“It’s kind of a lost art to go on a traditional date,” says senior psychology major, Sarah Orens, “but even if you’ve had a significant other for a while, taking her out for a fancy meal makes the effort even more special.”

Why don’t CU students go on dinner dates? “It could be that Boulder is really expensive,” suggests Orens, who admits she’s only been on a few romantic dinners-for-two since moving to Colorado for college, “but there’s also a sort of bro-y mentality here, and for lots of guys it’s easier to go pick up a girl at the Goose than it is to go on a date.”

Buck up, bros. Starting this Friday and lasting through next Saturday night, an annual event called First Bite Boulder (firstbiteboulder.com) is like being handed a golden-ticket for making your lady feel one-of-a-kind. The eight-day event has 42 of the town’s fanciest restaurants setting prix fixe menus that even a cash-strapped college student can take advantage of.

What’s a prix fixe, you ask? It’s a collection of pre-set menu items served as a multi-course meal. Here’s some college-level math for you: Instead of dropping $20-plus for a standard entrée at Café Aion (1235 Pennsylvania Ave.) or one of the other participating dining rooms around town, a $26 meal via First Bite will get you the same entrée — and an appetizer and desert. With restaurants like Salt (1047 Pearl St), Arugula (2785 Iris Ave.), and The Greenbriar Inn (8735 Foothills Hwy.), participating, you can take her far enough from the Goose that she’ll barely remember that that’s where you met.

It’s a great way to celebrate successful midterms, you’ll score a few points for the pre-holiday fancy feast, and you may even up your rep with your gal as a man with good taste.

Go Big: If your pre-fixe didn’t include dessert (some of the menus have three savory courses), finish up with a sweet treat at one of Boulder’s fanciest — and most expensive — eateries, the Flagstaff House (1138 Flagstaff Rd.). The sparking city views are definitely worth the price of a lounge seat and dessert — for $11 you can enjoy a rich and hearty sticky toffee pudding, and for $11 more, add a scoop of the salted caramel ice cream, too.

Go Home: While First Bite is about bringing fine food to the masses — a noble effort in the minds of many — there are more exclusive culinary offerings available around town, too. Luckily, there’s one fancy-pants place that’s as much about the experience of buying, tasting, and learning about food as it is about eating it. Spend some time browsing the culinary offerings with your date at Boulder’s newest artisan cheese shop, Cured (open until 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 6 p.m. on Sat. and Sun.; 1825 Pearl St.). Chat up the cheese-counter-guy — if you approach with an excited curiosity you may get more in culinary education than you can afford to buy. But, or the price of one first-bite dinner, you can still walk out with enough cheese, bread, and treats for a rustic, two-person meal.

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com/

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