Date night dining tips

by Kenneth Leonard

For many students, it’s hard to create a romantic evening. Sure, the best of intentions are there, but we’re young and inexperienced, so we don’t always know what to do in our quests to woo those with our affection. Have no fear, fellow Aztecs. This guide will have you going from “woo?” to “woo!” in no time. Check out some of these great date locations and you’ll be Don Juan before you know it.

Bertrand at Mister A’s: A distinguished spot for the baller

Perched high atop Banker’s Hill, there is a restaurant of exceptional quality in every way imaginable. Bertrand at Mister A’s is San Diego’s ultimate romantic dining spot. Occupying the 12th floor of a nondescript office building east of downtown, Mister A’s offers an unparalleled dining experience — if you are a big enough baller to afford it. Remember, potential Casanovas: you get what you pay for. Mister A’s has a creative drink menu, unique appetizers and entrées that your date will definitely be talking about the next day. However, the culinary benefits at Mister A’s are overshadowed by the sweeping panoramic views of San Diego visible from the restaurant. Take advantage of San Diego’s ridiculously good climate and sit on the patio, taking in the sights and sounds of “America’s Finest City”. This is the place to go if your date is the type of individual with an affinity for the finer (meaning more exclusive and expensive) things in life.

Urban Solace: Eclectic environment for the sophisticated hipster

North Park’s restaurants and bars are quickly becoming a fantastic destination for a more discriminating clientele. Bars such as True North Tavern and The Office Bar possess the electric atmosphere of downtown, plus the laid-back vibe of Pacific Beach, minus the foolishness that typically saturates those aforementioned locales. The best restaurant in the area is Urban Solace, the type of restaurant that immediately confronts patrons with a certain attention to detail, both in the menu and décor, which is suggestive of an above-average dedication (on the part of both the owners and management) to creating a singular dining experience. Take your date here if you think he or she is the type of person who appreciates diversity and craftsmanship. You won’t find a menu as innovative as this one at many local restaurants.

Gaslamp Strip Club: An interactive experience wherein you play with your meat

Of the many things that could derail an otherwise great date, perhaps nothing is more deadly than the dreaded adversary known as “awkward silence.” In order to prevent awkward silence, which is an almost unavoidable occurrence on a first date, it’s a good idea to build your date around an activity. It’s possible to combine dining with an interactive experience at Gaslamp Strip Club. The generously-portionedsidedishes accompany an uncooked steak, which you and your date cook to your exact specifications at one of the communal grills located in the center of the restaurant. As you immerse yourself in the activity of dining, opportunities for awkward pauses essentially disappear, which allow your night out to maintain a sense of momentum.

Aztec Market: Face it, you’re crazy po’ like a mofo

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “This dating guide sucks. I can’t afford to take someone out to these types of places.” Fear not, my Top Ramen-eating friend. Even a swag-challenged Romeo can easily create a romantic night out with a little ingenuity. Walk to Aztec Market, grab some grub and head to the lawns by Hepner Hall or the turtle pond, bring a blanket and set up an impromptu picnic. Now, before you reach a state of poverty-driven panic, you don’t have to go crazy at the market. Just grab some picnic foodamentals, such as cheese and crackers, chips, fruit salad, cookies or sandwiches. The food isn’t what’s important here. Remember,you’retryingtocreate a romantic atmosphere and an old-fashioned picnic is an easy way to do so. In 2012, there’s still something highly poetic about an evening spent stargazing on a picnic blanket.

Kono’s Cafe: If all goes well

Congratulations, Aztecs. You’ve followed this guide and successfully executed a perfect date. If all went according to plan, you’re going to need a good breakfast spot at this point. Don’t make a rookie mistake by following a magical evening with a trip to Denny’s. Take your date to Kono’s Cafe in Pacific Beach and enjoy a delicious, low- cost breakfast on Crystal Pier, overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. A little thoughtfulness in your first-time out strategy goes a long way in setting you up for a potential second date. Good luck, lovebirds.