Date Night


My husband and I have been married for almost seven years. It has been a typical marriage with ups and downs, but mostly ups. We have two beautiful children and have travelled a lot. We love each other and we respect each other and like any couple, we often don’t see eye to eye but we always manage to come to a resolution.

We don’t often make time for one another – especially with dance on this day or gymnastics on that day, school council meetings and book club… it’s the easiest thing to put our relationship to the side because at the end of the day, there just isn’t any energy left. And although it may be the easiest thing to do, it is definitely not a smart thing to do. For the past three months, my husband and I haven’t had an opportunity to get out together because my Mom was told she had to get a pacemaker put in (she did and she is fine) and my mother-in-law broke her knee while we were in Turkey. My primary babysitters needed us more than we needed them, and of course, we did what we could to help them.

But after a particularly difficult week, mothers and mother-in-laws on the mend, my husband asked my parents to stay with the kids so that we could have a much needed night out. When they said okay, all of a sudden, we didn’t know what we wanted to do. We had all this time to think of fun, exciting things to do together and when the time came, we couldn’t think of anything.

My husband suggested we go to a restaurant near us that serves great food and has an amazing atmosphere. We are past the days of staying out late, starting dinner at 9 PM and, quite frankly, feeling hip – this restaurant takes care of that for us, simply being there and eating makes us feel a little more in-touch with the youngsters. Let me start by saying we paid for our dinner and were not in any way solicited to visit this restaurant, so this is my true opinion of the place. We visited A1 Autostrada for dinner. We arrived at about 7 PM and even though the restaurant was still very quiet, the hostess told us she had to figure out where to put us because there were so many reservations. We only waited about 30 seconds though. If you are planning on visiting, I highly recommend making reservations, particularly if you aren’t going too early. Some reviews on urbanspoon were downright awful, but, frankly, I don’t agree with them. We had amazing service and delicious food. The portions are huge and I challenge anyone to finish an appetizer, meal and dessert by themselves. However, these big portions allow for sharing and bringing back some of that cutsie-dating behaviour that can feel oh so lost. We shared a Caprese Inverno Salad ($15) alongside the in-house baked bread and bean dip that comes to every table. I ordered the A1 Autostrada burger: “Alberta Angus Burger, caramelized onions, sautéed mixed mushrooms, and pancetta” which was served with sweet potato fries… it is a 10 oz burger which I had “cooked through” and it was still so moist and delicious. I ate about 1/4 of the meat and left SO full – my husband finally asked for my plate to be taken so he would stop eating the fries which are crispy and sweet and surprisingly light. My husband ordered the veal chop (their online menu is a bit different from the menu you get in-house) and it came with roasted vegetables and potatoes and his plate was practically licked clean. I got a cappuccino and my husband got a tea, which were complimentary, and for dessert he had their crème brûlée and I had the tiramisu, also made in-house. I would have eaten the whole thing if I didn’t feel like I had to be rolled out of there. All said and done our bill (without alcohol which we don’t drink) with two bottles of sparkling water came to just over $100. We left with our meat-cravings satisfied and feeling very connected to one another.

Over dinner we did decided that we would take turns deciding what we wanted to do for our date night, which we have resolved to do once a month – just the two of us. It’s very tempting to invite friends out because how often do you have babysitters and a night off? But, we have decided that just-the-two-of-us-time is important too, and not just when we’re sitting in front of the TV after a long day, but getting ready, feeling good about ourselves and going out to spend quality time together.

If you’re like us and time has taken off on you and instead of going on date nights you have simply dreamed of them, I have put together a PDF available for download (this might take some figuring out on my part, so I think you for your patience) to help you keep track of those brilliant date-night-ideas. Once you commit to doing them, and you’ve arranged babysitters and taken care of the details (made reservations or bought tickets, etc.), all you’ll have to do is referenceyour date night calendar to make sure those brilliant ideas don’t just turn to another night in front of the TV. Although, dinner in a quality restaurant is always a good, simple choice or even a coffee out at your favourite local coffee shop; however you connect, just make sure you take the time for each other once in a while. Click here for the 2013 date night scheduler: DateNight2013 (this one has the line for babysitters) DateNight2013-2 (this one does not have a line for babysitters).

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