I am not generally a fan of groupon type things. Except sometimes, when my email reveals they are doing half-price admission to the bridal show I'm going to anyway, or that there's a theatre production I'm excited about doing discount tickets. Back in March there was a deal for half-price tickets to see Avenue Q at the Lower Ossington Theatre and of course I had to snap them up.
I also had to send the deal to my university roommate, because clearly she would want to go. That being the case, at the end of June we had a double-date night out, and decided to make it extra fancy by going out to a great dinner. I let my old roomie choose the restaurant, and she came up with the Drake Hotel. Off and away!
Our dinner? It was magnificent. One thing I did find a little weird here was that there was no complimentary bread basket; if you want bread with your meal, be prepared to order the appetizer of bread and dips (it was round $7). It seems a sort of petty complaint that they didn't offer a bread, but it's just a tiny thing that I've almost come to expect at restaurants and peeved me just a touch.
Bunny was daring and ordered an appetizer - the gazpacho soup. He said it was a little "chewy" but really really good. Being that I'm not so into tomatoes, I did not try it. The guys both had cheeseburgers, and seemed to enjoy them immensely. My friend, who had chosen the Drake based on its vegetarian selection had a sweet potato bake over farro, and thought it was pretty good. She said there was eggplant in it and she didn't mind, which is a huge food compliment from her. (Note: a piece of eggplant is not a realistic vegetarian meal. While in university the two of us had this complaint many a time.)
I, on the other hand, got sucked in by the gnocchi. How could I not? Ricotta gnocchi, with sweet peas and oyster mushrooms and sauted red onions. The gnocchi was soft and pillowy, much less dense than I'm used to. It was quite glorious. The brightness of the peas complimented it well, and I loved the way a pea would burst in my mouth as I was eating a mouthful of gnocchi. As far as the onions and mushrooms go ... I'm not 100% sold. The onions were good, and really complimented the rest of the dish but there were just too many, and they were a little overwhelming. With the mushrooms, I found them a tad tougher and chewier than I prefer, but still good. A generous sprinkling of pecorino cheese brought it all together.
The verdict on the Drake? We all enjoyed it, and I wouldn't complain if I went back. All in all, though, Bunny and I spent about $85 after tip, for our food (and we each got a drink). Somehow I think I'd be more tempted to try something new or go to an old favourite like Terroni or Coquine next time we do an expensive dinner.
We had plenty of time after eating and before the show, so we decided to go on a hunt for ice cream. After a quick Yelp! on my friend's iPhone we wandered about five minutes west to the Boreal Gelato Cafe and indulged in some extra yumminess. Can I tell you how thrilled I was that they offer a mini size? Which was even a little bit too big for me, but whatever. Bunny went with the coffee gelato, and I ate his while he went to the bathroom; us girls both went with a chocolate hazelnut crunch. It was good, though I've had better gelato. It wasn't as rich or creamy as I like, and the flavours weren't super pronounced. One thing I adored, though, was how the serving options were a waffle cone or a bowl. It was nice that waffle cone was the default, rather than being an extra charge.
After that, it was off to the show. And oh, what a show. It was brilliant. Hilarious. Well performed. The only complaint we had was that sometimes we got distracted from the puppets by the puppeteers because they were acting so well along with everything and their faces were so expressive, but at the same time that added to the whole performance. I was a little bit blown away by how well rehearsed and co-ordinated everyone was, especially when the puppets needed two puppeteers or when an actor/singer was playing two puppets that were onstage at the same time.
Myself and my roommate, and her fiance, were all fairly familiar with the show to begin with. Bunny had never heard any of the songs before, though, so it was hilarious watching him get introduced to them the first time.
All in all? Great night out.