What makes a good date night? Let me be honest: in my younger and more arrogant days, the phrase “date night” would probably make me smirk. I thought date night sounded corny and unadventurous, something to be penciled into your schedule like a dentist appointment.
These days, I am singing a new song. I have a loose interpretation of date night, because sometimes even walking the dogs or grabbing some take-out can feel like an outing to me. Date night is simple for us: it usually involves food, because Dave and I have bonded over the years eating, cooking, daring each other to eat exotic ingredients, and wandering our city’s Asian and Mexican markets. We have an ever-growing list of restaurants to check out and recipes to make.
After years of writing and thinking about food, I still get a shiver of anticipation when a server sets down a beautifully plated dish before me. And it is so much fun to eat out with Dave, who shares my obsession for eating. He is a more adventurous eater and cook than I am, which is a wonderful thing to have in a partner.
Now, Postino in Phoenix is no secret. The popular wine cafe has four locations in Phoenix, and it’s become a go-to destination for happy hours, dinner with friends, oenophiles (the wine list carries exclusives not available at other cafes around town), and yes, couples seeking the glow of candlelight.
Postino is classic modern date night. There are votives flickering on the tables, gorgeous fresh flower bouquets spilling over on the hostess stand, walls of wine bottles, and small plates that are easy to nibble on in between sips. The ambiance is breezy and nice, never stuffy. There is a steady and pleasant din of music and chatter that fills the background without overpowering conversation.
And the food? You won’t find exotic eats here, but simple food done well is exquisite. Think a butcher block arranged with meats, cheeses, creamy hummus made from Tuscan beans, nuts, and plump salty olives. One bite complements the other, salty and crunchy followed by creamy and savory. The wine list is approachable, so if you’re like me and just starting to learn more about wine, Postino makes it easy to pick out a glass or bottle without getting overwhelmed with options.
I don’t think you need to eat with another person to enjoy eating out. Take yourself out on a date. In my single days, I enjoyed long meals with myself, and took a lot of pleasure in that particular glow that comes from drawing out the meal, sipping on something warm (or cold), people-watching and simply being out in the world.
5144 N Central Ave