Keep Date Night Lively

Posted December 9, 2009 at 2:25pm

Face it: At a certain point, dating can get boring. Two people can only stare at each other across a table for so long before the whole routine feels a bit tired. When a couple reaches this point, it’s time to switch things up and go beyond the standard dinner date. Here are a few suggestions for ways to shake up date night.

Take a Cooking Class

Nothing says “I love you— like a home-cooked meal. If your cooking skills aren’t up to snuff, grab your date and swing by Zola Wine and Kitchen (505 Ninth St. NW) for a cooking class. Classes at Zola start at $50 and include topics such as how to entertain on a budget, new twists on old cookie recipes and everything you need to know about salmon. Those who attend the class get a hands-on experience with the food, especially compared to other cooking classes in town that amount to little more than a chef’s demonstration. After you’ve mastered the recipe, you’ll have a chance to sit down and enjoy the fruits — or meats — of your labor.

Skate Under the Stars

Picture this: You’re holding hands with your better half, skating under the stars and huddling close together for warmth. Could be fun, right? Lucky for you, the ice skating rink at the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden (Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest) opens today and provides an ideal winter date. The rink is open until 9 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, giving you and your date a chance to skate within sight of the illuminated monuments. Two hours of skate rentals and time on the ice costs a mere $10 per person. After working up an appetite on the ice, you can pop over the nearby Pavilion Café and dine on sandwiches and pizza or simply sit back and indulge in some hot chocolate or wine. The rink will be open through March.

Raise a Glass

Calling all wine lovers! Corcoran Vineyards in Virginia is offering a slew of holiday festivities this weekend that are ideal for a romantic jaunt. On Saturday, the winery is offering a one-session class all about sparkling wines. The class will feature Champagne, cava and several other bubbly treats. The winery will also be serving mulled wine and sweet holiday treats.

Dine With the Chef

Eric Ripert’s Westend Bistro (1190 22nd St. NW) offers a fun spin on dinner for two. The hot spot offers a seating for two that is practically in the kitchen. You and your date can sit on high bar stools at a counter running the length of the kitchen, also known as “the pass.— From this perch, diners get a front-row seat to the cooking and a chance to interact with the friendly chef de cuisine, Joe Palma. Palma is quick with a joke and seems to truly enjoy interacting with customers, making dinner all the more fun. The best part of dining at the pass? There’s no extra charge for this special location, and diners order off the regular menu.

Learn About Wine

Alain Ducasse’s posh Adour (923 16th St. NW) will certainly break the bank if you go for dinner. It’s difficult to order three courses and wine and get out of there for less than $300 — but there is another, more affordable way to experience this French restaurant. For a mere $25 each, you and a date can attend wine director Ramon Narvaez’s monthly wine class. This group of up to 14 enthusiasts meets in the private dining room on the third Thursday of the month. Over the course of an hour, you will be able to drink some tasty, high-end wines while munching on gougeres and chatting with fellow guests about the grapes.