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Valentine's A to Z – Gift Guide, Restaurant Recommendations, Romantic Ideas…

A – Apple.  Give one to your prof, I dare you.  Infinity points if you wink at him/her.  HA!

B: La Brehandaise Creperie
Toronto’s first authentic creperie, nestled on Queen St., is the perfect place for a francophile Valentine’s brunch a deux, but also a great place to gossip with girlfriends about disastrous Valentine’s past. So whether you’re celebrating as a duo or a dream team, sip crisp apple cider in a space that feels miles away from winter. 942 Queen St. W., (647) 351-0803

C –  CARDS. 
No matter what it is you do today, whether you are single or attached, totally in love or totally against love – you have to make cards.  Make them cynical if you must, but make ’em.

D: Drake Hotel General Store

Always our favourite place to pick up off-the-wall trinkets, we recommend the General Store as the place to find something for anyone deserving of a Valentine’s treat. If you’re looking for a suggestion, may we propose picking up the lady in your life one of these charming In God We Trust heart necklaces? With bon mots engraved in scratchy writing reading everything from Bless This Mess (perfect if you’ve just exchanged keys) to Sweet Tits (perfect anytime, really.) they’re a good alternative to overdone Tiffany hearts. For the boys, pick up some Sunshine Girls playing cards, or a Pirate Eye Patch and Moustache Kit. http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/dgs

E – Earl Grey. 
The tea of choice for purrrfectly precious afternoon parties.  Jazz up your table setting any which way – doilies, lace and pastels for chums; cinnamon hearts, feather boas and lingerie for a little somethin-somethin extra; sweater sets, cupcakes and hats with veils for Grandma.

F: Frangipane Patisserie

This passionate patisserie is whipping up all sorts of delicious Valentine’s Day sweets. Indulgences include handcrafted chocolates and truffles, bittersweet chocolate cakes, and heart-shaped Parisian macaroons. http://www.frangipane.ca/

G – Gaga. 
Head on over to YouTube for an instant boost of confidence and glamour.

H: Hoodie for Him
Give your boyfriend something cozy (and something you know you’ll be borrowing as soon as his back is turned.) A great V-Day gift with a low, low price tag. http://www.joe.ca/en/

I – I love you!
These words should be used with reckless abandon today.  If you’re muttering to yourself “How cliché…” please rethink that statement.  Love is not cliché.

J: Joy Bistro

An intimate meal is a V-Day must, and Joy Bistro in Leslieville is one of our favourite places for a romantic night out. This Valentine’s Day, their $50 five-course menu includes Lobster Ravioli and White and Dark Chocolate Pot au Cream. Decadent and delicious.http://www.joybistro.com/home.html

K – Kinder Egg. 
If you place one of these in the outstretched palm of a friend or maybe a lova-lovahh (à la “Put out your hand and clo-oo-se your eyes, and I will give you a big surprise!”) you will win their heart forever and always.  This is a fact independent of the Easter holiday.

L: Pizzaeria Libretto
Sometimes a cozy Valentine’s Night In is just what the doctor ordered. Curl up in front of the fire with the pizza lauded and loved city-wide. http://pizzerialibretto.com/

M: Mill Street Brewery
What better way to toast to Valentine’s Day then with chilly bottles from the Canadian Brewery of the Year? Say cheers with the delicious Belgian style Wit, (garnish with an orange slice and pair with the salad course, or some scallops) or Coffee Porter (it’s delicious with oysters and chocolate desserts. Mmmm…sexy.) http://www.millstreetbrewery.com/

N: Nestle Noir
Mmmm, dark chocolate. Treat yourself to chocolate architecture. What’s that, you ask? It’s delectable dark chocolate specially engineered to the contours of the palate to enhance your chocolate experience. Believe me, they’re on to something. This chocolate is seriously addictive. 

O: Olivia’s At Fifty Three


One of the most romantic restaurants in the city, this intimate space feels like dining in a well-appointed home in Bohemian Paris. Casual and elegant all at once, this is the perfect place to take someone you’re eager to impress, and love to talk with all night long. Call to make a reservation for their six-course wine lover’s Valentine’s Prix Fixe. http://www.oliviasat53.com/index.html

P: Pantry

 

We love the farmhouse vibe of Pantry, where just walking in the door and basking in the local food smells and well-worn wood warms you up. If you’re scrambling to create a Valentine’s Day meal, but your cooking skills just aren’t up to snuff, why not let Pantry do the work? Swing by and pick up a selection of healthy and delicious options, and you’ll never have been happier you hung up your apron.http://pantry.to/

Q – Quilts

Plus string.  Plus pillows.  Plus imagination and a dash of willpower, and you’ve got yourself a fort.  Which, obviously, is primo space for snuggling, cuddling, canoodling – if it’s a cozy activity, you won’t find a better location than a fort.  Also purrrfect for breakfast-in-bed – and now you’ve got yourself a sleepover fort.

R: Reposado Tequila Bar
Inevitably, Valentine’s Day involves drowning some sorrows. And nothing works better for that than tequila. This year, add a touch of class to your bitchfest by slingin’ ’em back at Reposado, where they’re offering Valentine’s Day oysters. http://www.reposadobar.com/

S – Serenade! 
Woo your beau with the sweet sweet sound of your voice.  Channel Miss Fitzgerald, Miss Holiday, Miss Cline, Miss Gaga, Miss Spears – anything sung with a smile is endlessly alluring.  Bonus points for costumes.

T: cafe Taste

There’s nothing we like better than a wine bar run by socialists. This intimate space is helmed by knowledgeable and personable wine maniacs, and their delicious pairings will keep you coming back. For Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a reservation-only $40 prix fixe, featuring Dark Chocolate Tenderloin and Vanilla Mashed Potatoes. And on the 17th, they’re hosting a Saint Valentine’s Tasting, with pairings inspired by the patron saint of lovers. http://cafetaste.ca/

U – Underwear. 
The uniform of choice for those electing a night in with a strong drink and something of a coquettish streak. 

V: VolumeFlash Mascara

Nothing says sexy like sidelong glances from underneath Bambi eyes. And the key to a killer bedroom gaze? Long, luscious lashes. Swipe on Rimmel’s Max VolumeFlash Mascara, and you’ll have lashes for days. 

W – Walk! 
Head out into the wild blue yonder for a little fresh air.  If single, throw the ol’ leash around your pooch and spend some quality time with someone who indeed loves you very much.  If dogless, find a friend and grab a lovely foamy latte.  If you’ve got a beau, surprise them with a stowaway thermos of hot chocolate and a hand to hold.  Yum!

X: XXX Treats from Come As You Are

It’s the day of love, treat yourself to somethin’ gooood. If you’re pulling out all the stops for a seriously steamy night in with your favourite person to see naked, Come As You Are can provide the props to make this Valentine’s Day a night to remember. Some tantalizing ideas? Break the ice and play around with Naughty Crosswords and Body Bingo, or for the more adventurous, ease into kink with the Bound For Love kit-containing everything you need for soft bondage, or the Tantus Bend Over Beginner Kit: Beginner and Intermediate Dildos (that’s right), a velvety harness, and a mini vibe. http://www.comeasyouare.com/

Y – You. 
Sometimes on Valentine’s Day, you simply must give yourself a little love.  This can mean different things to different people.  Bubble bath?  Ice cream sundae?  Shopping spree?  All these, and anything your naughty little mind can conjure up, are excellent choices.  Whatever it means for you, enjoy yourself.  WINK.

Z: Kenwood Zinfandel 2006, $16.60 at the LCBO

We wired the West Coast and got our favourite wino to recommend an affordable Zinfandel to crack open this V-day. His pick? Kenwood Zinfandel 2006. “Old vine Zins from Cali can be delicious,” he says, and this fruity, well-balanced wine suits rich dishes like roast pork and pasta with tomato sauce. 

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