We packed a lot into our first day in Toronto. After grabbing lunch in Kensington Market, we made our way to the Trinity-Bellwoods neighborhood, to visit Drake’s store, October’s Very Own (OVO). The inside of OVO reminded me of boutiques in LA and NYC, minimal and industrial. I still find it rather amusing that Drake is who he is now considering he started as an actor on Degrassi! Though, I suppose Drake’s career trajectory it isn’t much different than the cast of The Micky Mouse Club (Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears, Ryan Gosling etc.).
We had some time until our dinner reservations, so we browsed any shops along the way that sparked our interest. Bookhou Design had the prettiest handmade bags, pillows, and scarves. We bought a gift for Jordan’s sister, but I was tempted to get one of their cross body bags for myself! Jordan bought a black button-up from Canada’s innovative men’s retailer Frank & Oak. F&O’s mission and story are pretty cool.
We walked through Graffiti Alley in The Fashion District right before dinner. Toronto is a colorful city, with a lot of street art, but I was blown away by the burst of creativity in one small space! Quite literally an alley full of graffiti — so cool!
On Monday night, Keira mentioned a restaurant in Toronto that we might want to consider going to for dinner. A unique dining experience. You eat dinner in complete darkness and are served by people who are either blind or visually impaired. O.Noir was founded by a blind man who would have his dinner guests wear blindfolds, so they could experience a meal like he did! All four of us wanted to try something completely new so we jumped at the idea.
The night began underground in a waiting area. After checking in, the hostess takes your order where you choose between an appetizer or dessert and an entrée (or all three). In any category you can pick the “surprise me” option, but since I am gluten/dairy-free I chose to not be surprised.
After your order is placed, a waiter approaches and introduces themselves to you and explains the basics of the evening. Once we were briefed we were led in single file, hand on shoulder, into the pitch black dining room to our tables. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face and at times it felt like I was on a boat since my balance was effected. We didn’t spill on ourselves and laughed a lot at how weird the whole experience was. We even noticed how some of the people in other parts of the dining room were speaking abnormally loud. When one sense is removed, it is only natural to want to overcompensate with another.
The night was truly remarkable but the food was middling. I expected better. All four of us chose steak, potatoes, and mixed vegetables. The vegetables weren’t seasonally fresh, considering the restaurant is more upscale. I’ve had better mixed vegetables from the Whole Foods salad bar! Dessert was really good. I had fruit sorbet and Jordan went with chocolate cake and ice cream.
O. Noir is all about the experience and it’s the type of restaurant you go to with adventurous friends.