I recently planned a customized date for a fellow blogger and friend of mine, Kit Graham, and her husband. Kit writes and takes killer photos for her cooking blog, The Kittchen. Check it out sometime if you’re looking for a new recipe that’s been test driven!
Here’s how Kit and Charles’ date went.
On Friday my husband and I enjoyed a date night planned by Nicole of Next Date Chicago. We let Nicole know which day to plan a date for, and she asked a few questions about our budget, food preferences, and favorite restaurants. She wanted to know places we go regularly to get a feel for what we like, and to ensure she didn’t plan something we’ve already done.
A week before the date Nicole sent me an itinerary. I was very impressed with Nicole’s thoughtful planning. She had backup plans if a popular cocktail lounge was too busy, and she made sure that all destinations were within easy walking distance from each other. She had planned an entire night out – cocktails, dinner, and live music.
Our first stop was The Violet Hour, a chic cocktail lounge decorated with blue chairs with exaggeratedly tall backs that look like something out of “Alice in Wonderland.” The entrance is unmarked, and the mural on the outside is changed frequently for a speakeasy feel. The front door is part of the mural, and is only marked with a small light. Beyond the front door is a small entry separated from the lounge by thick, velvet curtains. One of the quirks of Violet Hour is that every guest gets a chair, and people don’t stand around drinking. Other house rules include: no cell phones, no light beer, and no cosmopolitans.
Violet Hour can be incredibly difficult to get into, but it wasn’t busy at 6:30 on a Friday night. The space is dark and mysterious and a great place to start a date. The cocktail menu is more of a book, offering something for everyone. The drinks are strong, so two cocktails each before dinner was just enough. I enjoyed the Champagne cocktails while Charles had whiskey cocktails. We sat at the bar, and enjoyed watching the bartenders mix drinks – which is quite the production at Violet Hour.
The next stop was Francesca’s Forno, a restaurant I had been meaning to try for years. The rustic interior reminded me of trattorias in Florence with simple wooden tables and chairs and exposed brick walls. The menu has Italian classics of pastas and pizzas. I had the cannelloni which was made with fresh pasta and mushrooms. Charles had a pizza and the crust was cooked to crisp perfection. The highlight of the meal was the carrot cake with caramel sauce.
Our final destination was Jerry’s Sandwiches, which I had walked by many times and dismissed as just a sandwich shop. While Jerry’s does serve sandwiches, it has an extensive beer list, a nice bar, and a stage for bands. Saturday night a duo called Orpheum Bell played. Trying new beers while listening to live music was a perfect end to our evening. I am sure I will be returning to Jerry’s in the future.
Charles and I had a great experience on our date. It was really fun to discover new places together. Having someone else plan the date definitely added to the fun since neither of us had to deal with planning and we could just relax and enjoy our night together.