Plenty of conversing happening in the DMs these days, which seems to be a natural response to social starvation, brought on by too many Zooms or the blue glare of your phone alerting you of yet another text from your sister. Virtual interaction just doesn't meet the visceral needs we have as humans - akin to a phantom itch on the bottom of your foot you can never quite seem to reach.
Engaging in harmless repartee with attractive strangers while stationed at the wood (only to go home and take out that excitement on our partners) is now relegated to speaking in code on the internet, which loses its luster all too quickly.
Leaving a lot of us wondering - is this normal? Are there others feeling the same way?
The short answer seems to be yes. Where else do our minds wander amidst extended lockdowns and stay at home orders other than what we used to able to do? Activities so easily taken for granted performed on auto pilot have now become the fuel of fantasies.
When chatting with a friend in the UK recently, we decided to play a game: what would a perfect Saturday have looked like for you before COVID? Where would you go? What would be in your glass?
I took a moment to ponder, and thought about what a perfect day in Toronto looked like for me pre lockdown:
“The day starts with a very late sleep in accompanied by coffee in bed, contemplating a cheeky edible or microdose of mushrooms. We saunter over to brunch on the east end at darling little bakery/natural wine bar, Le Conciliabule. Afterwards, we lazily wander through Allen Gardens conservatory, walking off our lavish meal. Slowly, we make our way back to the west end, stopping along the way to peruse vintage bookstores. Maybe we grab a few road pops and land at music garden on the waterfront where musicians serenade patrons chilling on the grass amphitheater (it’s like a scene out of Happy Gilmore’s happy place, seriously heavenly). From there, we'll pop over to Bar Piquette on Queen Street West for mortadella sandwiches and whatever wine they have on offer (always a great list of natural stuff), then wander over to Little Jerry and have them pour us lots of surprises and enjoy the amazing repertoire of vinyl, maybe stay for dinner or join up with a neighbouring table and see where the night takes us - it’s always an adventure whenever we end up there.”
It got the wheels turning - my fellow colleagues and friends surely must have "the perfect" day of what they got up to before the days of socially distanced coffees on too-cold park benches:
"My perfect Saturday would involve going to Spanish banks with a bottle of rosé. One of the more memorable days we had involved Bartier Bros. It was on sale, and we didn't have proper glasses. It was pleasantly off dry and went well with a huge bag of local cherries. Typically, we'll head to Long's Noodle House for soup dumplings, then Granville island for little wing oysters paired with Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blanc d'Ay Champagne. If we have any energy left and are feeling trashy, sometimes we'll follow it up with dancing at the Red Room for Cancun Reggaeton nights. On summer days, we'll be drinking Topo Chico at the beach."
Man about town
"I’d start with a Cortado from one of the lovely people at Fix Coffee and Bikes. That always pairs nicely with whatever deliciously fragrant joint I have hanging from my mouth. At this point, I’ll mosey to meet a friend at Union on Ossington for some breakfast and wine. This then leads to a pit stop at either Paris Paris or Piquette for some light savoury “dessert” and a glass of whatever is a flutter that day. Grabbing a bottle on the way out, it’s now time for some fresh air and relaxing with a pocket full of j’s. Head to a park, or a buddies balcony for a nice afternoon digest/nap/nutritional snack break. After everyone is feeling exceptionally Saturdazed and becoming rather peckish again, it’s time to decide on dinner. This leads to the “who has a counter space for our rowdy asses?”, so we all start honking the horns and eventually the small team of 2-4 of us will attack a restaurant or bar with much excitement and vigour.
Following this is much laughter, eating, drinking and indoor frolicking which ultimately leads to outdoor frolicking with some canned beverage all the way home to eat something between bread and sleep."
"When I worked for my family’s business, the ideal Saturday was one in which I didn’t have to work! I tended to steal time for myself on work trips, seeking out old friends to enjoy whatever goodness the city I was in would afford: great coffees and good patios, urban walks through green spaces and cool neighbourhoods, digging through bins at independent record stores, rummaging for gems in second hand clothing shops, and seeking out delicious high-and-low food all along the track. If that didn’t completely knock me out for the day (and I didn’t have a work thing going on that night), I would check out a gig if there was something cool going on, preferably one involving a very dark room, a dance floor and really good, loud music. Miss those city walkabouts and late night dance floor communions."
National Key Accounts Manager
"In this dream world, I'm allowed to travel. I wake up in a hammock between two coconut trees on a beach in the Yasawa Islands (Fiji). The sea is sparkling, the smell of frangipani is intoxicating and the delightful isolation of being in the middle of nowhere with no cell service or wifi is incredibly satisfying. Mimosas and kokoda (Fijian cevice) are on the breakfast menu, followed by a massage and a dip in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Then after an appropriate amount of time off the grid, a powerboat to Vomo Island resort where a 6 course degustation menu awaits. Wines are pre selected by moi. 😉
Course one: Margarita
Course two: Felton Road Riesling
Course three: Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer
Course four: Littorai Chardonnay
Course five: DRC
Course six: Gaja
Dessert is a skinny dip in the ocean again with my love and then a blissful sleep in our beachfront luxury bure."
Wine enthusiast & keen amateur cook
"I would say breakfast at The Wolseley, which is a grand old school Mittel Europa affair. Followed by a new exhibition at White Cube or one of the galleries on Cork St. Lunch at 40 Maltby St, my very favourite restaurant in London, which is all about the generosity of spirit. Very inventive cooking, but not cheffy at all. Drinks afterwards at Le Chevalier, round the corner and then a wander over to Winemakers Club in Farringdon, which is an atmospheric underground (literally and metaphorically) bar occupying several Victorian brick arches, and with lots of corners and nooks. Perfect for a tryst. And probably then a relaxed dinner out east, perhaps at Brawn or P Franco. Pints and a bacon sandwich at The Marksman pub on Sunday am, followed by a wander up and down Columbia Road flower market. Picnic in the park, perhaps."
"The day would definitely start with brunch with my partner and usually a few of our friends. (I miss going out for brunch!) We live in the east end so our go-to is The Wren on the Danforth. Assuming the perfect Saturday happens in the summer, we’d take our dog out for a walk and explore the neighbourhood. I feel like there’s always something new to discover and something that I didn’t notice previously, so it always feels like an “adventure”: shops, galleries, people, restos, and of course coffee shops. I’m a sucker for a cute coffee shop that serves killer coffee, so it’s not uncommon for me to end a weekend day with 5+ coffees especially if I find new coffee shops - I just have to try something from all of them! We’d probably start the afternoon on a patio somewhere sipping on something crushable and planning our night. We love food! And wine! My partner is quite the chef, and we love to have people over so we would either be planning an elaborate dinner at our place with a few of our friends, or we’d be figuring out which new (or older) restaurant we’d like to try. If we go the “stay at home” route, the night would end in our cozy Toronto backyard sitting by the fire just talking and drinking good wine. If we go the resto route, we’d get a seat at the bar, eat delicious food, drink delicious wine and befriend the bartender or whoever is working the bar (the bar is our top pick seat at a resto FYI lol), we would either stay there for the night, go home to the backyard fire, or maybe find a wine bar somewhere and finish the night there."
Nathalie Denise Coulombe
"It would have to be summer. I’d love a morning in the backyard gardening with my animals and my little family. And then an afternoon at the secret beach (that’s never busy) with snacks and art and architecture magazines and swimming. Then home again for a shower and a bbq and beverage."
Owner, Pracht Berlin
"The perfect Saturday begins with a glass of sparkling wine and the wonderful selection of seafood at Rogacki, an old fish smokehouse in the heart of West Berlin. Then to the open-air market to do the weekend shopping. In the late afternoon one can go for a swim in the lake or for a long walk in the lovely forest, before the culinary delights resume in the evening - preferably at Mr. Wu, with some of the best that Sichuan cuisine has to offer accompanied by a fine, well-aged German Riesling."
"I can’t wait to be uncomfortable again: Intriguing conversations with new acquaintances, high heels and tight jeans, waiting for a cab in the rain, pushing through the crowd to catch a mediocre glimpse of a show, a sweaty boxing class in a room full of strangers.
Wine I'd drink for a dance party:
plot tempranillo rosé and an unlabeled secret bottle from a winemaker friend.
Wine I'd drink planning my combined surf / wine trip to the coast of Spain or New Zealand: Sebastien Laurent carbonic merlot.
Dinner with my grandparents would be enjoyed at their waterfront house on Hornby island overlooking the ocean - we always start with a salad from the garden and Beaufort Ortega just an island away. My grandparents told me about them back in 2010? 2012? And it was my first time tasting Ortega and island wine. We have been going there ever since - almost a decade!
Sommelier at large
Prince Edward County, ON
"Before the plague, I'd usually start the day with two pints of sheep’s blood before heading into the flower patch. From there, I’d crawl around searching for june bugs for my cousin's neighbor's science project. After that, lunch of fowl freshly shot by the local choir girls. With DRC of course. Then a heavenly nap. Followed by one pint of sour beer, two glasses of natural wine and a phat joint pre dinner. Which on Saturday, was usually monkey brains and veal sweet breads. After that, I’d sit by the fire, smoke cohibas, drink brandy and tell tall tales of what it was like when I was young."