now that lil’ bug has arrived and we’re all learning what it looks like to be a family, the importance of date night is quite clear. during pregnancy, we had several discussions about being intentional in our love for one another, and how to continue to be husband and wife, while balancing the new roles of mama and papa. we believe that caring for our marriage is the cornerstone of what makes this family work, and although we love ruby with all of our beings, we choose to not have her be the epicenter of our existence. as she grows, we know that we’re the first example of what a loving relationship looks like, and in how we love one another, we’re helping her set her own expectations of how she’ll want to be loved in her own relationships.
i’m sure most new parents can relate to those first few weeks where it’s sort of unavoidable for your little bundle not to be the center of everything – what with the constant feedings, diaper changes, soothing, and googling of “is this normal” ten times a day, but we still found moments to choose one another – whether it was twenty minutes of exhaustion-induced laughter in bed in the wee hours of the night, or scampering away for a quick sushi date in between feedings. our goal from the start was for date nights to occur early and often. and now that we’re about a month in, lil’ bug is starting to sleep a little better, and handles the occasional bottle like a true champion we are planning out our first real date night.
so for the rest of you new parents out there, we’re sharing some of our favorite date night spots for that first adventure away from your little one. we didn’t pick these spots on a whim, in fact, they meet a very specific criteria:
- incredible cocktails… yes, i’ve been out of the drinking game for 9 months, and if i’m going to have a cocktail, i want it to be spectacular. rest assured that every spot on this list has a craft cocktail menu worthy of your first drink back.
- easy parking – you mamas know when you’re on the nursing clock, the last way you want to spend your time is looking for parking. each of these locations have either complementary /affordable valet or ample parking available.
- accepts reservations – this is sort of a no-brainer… you won’t catch me waiting for a table anytime in the near future because mama just simply don’t have time for that nonsense. we swear by opentable, because they have access to most of our favorite places, and it’s a good way to discover new spots as well. not to mention, we earn points towards restaurant vouchers by making free reservations…it’s basically a win-win. most importantly, i can just hop on the app on my phone, and don’t have to wait on hold for a hostess who can barely hear me.
so without further ado, here’s our list of the perfect spots for your first date night away from your little one, and a couple of our favorite dishes of course:
offering small sharable plates and friendly service in an atmosphere that lends itself to good conversation, vox table is a new favorite. oh and i can’t forget to mention their out of this world cocktail menu (including several variations on the old fashioned). with a free parking garage and complementary valet service, you can zip in and get down to the business of treating your taste buds to some serious flavor.
sip: irish goodbye
chow: smoked hamachi pipette + calamari noodles
sweet: sazerac sundae
for those desperate to be back on the sushi wagon, may we suggest going to uchiko’s sake social hour (5:00 – 6:30) for $5 house sake and some delicious small plates (ahem, the brussels sprouts). we like to add on a few rolls or hot tastings off of their regular menu as well. uchiko is only open for dinner service, and there’s usually a crowd waiting when they open their doors, so make a reservation for 5:00 so you can take full advantage of the social hour menu.
sip: house sake, takara nigori
chow: brussels sprouts, yokai berry, + pork ribs
sweet: fried milk
olive & june
olive + june is one of our favorite spots in town. they have an amazing wine selection, a beautiful patio, valet parking (although we’ve always found a spot on the street), and some serious coastal italian fare which includes pastas and ricotta made in house. if the weather is right, snag a spot on their patio and dine under their gigantic oak tree. again, a happy hour reservation is the way to go as they offer discounted small plates and cocktails…and save room for their incredible seasonal dessert menu.
sip: basil di limone
chow: farm egg, house mozzarella, + any of the piccoli piatti
sweet: seasonal menu, but it’s all delicious
the menu at fixe offers a creative twist on louisiana southern cuisine (think upscale comfort food) and the interior is pretty spectacular in my opinion. although it’s located downtown, there is ample street parking, and we had no problem finding a spot right next to the front door.
chow: fixe biscuits, fried chicken + carnivore grits
sweet: sticky toffee cake
this post was created in collaboration with opentable.com, but all opinions and suggestions are my own.