

Fressen on queen street is lovely and the sort of place you take people to to impress

I love Fresh, but I'll second this suggestion for Fressen. It's definitely the highest-end and most date-worthy of Toronto's vegan places.
posted by Adam_S at 5:12 PM on August 26, 2009

I just spent an extra five minutes at work so I could read all the way to the bottom and find out how the date went!
posted by variella at 5:14 PM on August 26, 2009

Well the date is finally over....

I ended up picking her up in the late afternoon and ran the Shakespeare in the Park idea by her and she told me that she had gone the week earlier... so I suggested we go for a bite but she wasn't hungry as she had recently eaten...

She was already familiar with Rawlicious and loves it but it wasn't to be for today... so we discussed options as we headed downtown and stopped for a chai latte ( soy in her case ) at Luna Cafe on Dovercourt which is a great neighbourhood cafe and totally cute, which she loved. Then we went to her friend's clothing boutique on Queen where she sells some of her designs and visited and shopped.

Then while racking my brain for things to do, I spotted the CN tower. I know this may sound cheesy but I hadn't been up to the top since I was a kid. I suggested it and she seemed kinda iffy about the idea but I persisted and she relented. We went up to the observation level and walked around the whole deck stopping here and there and talking while admiring the view. Then we went up the top deck and sat in a cute little nook built into the wall looking out over the city and just stared into each other's eyes and talked about our dreams at 144 floors up. Very cool. Then we proceeded to make action plans and commitments to ourselves about what we wanted to accomplish in the city and our lives and made a pact to review those vows and kick each other's butts if we didn't follow through a year from now. It was a very powerful moment.

Then it was time to eat, and instead of going the typical veg. route she recommended a great Italian place Li'l Baci on Queen St. East in Leslieville where we ate on the patio. Mushrooms with garlic antipasto, house salad with arugula, spinach, dandelion, sea salt and lemon and then a tomato, rocket, roasted red pepper and goat cheese pizza ( cheese on my half of the pizza ) to share. It was a nice meal and we continued the sparkling conversation under the stars by candlelight.

Then we went back to my place for a snog on the cozy sheepskin rug on the floor. Then we cooled it down as I had to drive her home as I have to get up at 4:30 am to catch a 6:30 am flight. So I drove her home and parked in front of her house and we kissed again and did a lot of gazing into each other's eyes staring in amazement...

All in all a really nice date, although we didn't incorporate any of the suggestions from the thread. She's off to NYC for a few weeks and I'm bouncing around between Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver for business for the next few weeks so the next date will probably be in NYC when I have a free day. I'll probably ask for suggestions for that one too !

Thanks for the support and attention to this question MEFI !
posted by dawdle at 9:23 PM on August 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

Sounds like you hit it outta the park, dude!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:20 AM on August 27, 2009

the sheepskin rug wasn't a deal-breaker? ;^)
posted by krunk at 12:54 PM on September 8, 2009

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