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Where Y’Eat: Date Night Ideas Double Up on Pairings

Steak and sides at Charlie's Steakhouse in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty
Steak and sides at Charlie's Steakhouse in New Orleans.

There is romance in spontaneity. There is also romance in making a plan that shows some thoughtfulness to the appetites and desires of your intended, and sometimes just one extra step can be the kicker.

That’s my thinking behind a running concept for outings that I call the one-block date night.

This is simply a date that goes beyond dinner and extends the outing with another stop. A pre-dinner cocktail here, and then dinner right over there; and then dessert just down the street.

You don’t have to get back into the car or wait for another Uber. You just walk the block and the date night energy is amplified that much more. Maybe you even hold hands or stop for a smooch on the way.

New Orleans is filled with opportunities for the one block date night. Thank the geography and history that shapes the contours of our streets and neighborhoods.

The example that inspired this whole bit is a classic. Dinner at the Italian restaurant Venezia in Mid-City for red sauce dishes and then gelato and pastry at the Sicilian dessert emporium Angelo Brocato a few steps away. The proximity is why Venezia hardly bothers offering dessert, and makes this maybe the most Italian stretch in New Orleans today .

Then there’s the one I call the “Dryades Double.” You start by with your elbow on the stand-up oyster bar at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant then follow the vintage neon glow down Dryades Street to its old school neighbor Charlie’s Steakhouse for a plus-sized T-bone and a martini.

Speaking of cocktails, there’s a one-block date night waiting on Bayou Road with a neat pour at the bar Whiskey & Sticks before crossing the street for Ethiopian cuisine on shared platters at Addis NOLA.

You needn’t drop a lot of money on these date night pairings. Just look at Zee’s Pizzeria Uptown on Baronne Street for sensational slices, followed by scoops at Lucy Boone Ice Cream just next door.

Once I got the one block date night in my head, I started seeing possible pairings everywhere, from the ice cream parlor to the dive bar, because yes, sometimes a dive bar is just what date night needs.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.