9 Great Non-Dinner Dates Tired of the usual eating-out options?

Try one of these fun new ways to nosh and get to know someone.

1. Pick your own produce: No matter where you live, chances are there's a local farm with fruit that's ripe for the picking, whether that means Washington state apples or New Jersey tomatoes. n afternoon at a !pick your own! farm is a memora"le way to spend time together outdoors-and depending on how much you gather, you'll "e a"le to en#oy the fruits of your la"or long after the date's over. $or an ultra romantic twist, pack a "lanket, a "ottle of wine, some cheese and crackers and turn your harvest into a happy hour. To find a farm near you that offers this option, log on to www.pickyourown.org for nationwide listings.

2. Farmers Markets: Treat your senses to a stroll through an outdoor market, in some parts of the country called 'greenmarkets.' Not only are they fun places to people-watch, you and your date can fill up on free samples of farm-fresh produce, locally made cheese, and fresh "aked goods. nd if you're still not full after making the rounds, there's no "etter spot to pick up a delecta"le picnic spread to share together. The %&' 's agricultural marketing service has national listings for greenmarkets. (og on to www.ams.usda.gov and click on !$armers )arkets.!

3. Dessert bars: Why waste time with dinner when you can skip straight to dessert? *nstead of hitting up a "akery with little to no seating +and even less am"iance,, en#oy a romantic meal of shared sweets at an all-dessert restaurant. $rom the co-y .hocolate /oom in 0rooklyn +thechocolateroom"rooklyn.com, to .hicago's scene-y &ugar1 'essert 0ar to 2hiladelphia's romantic caf3 'essert +www.dessertphilly.com,, these spots are popping up all over the country, offering an entire menu of mouthwatering creations, candlelit ta"les, and often !dessert flights! with wine or li4uor pairings. To find one in your area, log on to www.openlist.com and search for !dessert! under your city for listings. nd if the trend hasn't spread to your town, head to any top-notch restaurant towards the end of dinner time, skip the main course, and dig into something sweet5

. !ine "#i$%ts&beer tastin$s: Toast your relationship and try something new "y indulging a wine flight +samples of a variety of wines versus ordering a whole "ottle,. Not only can you sample wines "y the region, many wine "ars are also offering flights "ased on season +hint-think ros3s this summer,. *f "eer's more your thing, there are all kinds of varieties to sample, from pilsners to lagers, at a local "rewery or "eer festival. &earch www.localwineevents.com for wine and spirits lists6 www."eerfestivals.org has a calendar of events and www."eertown.org has a searcha"le directory of "reweries.

"ut this popular way of dining has spread to . *f you're new to your area. Traditional tapas draw from &panish flavors. it's a great way to get familiar with local culture6 if you're "oth natives.hinatown's rich culinary history on a cook's tour of &an $rancisco.net. $lorida's annual straw"erry festival. and even Japanese cuisine.u"an. to )emphis' world-renowned 007 $est. .harleston. &earch for a food festival near you at www. you'll have a great time daring each other to try garlic ice cream or fried pickles. go to www.'. appeti-ers that offer a few morsels you and your date can share-a surefire conversation starter for first dates. To see if culinary tours are availa"le in your area. (og on to www. there's a festival for every imagina"le taste. you and your date will feel like kids again "y indulging in fair food.ea s%ops: $orget coffee6 tea houses are the newest way to get your caffeine fi8. sample authentic grits in .nightcoaster. (og on to www. Lisa Cericola is a freelance writer in the New York C . formal meal with someone new? Then try tapas.. Te8as. . ).com for park listings "y state. or #ust stick to the appeti-er menu at your favorite restaurant. a teashop is an ine8pensive date and a refreshing alternative to the traditional coffeehouse +added "onus1 No coffee "reath. $rom 2lant . 'ig into gum"o on a walking tour through New 9rleans' $rench 7uarter. Just make sure you go on the Tilt-o-whirl "efore you pig out on funnel cake.. to the /attlesnake /oundup in &weetwater. 9. contact your state's tourism "oard. *musement parks: Who doesn't love hot dogs and cotton candy? side from the roller coasters and carnival games. served over ice with citrus slices.teaguide.com and search for !tapas! under your city for listings. .ulinary tours are a fun way to e8plore different areas of a city through their restaurants and food shops.apas: 'on't want a long. Food tours: 2ut on your walking shoes and get ready to discover a side of your neigh"orhood that you've never seen "efore. or Taiwanese "u""le tea.ity.com. or studded with slippery tapioca pearls +called "o"a. Whether you like it "rewed hot with a side of finger sandwiches. -. $rench. Food "esti(a#s: There's no "etter way to show your civic pride than stuffing yourself with weird and wonderful regional specialties. +.foodreference.openlist. or taste . $or a comprehensive listing of teahouses nationwide.

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