Tag Archives: romantic

Make Every Day Even Sweeter with Tache Chocolate

A great activity for any special occasion is taking a chocolate making class. It is a perfect opportunity to make custom chocolate gifts for all your friends & family or purchase a class as a gift! Whatever the case maybe, Tache’s got plenty of chocolate to go around. Custom gift packaging and gift certificates are available upon request, too!

Spend your hour and a half lesson in Tache’s chocolate factory learning everything from cultivating, tempering, tasting, coating to decorating your own delicious chocolate delicacies. Make popular treats like chocolate mustache lollipops, caramel kisses, chocolate bars, mendients, grignotines (french chocolate clusters of dried fruit & nuts), or even invent your own!

Principle teacher, chocolatier and owner, Aditi Malhotra, is a graduate of Switzerland’s Glion Institute, the French Culinary Institute and named by Zagat as one of their top “30 Under 30” chefs.

Roseark’s Red & Violets are Bedazzled

With hundreds of jewelry stores in Los Angeles, it takes a truly unique store to stand out amongst the rest. Roseark, lPicture 7ocated in West Hollywood, is filled with designer one of a kind pieces and elegant jewelry that is every L.A. fashionista’s secret gem. Designers such as Kathy Rose (Bravo’s Launch My Line) and Jennifer Meyer (Tobey Maguire’s wife) showcase pieces like wrap around snake cuffs and over the top emerald cocktail rings.

Some of the best jewelry from Roseark are the small and intricate pieces, such as the simple gold peace sign bracelet and horizontal cross necklace. Roseark’s true mainstream claim to fame came when Taylor Jacobson, star of The Rachel Zoe Project, sported a gold cross necklace each episode and twittered about her Roseark purchase. With beautiful jewelry, accessories and famous shoppers, Roseark is an absolute must for the jewelry aficionado.

Dolores but you can call me Lolita: Good eats, hip scene

It’s about more than just the food at Dolores but you can call me Lolita in the heart of Miami’s thriving Brickell area. This is a compound that encompasses the restaurant, lounge, private room and even the Japanese favorite Sushi Maki next door. They go for the warm glow of candlelight in the restaurant where the wall border close to the ceiling brims with quirky and inspiring sayings.

Then there’s the menu which is brimming with delicious selections like the appetizer called Maybe, the Best Serrano Ham Croquettes you ever tasted or the Caesar salad was created in Tijuana Parmesan cheese and croutons. Those wacky names doesn’t mean they don’t take food seriously here, entrees include pappardelle with a Kobe beef bolognese or baja fish tacos of tempura fish filets served with a chipotle-guava cabbage slaw.

Eat or party or do both at the restaurant or lounge, the atmosphere’s great at both.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fun: The Robusto Room

Named for a type of stogie, The Robusto Room serves as a rare sanctuary for smokers—and a swanky one at that. One part cigar bar, one part martini lounge, The Robusto Room boasts a robust amount of Citysearch Awards, cleaning up everything from Best Club to Most Romantic Bar and Singles Scene.

Hidden in a courtyard off a suburban street, this dark, wood-and-leather-filled Lone Tree martini lounge and cigar bar doesn’t only sell hundreds of tobacco labels but also rents private humidors for regulars to maintain their stashes. And though there’s not much food on the menu—with only a couple of appetizers, you should plan to dine elsewhere—there’s lots of entertainment in store: besides plasma TVs and free Wifi, karaoke, poker, trivia, and DJs all turn The Robusto Room into a refined rec room on any given night.

La Chaumiere: Relaxed, French Country Dining in the Heart of Georgetown


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, and enjoy a warm, rich meal at Georgetown’s, La Chaumiere, a hallmark of unpretentious French cuisine with a country inn atmosphere.  Cozy up at a table near the central stone fireplace and make yourself at home within the rustic, stucco-covered walls of this authentic French gem.  With a knack for seasonal ingredients, consistently delicious French specialties and an inviting atmosphere, La Chaumiere is the perfect spot for a romantic evening out. 

Start off with a delectable pate or refreshing salad niçoise for a truly French beginning, then opt for an order of the authentic Moules Mariniere, or mussels steamed in white wine.  La Chaumiere also offers a variety of house specialties, including the Quenelles de Brochet (Pike dumpling in lobster sauce), or traditional cassoulets prepared with rabbit and lamb. On Tuesdays only, the chef prepares the rich Crabe en Chemise – French crepes filled with Jumbo Lump Crab, mushrooms and a champagne cream sauce. Whatever dish you choose, La Chaumiere will certainly transport you to France with one simple bite. 

Insider Tip:  It’s no secret that the French know how to please a sweet tooth. Don’t request your bill until you’ve ordered the chef’s special soufflé for dessert.  Offered in both Grand Marnier and Chocolate flavors, this light and fluffy treat will definitely end your fabulously French evening on the right note!

Mandolin Aegean Bistro: Charming with authentic fare

mandolin1It’s charm right off the bat at Mandolin Aegean Bistro, especially given that the restaurant is inside a historic 1940s house and is awash in white with traditional Mediterranean blue trim throughout. Quietly nestled between the hip Design District and Buena Vista neighborhoods, entering this place and then tasting their delicious offerings, diners are immediately transported to the Greek isles.

The food here is fresh, authentic and prepared with loving care. The Greek sampler is a great starter. Served up in a fancy trio of small containers it features tzatziki, smoked eggplant puree and tarama (a salmon puree). Gyros, pulled lamb and a lamb cheeseburger are part of the sandwich choices and for entrees there’s the village pasta of greek noodles with ground beef and bechamel sauce or a seafood stew with shrimp, mussels and calamari. Orzo pilaf, Aegean olives and wild greens round out some tasty sides.

Mandolin offers an experience to heighten the senses of tasting, seeing and  smelling to a whole other level.

Mandolin Aegean Bistro is located at 4312 NE 2 Avenue, Miami, FL

Country Feel with Downtown Amenities at The Morris House

Picture 39The Morris House has the luxury of a downtown boutique hotel with the quaintness of a bed and breakfast. Located on Society Hill, this hotel has fifteen exclusive rooms, each decorated in its own individual fashion. With its outdoor garden and cozy charm, this place could easily be mistaken for a countryside B&B, however, most farm ladies wouldn’t offer Godiva Chocolates or Norwegian Voss water upon your arrival.

Guests can enjoy not only a continental breakfast, but also afternoon tea, which are both included in the room rate. If the hotel’s pleasant, historic charm keeps you in for the night, try the Morris House’s M Restaurant, which offers a delicious extensive lunch and dinner menu and a reasonable prix fixe. Between the beautiful atmosphere and accommodations, this is an amazing place for any wedding or party, which you can easily book online.

Wine, Pies, and Good Times at Coal Vines

Picture 77If you venture into the uptown scene in Dallas, you know that Coal Vines is the hip hangout where pizza and wine are accessories to a great time. For several years now, Coal Vines has provided a meet-up spot to grab cocktails and a slice of pie before a big night out or a late night patio date. Wines of cabernet, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir or sparkling…there is no shortage of the perfect sip to go along with coal oven baked pizzas. If pizza won’t hit the spot, perhaps Rigatoni or Fennel Crusted Salmon will do the trick.

Though it’s a small venue and there isn’t much room to move around, the space reverberates a neighborhood vibe that is comfortable and familiar. Whether it’s a first or last stop on your night out, Coal Vines can rev up or wind down any excellent time.

Macaluso’s: Homemade Italian Away From Home

Macaluso’s is reminiscent of a traditional Italian restaurant in Little Italy where the meatballs taste like they’re straight from Grandma’s kitchen. But there’s no red and white checkered tablecloths here, instead there are photographs of celebrity regulars like Gloria Estefan and Roger Federer, along with white linens and upscale decor all the way.Picture 10

Chef Michael Vito D’Andrea is as famous in Miami as his award-winning meatballs.  Chef D’Andrea is known for his no-nonsense, no substitutions attitude and the meatballs are known for their incredible taste, of course, especially with the homemade pasta. Mascaluso’s has plenty of other Italian faves, like sausage and peppers and meatball pizza, but the menu here is verbal only; it’s one way they keep the place feeling like home.

If you’re looking to take home some of the delicious meal, you’re in luck. Next to the restaurant is the market, Macaluso’s & Co., where lunch is served and the homemade meatballs and sausages are for sale.

Stay in Faneuil Hall at Millennium Bostonian

Faneuil Hall is one of the most popular destinations for anyone coming to Boston, so snagging a hotel room here just might be your best bet. The Millennium Bostonian Hotel is just two miles Picture 20from Logan Airport and located in the historic Blackstone Block, the city’s oldest pattern of streets and alleyways. It sits prominently in the heart of Faneuil Hall Marketplace where you can check out farmer’s markets, outdoor festivals, restaurants, shops and cafes.

The hotel just recently completed a $24 million renovation, which included the opening of its on-site restaurant, North 26, which features contemporary New England cuisine. A stay in a newly renovated standard room here overlooks the city’s famed Italian North End section and comes complete with Frette linens, high def TVs and complimentary access to the Beacon Hill Athletic Club.

Insider’s Tip: If you’re booking a romantic getaway, try the North 26 dinner package, which includes dinner, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay at the hotel.

Lacroix’s Haute Cuisine in Beautiful Rittenhouse Square

Every now and then you have one of those moments where you think “I don’tPicture 13 know what on Earth I just ate, but it was delicious and I want more!” And even when they tell you what it is (kampachi who?) just smile, nod and be thankful that the glorious morsel is in your mouth! Lacroix provides exotic flavor blends that will wow even the most adventurous of palates in one of the most luxurious and beautiful settings in Philadelphia.

Overlooking the haute Rittenhouse Square, Lacroix provides a serene loft above the bustle of the streets. The staff is exceptional, as is the sommelier (handsome and French, just the way he should be).

It seems futile to suggest entrees because everything will leave you speechless and thrilled. If you’re not in town for dinner, the brunch is legendary. From the towering raw bar with exceptional caviar selections to the crisped corn beef and potato hash with, ahem, poached egg on top (awesome!) all bellies will leave full and delighted.

Island Hopping, Catalina Style

When you and your significant other are looking to spice things up, you might want to ditch the Picture 12typical Palm Springs or Napa Valley getaway. Catalina Island is the perfect place to relax without turning in your sneakers and map. Offering amazing hikes, great museums and restaurants worth visiting twice, the trip by land, sea or air is definitely worth it.

Activities on the island include golfing, scuba diving and boat tours. If you are of the less adventurous breed, the island offers some great boutiques and clothing stores for the shopper extraordinaire.

Though weekend getaways are always worth it, the island will most likely always be home to a wedding each and every weekend. So if you are thinking about booking a trip but want to avoid the wedding craze, the website offers hotel packages and accommodations to make your stay extra special.

Whether you decide to fly or choose to drive, the trip to Catalina is worth it.

Nan Thai: Discover The Food Golfer Vijay Singh Loves

Thai dining- at its highest level- is easily found at Nan Thai Fine Dining. Outside, the tone is set with an eye-catching gold statue right at the corner of Spring and 17th Street, minutes from Atlantic Station and the Woodruff Arts Center. Inside, it doesn’t stop. Elegantly appointed sculptures and art compliment the sleek and sophisticated room full of bamboo touches; even the bathroom is a calming oasis.

Equally impressive is the distinctive and flavorful food by Chef Nan Niyomkul, who co-owns Nan with her husband Charlie. The Pla Muk Thod, affectionately known as “fire calamari,” is an appetizer must. Pla Sahm Lod, the Chilean sea bass done in a three-flavor chili sauce, is a satisfying entrée. It’s not cheap like most Thai places, but it’s very well worth the expense.

Business is fine, but Nan works even better for romance. Its many admirers include Tiger Woods and family friends Vijay Singh and his wife Ardena. Singh is such a devotee that his love prompted a 2005 Sports Illustrated article about the Niyomkuls and their food, so it’s certainly cuisine worthy of any Master.

French Riviera Glamour at Award-Winning Palme d’Or

Picture 10Mention the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to anyone in the greater Miami area and the words classic, elegant, sophisticated and swanky will undoubtedly be repeated. So it’s fitting that the French restaurant Palme d’Or would be the hotel’s signature eatery. Featuring a menu brimming with French nouvelle creations by chef Philippe Ruiz, the cuisine is #1 with Zagat (it swept the Top Food, Decor and Service honors in the 2010 guide) and the Miami Herald critics have twice ranked it “exceptional.”

Stated clearly on the menu is the chef’s recommendation of at least three to four courses. Suggested options include sauteed Maine scallop, grilled duck foie gras, wild mushroom cassolette, seven-hour braised beef effilochee, and for dessert, a new twist on the strawberry shortcake.

Palme D’Or also has a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, an enviable wine list and a theater menu available only from 6-7 pm for those catching a show in the area. And how fitting since that’s what the entire Biltmore experience recalls, the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, where this restaurant deserves its own Palme d’Or for best restaurant experience.

Twin Peaks’ Views For Lovers & Sightseers

While the city skyline is beautiful from the balcony of a downtown hotel, nothing can compare to the city’s best views, Twin Peaks Vista Point.  Called Los Pechos de la ChocaPicture 23 (breasts of the Indian maiden) by early Spanish settlers, Twin Peaks is perfect for lovers and sightseers alike.

The drive up is stunning, especially at night, so hire a limousine or taxi to fully enjoy the ride.  Of course, you can also take a bus or hike up during the day– it’s worth the trek in clear weather once you see Ocean Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge all in one sweeping glance!

Twin Peaks are a must for anyone who comes to San Francisco and for anyone who hasn’t been in a while.  Bundle up for the wind, and you’ll enjoy eucalyptus-shrouded hiking, bird-watching, city-watching and the most popular place to snuggle with your loved ones in the city.

Drink Your Way Through Dinner at Prosecco

Picture 10Making a toast is oh-so-easy at Chicago’s chic River North Gallery district’s restaurant, Prosecco. After all, they have the largest selection of sparkling wines in the whole city. White linen tables, authentic seasonal Italian cuisine with homemade pastas, and plenty of romantic ambiance make this place a hotspot for dates– and for those looking for love.

At Prosecco it’s not just about making that initial toast with the sparkling wine, however. The mantra is that the sparkling wines of Italy stand alone, both the reds and the whites and need not/should not be limited only as a starter beverage, but rather enjoyed throughout the duration of the meal. For those unfamiliar with the pairing of sparkling wines for each course, leave it to the friendly staff to guide you to the bubbly of your preferences. And don’t forget about the elegant Italian food that’s made Prosecco one of the best new restaurants in Chicago.

The bar here is equally as fun as the ristorante. Painted to look like Caravaggio’s “Confessional of St. Paul,” it’s the drinks that will have people confessing, like the Mionetto Brut Prosecco with Chambord and 24 carat gold dust! The long, classic bar is one of the best in the city, making it perfect for those wishing to get buzzed on bubbly wine with a new, special someone.

When a quick trip to Veneto, Italia isn’t quite doable, Prosecco should suffice just fine. Cheers to that.

Glitz and Grammy’s for The San Francisco Symphony

For the Vivian and Edward in all of us (Pretty Woman fans?), your romantic evening awaits at the San Francisco Symphony.  With eleven Grammy wins, this ensemble features the most talented musicians in the world and is appropriately situated in the magnificent Davies Symphony Hall, which neighbors the Opera House and Capitol Buildings of the Civic Center.Picture 23

Whether an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or birthday, the San Francisco Symphony continues to excite and lure even the most jaded of guests to fall in love with classical music year-round.  The Symphony’s passion for music and award-winning Chorus & Youth Orchestra will inspire you to not just listen to the music, but emotionally become part of the experience.

Davies Symphony Hall even offers a free after-hours party for some of its concerts, allowing you to enjoy popular bay area music in a nightclub atmosphere.  The folks at SFS really know music, from classical to contemporary, and hope to inspire the same appreciation in their guests, even if it requires drinks and socializing from the balconies that offer spectacular views of City Hall.

Romance & Adventure on the Arboretum’s Full Moon Hike

For romantic night owls, take a walk at the Full Moon Hike at the U.S. National Arboretum. Sure, the bars and entertainment in the city offer plenty of adventure, but this hike is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be beat.

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At four miles long, with a path through meadows, woods and gardens, this hike allows you to see what the Arboretum looks like by moonlight, under a blanket of stars.  There are some truly magical areas throughout the hike, including a beautiful view of the Anacostia River and the illuminated National Capitol Columns.

The scenery is a rare sight, especially after spending a whole day next to loud cars and city life. It’s not just a light stroll through the park, though. The terrain is often hilly and uneven, so the hike is mildly strenuous. There’s no better way to see the lights of our nation’s capital than on the Full Moon Hike.

Find Beauty Beneath at Trousseau

Picture 19Le Mystere. Roberto Cavalli. Cosabella. They’re all famous brands of opulent, sexy lingerie that can make anyone feel like a goddess. Trousseau in the West Village carries some of the finest lingerie brands in one convenient location. If you are looking to inspire a romantic evening or find bridal selections that will create a lasting impression, this boutique has it all.

Besides the much-needed professional bra fitting and undergarment staples, Trousseau also offers comfy lounge-wear and t-shirts for those times when you want to take a break from the sexier fare, but still look and feel pretty. Hollywood Fashion Tape and Nippets are helpful tricks of the trade used by celebrities, which are also best sellers here in Dallas. Before you plan that next special night, take a detour from typical mall shopping and visit Trousseau- you won’t be disappointed, and neither will your sweetheart.

Love is in the Air at the Spa at Trump

In need of a little polishing up? The Spa at Trump is the answer. Quickly becoming the hotspot for Chicagoans to escape for an hour, or even a day at times, its popularity can be attributed to its rockstar service. Many times guests are so impressed, they extend their spa day into an overnight stay in one of the 53 spa guest suites.

Immediately upon stepping in the door, guests are tended to Picture 8by a personal “Spa Attache.” For those overwhelmed by the indulgent choices on the menu of services (which even includes candlelight yoga classes), leave it to the Attache to help you decide. If it’s skin care you crave, let the celeb fave Kate Sommerville Skin Care line and the estheticians soothe you. A favorite of Jessica Alba, Freida Pinto, Molly Sims and Debra Messing, a skin treatment with this stuff will leave you feeling like a celebrity yourself.

Those desiring a little romance get it- and then some- with the couples treatments. Couples can bathe side by side in a rich Andalusian milk bath as they do in Spain, lather up with gemstone infused oils and unwind with “diamond massage oils” or  “sapphire gemstone oils” during their massage. To keep that warm feeling, a glass of Spanish wine is also included. If bubbly is more your fancy, The Spa at Trump also serves Champagne, music, and aphrodisiacs for those who wish for it, and aromatherapy and blanket wraps to truly escape from reality.

Jean Georges Always Gold for Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni

There’s only one restaurant in New York City where you’ll never hear a bad word from former New York Times Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni; it’s Jean Georges. This celebrity chef has made a name for himself with star-studded favorites Spice Market and Mercer Kitchen, but his self-titled Jean Georges is the creme de la creme of his culinary empire.

“In my job I get a lot of calls and emails saying, ‘Well you know I had heard that X restaurant was great’ or ‘you had said that Y restaurant was great,'” Frank Bruni said to citybuzz of his tenure at the New York Times. “So I get a lot of complaints, and a lot of feedback that’s positive as well, and that’s a restaurant, Jean Georges, that I almost never, ever field a complaint about.” Picture 13

These are words that every chef would like to hear, especially since it’s a commentary from not only one of the most respected food critics in the business, but also of the overwhelmingly happy clientele at Jean Georges.

What makes this place so great? The four star restaurant prepares every meal to perfection, and that is not a cliche here. Every dish steals the show from perfectly seasoned scallops to signature dishes like the checkerboard hamachi and yellowfin tun and roasted squab with a corn pancake and an elegant splash of foie gras. The Trump Hotel restaurant (Hey, if it passed The Donald’s seal of approval, you know it must be incredible) has cleaned up nearly every award in the book: 4 Stars from the Times, 3 Michelen Stars (one of only four NYC restaurants with that Michelen rating), and chef Jean Georges Vongerichten has won 2 James Beard awards for this restaurant alone.

Or, as Frank Bruni simply put it, “Among food lovers who go to the city’s four star restaurants, I think Jean-Georges in the Trump Hotel in Columbus Circle is a restaurant that almost never disappoints.”

*** Frank Bruni is the former restaurant critic for The New York Times and is now working for the Times Magazine. Bruni is also a best-selling author, with works including the politically themed Ambling Into History and his recent memoir Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater.

Rooftop Romance at the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof Club

Rooftop real estate is the hottest commodity in New York during the summer, but few places keep the same prestige and popularity in the winter. The Gramercy Park Hotel’s Private Roof Club is the exception to the rule. By closing the retractable rooftop and turning the air conditioners to heaters, the ivy laced and dimly lit trendy summer hotspot becomes a cozy winter, well, hotspot.

Picture 20The Sophia Room epitomizes the warm romance that makes this rooftop so unique from other penthouse locations. The ceiling is actually an art piece, with 17,000 lightbulbs hanging on the wall, and the rest of the room includes two real (and very pricey) Damien Hirsts, two large, chocolate leather couches and one crackling fireplace. The “outdoor” terrace is lit with candles and beautifully placed hanging lights with overgrown trees and flowers separating each couch, making it feel private and quiet for each party. And the view, no matter what the season, is always exceptional with Empire, Chrysler and Union Square skyline views.

A favorite for the A-list guests who stay at the hotel, and New York elite, famous clientele include Eva Mendes, Sienna Miller, Ashely Olsen, Helena Christensen and socialite Olivia Palermo- before she was on The City. The signature martinis are made with the freshest ingredients and are seriously tasty. The rooftop also has a perfect lounge menu, prepared by the chefs from Danny Meyer’s prestigious Union Square Hospitality Group.

The Private Roof Club lives up to its name, because technically it is private to all non-hotel guests. But, by calling ahead, the key-only entrance can be opened to you.

Don’t Break Up Over Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse

Yes, it’s true that there are several Smith & Wollensky Steakhouses throughout the US, but only one can claim fame for hosting Jennifer Aniston and hometown Chi-guy Vince Vaughn in the mega-hit The Break-up in 2006 (the restaurant is definitely recognizable in its break-out role).

With its killer views Picture 13and location in “Marina City,” Chicago’s Smith & Wollensky is proudly perched above the Chicago River in the heart of the city and surrounded by big players like Hotel Sax and the House of Blues. Smith & Wollensky is the ultimate place for a date, a steak, and/or just a glass of red.

The original location in NYC opened its doors back in ’77 and was the brainchild of the same guy who brought us T.G.I. Friday’s. But fear not, none of the cheesiness can be found in this venture. Instead, its all about the upper echelon of steaks with The Chicago Tribune’s food critic calling it “perhaps the best sirloin of my life.” The classic interior design of dark wood, shining brass, polished wood floors and iconic Chicago views is icing on the, er, steak.

Come once and you’ll come again – with or without the person you originally came with.

Surin of Thailand: Atlanta’s Asian Persuasion

Want an alternative to the neighborhood Chinese buffet? Not quite adventurous to try the downtown Sushi bar? Then take a short drive to Virginia highlands for Surin of Thailand. Tucked away on the outskirts of the Atlanta skyline is this cozy dining hotspot that’s a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Picture 11Upon entering this intimate dining chalet, guests are greeted by a fragrant floral bouquet, giving the room not only a feeling of Asian paradise, but that of being at home. The long tables are meant for family style dining, perfect for dinner parties or family outings. There are also private tables for special occasions or simply a romantic dinner for two.

Patrons enjoy a wide range of Thai cuisine including Roasted Duck with Red Curry, Crab Angels and a variety of Stir Fry options. All, of course, can be paired with a glass of delectable Plum wine.

Small on Size, Big on Surprise: Denver’s Downtown Aquarium

If you can get past the unsettling fact that it’s owned by a giant restaurant chain—and operates its own seafood eatery in full view of the tanks—you’ll discover that the Downtown Aquarium contains many otherPicture 17, far more pleasant surprises.

Aside from all the tropical fish, sharks, eels, otters, and turtles you’d expect, there are also stingrays in a petting tank, birds, reptiles, and, of all incongruous but exciting things, a tiger exhibit.

Best of all, due to its relatively late hours (not to mention its cocktail lounge), it’s the setting of many a quirky date night long past the kiddies’ bedtime.

Lakeside Park’s a Pleasant Escape

When exploring the outdoors of Dallas, it’s a pleasant surprise to find a place where you can do it all: take a leisurely stroll, ride your bike, walk your dog, drop in tPicture 22he fishing pole, and have a quiet picnic. Beautiful Lakeside Park not only offers all these options, but an unprecedented view of the beautifully manicured grounds along Turtle Creek between Beverly Drive and Armstrong Parkway. The Bel-Air style homes provide a breathtaking backdrop to over 14 acres of impeccable landscaping.

The walking paths lead to an iconic wooden bridge overlooking the Turtle Creek Dam; a perfect spot for a photo op or romantic moment. One artful surprise to the park’s ambiance? Giant teddy bear statues line the walking path and leave both adults and children in awe.  For a relaxing outdoor excursion, Lakeside Park is the crown jewel of Highland Park’s extensive park and recreation escapes.

Reviews and Romance at the Palace of Fine Arts

Known for its natural beauty, the Palace of Fine Arts in The Presidio is even more famous for its performance lineup.  Almost every name in history has come here to speak, dedicate, and inspire: Truman Capote, Francis Ford Coppola, Jay Leno, Joan Baez, and Jane Fonda, to name a few.  With personalities such as these and over 1000 continental-style seats, you will be comfortable at every function.

New Camera 027Fortunately, you don’t have to book yourself a ticket to enjoy the venue.  There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting by the Palace’s Corinthian columned rotunda and lagoon, brimming with bright flowers and peaceful swans.  This setting has long been the symbol of the Palace of Fine Arts and draws thousands of people each year to its romantic backdrop.  It is, after all, San Francisco’s top choice for outdoor weddings.

The Palace of Fine Arts is sure to charm you as you watch lovers stroll hand-in-hand and parents helping their toddlers throw breadcrumbs to the birds.

A Life of Luxury at the Mark Hopkins Hotel

Opened during the height of the roaring twenties, the landmark Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill is every bit as stunning as it has always been.  The Intercontinental Hotel Group is known for having the most luxurious hotels in the worl, and the Mark Hopkins is no exception- it’s an impressive match to those of Paris, Rome and Rio de Janiero.

For your stay, this hotel offers a room for every occasion: standard rooms with estate furnishings and city vistas, business and executive rooms with office amenities, terrace suites with outdoor citMarky and bay views, or a two bedroom presidential suite complete with Jacuzzi and parlor.

For the truly decadent world traveler is the $7750 per night Penthouse Suite with three glass-walled views of the entire city, original 1926 carved wood walls and bookcases, a plush living room, Italian marble bathroom, and personal service fit for royalty.   Not to worry there are standard rooms and town cars are complementary for all guests.

Dining at the Mark Hopkins will start your day in style with a continental breakfast buffet that is reminiscent of a fine dining experience.  Of course, the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch at the hotel’s Top of the Mark is not to be missed.

Date Night at the Cemetery’s Cinespia

When you are looking for a taste of old Hollywood and a way to spice up your love life, there is no better date spot than the Hollywood cemetery. On Sunday nights, thePicture 17 cemetery opens its doors for the hundreds of people who are looking for a cheaper way to go to the movies. With old Hollywood flicks constantly being aired, you feel as though you are truly in another decade.

One of the best parts of Cinespia is that you can turn the experience into your own. People bring blankets, food and even wine as they sprawl onto the lawn and cozy up for a film. The uniqueness of this experience draws a large crowd so make sure to get there early- really early. While this may be the only movie theater you can actually bring your own food into, it is also one of the best experiences when you are looking for a change in scenery, literally.

Get Saucy at Vesta Dipping Grill

Picture 9Replete with sensual swirls of fabric amid steel sculptures and secluded circular banquettes, Vesta Dipping Grill maintains an invigoratingly sexy appeal right down to the menu.

Expect the unexpected from the kitchen, which specializes in eclectic mix-and-match dishes meant to be shared. Appetizers and entrees centering on grilled meats, fish, and vegetables come with your choice of several dipping sauces (hence the name) that range from the familiar—Carolina barbecue, peanut sauce, chimichurri—to the inventive (try bacon aioli, Asian pear chutney or rose blossom yogurt on for size). Desserts follow the same formula; order the caramel apple with hot fudge for you and your date, and you can rest assured the evening won’t end at the restaurant. Reservations are essential.

Artmore Hotel Brings Art to Life in Atlanta

New York CiPicture 14ty has the Statue of Liberty. San Francisco has the Bay Bridge. Atlanta’s work of art is the Artmore Hotel. Unlike many of the city’s boutique hotels, the Artmore takes its guests on an international journey all within city limits. The exterior is that of Spain, interior of Los Angeles, and the rooms look like a posh French apartment. Your next stay here will surely require that you kick back, relax and enjoy the stay.

Built in 1924, the former Granada Suites Hotel has transformed into a renovated urban retreat. The warm color palette of each room brings a romantic flavor to the stay. Each room includes complimentary WiFi, flat panel TV’s, an iPod docking station and awesome views of the Atlanta skyline.

Located minutes away from the city’s famed Atlantic Station shopping district, you won’t have to look too far for various ways to stay busy.

Classical Art Made Modern at San Francisco Opera

If you think of opera as long, boring, and hard to follow, you haven’t been to the San Francisco Opera.  From the bellbottoms to ball gowns dress code, and SFotellowith subtitles above the stage, a night at the opera isn’t just for the world-traveling elite anymore.  The San Francisco Opera does justice to this classic art form by making it accessible and entertaining to modern society.

In the heart of The Civic Center next to the Capitol Building, every grand staircase and facade of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House seems to have been carved out of marble and gold, and the set designs are always elaborately impressive.  Taking in the spectacle is even better while enjoying a pint of beer or a high-end wine.  And don’t think the crowd is going to be boring either, since the opera is attended more these days by 20-50 something’s in the peak of their social lives, with great fashion sense to boot.

Tickets can range from $10-$120, but if you’re looking for an old-fashioned night out on the town don’t be afraid to play “Pretty Woman” dress-up, make reservations at one of the many nearby fine restaurants (like Absinthe), and go all out with a box seat and opera glasses.

3. Romance in the New Year at Nana’s 12/31/09

the_bar_at_nana.pngFeast your way into the New Year with an eight-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci at one of the “Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in America” as honored by ForbesTraveler.com.  The evening includes a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut champagne per couple, live entertainment, dancing, a balloon drop, and party favors.  Hilton Anatole’s award-winning Nana will host three different party options to ring in the New Year. We’ll put money on it that someone will get engaged when that ball drops!

Washington Meets Wonka at Co Co. Sala

They say that a little too much chocolate is just about right, and at Penn Quarter’s trendy Co Co. Sala Chocolate Lounge & Boutique, there is definitely enough to go around.  Founded on the premise of being a “chocolate treasure-like oasis,” this pastry shop by day, chocolate lounge by night, is sure to stir the senses with its unique concept and euphoric tasting menus.

Sit back and relax as chic patrons lounge in dark, velvetCoCo Salay booths sipping sinful libations to the pulse of hip, Latin beats.  The light, unique cocktails, like the Strawberry Basil Martini with Balsamic Drizzle, balance the richness of creative savory small plates (all with a subtle hint of chocolate, of course).   Be sure to try the Four Cheese Orecchiette with Chocolate Covered Bacon for a to-die-for twist on traditional mac and cheese.  To finish off the evening, let the bubbles of a colorful champagne flight tickle your nose as a pairing to a decadent four course dessert tasting.

Insider tip: For a great date spot, be sure to sit at Co Co. Sala’s glass-enclosed “chocolate bar.”  Watch as accomplished pastry chefs create one-of-a-kind chocolate sculptures while you and that special someone savor your own chocolate treats.