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this is where you’ll find my favorite recipes, what we’re up to behind the scenes, and adventures in starting a new business. click on “mdj marketing” for more info on the latter.




Valentine's Day is this weekend! It's the perfect day to get cozy with your Significant Other or get to know someone new. Here are a few of my favorite places to go on dates, both on fancy nights out and more casual warm days.


Fleur Cinema Catch an indie or foreign flick here and indulge in a glass of wine, craft beer, or scrumptious baked good at the same time. It's never overwhelmingly busy and prices are reasonable.

Americana The lighting, music, and overall atmosphere of Americana makes it a great place to grab a cocktail. The beer list is impressive and champagne cocktails are a must. Try the mussels or duck confit tacos. (And obviously, don't forget about brunch!)

  Cafe di Scala For an unforgettable, intimate experience, try this Italian spot nestled in the heart of Sherman Hill. It's situated in an old mansion and  known for its prix fixe menus and upscale feel.
Eatery A This spot opened in spring 2014 and has been a huge hit ever since. The menu ranges from house-made hummus to authentic Mediterranean dishes, and there's half-off wood-fired flatbreads (14 varieties!) every day during happy hour.

Wooly's Major names and budding underground artists alike frequent the Wooly's stage. The full-service bar and hip atmosphere of this East Village venue make this a must-do for any couple.

A robust collection and wide variety of visiting exhibitions makes the DSM Art Center a great afternoon or evening out over and over again. Try lunch at Baru, the Art Center's restaurant, or register for classes ranging from beginner painting to advanced sculpture.

Right now, the Civic Center is home to the Broadway Series—Mo-Town, Lion King, and Pippin are all on the lineup. Other concerts and shows are always taking place, from The Nutcracker during holiday season to the Peking Acrobats this weekend.

During the summer, you'll see this big contraption making the rounds of downtown. The Big Yellow Bike seats about eight riders, and the object is simple—pedal around and drink beer. Perfect for a summer evening or weekend afternoon.

Proof Minimalism may be the name of the game with proof's decor, but their menu is the opposite. Start with a glass of white wine or an expertly-mixed cocktail and decide if you'll indulge in the Prix Fixe menu or create your own adventure of pork ragu and gnocchi or baked provolone affunicata. Either way, you'll leave satisfied and feeling more cultured.
  Lucca Take a luxuriously long dinner at this East Village treasure. Lucca offers a two course prix fixe every night, with the primi spanning a collection of Italian favorites like gnocchi and amatriciana and the secondi featuring a delicious take on meats including salmon or pork. They're also open for lunch (where everything is somehow under $10), and pride themselves on the hidden gems they provide.

Gray's Lake In the warmer months, Gray's is a lovely place for canoeing, sunbathing, or going for a run with your sweetie. It's a nice break from the city and perfect for a picnic.

The Lift Whether you're a martini lover or beer buff, The Lift has something amazing for you. The martini menu is out of this world and there's plenty on tap. Bonus points for the sheer amount of couches inside and the live music you'll often find here.

Where have your favorite dates been?