Illustrations by Mike Lindsay
*What could be more romantic than a picnic at City Creek Canyon? We recommend a tin foil dinner (maybe potatoes, onions, summer squash and the non-meat of your choice: tofu or seitan are a great choice smothered in tahini, rosemary and garlic) cooked in a bonfire pit while you watch the sun set on the city. You may also want to keep in mind that if you choose to picnic above the ranger station a drop (or three) of wine in a water bottle may go undetected.
*Take your date to volunteer at the Humane Society of Utah. You can bond while sharing some love and compassion with poor, homeless pets. It’s challenging for vegans to eat out, but there are many great vegan restaurants in Salt Lake City: Sages, Oasis, Vertical Diner and Omar’s Rawtopia to name a few. After a nice meal go rent Food Inc. or some other such movie, and make some popcorn on the stove- be sure to cover it in nutritional yeast for some extra vitamins.
*You don’t have to be a billionaire to be an elitist, and being an elitist doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a snob—all you need is an appreciation for the finer things in life and a substantial bank account that sets you apart from everyone else. Which is why going to Park City and staying at The Hotel Park City for a Spa retreat and dinner is about as posh as you can get. Stay at the hotel and eat award winning steaks or go into town for some French cuisine at Jean Louis and stroll through the streets window shopping for the perfect gift. If you need to get out, grab a bottle and head to Deer Valley and listen to the Utah Symphony.
*In Salt Lake City the elitist can stay at The Hotel Monaco and discuss their latest portfolios or art acquisition over a glass of Dom Perignon and a gourmet dinner at the hotel restaurant, Bambara, which happens to be the best rated restaurant in town. Then do some shopping at the most magnificent elitist building in Salt Lake City: the new O.C. Tanner jewelry store, which offers Rolex time pieces and the finest cut diamond bracelets. If you’re early enough, get a quick drink at Kristauf’s Martini Bar or wine at Wild Grape Bistro before catching a romantic opera or ballet at a downtown theatre.
Cheap Bastard Dates
*The trick to being an effective cheap bastard is passing yourself off as a thrifty, sustainable spender who supports gender equality. Meet up at the Downtown library (so you won’t have to spend the gas money to pick her up). Tell her its because you don’t want to saturate the environment with harmful CO2. Ask her if she would prefer the Summer Concert Series (free concert at Pioneer Park); or one of the great movies at the library offered in their auditorium (also free). End the evening with samples from Whole Foods (free) or suggest a follow up date to visit to the downtown farmers market to sample the free items.
*Go thrifting for clothes at Pib’s Exchange or Uptown Cheapskate and model some cheap styles for each other. Get 1/2 off appetizers during happy hour at many restaurants or go into Alberto’s on a Tuesday for free Horchata (a delicious beverage). The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is free on the third Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. In every room or gallery pick the one item you would buy if you could, then take turns trying to guess what the other one picked. Check out some other great free or very cheap activities like the Bees baseball games $3 on Mondays with a coupon from Harmons, or the Brownbag lunch concert series in Galivan Plaza every Thursday. Also check NowPlayingUtah.com for a list of free events in Salt Lake City.
*Jolt yourself up! After you finish watching the latest episode of Jersey Shore, load up the car with your friends and crash any of the local coffee houses like The Coffee Garden or Nobrow Coffee. After amping up on caffeine, you can jet on over to The Big Deluxe Tattoo or Koi Piercing Studio for some body art. Better get some grub before the clubs open- load up on protein and carbs over at The Red Iquana or Barbacoa Mexican Grill before heading to Lumpy’s or The Sandbar. After you’re done grinding and dancing, head to Beto’s for that late night/early morning Breakfast with your fellow clubbers.
*If you like the Club because you love music then try going out to Kilbycourt. Yes, it’s some guys garage, but it’s an all-age underground rock and punk venue that attracts some pretty good acts. It’s such a small venue that you can actually meet the bands after the show. Come off like a real rockstar by inviting them to the Kava Root Cafe for an after-hours party that doesn’t really get going until 2am. It’s easy to sit drinking Kava and listening to reggae music until sunrise. Remember you didn’t really party unless you stayed up all night!
*Get your bike on! Enjoy an early morning ride on Park City’s Rail Trail, a 30-mile long trail that extends from the Prospector area of Park City down to Echo Junction along a former railroad route. Then hit Main Street for a well-deserved lunch at Wasatch Brewery. After lunch play some frisbee golf (hippie disc) and sit under some shade trees until it’s time to head back down the bike trail.
*For a playful date, tubing the Weber River on a blazing hot summer day is fun. You need two cars to shuttle. Put in at Henefer and take out at Taggart. For more date time together, stop along the way and share a packed picnic or have a bite to eat near the take out, at the Taggarts Grill. Back in Salt Lake City you can hold hands while checking out the Utah Museum of Natural History at the U. Memorialize the great day at the vintage photo-booth near the gift shop of the museum.
*Fore! Jump into the Beemer sporting your Khakis and Polos and head out to Park City and play a round of golf at the Park City Golf Course. After a round at the 19th hole, head to Main Street and try the sushi at The Flying Sumo, or Kobe beef at The River Horse Cafe. After dinner, take a stroll down Main Street to burn off dinner. If you want to head back to SLC, refuel with an espresso at Millcreek Roasters then head over to The Urban Lounge or The State Room to catch a live act until the wee hours. Your probably going to need some more sustenance, so hit up the Bay Leaf for breakfast before cruising home.
*Get an early start with some coffee and pastry at Sugar House Coffee and then head over to Details home furnishings to plan your future suburban home. Tennis anyone? It may not be Wimbledon or The US Open but there are plenty of courts around SLC, 18 to be exact. Try Liberty Park or 11th and M in the Avenues. If you like nature drive up the Emigration Canyon to Ruths Diner and munch on some of her homemade biscuits. Afterwards, take a drive up the canyon with the top down and radio blasting. If you still need to cap off the day, stop in at The Bayou for some cajun fare and be sure to wash down the road dust with one of their many beer selections while taking in some live jazz.
*You don’t have to be Mormon to enjoy the Temple grounds. It’s one of the most manicured immaculate gardens found anywhere– Temple Square and the sister missionaries love to visit. Next lunch at the Lion House, enjoy their awesome famous rolls. Then gaze at the reflecting pond as a new married couple exits about every 15 minutes. Talk of your future children, and discuss possible names—Emma or Lindsay perhaps or Conner or Shane.
*Also consider visiting the Manti Temple. It is second only to the Salt Lake City Temple. Share all your favorite scriptures from The Book of Mormon try to visit the Manti Temple in the summer to catch the Mormon Miracle Pageant and the awe inspiring natural creations in the Sanpete Valley. Manti also offers some good places for dinner such as the Carriage Restaurant at the historic Manti House Inn.
*Whuts up Ya’ll? Even Rednecks need luvin’ too! Pull on your coveralls and your very best t-shirt and head on down to the trout fishing ponds about an hour away on Route 40 to The Strawberry Reservoir. If you need a little more excitement you can take your special lady and go horse back riding at the Rose Ranch on South Redwood Road or jump onto an ATV at Uinta Recreation (www.uintarecreation.com). On the way back to SLC, screech into SugarHouse, Kaisers, or Pat’s barbecue for some down home grub. And if you like guns, (any Redneck that don’t?) try polishing up your home defense skills at Doug’s Shoot ‘n Sports in Taylorsville.
*B…double E…double R…UN= a trip to Wendover, so why not make it a date? Driving through the salt flats is an experience itself and it’s definitely worth getting out of the car and walking around on them if you never have before. It’s especially romantic at night on the way home to get out and see the moon light reflecting on the white plains. Stop by Bonneville and catch a land-speed race on the flat alien terrain. In West Wendover there’s a strip of casino’s with lots of buffet dining options and entertainers like Ted Nugent (Aug. 21). It’s not Vegas, but it’s almost as classy.
*Strap on your Ipod and take your date on an ambient, non-walking tour of Temple Square, Downtown, and Gateway. The Magic Scooter company offers Segway rental and guided tours at www.magicscooter.com. This technologically advanced way to see the city will set you back $39.95 an hour, but walking is sooo outdated. While your on your Segway, be sure to zip over to the Apple store at Gateway, and check out the new Ipad. Next go home and play the Wii Beatles Rock Star. Impress your date with your prowess on the drums and your ability to talk with a cockney accent like Ringo.
*Take her to Cafe Niche for Coffee and discuss the all important question of what sci-fi movies you both love. Just save your love of Lord of the Rings for the second date. Then you can head down to The Salt Palace for the Annual Systems and Software Technology convention downtown, where thousands of fellow geeks flock every May to learn all about the virtual and non-virtual world we humans have to share. Cap it off with a stop to Black Cat Comics and Night Flight Comics for the latest comics and anime.
Married for 20 Years Dates
*With your matching shirts and shorts, you will be the talk of any place you visit. Make this a whole day activity and start with Sunday Brunch at the Market Street Grill: Eggs Benedict and Mimosas. Next head up to Ensign Peak, which is a short distance from downtown and has some very interesting history, as well as a great view of downtown Salt Lake City. Renew your love with a kiss on the top. Next go rent a tandem bicycle and bike up Millcreek Canyon to Log Haven for a nice romantic dinner. Celebrate your aniversary at the Anniversary Inn bed and breakfast on historic South Temple.
*With all the stress of family and careers, you may be satisfied to just get in the car, and sit in your driveway away from the responsibilities. But rev-up that engine and go enjoy a summer night with a date at the Redwood Drive-in. Lounging in the back of your SUV on blankets and pillows, eating take-out sushi and watching a flick in the open air is the way to go. Pack a boombox for sound. If you don’t have a hatchback or pick-up, you can take an air mattress or a couple of lawn chairs to sit on.