He Said She Said: Less Meat, More Bite
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He Said She Said: Less Meat, More Bite

2005_01_28heshe.gifTorontoist believes that this sudden burst of summer weather has something to do with the excitement for part three of the he said/she said Summer Dating guide. This week, we take a look at some of the city’s best places to eat on a date, with a focus on both vegetarian and carnivorous diets. And what makes this post so special is that it is the guest blogging debute of Matt Blair, Torontoist’s new He. While discussion “business” to get today’s post ready, it was discovered that Matt had recently become vegetarian while Paige had recently switched back to eating meat. Eager to defend their dietary choices by romantic standards, we present He Said/She Said Summer Dating carnivore versus vegetarian.
And while you’re reading, take a listen to Aberfeldy – “Vegetarian Restaurant.” It’s almost too topical.

Call me jaded, but as someone who spent seven years keeping meat out of her diet, I can’t imagine choosing to do that again. Eating animals is glorious! Sure, I do love a lot of veggie dishes, but I still feel the need to assist in everyone back to omnivorous status. Like guiding a little lost sheep back onto the path — a path which leads to cooking him for dinner of course, yum!
ilovebeef_216.jpgBut on a more sexy and less bloody note, meat makes for some of the most playful and fun dates. First of all, summer makes barbequing necessary, and with that comes some of the best and meatiest food. Stay at home for the date by turning your backyard into a private barbeque party. Nosh on a variety of things, from hamburgers to chicken wings, which can be made fresh or cooked from frozen. Tip: make sure to have lots of napkins, because no one wants to be touched with sticky fingers at the end of the night.)
You can also start the date off with a trip to The St. Lawrence Market, where the best butchers and deli meats are located. That way you can enjoy the Saturday-morning crowds, the variety of smells, and never-ending feel of the market while holding his hand and being all cutesy.
If barbequing seems a little cliché, consider a more unique type of
animal to eat. Oyster Boy is a funky and fresh restaurant with a shellfish shack basis. Let you and your date take turns with the oysters, and have him test his strength when it comes to the horseradish and hot sauce. And the best thing about oysters is that they act as an aphrodisiac — a little extra punch to your date is always nice, isn’t it?
Matt B
pam1_300.jpgWhen Paige asked me to write about Toronto’s best vegetarian dating spots, I said, “I’m your man! You can count on me!” You see, I didn’t want to risk losing my sweet new gig at Torontoist by letting her find out that I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few months, and that I don’t know much of anything about vegetarian restaurants in Toronto. But since the cat’s out of the bag, let me try and fumble my way through this column, in the hope that it won’t be my last.
All right, let’s see… The fact that basically everybody has been a vegetarian longer than I have means I can’t just barge in here and start telling everybody where to eat. But I do know a thing or two about learning the ropes, and about how difficult it can be to find a place that suits your needs when you’re just starting out. Choosing a restaurant for you and your date can be tough at the best of times, and having to choose one that also accommodates vegetarianism can make it that much tougher – especially if your date isn’t also a vegetarian. For many meat eaters, dinner with a vegetarian raises the sort of uncomfortable questions that you wouldn’t want to get into while you’re trying to impress someone.
An easy way to get around this is to choose a place that accommodates vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The Queen Mother and the Red Room are two great examples, depending on the specifics of your diet and how strict you are about them. If you’re new to your vegetarianism and still a little self-conscious about it, then restaurants like these with diverse menus are a great way to go. Chances are, your date won’t even notice that you’re not eating meat.
shopbag1.jpgIf you’re feeling more adventurous and decide to choose a vegetarian restaurant, go with a place that serves a good meal that the both of you can enjoy. Some friends of mine recently introduced me to Bo De Duyen, which I can’t say enough good things about. There’s also Fressen, which has a great reputation among vegans and is well worth checking out.
As always, the web is full of all kinds of great information. Sites like Veg.ca and VegDining.com can provide you with a world of options. You and your date can even use sites like these to plan ahead together, which will help you get around the mystery and discomfort that a lot of meat eaters have about vegetarianism. Get rid of the added baggage and get on with the business of dating, already.