The note says, “Would you like to go on a date? Check the box for ‘yes’ or ‘no’…”
Bills need to be paid, the kids need to eat, and the bank account is light after a round of expensive dentistry for the family. (If booze is the number-one curse of the Irish, bad teeth is a solid number two.) Meanwhile, hubby Patrick is longing for a date night with his leading lady.
We Kellys have a couple of cheap-date options that we return to when necessary. A couple of slices of spinach ricotta pizza from Pizzeria Luigi at 25th and B in Golden Hill with a latte from Krakatoa just across the street and a stroll down to Golden Hill Park to watch the sun set over the city.
Or, we pop into Mona Lisa in Little Italy (corner of India and Hawthorne) to grab a Number 8 Deluxe Sub with provolone, mortadella, salami, and ham. Then a stroll along Fiesta Island, looking at one of the nicest views of downtown San Diego.
But our inventory of relaxing, inexpensive dates could use some refreshing. So I polled the ladies.
“Go to the beach,” offered Marty. “Pack some gelato, we like Pappalecco in Little Italy — pistacchio! — and a beach towel and watch the sun set. And don’t forget to take a selfie!”
“Bike rentals in Coronado are around $8 an hour, and it’s a lovely place to ride,” said Lorraine. “The Coronado Ferry is $4.75 per person and that’s fun also. Or we get burritos from Sun Tacos and picnic at the beach with a nice walk. Or takeout up to USD, where the views are spectacular.”
“Channel your inner child, Eve,” answered Nancy, “and go twirl around the carousel with your man at Seaport Village. Each ride is around $3, go big and ride it twice, and then walk through Seaport Village, eyeing the yachts, kite-flying, and vendors along the sidewalk.” The hand-carved Seaport carousel, made in 1895, spins from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
“Groupon San Diego has a ton of buy-one, get-one-free dinners that are fun to try,” suggested Suzanne. “Or get deli sandwiches — we like Dudley’s Famous Deli in Santee or Firehouse Subs — and go down to La Jolla Cove with picnic chairs and eat at sunset. Another of our favorite picnic places is Santee Lakes. Make your own sandwiches and it’s even cheaper.”
Suzanne offered one last date option. “A movie and a large bucket of popcorn, maybe not date material for some but for a mom who has to cook dinner every night and usually isn’t very hungry, the bucket of popcorn and a Diet Coke is perfect. Costco movie tickets are the cheapest.”
“If we want fancy cheap, we buy the Cohn Group or Synergy restaurant gift cards from Costco and save 20 percent off the bill,” answered Faith. “And we always buy our movie passes from Costco for a discount.
“I also love the fact that we are so close to the water and beautiful views from the coast and bay,” she continued. “If I had my druthers, I’d get fish and chips or even pack a picnic and have dinner at the beach. I’d bring a bike or rent one from the shop at Ferry Landing in Coronado and ride around to see the sights. Or if I want to stay closer to home, take a picnic to one of our other great viewpoints, like Mt. Helix or Mt. Soledad. The amphitheater seating at Mount Helix would be picturesque for setting out a blanket and a bottle of wine and snacks. Maybe head down the mountain after to catch a movie at the drive-in in Santee.”
“Balboa Park is our go-to spot for a mellow, inexpensive date night,” said Meg.
“If the day and time is right, it could be one of the free concerts at Balboa Park Organ Pavilion. Or it could be a stroll around the Botanical Gardens, the Timken Museum of Art, rose garden, and a peek at some of the artists’ work in the Spanish Village. The park also has the added advantage of some great selfie spots,” she said with a wink.