Our favourite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with some of our favourite ideas that we’ve come across from small businesses to unforgettable experiences — what they all have in common? They’re welcoming us all with the biggest of hearts. Whether you’re ready to go out (or not) just remember, you don’t need to go crazy all on one designated weekend or day. It’s way more fun to surprised your loved ones on a less predictable date!

LOVELY EATS:

1 Kitchen: located at 1 Hotel Toronto: Step into an oasis as Chef Powers creates dishes with love. Carefully-crafted dishes showcasing ethically harvested ingredients with its Valentine’s Day farm-to-fork menu. Dishes  feature an Atlantic Scallop Crudo with blood orange segments, lemon creme fraiche, chive oil and daikon cress, a Confit Duck leg with K2 milling polenta, roasted vegetable ragu, crispy parsley, and a delicate dessert for 2 of brown butter financier, chocolate ganache and strawberry meringue.

Omai: 3 Baldwin Street. We highly recommend the tasting menu for a whirlwind experience from the talented chefs here. The small Japanese restaurant offers small plates with a creative blend of ingredients and presentation. Beautifully balanced flavours and care in every morsel.

Pai Northern Thai: (18 Duncan Street and Yonge/Eglinton) Chef Nuit and her adoring partner, Jeff Regular are all about love as they often share about how they met and how their love for each other continues to flourish (it’s super sweet to read their moments on Jeff’s social handles). Chef Nuit pours love into all her dishes including her popular savoury Khao Soi, Pad Thai, Thai Chicken Wings (highly addictive) and so much more!

Shu Kingdom General Hotpot:: (390 Silver Star Blvd, Scarborough) Looking to really spice things up? This latest entry into our restaurant scene is worth experiencing. Highlighting Bashu culture this Sichuan hotspot specializes in beef and prides on the freshness of the varying cuts available. If you a spicy food lover, this one full of flavour starting with the broth offerings. But don’t worry, there are two sides to every bubbling pot of broth  that comes to the table – you can also order up a soothing comfort pork bone broth as well. This is the first North American location for this famous restaurant.

Marben’s 80s Style Valentine’s: This theme was such a big hit last year they’ve brought it back! This year’s heat-at-home retro meal is a blast from the past. Think “lunchables”, 7 layer dips, Swedish Meatballs , Waldorf salad, movie snacks and more…with a modern day twist. Pre-order online.

STAY IN BED:

The Living Platter: 100% plant-based grazing boxes and platters make for a perfect gift for your loves. Not only are they stunning and full of colours but they’ve selected the most tasty items to include. For Valentine’s check out their ‘Sweetheart Box’ for two. This offering includes lots of goodies including decadent chocolate covered vegan brie, the freshest berries & coconut whipped cream for dipping.  Order online for delivery.

Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes: pancakes in bed are a great idea any time of day! But these fluffy fluffy (that’s the translation) are Japanese Soufflé in texture that really should be made into pillows. Made to order (dine in or take out) and served with an assortment of fresh toppings.

SWEETIES FOR YOUR SWEETIES:

David Chow Chocolates: I’ve been waiting patiently for his chocolates to make their way to a few select local shops in the city and they are now listed on his site. For VDAY,  his  Love Toast Chocolate (crunchy wafer-laced milk chocolate toasted pecan giandulja and a hint of buttery sea salt caramel) will sure to sell out quickly. Also available are xoxo love hearts, strawberries n’ cream beltway bars, berry bonbons, and more.

Craig’s Cookies: Cookies are life and Craig’s are popping up everywhere including his latest shop at Yorkdale. His daily fresh made cookies including this Valentine’s collection: Red Velvet, Ferrero Rocher, Shortbread, “Toitles”, Mars, Chile Chocolate, and Sweet Lovin’ . Pssst, their Cherry Blaster is yum! Available to pick up or for delivery 6 or 12 packs!

Honey Honey Cakery: Definitely not your average cake! They offer incredibly fluffy chiffon cakes are topped with multi-layers of fresh crepes taking these sweeties to the next level of love. For Valentine’s Day,  they have a special Ferraro Soulmates cake made to order. Super fresh! Wonderful presentation and while we can just take a fork to the entire cake, you can request they pre-slice for easier serving.  Pick up and delivery available.

Mildred Pierce’s Big Love Brunch Box: Stay in PJs all day and make big love… brunch! In this fun kit: Mrs. Biederhof’s Buttermilk Pancake Dry Mix, Lanark County 100% Organic Maple Syrup, Wild Blueberry Compote, Red Hot Millie Peppers Hot Sauce (if you like it hot!), Scoop (Secret to a Happy Pancake), Red Cardinal (Wooden / Symbol of Love), Ceramic Maple Syrup Jug, Mildred’s Pancake Bib *OR* Mildred’s Cotton Pannier, Custom Vday doorhanger.  Pick-up + delivery available in Toronto and the GTA.

BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCES:

moonGARDEN: beat the winter blahs and visit this large-scale travelling outdoor immersive  art installation created by Montreal based design firm Lucion peered by Wireframe Studio and curated by MASSIVart. Five large illuminated spheres ranging in size from 6 to 12 feet high light up the space. Located at The Terrace of the Richmond-Adelaide Centre (120 Adelaide St. West).  Open to the public from 7 am to 11 pm each day until March 5. FREE.

Nordic Lights at Harbourfront: features six interactive light artworks from artists (Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) illuminate the night skies each evening from 5 pm to 10 pm. Positioned at different locations along Harbourfront Centre. Co-produced by Fjord Studio (Oslo). FREE

Niagara Falls Winter Lights Fest: Exploring the Falls in the winter is magical. Bundle up as your explore various photo-worthy spots in the area during the day and night. Also worthy checking is the Power Station with its latest installations (see site for full schedule). Of course, the Falls themselves will be a show in itself. Don’t forget to take in the Journey Behind the Falls attraction. The over 100 year old tunnels lead you to the most breathtaking views of the majestic wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sonya Davidson 834 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto's incredible food scene. She also shares her passion for arts & culture, and travel experiences near and far. Follow @theculturepearl on Instagram and Twitter. Reach her at sonya@torontoguardian.com