Great Dates

February 1, 2006 by  
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It’s February again, which, of course, demands the perfect date for Valentine’s Day. Relax: Houston offers up a plethora of options for creative dates. With a little thought and effort (and a bit of trusty advice from the dating experts at H Texas), you can definitely make this holiday one to remember.

Funky fun
Add a bit o’ funk to the relationship. Start your date at the Art Car Museum, and experience the unique phenomenon that has taken over Houston – art cars. From here, take the scenic route to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. This outstanding museum will be hosting the “Perspectives 149: It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll? exhibit. Peruse the 100-plus candid photos of musical icons, such as Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground. Next, cruise over to Alabama Ice House for an ice-cold beer. A laid-back find, this neighborhood favorite offers great people watching and a quick game of horseshoes. Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Blvd., (713) 861-5526, www.artcarmuseum.com; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose, (713) 284-8250, www.camh.org; Alabama Ice House, 1919 Alabama, (713) 528-6874

Kiss the cook
Fun for all, Central Market is the perfect place to take your dream date for some hands-on cooking classes. There are a number of Cooking for Couples classes, as well as an interesting Intro to Red Wine class, but our ultimate pick is Dinner with Aphrodite. Presenting a sensual menu of lobster, champagne, chocolate and more (Sorry, no oysters!), this is the place for couples that are trying to improve their kitchen prowess. Afterward, walk through the aisles of this foodie paradise, and pick out some ingredients for a future meal at home. Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, (713) 993-9860

Picnic in the park
Start your day at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Perceptions of beautiful and engaging art are the perfect conversation starters – and not a bad way to share your feelings. Be sure to visit the “Two Women Look West: Photographs of King Ranch by Helen C. Kleberg and Toni Frissell” exhibit. Next, walk over to Hermann Park for a picnic along the lake. (Catering your lunch from eatZi’s or another prepared meal hot spot is a great idea, too.) Pack a bottle of wine and some glasses, and enjoy each other’s company. MFAH, 1001 Bissonnet, (713) 639-7300, www.mfah.org; Hermann Park, www.hermannpark.org; eatZi’s, 1702 Post Oak Blvd., (713) 629-6003

Classic romance
Take your love to Spindletop in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston for a drink and some spectacular views of the city. The only rotating restaurant/bar in Space City, USA, sunset at Spindletop adds a decadent aspect to any evening. Next, pop over to 17 in the Alden Houston Hotel. With Executive Chef Ryan Pera holding the culinary reins here now, this exquisite eatery continues to produce some of the best meals in the city. Whisk your date over to the theater district for the closing night of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut,” performed by the highly heralded Houston Grand Opera on Saturday, Feb. 11. Spindletop, 1200 Louisiana, (713) 646-6999; 17, Alden Houston, 1117 Prairie, (832) 200-8800; Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Theater Center, (713) 228-OPERA, www.houstongrandopera.org

Taste of Texas
Think Napa Valley – but Houston style. Craft your own tour of Houston wines. Rent a limo to add a bit of romance (and safety), and pop into some of the city’s best wine bars for a flight of fancy. Start off at the Wine Bucket. A boutique and wine bar, this spot offers a bit more diversion to get your conversation rolling. Next, stop in at Cova. Not only can you sip some extraordinary vino, but you can also indulge in some amazing hors d’oeuvres. Last on the tour is La Carafe. An edifice that is more than a century old, this wine bar serves up character, as well as a romantic atmosphere. Whether you sit on the balcony to soak up the views of downtown or put a couple of bucks in the jukebox downstairs, you won’t be disappointed. Wine Bucket Boutique &Bar, 2311 Alabama, (713) 942-9463; Cova, 5600 Kirby, (713) 838-0700; La Carafe, 813 Congress, (713) 229-9399

History in the making
For the more cerebral (or proud!) couples, a visit to the Battleship TEXAS and the San Jacinto Monument and Museum is the best choice. Here, you can experience history at the site of the last war for Texas’ independence from Mexico, smooch along the vast reflection pool, view the tallest war monument in the United States and stroll the decks of one of the greatest battleships in history. All along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, you’ll be amazed by the glory of Texas history right in your backyard. Finish your date with a drive to the Santa Anna capture site. 3523 Battleground Road, State Hwy. 134, LaPorte, (281) 479-2531, www.sanjacinto-museum.org H

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