The ThursDater: Mobilize Your Dates

Hopefully you know this by now, but Hinge is a mobile app. If you’re like us, you’re feeling pretty mobile at every waking moment. Possibly even at not waking moments– like when you fall asleep every night to the fading light of your LED screen next to your pillow.

TomParksRec

And because so many of you are mobile-loving urbanites who are constantly in transit during your active hours, we’ve thought of something for you: how about having mobile dates? Not only will you get props for creativity, but you’ll also mask your crippling smartphone addiction with scenic distractions.

But choose your outlet wisely, fool!

MrT

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HEADghosttour

Haunted walking tours. You can hold hands if you get scared of the ghosts! And bonus: there’s safety in numbers when you wander past abandoned buildings that are probably crawling with crackheads, in the dark of night.

HEADsegwaySegway tours. If you have to ask, “why not?” you shouldn’t be allowed to suggest dates.

HEADcarriageCarriage Rides. A romantic, sentimental nod to ye olde days of your city, when the gents still wore top hats, the ladies still curtsied, and homeless orphans robbed you blind while you debated buying a satchel of parsnips.

HEADbusOpen-air bus rides. Your 19-year-old tour guide will attempt to point out significant historical sites, like the city’s original town hall (which is now a Chipotle), as well as which restaurant Ryan Gosling chose for brunch when he was in town a few months ago. Also perfect for when you feel like simultaneously having bus exhaust sift gently over your face, and zero control over pigeons crapping in your hair.

HEADcruiseBooze cruises. Remember how cool this was when you were home from college in the summer? Relive those glory days and climb aboard. Invite your date to join you in polishing off a flask of Sailor Jerry, and then talk about how your respective study abroad experiences changed your life until a makeout is imminent. Extra points if the cruise is Pirate themed.

HEADduckDuck Tours. While these (unfortunately) happen in many cities, they’re a particular breed of nonsense in Boston. Your exotic voyage will begin with traveling 12 miles an hour down a busy road, while angry locals lay on their horn as long as they feel is appropriately offensive. Then, your crude, amphibious vessel will enter the waters of Boston Harbor, while your guide (a 68 year-old former scrod fisherman from the Cape, who recently lost his pension) hoarsely shouts out regional landmarks and bad puns through a crackly microphone.

Also note: you’ll be crammed against droves of midwestern tourists (and their rowdy, screaming children), who will be taking pictures of floating garbage and wondering aloud if every single building you pass by is Harvard.

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So, those ideas should get you started off on the right foot, but be creative! And if you prefer to stay indoors, chewing a meal together over a conversation where your eyes glaze over every time one of your phones buzz, that’s cool too. Even though there isn’t THAT much time left in the summer and soon the icy death winds of cruel Father Winter will be choking the life out of your awesome tan/ the warm glow of summer that’s currently smiling upon you. But sure, stay inside.

winterIScoming

In any case, just make sure you play Hinge to find your date. Because regardless of your choice of activity, everything is infinitely more fun when you’re on a date with someone awesome you met through your friends.

PEACE OUT!

Hinge

The ThursDater: First Dates for Foodies

Hello, hungry people of Hinge! We like eating (almost) as much as we like great dates, so we brought in a pro to help you strategize your first food-focused romantic encounter! This week’s ThursDater is guest written by Lindsey Becker of The Date Dish. But we added the GIFs (obviously).

Congratulations! You scored your first date with an amazing match on Hinge! You’re thrilled, excited, already worried about what you’re going to wear, but the real question has yet to be answered: what are you going to do on your first date? We’ve all gotten to a point where going to restaurant after restaurant can wreak havoc on the spontaneity of dating.  You never know which place to go, it’s expensive, and bad service can absolutely ruin your night (“It’s not like we NEED bread, but I mean.. if it WAS here…”)

liz-lemon-eatingAnyway, for a first date, you want to make something that’s simple, looks great on a plate (no casseroles!) and is hard to screw up. Let’s face it, no matter how great of a cook you are, you’re going to be worrying about getting ready, making sure the apartment is clean, and texting your friends for advice until the minute he or she arrives. Keep it simple and quick for a first date so you can focus on having a good time with your hot new date.swedishchef

For this delightful little evening, I would recommend The Date Dish’s Chicken Milanese, which is a fancy Italian name for sexy fried chicken.  It takes all of 15 minutes, is budget-friendly, and pleases any palate. Crispy chicken cutlets topped with a fresh arugula salad and shaved Parmesan is a perfect date dish for a summer dinner.  Recipe and video are below.

OK, so we’ve got the first date down. But what if you’ve already been out on a few of dates, but still want to wow your new catch in the kitchen?  Well, I look at food in two categories, pre-date and post-date. Sometimes cooking post-date can be the best thing in the world for taking your relationship to the next level.  And by next level, I’m talking breakfast in bed– there is nothing more satisfying. Actually, of course there is, but today’s topic is food. So let’s get our minds out of the gutter and cook, shall we?

You want to make a dish that doesn’t make it look like you’re trying too hard but still says loud and clear that  you know what you’re doing.  So, we’re back to the morning after. An absolutely delicious brunch dish that everyone goes crazy over is my strawberry stuffed French toast with mascarpone cheese (basically Italian cream cheese).  Known as an aphrodisiac since the times of ancient Rome, the strawberry is the perfect fruit to feature in French toast.  It’s also in season right now! Lucky you and your date.  One bite of this and you may be staying for a while. (Recipe below!)

If you do in fact go out to dinner, please feel free to follow my Do’s and Don’ts below.

Ladies:

Do NOT…

  • Order the most expensive thing on the menu. Wait until the 4th or 5th date to get a sense of their budget before you go for the lobster and truffles.
  • Whip out your iPhone or camera to take pictures of the plated food. You don’t want to be “that girl” on the first date.

Do…

  • Let them choose the restaurant for the first date. If you come back with a better recommendation it might seriously deflate their self-confidence.
  • Offer to split the bill. Your date will almost always insist on treating you.  If they suggest splitting it on the first date, run away fast– they can only get cheaper from there.
  • Order an appetizer if they order one.  You will always want to have the same number of courses.  It is simply awkward if one person is eating while the other is just watching them.

Gentlemen: Do NOT…

  • Order a pricey entree without expecting your date to do the same. You will be guiding the menu decisions so make sure you’re comfortable with the bill.
  • Take home leftovers.  I don’t care how good your meal was, all asking for a to-go box does is make you look like a cheapo.

Do…

  • Suggest a restaurant.  If you are unsure about your date’s tastes, offer two selections and let them choose one.
  • Leave a good tip

Now, on to the recipes! Chicken Milanese

milanese

(original recipe post here)

Ingredients

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and thyme

2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups lightly packed arugula

2 oz. fresh Parmesan

Directions

  1. Using 3 wide shallow bowls, add the flour to one, the eggs to another and the panko bread crumbs to the third. Stir the dried herbs into the panko until evenly dispersed.
  2. Line a large cutting board with plastic wrap.  Place 2 chicken breasts on plastic wrap, a couple inches apart. Place another sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently flatten the chicken to 1/4-inch thick. Remove top plastic wrap and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly, and then dip into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess egg to drip off. Coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Place 1 chicken breast in the pan and cook until golden and crisp and just cooked through in the middle, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack set on a baking sheet and lightly tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast.
  4. Whisk the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil together to blend, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle over the arugula and toss lightly to coat. Transfer the chicken to plates. Top with the salad and then shave fresh parmesan over the dish.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.

*Note: You can usually purchase chicken breasts that are already pounded out to 1/4 inch thick at your local grocery store.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast frenchtoast

(original recipe post here)

Ingredients

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

4 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 of a day-old baguette, sliced diagonally into 1.5″ thick pieces

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced thinly

Butter, for cooking

Sliced almonds

Maple syrup, for serving

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla extract, and granulated sugar.  Set aside in shallow square pan.
  2. Take each baguette piece and make a small slit on the side of each slice to make a deep pocket for stuffing.
  3. Spread the mascarpone cheese inside the pocket and stuff with strawberry slices. Press to close and seal.
  4. Melt butter on a griddle over medium-low heat. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture for 10 seconds on each side. Cook the sandwiches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Garnish with fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, and a sprig of mint.  Serve with maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar.

Happy cooking! For more date-friendly recipes, be sure to follow The Date Dish on Twitter and Instagram at @thedatedish.

The ThursDater: The Pitfalls of Modern Dating

You’re well-aware of the traditional ways to avoid a dating faux pas: Ask questions about them. Don’t order lobsters. Don’t sleep together five minutes after meeting. Seems easy enough. Is that why you’re triumphing all these dates, and yet are somehow still single? Nope. Something else is amiss. This may sound crazy, but it’s true: tiny robots are interfering with potentially significant moments in your romantic life. You have so many options for connecting to someone, it’s actually become more difficult to connect with someone. Allow Hinge to help you navigate these modern dating pitfalls.
Generally, it’s perfectly normal to do a little Googling and Facebook investigating before a date; you need to get an idea of their background and confirm they aren’t a serial killer. But this is one of the most slippery slopes known to man. You know how it goes: you’re casually browsing pictures of them, seeing where they went to college, and then before you know it? You’re perusing a photo album of their parents’ second honeymoon and scrolling through their sister’s bridal registry.
If you find yourself here, you’re in dangerous territory– there is a very good chance you may accidentally reveal information on your date that you absolutely, 100% should not know. There is a word we’ve conceived for this: stalkward. Do. not.

If that’s not bad enough, what about the follow-up after the date? If it goes well, you’ll probably start texting. Texting is not ideal for personal interaction, but it’s the accepted way to stay in touch. But let’s say you indulge in a few too many drinks some evening, and feel like saying hi– what’s to stop your innocent texting from morphing into just an enormous blurb of weird Emojis? Or sending a bunch of 3-second Snapchats of yourself trying to eat a piece of pizza in one bite? (Note: this could be cool, or a huge mistake. Major toss-up.) Either way, when it gets down to it, it’s just another distraction keeping you from getting to really know the person.

So stop secretly admiring the picture of the goat cheese omelette they had for breakfast on Instagram, and respond right away to your Hinge match emails to plan something. Stop being stalkward, and go out together.
Go out and have a beer. Go out and eat DC’s greatest gourmet cheeseburger (it’s Palena, if you’re curious). Go out ANYWHERE and have a conversation. You never know what you could end up bonding over. Maybe it’s yellow labs. Or your shared dislike of Lena Dunham’s excessive nudity.

In any case, we think you and your match should go from your phones to your first date as easily and quickly as possible. It’s time to connect with someone.