Wynwood Design District

WYNWOOD/DESIGN DISTRICT

3841 NE 2nd Ave
Miami FL 33137
(305) 722-7100

Like an overlooked starlet, Wynwood has been ready for its close-up since the late developer prince Tony Goldman called it “the great pedestrian neighborhood of the future.” Gather up a group of friends for a day out here and you’ll enjoy a dense collection of art galleries, cafés, bars, and restaurants, as well as graffiti by some of the world’s most prominent artists. A few blocks’ stroll will get you to the urban oasis that is the Design District, where you’ll be immersed in a hyper-luxe brand of grit.

The foodies in your crew will appreciate Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, one of Miami’s best restaurants, where you’ll dig into treats like oven-roasted yellowjack and maple pecan pie with crème fraîche sherbet. Your fashionista friends can soothe their red soles at Christian Louboutin. Interior designers of both the amateur and professional bent can kick back on a fabulous Kartell kouch while admiring the well-heeled design fanatics sashaying past the store. You’ll have plenty to talk about, as the neighborhood is all about creative—and chic—uses of urban space. The day isn’t even half over yet. Cartier’s massive store in the Design District is attracting a spate of high-end cousins, including Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Revel in the luxury while your entire crew feels glamorous. That’s just one of the side effects of a day spent in Miami’s newest hotbed of hauteness.

– See more at Love This City
 

 

Photograph by Janie Coffey
Edited by BlackBook

Maison Premiere

MAISON PREMIERE

298 Bedford Ave New York NY11211

347-335-0446

For your next high-energy date night, seek out the oyster and absinthe scene at Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere. Right from the start you’ll feel like you’re in on a secret, as the entrance is understated and barely marked. Inside, overhead fans and vintage décor provide a little time-travel thrill, as you dig shades of fin de siècle French Quarter. You may want to dress a little smarter than usual, at least to keep up with the staff, who pride themselves on their retro style. There are dining room and bar options, on top of a leafy garden in back. Either way, you and your sweetheart will feed off the knowing crowd as you journey through the house’s thirty-strong oyster list, recalling fond beach memories as you decide between Bluepoints and Wellfleets. If the absinthe fountain in front puts you in the mood for cocktailing, you’re in the right place. You’ll find New York’s deepest list here, and absinthe has rarely been known to undercut a night of romance. Dinner won’t weigh you down, as the newly expanded kitchen serves the likes of chilled seafood and lobster curry. Save a little room for a dessert like pear pain perdu with fig and sherry, and be sure to offer your sweetheart the first bite.

– See more at Love This City
 

 
Photograph by fiat.luxury
Edited by BlackBook

Stans Doughtnuts

STAN’S DOUGHNUTS

10948 Weyburn Ave
Los Angeles CA 90024
(310) 208-8660

The first thing you need to know is that at Stan’s, there’s no wrong way to spell the name of its iconic specialty. Depending on where you look, you’ll see both “Stan’s Donuts” and “Stan’s Doughnuts,” and they’re both right. However you choose to spell it, one thing’s consistent at this beloved Westwood bakery: the donuts are some of the most decadent, delightful, and delicious you’ve ever had in your life. The moment you approach this modest white-walled shop, you’ll see why it’s been a favorite of students from nearby UCLA since it opened in 1965: it’s brimming with hundreds of scrumptious jelly, custard, and chocolate temptations. But you don’t have to be in academia to appreciate these super donuts, just drop by on your next outing with friends and indulge.

Hit the treadmill in the morning, because you won’t want to stop at just one of these sweet fried delights, and neither will your pals. Be generous and pass along a piece of your maple bar to your crew. Hopefully they’ll return the favor by offering a taste of Stan’s famous blueberry crisp. If not, buy a peanut butter and fresh banana doughnut—topped with chocolate chips—and slowly eat the whole thing in front of them. Stan’s is open until midnight, so you don’t have to rush to get here if dinner runs late. And if you need something to dunk in your morning coffee, they’ll be ready for you at 5am the next morning. Diving into one of these delicious pastries makes you feel like a kid again—all the more reason why Stan’s is such a great place to indulge in as an adult.

– See more at Love This City
 

 

Photograph by Manda_Wong
Edited by BlackBook

Recette – Date Night in NYC

RECETTE

328 W 12th St
New York NY 10014
(212) 414-3000

For a youthful date night, head to chef Jesse Schenker’s buzzing West Village haunt Recette, an upbeat spot with ‘90s music on the stereo and an eclectic mix of locals and wandering foodies occupying the tables. Your evening will feel intimate, though, thanks to flickering candles and a warm staff that seems to anticipate your every need. The people-watching here is top-notch, and once you and your date have finished constructing back-stories for your fellow diners, take in the sidewalk scene from massive windows while feeling cozy in your own Parisian hideaway. The name is French for recipe, and you’ll enjoy sampling a range of the kitchen’s expertise thanks to a menu built for sharing. Chef Schenker is young and innovative, as seen in his Iron Chef stint, and you’ll have plenty to talk about as you dig into cod fritters with lamb sausage and curry and quail stuffed with cornbread and chicken hearts. Being a French spot, the wine list is appropriately deep, but first warm up with a cocktail from a list that offers clever variations on classic recipes, like cinnamon-and-fig-infused vermouth in a Manhattan. At dessert you’ll imagine yourselves at a haute campfire, savoring s’mores made with burnt marshmallow, graham cracker ice cream, and chocolate ganache spiked with cayenne. It’s a perfectly cheeky note to cap off a night of approachable avant-garde cuisine.

– See more at Love This City

Photograph by Krista
Edited by BlackBook

Blackbird – Romance Takes Flight

BLACKBIRD

619 W Randolph St
Chicago IL 60661
(312) 715-0708

Your first date was coffee. Your second was a lighthearted brunch. Now that you’re getting along grand, it’s time to step it up for date number three. Here’s a tip: Blackbird, on the Near West Side, soars ahead of its competition as Chicago’s ideal date spot for burgeoning couples—especially those fond of fine dining. The scene is low-pretense, so you won’t overwhelm your companion by going overboard with the romantic regalia, but it’s not too casual either, so you can’t be accused of being a cheapskate. Instead, the clean, streamlined interior will have you feeling sharp, modern, and excited for what’s to come. Order the tasting menu for two and unwind for a few hours as you learn more about one another. You’ll get familiar with each other’s tastes as you navigate delicious courses made with local, seasonal ingredients. Enjoy the adventure of trying something you’ve never had before, like the oxalis greens that come with the rye berries and lemon of a steak tartare. The meal culminates in a magnificent trio of cheeses, sorbet, and pastries that will seal the deal, in case there was any wavering. For drinks, there are both wine and cocktail pairings. Be adventurous and go for the latter. The bartender will work up tipples just as inspiring as the food—but remember to use your best judgment if you want date number four.

– See more at Love This City

Photograph by T.Tseng
Edited by BlackBook

Umami Burger – Savory Selections

UMAMI BURGER

1520 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90028
(323) 469-3100

Of the five basic tastes, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty are easy to understand. The fifth taste, umami—a pleasant, savory taste found in such foods as mushrooms, ketchup, and soy sauce—is a bit harder to nail down. It’s best, then, to experience it from the experts at Umami Burger, a legendary burger joint with locations all over Los Angeles. For your next night out with friends, bring the gang to the Hollywood location for a round of burgers unlike any you’ve experienced before. You’ll find plenty of options on the menu, but first-timers should start off with the namesake umami burger, which comes with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, and umami ketchup. One bite and you’ll know why Angelenos swear by the place: an explosion of delightful flavors, each complementing the other, compels you to take another bite, and another, until it’s all gone and you’re left wondering what happened. Convince one of your friends to get the truffle burger, with house-made truffle cheese, and another to go for the fiery hatch burger, piled high with four types of green chiles, just so you can have a bite. You can always return the favor with a round of craft beers from the bar, or, better yet, an “adult soda” like their blend of vanilla vodka, cream soda, and orange juice. You can’t go home after a feast like this, so when dinner’s over, head over to the nearby Hotel Café to dance the night away to music from your next favorite band.

– See more at Love this City

Photograph by Yogma
Edited by BlackBook

Osteria via Stato – Canoodle with Noodles

OSTERIA VIA STATO

620 N State St Chicago IL60654

(312) 642-8450

When it comes to delicious Italian cuisine in Chicago, there’s plenty of high and low end, but Osteria Via Stato owns the middle–in the most satisfying of ways. Prime for a romantic date night out, this intimate River North restaurant’s setting aims to get you all lovey-dovey as soon as you get situated at your two-top, and it comes at a price that won’t leave you gasping for air. Try to grab one of the corner tables, perfect for hiding out and making eyes at each other all night. Downtempo tunes and flickering candles add to the vibe, and the waiters are skilled in the art of great timing—just in case you have an important question you need to ask your significant other. Just note that this is not typical southern Italian red sauce and pasta territory. Instead, you’ll savor fine northern-influenced fare designed for sharing. Lean in close for antipasti like mini veal meatballs, or house-marinated olives with orange and rosemary. Pastas come in half-portions, so you can sample the goods without getting weighed down. For main courses, you’ll dig in to thoughtful combinations like salmon with heirloom tomatoes and fennel pollen, or a hearty rib-eye with aged balsamic. After dinner, head to the adjacent Pizzeria Via Stato bar for a nightcap. It’s more of the same, but you’ll get to snuggle closer as you sip on Italian-focused cocktails, beer, or wine.

– See more at Love This City

Photograph by Jonas Foyn Therkelsen
Edited byBlackBook

Buddha’s Belly – Moments of Zen

BUDDHA’S BELLY

205 Broadway
Santa Monica CA 90401
(310) 458-2500

There are so many things that can happen to you during the workday to throw your energy out of whack. After a stressful shift, create some harmony within by heading to Buddha’s Belly in Santa Monica for happy hour. Invite your favorite coworkers for a meeting of the minds, promising them that this get-together will be strictly off the clock. Buddha’s feng shui will lift your spirits with its careful, sophisticated design, while tasty temptations take the edge off growling stomachs. When you’re hanging out with friends, it’s always fun to get starters you can dip, and the spring rolls with zesty chili sauce here won’t let you down. Sweet potato fries are some of the best in town, and just right for sharing. Look beyond bites and you’ll find the main attractions here: one-of-a-kind cocktails. The house’s signature lychee martini, made with vodka, pineapple, and lemon, will bring balance to your chi. The Zen Garden’s gin, elderberry, and sweet basil will relax your mind and wipe away the irritations of the office. Before you wrap up the night, take a few minutes to bond over chocolate fondue. You’ll release “happiness hormones” when you dip (once again, the fun of dipping) strawberry, banana, and cheesecake into dark, scrumptious liquid chocolate. No matter how difficult your day was, you can always find an hour of happy at Buddha’s Belly.

– See more at Love This City

Photograph by Andrew Turner
Edited by BlackBook

Louro – Monday Supper

LOURO

42 W 10th St
New York NY 10011
(212) 206-0606

Chef David Santos made his name with an underground dining club on Roosevelt Island, and he’s kept the tradition alive after making the jump to the West Village. For your next date, check out Louro, which is never more intriguing than on a Monday night “Nossa Messa” theme dinner. Step into the crisp, clean space and you’ll be feeling comfortable and cosmopolitan right off. Marble, leather, and whitewashed brick set a warm frame for the kitchen’s creativity. You and your date will have plenty to talk about as you explore the night’s theme. Maybe it’s a celebration of oysters, or black and white truffles, or spring lamb. Lean back and luxuriate in a slow-paced feast. Homemade bread gets things going, followed by course after course of inspired cuisine, from the likes of lobster lasagna to braised suckling pig. Show off your sommelier skills by bringing along a complementary vintage—in classic supper club fashion, it’s BYOB here. Not that you can’t trust in the bar’s expertise: a couple of Hemingway Royale cocktails, with rum, citrus, and sparkling wine, will amplify the vivacious mood. Save a little room for dessert, something rich like a dark-chocolate brownie with espresso ice cream, and marvel how in New York you can find serious romance even on a Monday night.

– See more at Love This City

Photograph by goodiesfirst
Edited by BlackBook