Got a first date? You might find the usual pre-date jitters settling in.
What if the conversation lags? What if she only eats chicken fingers? Does this look okay on me? What if he's a low talker?
And then there's the question of where to go. We can't whisper conversation ideas in your ear, or deliver a megaphone to the mumbler across the table from you, but we can suggest a few low-key, dating friendly spots in Port Chester's 2.4 square miles and its immediate environs.
We've listed spots for lunch, dinner, drinks and dancing. Any of these locations should serve you well, but mentally stash another just in case. If the date goes well, it's good to have a back-up venue in mind. And few places can claim the culture and nightlife of a town like Port Chester.
So read on, fellow Port Chester daters. I've been there too. And after a brainstorming session, I present you with my list of the best local hotspots:
Clay Art Center
This small gallery has a frequently-rotating line-up featuring the work of professional artists. It's perfect for a Saturday afternoon, and the often thought-provoking pieces should give you plenty to talk about.
The center, which focuses primarily on clay-making, also offers beginner classes in wheel-throwing and sculpture. For long-term couples, trying something new can help to bring you closer together while exercising your creative juices.
Aqui Es Santa Fe
This friendly nook, located near the Port Chester train station, is ideal for a business or casual lunch date. The fruity, non-alcoholic drinks, quaint atmosphere and Colombian delicacies are perfect for a summertime get-together -- or for two old friends catching up.
I would advise anyone planning to go here to come hungry because everything on the menu seems to be delicious. Also, in appeasing your sweet tooth, be sure to order the "Colombian Cheese with Arequipe." The cheese and caramel concoction native to the country is a harmonious blend that will be sure to impress your partner and taste buds alike.
Whether you are venturing out for a pre-dinner drink or a full meal, this is the place to be in the warmer months. During the weekdays, this swanky eatery opens up its outdoor patio, which is draped underneath a protective awning. Votive candles also adorn every table, which add a romantic touch.
If you're looking for a place to stop after a movie or show, hours extend until 11 pm on the weekdays and midnight on the weekends, leaving room for some late-night nibbling on appetizers or dessert.
Ladies, be sure to try one of their fruity signature cocktails, which include positively delectable Mango and Pomegranate Margaritas.
A word to the wise: Pay attention to the daily specials. (I went recently and was very impressed by what I thought would be basic black bean soup, and was pleasantly surprised by its earthy flavor and hearty thickness!)
Even if you wouldn't normally refer to yourself as an enthusiast of Peruvian cuisine, you and your date will find this inconspicuous ethnic bistro deeply satisfying. Contrary to popular belief, the menu is surprisingly uncomplicated, even for the least adventurous of diners.
This is especially true for the pollo a la brasa, which I would recommend for those who prefer not to experiment with food. It is composed of stir-fry chicken and sautéed with tomatoes, onions and French fries. Even the most unadventurous eater will appreciate the American influence and hint of Peruvian spice.
The atmosphere is both quiet and calm, which works in your favor if you're hoping for meaningful conversation with the person sitting across from you.
Dancing under the Stars, Port Chester Waterfront
This musical treat, held every Wednesday night through the month of August, will score you major brownie points with the woman you're trying to impress. With plenty of incentive to get out there and boogie, it will be wise for your love life to just bite the bullet and hit the dance floor. Plus, since there are very few girls out there who wouldn't like the idea of being taken out for a night of dancing, it's a pretty safe bet that she'll be telling all her friends about the romantic evening she had for weeks afterward. In short, you'll be a hit.
A mere suggestion toward your training in becoming a suave dater would be to bring a small picnic for you two to share to this event. Homemade brownies or cookies would be a good idea to pack, since you'll for the most part be arriving after dinnertime. To really send your companion into a state of bliss, see if you can bring two thermoses of decaffeinated coffee or tea. It will warm you both up as the evening gets a bit chillier, while steaming the mood at the same time.
Rye Town Park/Oakland Beach
This picturesque landmark of Westchester provides a warm setting to wow that special someone. The well-kept landscape is a great spot to bring a blanket and look up at the stars, while the beach's scenery overlooks the sunset as it dips below the Long Island Sound come nightfall.
And you don't have to go far to enjoy cocktails. Seaside Johnnie's overlooks the beach, so you and your date can admire the panorama with a refreshing nightcap.