Tequila tasting, Virtual Reality, & a Star Wars symphony
Planned by: Ashleigh
With the local Toronto weather being less than ideal that day, my original plan for this date had to immediately take a different shape. The original plan was to drive up north of Toronto to King, Ontario for lunch at a small apple orchard cafe called Pine Farms Orchard.
Next we were to drive a short ways away to Polo Management Services and take a two hour polo class for beginners. The two hour session would have included game rules, introduction on proper technique, stable tour, riding session and possibly a short scrimmage. So fun right! How sad I was when I received the email early that morning that the rain and cold would prevent us from having the full experience as they closed the fields to prevent damage. I was assured though that we could book in again sometime soon on a day with sunnier skies.
I will keep this one in my back pocket when I need a last minute idea if any others fall through. The lesson I learned here though is to always have a backup plan. I now had 5 hours of the day that I had allocated to this part of the date now completely open. With nothing to fill it with. Whoops!
So, some quick googling took place and I found some fun indoor activities that we could go do in place of the much anticipated polo lesson.
12:30pm We made our way downtown via the subway and took a short Uber over to the Distillery District to do some tequila tasting and have lunch at El Catrin. For those who have not been there, picture a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, and strategically placed lighting splashed over a 20’ high feature wall of sugar skulls. Across the room, behind the bar is an equally expansive and impressive wooden grid display of tequila bottles.
We started off with the guac and tortilla chips while deciding which tequila flight to try. We chose the Barrel Aged Horizontal Flight. My favourite was the glass of Herradura Reposado and Iain liked the glass of Gran Coronel the best. While starting those we ordered our food and a couple of margaritas.
3:00pm To escape the rain and wind I thought it would be fun to go play some games at The Rec Room. Nothing like a few tequilas to bring out the competitiveness in a couple! We bought some credits and decided to try the virtual reality game they call The Void. Our game was themed after the movie Wreck it Ralph. I have seen a lot of animated movies these days but I have not seen this one.
Neither Iain or I have ever done virtual reality before so we were excited to see what it was all about. You watch a quick video to get you used to the theme, then they give you a vest and headgear and explain the rules. You enter a small grey room with a closed door in front of you, put your eye mask down and are instantly transformed into a cartoon character. I looked towards Iain and he looked like what I can only imagine Grandpa Simpson would have looked like in his 20s. I looked down at my hands and I was now a shade of bright blue and had 4 stubby fingers.
The game guides you through the experience and it is very intuitive. We started playing along with the video game quickly and it really did feel like you were in a different place. The vest vibrates when something is “thrown” at you and they have air and sounds that make it feel like you are really outdoors.
Neither Iain or I are big gamers but this was a lot of fun and I ended up winning with a score of 124000 over Iain’s 109000! Yes!
After VR we got a beer and played some of the arcade games. My favourites were air hockey, Skeeball, and Down the Clown. Iain relived his glory days at Western and crushed the game Sink It. Its beer pong, plain and simple. Clearly that “skill” doesn’t go away because I think he sank eight in a row.
6:00pm We walked over to one of our favourite spots for Thai food called Pai. Thank goodness I made a reservation because the place was packed with a twenty five minute wait and a lineup out the door to get on the waitlist. Always a good sign.
There is one specific dish that I go to Pai for and that is called Miang Kung. It is listed under their salads. What comes to the table is a beautifully arranged plate of tiny piles of the ingredients with a fan display of betel leaves to make your own bite sized wraps. The flavour combination of tamarind, citrus, coconut, ginger, garlic, onion and peanut are so delicious. I never stray in fear that I will have serious order remorse.
Iain ordered a small Tom Yum soup and a green curry. The drinks were delicious and the food was so good, as always.
7:30pm A short walk away from Pai is Roy Thompson Hall where we were about to go watch a movie. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was performing John William’s full score of Star Wars, Return of the Jedi while the movie played on a floating screen above the stage. Iain has never seen ANY of the Star Wars movies so I thought this would be a pretty spectacular way to get his first glimpse into that world.
The symphony did an amazing job and it brought back memories from my childhood watching the movie for the first time. I recently picked up a Wicket costume for Monty for Halloween this year, and now Iain will actually know what and who that is. Phew!
They broke up the showing of the movie with a short intermission which was much appreciated from a viewers standpoint. Iain is still pretty jet lagged from his recent trip to South Africa and it was hard to stay awake for some points in the movie. Also, the last hour of the film has constant music so the musicians needed that breather right before the long finale. What a cool way to watch a movie though. We will definitely do that again some time.
So even though the rain and wind killed my original plan for Polo, we were able to spend the day tasting tequila, playing games, having fun and enjoying two new experiences together. Successful October date!