Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael Norman
Winter didn’t spend much time in the Bay Area this year, which means that Spring Fever has set in early, and with a vengeance. With summer wedding season ahead and spring BBQs and baseball games just around the corner, we have our hands full at Linx with eligible singles looking for their own “plus one” to attend all of life’s big (and small) events. At Linx, we believe that setting the tone for a good first date is one of the most important steps in developing a great relationship. Along with being open, positive, and confident when meeting someone for the first time, it can also be useful to step outside of your comfort zone, even if just a little bit.
We all have the tendency to want to impress others with things we already know and places we’ve already been, but diving into a new experience together can be very rewarding… and revealing. Not only does it put the two of you on equal footing, but it also removes the need to worry about how he or she responds to your favorite places and favorite foods. Building a relationship is about finding things that work for both of you, not just trying to fit another person into the already-existing patterns of your life. So for your next first date, try a new neighborhood, a new restaurant, a new cuisine… or get really crazy and try all three!
To give you some ideas, here are five great places in five different peninsula towns where you can get Linxed with good food and great company!
Iberia, Menlo Park
Step out of the Bay Area and into Barcelona with a trip to Iberia in Menlo Park. We recommend the coziness of the bar, where the tall and intimate booths make it easy to focus on getting to know your date. No matter what sort of mood you’re in, the extensive tapas menu is almost guaranteed to have something that suits your appetite. Amy loves sending people into the bar area near the fireplace to sit in the comfy club chairs and get into relaxation mode with a pitcher of Iberia’s delicious sangria and bite-size tapas.
Iberia also offers some fabulous sounding Spring cooking classes such as learning how to make paella while enjoying tapas, sangria, cooking, eating, and lively discussions with your fellow students. These classes really sound great! Sign up…educate yourself, break away from the daily grind, and mingle with the attendees. You just never know who you’ll meet while cooking hands-on and embracing everything about Andalucia Spanish cuisine (Andalucia is the southernmost region of Spain and where Iberia Chef Jose Luis was born.)
La Bodeguita del Medio, Palo Alto
Take a break from University and visit California Avenue to spice up your dining options in Palo Alto. While new establishments are popping up all over the place on this street, La Bodeguita has been a mainstay for many years, serving Cuban inspired cuisine since 1997. It may also be the only restaurant in town that actually encourages you to finish off your evening with a cigar.
Los Altos Grill, Los Altos
You may be a little bit shocked the first time you walk into this suburban staple; it’s all log cabin from the outside, but the inside includes live music, an even livelier bar scene, and a 30+ crowd that’s typically dressed for a good time. The raised seating and spacious booths make it easy to focus on your date, but the crowd will give the two of you plenty to talk about.
We recommend kicking the night off with their delicious “dip duo” which is a great appetizer for two (a generous scoop of guacamole, side of cheese dip with pimentos sandwiched between warm torilla chips), the macho salad (warm roasted chicken mixed with goat cheese, homemade cornbread croutons, dates, avocado, with a tangy vinaigrette) and “the best” homemade Oreo cookie ice cream dessert- frankly the banana pie is amazing- ok everything is really good. Hungry yet? 😉 For those who don’t have a date- no worries at Los Altos Grill. This place is packed with an attractive set of eligible men and women eating and drinking solo at the bar. Find a bar stool and wedge yourself into a hoppin’ and friendly bar scene.
Rangoon Ruby, San Carlos
You may already be familiar with their Palo Alto location, but get adventurous and take a drive to San Carlos for a night of Burmese food at Rangoon Ruby. If you haven’t been, downtown San Carlos is a delightful surprise on spring and summer evenings, with plenty of restaurants offering seating on the extra wide sidewalks, and a Thursday night farmers’ market that holds its own on the local scene.
Vesta, Redwood City
Redwood City continues to develop as a destination for good restaurants and solid ambiance, and remains the only local downtown to support a (national) movie theater chain. With sleek decor, a healthy wine list, and a collection of small plates and inventive wood-fired pizzas, it’s a great place to raise a toast and break the ice on a first date.