September 21, 2011

Dining in Ithaca: Hot Food Ideas for a Hot First Date

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So rumor has it you’ve got a smokin’ hot date this Friday. She’s basically everything you’ve ever wanted and even though you only know her in the context of your Salem Witchcraft Trials class, you’re pretty sure you’d like to reproduce with her in the very near future. The only problem? She asked you to plan the date. Well, fear not, potential bachelor-for-life, because when it comes to impressing a lady with some dinner, I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

For the first date, you want amazing food without a stuffy atmosphere. That way, if the conversation turns to mush, you will still have something to talk about without the pressure of the deafening awkward silence of a super-prim restaurant. My point? John Thomas Steakhouse is out.Second, you don’t want to show off too much on your first date by taking her to a restaurant usually populated by members of the Board of Trustees and whatever visiting dignitaries might be in the area. She’ll know the dinner is really on your parents’ credit card, so there’s no real gain. So long, Hazelnut Kitchen and The Heights Cafe.At the same time, you’ll want to keep things edgy and fresh. Don’t take her to a place you know she frequents often — she’ll probably know your waiter and he’s probably way cuter than you, anyway. Forget Collegetown.          That leaves you with The Commons, an amalgamation of Ithaca’s finest and… Ithaca’s not-so-fine.      If you know your lady has a sweet tooth — read: if she’s got a little more cushion for the pushing — then your best bet would be Madeline’s. Their pan-Asian fare is delicious in its own right, but their dessert bar is mind-blowingly good. Plus, at the end of the meal at Madeline’s, guests stand up from the table and walk to the dessert bar to select a delicacy. That means if you weren’t playing footsie with your date under the table all night long, now’s the time to slip a casual arm over her shoulder as you ponder, “Apple Torte or Molten Chocolate Cake?”But if that doesn’t appeal to you, a strong runner-up would have to be Just a Taste.Their tapas-style menu will allow you both to pick and choose your favorites, and the barrage of new courses throughout your meal will give you a constant stream of goodies to talk about. And if you’re the type of person that will look at a wine menu, close your eyes, and point, there’s nothing to fear here. Just a Taste offers wine pairings with their menu. So basically, someone else has done all the eye-closing and pointing for you.Of course, you could just invite her over and cook her dinner yourself. That way, you could tell all your buddies you brought someone home last night… and not be totally lying, either.

Original Author: Cristina Stiller