Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger Shares First Dinner Date Tips for Valentine’s Day

Headed out this weekend for a first dinner (or brunch or lunch) date in honor of Valentine’s Day? Here, world-renowned Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger shares first dinner date tip for a date so delicious he or she is sure to delete Tinder. The essential ingredients for a great date? “Communication, chemistry, and compliments — with a big amount of manners thrown in!” But, there’s a lot more to it, as well.

OpenTable - Pizzaiolo

The first step toward dinner date success is selecting the right restaurant for romance. Should you look for a hip, sexy spot or something more lively? “Quiet, an intimate setting, ambience, and lighting are key,” according to Stanger. “A girl always looks beautiful under candlelight.” And don’t forget to use the notes/special requests to the maître d’ option when booking on OpenTable. “It’s always nice when the person who made the reservation requests a quite table so they can hear each other talk. If it happens to be close to the kitchen, only accept the table if the kitchen has soundproof glass windows.”

Famous for issuing a strict two-drink maximum at her Millionaire Matchmaker mixers, we wondered if the same rule applies when you’re out on an actual first date? “Yes, I recommend ordering one bottle of wine.  A bottle of my sweet red sparkling from PS Match is perfect as it has four glasses total, which is ideal for any romantic date,” she suggests.

Waiter Serving Delicious Food to Young Couple in Restaurant

Now that you’re past the drinks, should you go with shared plates or items with grand tableside preparations – or something else? Stanger recommends trying the tasting menu together. She notes, “A tasting menu with great wines is the perfect shared romantic experience because it allows you time to get to know your date and enjoy the food. Since it is small portions, it is not over the top filling, which gives you energy for what’s to come next!” For those with special dietary restrictions or picky eaters, convey the information politely and in a matter of fact manner. “Nowadays, it is not unusual for someone to say, “I’m gluten free, allergic to shellfish, and so on.’ It’s better to be safe than sorry just to go along. Just tell your date, ‘I don’t want to be a pain because I’m sure any restaurant or menu you pick will be fine, just please know I’m allergic to ___.” A good date will inform the chef and management ahead of time because that shows that they care.”Continue Reading

No Date, No Problem: 11 Valentine’s Day Celebrations for Singles

Singles know it all too well. Come February, and everywhere you look you see hearts — even the clouds appear heart-shaped. But, bless your hearts, that doesn’t keep you from participating in Valentine’s Day fun. In fact, according to a recent survey by OpenTable, many singles (42%) across the country are looking forward to dining out in celebration of Valentine’s Day this year, and one in three  (35%) plan to dine with multiple platonic friends or family members. If you’re looking for something a little more tailored to your status, however, we’ve found 11 Valentine’s Day celebrations for singles that you’re sure to heart, many with fun, tongue-in-cheek menus and cocktails — and even anti-Valentine’s Day music and activities. And, since VD falls on a Sunday this year, expect lots of Galentine brunch deals, too.

Carmine’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
Eat your heart out. Carmine’s Italian Restaurant at The Forum Shops at Caesars is featuring a “Girl’s Gone Garlic” meal — a full-course fixe menu that includes items like Carmine’s Caesar Salad, Penne all Vodka, a gigantic Titanic Sundae, and a bottle of Prosecco for $125. Or, order the “My Heart Will Not Go On” meal that’s all about that humongous Titanic Sundae and a bottle of Prosecco for $65. Book a table at Carmine’s.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

Izzy’s Fish & Oyster, Miami Beach, Florida
This South Beach heartthrob invites singles and their friends to “Shuck Valentine’s Day” with an “interactive bar experience that allows singles to engage both the bartenders and oyster bar shuckers.” The way it works: Grab a single friend and you’ll get a bottle of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, ½ dozen Island Creek Oysters, choice of warm or cold lobster roll, and a slice of Grandma Celia’s Lemon Meringue Pie for $75 per duo. Awww, shucks! Book a table at Izzy’s Fish & Oyster.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

I|O Godfrey Lounge, Chicago, Illinois
Slip into I|O — atop the Godfrey Hotel — for a Valentine’s Nightcap singles party on February 13. You’ll get a glass of Champagne and, if all else fails, you can always surrender your love to the sweet dessert and candy bar. If you meet Mr. or Ms. Wonderful, you’ll want to book a booth — which comes with a bottle of bubbly to share. Or, cuddle up in the lounge’s insulated clear-dome igloo where you’ll admire city views and nibble on yum yums. Things getting interesting? Get a room. Book a table at the I|O Godfrey Lounge.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

Pistache French Bistro, West Palm Beach, Florida
Pucker up! This modern French bistro will feature a kissing booth — for French kissing, of course. There will also be aphrodisiac-inspired cocktails, such as the sexy signature Blood Orange Martini, and a three-course VD brunch option — think roasted duck and waffles (poached egg, spicy grain mustard, maple syrup) and Crepes Suzette (caramelized orange butter sauce flambé in liqueur Bauchant, vanilla ice cream). A three-course Galentine dinner menu will include Salmon Tartare (smoked and fresh salmon, cilantro-avocado mousse, grapefruit-ginger oil, pickled shitake, lemon aioli, and brioche croutons), Moules Frites Mariniere (Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine-garlic-shallot broth and served with pommes frites), Filet au Poivre (pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with a black pepper brandy sauce), and a chocolate and raspberry gateau (dark chocolate ganache, raspberry coulis, and vanilla cream). Book a table at Pistache French Bistro.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park, New Jersey
It’s all about the communal tables at this authentic biergarten—so you won’t be subject to PDA from the couple in the table-for-two in the corner of the room. The VD theme here? “Is Love in the Cards for You?” The way it works: When you arrive, you’ll be given half a playing card and if you find the person with the other half of the card, you’ll bring it to the bar for a complimentary beer (Let’s hope your match isn’t wearing lederhosen!). The menu is classic Austro-Hungarian biergarten food — Organic Chicken Paprikash (paprika-braised chicken, lemon, egg noodles, parsley, and sour cream), Weisswurst (veal and pork belly sausage seasoned with parsley, garlic, and lemon), and Apfelstrudel with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Book a table at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
Drown your sorrows with head bartender Dan Rook’s #SingleforLife cocktail. It’s a riff on the regular cocktail menu’s Cocoa Flip with two ounces of Larressingle VSOP Armagnac, ½ ounce Tempus Fugit Crème de Cocoa, ½ ounce Cynar, ½ ounce, ½ ounce cinnamon syrup, and egg white, and it’s garnished with Peychaud’s Bitters in the shape of a heart. A real heartbreaker. Book a table at South Water Kitchen.

Valentine's Day Celebrations for Singles

Area Four Restaurant, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Grab some grumpy single friends — or go alone — and get silly with chef Jeff Pond “Hater’s Valentine’s Day” menu of spicy pizza with arrabbiata “angry” sauce, skewered chicken hearts, and gingerbread-people style cookies that you can decorate as voodoo dolls. Ready for your check? It’ll come with hate hearts — you know, those sweet, heart-shaped candies, except these are stamped with less-than-lovely messages. Bonus: Sad flicks will be shown on the bar’s TVs. Book a table at Area Four Restaurant.

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Local Food More Complicated than You Think; FOOD at Frieze; Priciest Tasting Menus + More News

FOOD-NYC-70s
FOOD in New York’s then-not-so-trendy neighborhood played an important role in the continuing evolution of dining in the U.S.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Show me the meaning of eating local. The conversation needs to extend beyond mileage. [The Washingtonian]

* Frieze freezes a moment in food history. An exhibit at Frieze New York pays homage to Soho’s FOOD restaurant of the 1970s. [NY Mag]

* Do you have expensive tastes? Then you won’t suffer sticker shock from the world’s spendiest tasting menus. [Journal.ie]

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Best Dates for Foodies: HowAboutWe Reveals Dining + Drinking Habits of Daters

Pizza puts Atlanta foodies in the mood for dating. How about you?

They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’d say that’s probably true of a woman, too. And, it’s been said that beer is the ultimate social lubricant. So, it’s no surprise that many dates involve food and drink. Curious about what food and drink is putting diners in the mood for romance? In honor of their 1,000,000th date, HowAboutWe, the offline dating site, has released data on the dining, drinking, and dating desires of their users in cities across the states. According to HowAbout We:

Atlanta: One-third of all date ideas in Atlanta involve grabbing a bite. Artisan pizza is a hot trend. Ice cream and burgers are also popular picks.

Austin: Food trucks are more popular in Austin than in any other city, accounting for 1 in 5 dining dates. A beer date is more likely to get a reply in Austin than other drinking dates.

Boston: Boston daters are three times more likely than average to suggest tapas on a first date. One in six beer dates in Boston specify craft beer—the highest in the U.S..

Chicago: One in 11 dining dates in Chicago is veggie-friendly, the third highest in the country. Blue Agave for tequila and tamales is the 5th most suggested date. Whiskey is four times more popular in Chicago than the national average.

Denver: Almost seven in 10 drinking dates in Denver suggest having a glass of wine. Tacos, pizza, and Italian fare are fashionable food picks.

Los Angeles: There are more breakfast dates in Los Angeles than in any other city. Whenever people talk about breakfast dates, I’m reminded of a scene from Sneakers in which a lovestruck man asks his date, “Would you like to have breakfast with me?” “Sure, fine,” she answers. “Shall I phone you or nudge you?” Also, wine is fine in LA; it’s the top drink choice for daters.

Minneapolis: The most popular cocktail in Minneapolis is a margarita.Italian, pizza and French fries are foodie-date faves.

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