The Foodies’ Date Night
It’s that time of year where you are expected to do something special for your significant other, but all of the holiday shopping has left your wallet a little on the slim side. Planning a date night under such conditions can be stressful and end up sapping all of the romance from an otherwise great night. You don’t want to have to check your bank app every time the waiter asks if you’d like another glass.
Fortunately there are options for the romantic looking to splurge, and their counterpart hoping to save. Tapas, charcuterie, and appetizers-as-meals have taken over the modern restaurant scene. While chefs all over add their signature spin to timeless dishes like ceviche, the majority of these recipes remain largely replicable.
Below are your Splurge v. Save modern foodie date night ideas.
The “Wine Lover’s Board” from Maxine’s on Shine (337 N Shine Ave) boasts six different cheeses from soft to firm to aged and all the best in between. This cheesy sextuplet is served alongside fruit, nuts, meats, and bread. Swine & Sons (595 W Fairbanks Ave) offers a similar selection with a charcuterie plate and artisan cheese board on the menu. Both serve beer and wine–a super-dry Riesling pairing best with salted meats.
To recreate the experience at home, pick up something bubbly and dry from the wine section then head to the deli. Grab a range of mild and bold flavors from the meat and cheese sections. One or two jams, dried or fresh seasonal fruits, and a sliced baguette or crackers will make your charcuterie board restaurant-ready. Publix, local butchers (like Swine & Sons), and natural food markets are all great places to pick up your ingredients.
Santiago’s Bodega (802 Virginia Dr) provides cold and hot tapas of Italian, Spanish, and Greek inspiration. Tapas are made-to-share so feel free to order the beef carpaccio from the cold and saganaki from the hot (a dream meat and cheese coupling).
Ceviche downtown (125 W Church St) combines all of the above under an extensive wine list. Their menu includes charcuterie; cold and hot tapas in fish, vegetable, and beef; and of course, ceviche. If you’re in an adventurous mood, try the “Pulpo”–an octopus and capers ceviche.
As long as you’ve got cooked shrimp and a pure, citrus juice you have the beginnings of a ceviche dish. After that, dice your favorite vegetables (or fruits) such as cucumbers, avocados, red onions, tomatoes, peppers, or mangoes. Season with garlic and fresh herbs to taste. Refrigerate for one hour then let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
A margarita on the rocks, or simply a shot of tequila, pairs best with this citric dish.