Each week in The Hook-Up, we set up single readers of The Grid and send them on blind dates around Toronto. Here’s what Angela and Winston had to say about their date at Edward Levesque’s Kitchen.
Angela is a 24-year-old project coordinator who lives in Corktown. She’s a “standard ‘creative’ type” whose style is “a mix of thrifted silk shirts, typically paired with skinny jeans and ankle boots.” Angela loves to “cook, bake, and host friends, go to the movies, do yoga or work out, and try new bars.” She says, “I’ve lived in Toronto for over two years and still haven’t met someone I truly click with.”
Winston is a 31-year-old bar-back who lives in Little Italy. He says, “I have vintage taste. I love vinyl and pieces with history.” Winston sometimes “over-thinks things” and says, “I can get lost in my own head sometimes.” He switches “between being wise, and a wise-ass. I’m an attentive listener and a spontaneous comic.” He likes to watch movies, try new restaurants and bars, and play video games, and is looking for someone with a good sense of humour.
Angela on Winston
“Winston and I were both wearing black duffle jackets, so that was a good ice-breaker. There wasn’t an initial physical attraction but, from my experience, I know that can develop once you get to know a person. His handshake wasn’t particularly firm, and I find that that’s an indicator of a person’s assertiveness.
“Winston was polite and chivalrous, and [let me walk] ahead of him to follow the waiter to our table.
“When we were discussing cocktails, I asked him if he liked Amaretto Sours, one of my favourite drinks, and he said that he’d never had one before. I later found out he’s getting into bartending, so I was surprised he wasn’t too familiar with a common cocktail.
“Winston said he moved to Toronto pursue a [relationship] that didn’t work out. I then found out that this person is now his roommate. He said he never actually dated her, [but] it was a turn-off to hear him discussing a love interest. It would [also] be a definite warning [sign] if someone moved to a city for me, if I wasn’t [already] in a relationship with them.
“When we were discussing our applications for The Hook-Up, I said that I used a selfie I took in a changing room. Winston asked if I had any selfies on my phone, then said, ‘May I?’ gesturing to look at photos on my phone. Hello!? I’m right in front of you.
“I have an interest in making cocktails, so it was neat to talk to someone who works behind the bar. He told me that if you use mint leaves in a drink, you’re supposed to clap them to release the flavours, rather than pinch them, which I’d never heard. He also had some great recommendations for bars to try around the city. I ordered a Sazerac and Winston ordered a Negroni, and we each tried a sip of the other’s drink.
“I wanted some tea, and when the server asked if Winston wanted any, he was very indecisive until the server suggested he could just make a big pot for the table, which Winston agreed to.
“We ended up the last two in the restaurant. I felt the date had reached its best-before, so I asked the waiter for the bill, and Winston said he would cover the tip. [Editor’s note: the Hook-Up host venue covers the first $100 of the date’s cost.] He said it was the least he could do, because he’d wanted to bring me a flower or something, but when he left work the stores were closed. It felt a bit like someone saying, ‘I was going to get you a present… but I didn’t,’ but it was a sweet sentiment.
“At the end of the date, Winston suggested that we should get drinks [for our] second date, but it almost felt scripted, like it was his duty to ask me out again. It would have made things unnecessarily awkward for me to say ‘I don’t think we hit it off’—that’s what this is for, right?—so I let him enter my number in his phone.”
ANGELA RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Winston’s manners: 10
Winston’s style: 5
Winston’s sense of romance: 10
Winston on Angela
“I arrived a few minutes early, and I was delighted when Angela [came] into view. She had a [scent] of vanilla and her hair was draped in soft waves across her shoulders. She had on a classy dress that I didn’t take the time to appreciate fully, because I didn’t want to gawk at her. Angela was stunning; I was attracted to her.
“She [ordered] a Sazerac, which I was impressed by. I ordered a Negroni. We shared a passion for cocktails, and since I’m working towards bartending, it was a comfortable subject to start off with. I offered to share guacamole before the mains so as to make it as much of a joint experience as possible. I find that dinner dates are great for sharing stories and building comfort, but not always good for flirting or creating a spark.
“I steered the conversation away from work as much as possible as our mains arrived. I had meatloaf, and she had haddock cakes. Angela said that she is somewhat new to Toronto, which put me at ease. I would be intimidated if I was paired up with a long-time local with a large social circle. The conversation centered around cool spots that we’ve discovered in the city, and our past adventures abroad. I told her about my recent trip to St. John’s for my birthday; she talked about a quiet Parisian summer; I talked about majestic wilds in Ireland. The mention of my birthday segued into discussion of hers, and then into astrology; astrology flowed into spirituality and her yoga practice. I thought she was intelligent and creative.
“We shared chocolate cake and a pot of freshly steeped mint tea. The teapot was this gigantic pumpkin of white porcelain. Angela was amused by its size and other-worldliness. Her quirky sense of humour and laughter were contagious, and I couldn’t help myself but laugh as well.
“Angela was candid about funny and awful online dates that she’d been on. There were brief pauses in our exchanges, but we could always find [things in common] to talk about. I don’t have a good gauge of the impression that I made on her. She mentioned during the date that at least we get a free meal, so I wasn’t sure how serious she was about the date. I would definitely like to have more drinks together and go on adventures with her. [She was] fantastic company.
“We filled out the restaurant’s comment card. She drew a little tag on the card [that said] ‘As seen in The Grid,’ which I thought was really cute. I got her number. I was nervous, as the end of dates can be awkward. I gave her a hug as she stepped out the door.”
WINSTON RATES THE DATE (OUT OF 10):
Angela’s style: 9
Angela’s sense of humour: 8
Angela’s fragrance: 9
Special thanks to Edward Levesque’s Kitchen, 1290 Queen St E., 416-465-3600.
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