Mission: DIY date night

Reasons to leave your cozy couch this winter.
Cooking classes at The Local Epicurean are a way to get the creative juices flowing with a partner. Courtesy the Local Epicurean

Winter weather makes it easy to stay in and order takeout on date night. But if you’re willing to brave the cold to mix up your routine, we’ve got some date night ideas that just might make you leave that cozy couch behind.

Chefs kiss

Nestled in the heart of Eastown is The Local Epicurean — a destination for handmade cuisine of all kinds. Besides offering a vast selection of pastas, specialty items and other culinary accoutrements, The Local Epicurean hosts cooking classes that invite guests to channel their inner chef.

“The Local Epicurean is a handmade pasta company featuring a unique food and wine shop including handmade chocolates and cheese, a small café with lounge and 27 hands-on cooking classes with three-course meals,” owner Ryan Raredon said. “Our classes are very hands-on in a casual environment, and we supply everything, including the aprons.”

You may not be a savant in the kitchen, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try. The Local Epicurean welcomes all skill levels.

“No cooking experience is necessary, our hands-on classes are taught by experienced cooks who never leave your side during the class,” Raredon said. “You don’t need to bring anything but an appetite and curiosity. Cooking together for the first time? Have a glass of wine and relax in our kitchen.”

Whether you’re interested in learning how to make pasta from scratch or crafting custom gelato creations, there are tons of classes from which to choose.

“A unique and complete date night experience awaits you at The Local Epicurean with our large selection of menus featuring Dinner in Tuscany, Umbrian Steak Dinner or the Sicilian Shrimp Scampi class and dinner,” Raredon said. “Dinner in Tuscany is by far the most popular.”

The board game wall at House Rules Board Game Lounge is perfect for conversational dates. Courtesy David Sparks

Boardgames and Brews

Ready to take your date night to the next level? House Rules Board Game Lounge might be just what you’ve been looking for. Located across from Downtown Market, the board game bar is stocked with a range of games to explore and beverages to try.

“We offer a full bar featuring 20 draft options, wine and signature cocktails,” Nathan Murray, co-owner of House Rules Board Game Lounge, said. “We also have a 12-door cooler that offers even larger selections of ciders, mead, seltzers, stouts, IPAs and even several nonalcoholic options.”

If you’re not sure what to play, don’t worry. House Rules has a wide selection of board games to suit a variety of tastes, but Murray’s got a few suggestions.

“Patchwork is a light-strategy, two-player game where you compete to see who can stitch different patches onto their quilt most efficiently,” he said. “If you wanted something more collaborative, I would recommend The Mind. The object of this card game is to work with your partner to place cards in ascending order without communicating in any way. I like to call this the game of awkward staring, which would be very appropriate on date night.”

This story can be found in the March/April 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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