Even though this winter has been a mild one, it’s still not exactly summery out there. We’re not sipping rosé on rooftops right now and I’ve even donned long johns and triple layered my socks a few times. The snow arrived, the wind picked up, and everyone I know is in full-blown hibernation–drinking more alcohol, eating more food, watching more Netflix and craving a fireplace to curl in front of.
Don’t let the weather keep you from romance, though. Follow in my footsteps on this warm winter date. A few weeks ago, at the nadir of this winter’s temperatures M (my boyfriend and co-star and guinea pig for these columns) and I headed to Cubana Cafe (272 Smith) in Carroll Gardens so we could pretend that outside was nothing but seashells and ocean waves. The walls are pastel pink and baby blue, Cuban music plays over tinny speakers and people sit reading newspapers and eating rice, beans, and all manner of spicy, warming foods. We sat down for a cafe con leche (I would drink this every hour of every day given the opportunity) and a side of sweet plantains, beans and rice. Linger and sip their sweet mint mojitos before mustering up the courage to re-layer and go back into the gray.
Fortunately we were back inside after a few blocks. The Painted Pot, (339 Smith Street) is a small paint-it-yourself pottery shop. Go in and pick out a little (or big) piece of pottery together–they have an assortment of mugs and tea cups so we went for one of those. It’s $8 per-person plus the price of your pottery (between $9 and $30). Even though it seems a little dorky, there is something very soothing about sitting and painting as it drizzles outside. Plus, you get to tease each other about your artistic skills, or lack thereof.
After handing in your piece for glazing, head over to Abilene at 442 Court Street (and if you feel like shopping, stop into Swallow on Smith on your way, it’s brimming with beautiful and curious things–sea shells, posters, golden acorns, locks, books and painted bowls). It was happy hour when we arrived (4-7pm) so we grabbed a beer and a hot rum cider and settled into a board game–their collection includes Scrabble, Connect Four, Battleship and Chess. It’s a friendly bar (and they have bottomless coffee for $3), just the kind of place where you feel welcome to hang as long as you like. We spent the rest of our afternoon battling it out over Scrabble (M won 309 to 275), getting a little tipsy and watching Brooklyn bustle by through fogged up windows. Date magic.