Seems to me that dating on the cheap, which is far different than a cheap date, actually requires more thought, more research and a willingness to have fun that is not wholly dependent upon alcohol. Not only that but it accomplishes something that I think is very cool: it shows a lot about the person who planned the date. It lets someone see how creative you are, what interests you and what secrets you know about the city in which you live. So yes, you can impress your lady or gentleman by taking them to a fancy restaurant overlooking the water. But when it comes to dating, especially in LA, that's a little ho-hum compared to what probably would cost you a fraction of the price.
|Have a drink by the pool at Hotel Figueroa|
To begin, let's start with the egg. Eventually we'll get to the chicken.
Downtown LA, depending where you are, can be pure sexy. I truly believe this. If a dinner date is what you had in mind, there are a bunch of places that won't break the bank. I'm a huge fan of Mo-chica, an outstanding Peruvian restaurant on 7th between Grand and Olive, that has been written up on just about every best list LA has to offer. I recommend splitting one of their ceviches (like the Albacore for $14). Entrees are usually 14 or 15 bucks each and the quality could easily be found at any fancy dancy restaurant anywhere in the world. Not the choices though - the menu is outrageously unique and particular to the chef and owner Ricardo Zarate. This here is authentic and a true gem of the city.
I think fun can also be had going to Wurstkuche and The Pie Hole for a 1-2 punch.
Once you're done with dinner, you might want to get some fresh air, walk across the street, and dig on some pie. The Pie Hole, open until 11, has great pie and coffee. Mmmm... pie and coffee. Sweet pie slices are 6 and under. And just so you know, The Pie Hole also serves savory pies. Those cost 6.75 or less. So, if sausage ain't your thing, make it pie for dinner. Frankly I see this restaurant as a win-win situation.
Over on Fig, you can pop into Colori.
Afterwards, the Hotel Fig really isn't that far away. Stop by for a nightcap. I do think this is one of the more romantic hotels in the city with the lights, the pool, the Moroccan design...
For things that have NOTHING to do with eating and drinking...
During the daytime, it might be fun to go window shopping on Olvera Street, see what's what. Get a taste of old LA.
When it gets nice and cold outside - December? - think about iceskating in Pershing Square.
|Carlos & Ellen, Pershing Square, on a date|
Maybe afterwards, to soothe all those sore muscles from the ice, how 'bout getting a couple's massage?
So how about something for free? If you think ahead or happen to be reading this the 2nd Thursday of whatever month you're in...
|The Last Bookstore, 2nd Floor, Art Walk|
|Holding hands, looking at art. There ain't nothin wrong with that.|
|My husband in front of The Nickel Diner. Photo by Carlos Michel.|
Next stop, Echo Park.
Mo-chica is at 514 W. 7th Street, LA, CA 90014. 213-622-3744. If you have a KCRW card, you get %15 off (excluding alcohol).
Wurstkuche is at 800 East 3rd Street, LA, CA 90013. 213-687-4444. If you have a KCRW card, you get 15% off (including alcohol).
The Pie Hole is at 714 Traction Ave., LA, 90013. 213-537-0015.
Colori Kitchen is at 429 West 8th Street and 800 Figueroa Street, LA, CA, 90014.
Figueroa Hotel is at 939 South Figueroa Street, LA, CA 90015. 213-627-8971.
Olvera Street is about 2 blocks from City Hall.
Pershing Square is at 532 South Olive Street, LA, CA 90013.
Pho Siam is at 1525 Pizarro Street, LA, CA 90026. Call to book an appointment at 213-484-8484.
LA Downtown Artwalk's website
Big Man Bakes is at 413 South Main Street, LA, CA 90013. 213-617-9100.
Nickel Diner is at 524 South Main Street, LA, CA 90013. 213-623-8301.
Parking downtown can be a bit of a pain in the butt. You can though drive around for lots and probably stumble upon a decent price. If possible, think of taking the Metro line. Check HERE for more information.