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Fortify yourself

Three convenient places for drinks or nosh while holiday shopping

Here are three convenient spots to fortify yourself with lunch, a cocktail or maybe just some cake as your work your credit card up and down Yorkville’s Mink Mile, Queen Street West and, heaven forbid, the Eaton Centre.

Break out your fashion turbans. The Holt Renfrew Café is not as pricey as you might think, certainly not as pricey as some restaurants in Yorkville. It offers soup, salads and sandwiches, plus some shared plates. It’s also the best spot to stop for a cocktail on this list. Hello Holt’s pumpkin martini! There’s a real ladies who lunch vibe. They take walk-ins but it’s best to make a reservation in advance so that you are completely worry free-start to finish. Open daily from 10am to 6pm. 50 Bloor St W. (416) 922-2333.

Shanghai Cowgirl is a nice stop in the middle of the Queen Street shuffle. The menu is all in the name: griddle chicken sandwiches and Shanghai noodles, trailer trash sushi and triple-decker grilled cheese. The décor is traditional diner style and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Plus, they play rock and oldies, no pop music or dance, which after a day of shopping will be sweet music to your ears. It’s downtown diner prices, nothing is over $15 on the menu. 538 Queen St W. (416) 203-6623.

You’ve taken two Valium and loaded up your iPod, ready for a Christmas shopping Saturday in one of the seven rings of hell. At least you don’t have to pack a lunch. Here’s a two-letter culinary love note for you: Urban Herbivore. It’s a vegetarian salad bar that’s very simple and tailor-made. You pick your bowl of grain or salad, then you pick six ingredients, a delicious dressing and nuts or seeds on top. The portion is really large and the toppings include grilled tempeh, chopped tomatoes, grilled root veggies, steamed broccoli and shredded carrots. They also make organic muffins and cookies (try the sweet potato muffin, it’s a meal in itself) and fresh juices made on site. Located right in the middle of the Eaton Centre’s concourse-level foodcourt. (416) 598-8560.