By Ryan Donovan
For Unwind magazine
Girls are a complicated, but necessary, part of life. By some act of divine intervention, you manage to find one who would like to actually go out in public with you and let you spend money on them. This is a victory in and of itself, but now you’ve opened a whole new can of worms. Where on earth do you take her? Well you’re in luck, because I was assigned to find the best places to take a girl on a date for the campus. I figured the only way to go about this assignment would be to find a woman and take them on a few dates to see what place we liked the most. Now I don’t have a Tinder, and I haven’t perfected my idea for “pepper spray proof contact lenses” so I didn’t have the luxury of meeting someone new. Instead I opted to take a dear friend of mine, Sandra. Now this might go without saying but no matter how great the location is, the date will still come down to the person you brought and I couldn’t be happier with my choice for this experiment. Now without further ado, let’s get things cracking.
After picking up my date at her apartment in Leonardtownsc, we took the short walk to a Chinese food place on Route 1sc by the name of Ivy Noodlessc. It had a fairly standard design — (I wouldn’t be able to pick this place out of a lineup of other Chinese food places –) but the hostess was friendly and we were seated almost immediately. After scanning the menu for about 15 minutes, we decided we were ready to order. We split an order of chicken dumplings as an appetizer, before I ordered chicken lo mein for my entrée. Sandra, on the other hand, seemed to forget that I am currently jobless and ordered one of the most expensive things on the menu. I don’t know if this is some sort of sixth sense that girls have, but this sort of thing happens to me almost every time I try to take a girl out to dinner. I’m convinced a girl would develop a taste for tree bark and grass seed if it were the most expensive thing on the menu.) I excused myself to the bathroom shortly thereafter so that I could check my bank account to make sure that I could afford this excursion, and also scan for easy escape routes if I couldn’t. When I returned, Sandra and I sparked up a conversation about the rather bizarre Chinese punk rock that was being played. Before I had enough time to say something really stupid and blow it, the dumplings came out of the kitchen. Then suddenly with the ferocity of a person who had been stranded at sea for several days, Sandra dug into the dumplings. She quickly justified her brashness with the oft used “I haven’t eaten all day” excuse. If you’re reading this, you and I both know that you ate that day, Sandra. Anyway, the dumplings were good but nothing spectacular and there weren’t that many. Right after we finished the appetizer, both of our entrees came out. My lo mein was very good;, it had nice texture and a bit of a spicy kick to it. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sandra also assured me that her plate of ground up $100 dollar bills or whatever expensive thing she ordered was very good as well. After finishing her entrée, Sandra took the initiative to sample mine as well. Being that I actually had eaten almost right before the date started, I was more than happy to share with her. Once the feeding frenzy was finished we had another conversation about our funniest date stories from high school, while I silently hoped that our waiter wouldn’t offer dessert. Once the check was paid, we stopped quickly at Targetsc to do a little grocery shopping before I walked her home. Overall I’d give a strong recommendation for Ivy Noodles. The food was good, the service was fast, and there was almost no wait for a table at 8 p.m on the weekend. The menu was relatively affordable despite my jokes, and its proximity to the campus is a real selling point. I would most certainly take a girl back there in the future.
If you ever want to appear like a total cheapskate but also spend a lot of money in the process, then boy do I have the place for you. I was amazed at how expensive this place is. Now I’m not very experienced in the world of Chipotlesc, having only been about four times, but I can’t believe how Chipotle has such a cult- like following! Now before a group of you Chipotle loyalists band together and burn my house down for saying negative things about the mother ship, I’d like to stress that Chipotle is not bad.
It’s just so “nothing special” that it makes me regret spending money on it. Anyway, after extensive prior analysis I discovered that Sandra enjoys Chipotle (that’s the sort of hard hitting journalism that you get from Ryan Donovan). So despite my gripes against the company, I bit the bullet so hard that I need a few fillings and decided to take her there. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, “Ryan, you’re an idiot. Chipotle is not a place to go on a date” to which I’d point you to the first paragraph of this article where I say “No matter how great the location is the date will still come down to the person you brought.” I wouldn’t recommend Chipotle for a first date, but if you know the person well enough and converse with them I say why not.
I picked Sandra up at her apartment and once again made the walk down to Route 1. When we got there we were greeted with a long line of Chipotle enthusiasts waiting to sink their teeth into an overpriced piece of Mexican cuisine. Sandra and I got in the back of the line (as is custom) and sparked up a conversation that isn’t even worth remembering. Finally we get to the front of the line and begin our order. I get a typical steak burrito and Sandra gets a steak bowl. She then proceeds to order double meat, once again forgetting that I am not made of money. Not wanting to look emasculated in front of everyone, I too order double meat. We go down the line getting the typical toppings (or fillings, I don’t know what to call them in a burrito) and Sandra gets guacamole. Now I’m not going to pretend like I know how avocados are grown, but with the way Chipotle prices its guacamole you’d think they needed to be fertilized with melted platinum. So after finishing our orders and getting chips and drinks I head to pay. A burrito with double meat, chips, and a drink and a bowl with double meat, guacamole, chips and a drink costs about half of an arm, but it was too late to not pay. We sat down and ate our food, making the occasional breaks to talk about our days or something of the like. Now if you already like Chipotle you’ve probably A, stopped reading or B, don’t need me to tell you what to enjoy. If you already had a taste for it, some sarcastic college freshman isn’t going to make you change your mind.
For what it’s worth though, the food is all right, it’s not too far off campus, and it’s a pretty good place to people watch. I’ll probably be forced back against my will, but there are worse places to go.
Kiyoko Express Restaurant
Now this may be the best food out of all three of our choices. My expectations weren’t high when Sandra recommended a sushi place. I never got the appeal of sushi, and it became popular when I had my back turned. I close my eyes for a second and suddenly people are OK with putting uncooked fish in their mouth. Being the great guy that I am, though, I decided to go with her. Same old song and dance as before, I pick her up at her apartment and walk to Route 1. Kiyoko is conveniently located right next to Ivy Noodles, so I kept the thought of bailing and getting some Chinese food in the back of my mind. When we got there I was relieved to see that there was also a hibachi menu, which I am a huge fan of. On top of that, it was pretty affordable! How could this place have evaded me for so long? I decided on an order of teriyaki chicken ($7 with rice and vegetables!) while Sandra got a plate of various rolls of sushi. We took our seats and in about 15 minutes our food was ready. I was amazed at the quality. I figured that for $7they’d give me a tiny portion of chicken and maybe let me look at an onion or something. Instead there was a lot of rice chicken and vegetables and all of it tasted fantastic. As for Sandra’s sushi, I’m sure it would’ve been wasted on an uncultured palate such as mine, but she assured me that it was very good as well. The only gripe I have with this place is that while eating there, you can definitely tell it’s a takeout place first. There’s no menu or waiters, which is fine, but it may not reflect too well on you if you take a girl there expecting a legitimate restaurant experience. Its interior was decked out with Maryland stuff though, so that’s a plus. I would — and have — definitely go back there either with a girl, with a friend, or alone if I was feeling especially pathetic that day.
There are probably way more places to take a girl on a date at the University of Maryland, but I can say you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices listed above. I had a great time going out and sampling a bunch of different foods. If there is a person willing to overlook you’re glaring flaws (can’t thank you enough for doing this for me Sandra) long enough to actually go on a date with you then you should consider yourself lucky. It’s not about where you go, it’s who you’re with.