Food & fun: 7 great places to celebrate date night

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August is Romance Awareness Month

February may be Valentine’s Day, but August is an entire month earmarked to celebrate love.

Romance Awareness Month during August, or National Couple’s Day on Aug. 18, is a perfect time to surprise your significant other with a food and drink love potion for date night.

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Any relationship expert will tell you that shaking things up, spicing things up and getting out of routines is important when it comes to romance.

Everyone wants to feel special, and planning something different for an out of the blue “just because I love you” treat is sure to be a hit.

For me there’s nothing better than a special afternoon that bleeds into a special evening, and because I love both through my heart and stomach, the meal is key.

Here are a few favorite destinations of mine with special meal ideas as well as other activities to make your special someone feel even more special.

And don’t forget — for a good dining game plan, a reservation is an absolute must.

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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

AUSTIN LANDING

Eat at: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, 3500 Rigby Road, Miami Twp., (937) 865-9355

Order up: Slow roasted prime rib (10 oz. $26.25, 14 oz. $33.50, 18 oz. $40.75) encrusted with fresh herbs and pepper, hand-carved and served with homemade au jus and creamy horseradish sauce. There’s limited availability on this, but it’s worth it if they have it. Feeling bubbly? They have added Poema Cava Brut Summer Cocktails to their menu, a Diamond Spritz that’s a blend of their Double Black Diamond Martini with simple syrup and Poema Cava Brut, served on the rocks and a Flirtini made with Cruzan Mango Rum, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice and Poema Cava Brut Rose, served up ($11).

While you’re there: Grab an appetizer and drink at the patio at Ele Bistro and Wine Bar or at the patio at Chuy’s. Do a little shopping at Field & Stream, Home Goods, Kohl’s and TJ Maxx — even better when the shopping comes with some surprise money to buy something with. See a movie at Cinepolis.

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Pasha Grill, a restaurant at The Greene

Pasha Grill, a restaurant at The Greene

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Pasha Grill, a restaurant at The Greene

THE GREENE

Eat at: Pasha Grill, 72 Plum St., The Greene, Beavercreek, (937) 429-9000 or Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, 4432 Walnut St., Beavercreek (937) 320-9548

Order up: Pasha has my favorite patio at The Greene and some of my favorite heart-healthy food, plus it’s moderately priced. But if you are going to go big, Fleming’s is where it’s at. Their chilled seafood tower for $120 is pricy, but the ahi tuna poke, shrimp cocktail and north Atlantic lobster tails are sure to impress. Finish with lobster bisque ($15) and a salad and split a dessert and you have a winner in my book.

While you’re there: Get there early for a walk and some hand-holding and look for a place to duck in for a cocktail. There are tons of stores to consider buying a little or big gift at while shopping and there’s always the option for a movie later if you want to keep the evening going.

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Watermark

Credit: Watermark Restaurant Facebook

Watermark

Credit: Watermark Restaurant Facebook

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Watermark

Credit: Watermark Restaurant Facebook

Credit: Watermark Restaurant Facebook

MIAMISBURG

Eat at: Watermark, 20 S. First St., Miamisburg; (937) 802-0891

Order up: Right now they are featuring Fried Green Tomatoes ($13.95) on the menu, so that’s a definite draw. Other than that, it depends on the kind of date night you are having — if it’s active with a lot of biking, then burgers at the bar. If it’s dressy and special the crab cakes ($23.95) or meatloaf Wellington ($26.95) might be the answer.

While you’re there: Consider bringing bikes and doing some biking through town, along the river. It’s a nice ride from downtown if you want to bike there for an early dinner, bike back and then grab some drinks in the Oregon District. Shop Grandpa Joe’s candy shop for some sweets and nostalgia, wander through the Miamisburg Art Gallery and Miamisburg Craft Mall and New 2 U Vinyl and Vintage. It’s a cute little downtown to explore.

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Jay's Seafood

Credit: Jim Witmer

Jay's Seafood

Credit: Jim Witmer

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Jay's Seafood

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

THE OREGON DISTRICT IN DAYTON

Eat at: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano, 824 E. Fifth St., (937) 222-0204 or Salar Restaurant and Lounge, 400-410 E. Fifth St., (937) 203-3999 or Jay’s Seafood Restaurant, 225 E. Sixth St., (937) 222-2892 or Lily’s Bistro, 329 E. Fifth St., (937) 723-7637 or Roost Modern Italian, 524 E. 5th St., (937) 222-3100

Order up: The restaurant scene in the Oregon District is rich with great options that will tempt and delight. You won’t find any issue finding something good to eat on any of these menus.

While you’re there: Walk and talk and shop and walk and drink and look and laugh and talk and walk the neighborhood looking at homes and shop and find a patio and walk and stop and talk to friends and kiss and enjoy.

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Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City is a romantic restaurant any time of day. Pictured is the quiche. CONTRIBUTED/E.L. HUBBARD

Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City is a romantic restaurant any time of day. Pictured is the quiche. CONTRIBUTED/E.L. HUBBARD

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Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City is a romantic restaurant any time of day. Pictured is the quiche. CONTRIBUTED/E.L. HUBBARD

TIPP CITY

Eat at: Coldwater Café, 19 E. Main St., Tipp City; (937) 667-0007

Order up: This restaurant in downtown Tipp City is one of my favorites. It serves up perfectly executed, creative dishes in a charming atmosphere — and is definitely one of the most romantic restaurants in the region. I love their crispy Brussels sprouts ($11.95) mixed with roasted cashews, red bell peppers, chili sauce, toasted sesame seeds and eel sauce. For soup they currently have a Thai chicken coconut ($5.95) and a watermelon gazpacho ($6.95). The ostrich (39.95) that is hibiscus and habanero seasoned with brie whipped potatoes, sautéed baby bok choy and heirloom tomatoes, ancho-hibiscus barbeque, green tomato, cucumber and raspberry salsa and the pear gorgonzola ravioli ($25.95), tossed in brie cream with shallots, roasted pears, crispy pancetta, and spinach, topped with gorgonzola crumbles and fresh pear sound tempting as does the rest of the menu.

While you’re there: Go to Charleston Falls Preserve for a hike, check out the antique stores and do some shopping, grab a drink at Chaffee’s Brewhouse if you find yourself thirsty.

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The Birria, three Slow-Braised Beef with Guajillo Chilies, Oaxaca Cheese, Cilantro, Onion, Dipping Consommé.

The Birria, three Slow-Braised Beef with Guajillo Chilies, Oaxaca Cheese, Cilantro, Onion, Dipping Consommé.

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The Birria, three Slow-Braised Beef with Guajillo Chilies, Oaxaca Cheese, Cilantro, Onion, Dipping Consommé.

TROY

Eat at: Agave & Rye, 2 N. Market St., Troy; 937-741-8226

Order up: Birria tacos (3 for $12.75) and an appetizer buffet to share.

While you’re there: Go pick some fresh fruit and vegetables at Fulton Farms, head to Idle-Hour Ranch to look at some animals, drive over Eldean Covered Bridge north of the city. Built in 1860, the long truss bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s perfect for a selfie and a kiss. Grab coffee at one of the local coffee shops and do a little shopping. Surprise them by heading across the street to The Caroline for dessert and coffee or a night cap. The restaurant’s Triple Chocolate Cake ($7) with Bailey’s Irish Cream Ganache isn’t just delicious, it supports a good cause with $1 of each donated to the nonprofit Pink Ribbon Girls to support women with breast cancer.

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The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs was and is a pioneer in farm-to-table cuisine. Photo from Winds Cafe Facebook page

The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs was and is a pioneer in farm-to-table cuisine. Photo from Winds Cafe Facebook page

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The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs was and is a pioneer in farm-to-table cuisine. Photo from Winds Cafe Facebook page

YELLOW SPRINGS

Eat at: The Winds Cafe and Bakery 215 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, (937) 767-1144

Order up: Figs, Pigs and Goats ($13) made with first of the season figs, stuffed with fresh goat cheese and wrapped with Nueske’s bacon rubbed with cumin, black pepper and brown sugar. Broiled to tasty perfection until the bacon crisps, the goat cheese melts and the figs caramelize. Drizzled with Italian saba, a velvety syrup made from cooked grape must aged in wood barrels, this is a savory, decadent delight that tastes like love. Start with the Leo’s Bliss Version II bright, beautiful salad made with mixed greens, bright rows of chilled beets, green beans, pickled carrots and cucumbers dressed with roasted sherry-shallot vinaigrette. Garnished with a lemon aioli and a crunchy grain coated hard cooked egg. ($10)

While you’re there: Get some mini golf in at Young’s with an ice cream cone or sundae, do a little hiking and grab a beer at Yellow Springs Brewery or grab a seat and refreshment at the patio at Ye Olde Trail Tavern.

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