Date Night: Halsted Street
Conveniently located a mere stone's throw from three train stops, the lively one-mile stretch along Halsted Street, between North Avenue and Fullerton Parkway, is ripe for young lovers, so grab your S.O. and head to your new favorite under-the-radar gastronomic playground.
Make it a day-to-night date. Start mid-afternoon with a cheap thrill: $2 pinxtos and a half-pitcher of cava sangria ($18) on Café Ba-Ba-Reeba's all-weather patio. May we suggest the chorizo-wrapped dates stuffed with cheese ($2)? Just feels apropos.
After you've worked up a bit of a buzz, head to the Steppenwolf Theatre for a matinee. Shows rotate frequently, so read up online about the latest and greatest.
When the curtain drops, cozy up at the new and improved (also, sexy, dark and alluring) Boka for an intimate meal created by chef-partner Lee Wolen. Discuss the show you saw over roasted broccoli ($12), grilled Spanish octopus ($16) and exquisite roasted chicken with brioche injected beneath the crisp skin ($27). If you're giddy enough to want a memento from the date, snap a quick couple's selfie in front of the lush living wall.
Don't want the evening to end? Take a lazy stroll through Oz Park (at Halsted and Webster), then make a quick stop at Taco Joint for a dessert fix à la churro donuts drenched in chocolate-hibiscus sauce ($3) or house-made flan ($3).
End the night with a satisfyingly cheap nightcap at Marquee Lounge, a laid-back, no-frills neighborhood watering hole with a great jukebox. Challenge your date to a friendly game of pool.
Hopefully, one way or another, you'll score.
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