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W ith summer’s end approaching and the impending rise of productivity that’s super-focused on schoolwork, you’ll have less time for thinking creatively about upcoming dates. The clock is ticking on the carefree days of summer, so use this time before the storm to slow down a little for a memorable night together that’s a little more relaxed than the standard wine-and-dine.

I’m not suggesting that you stay in, hibernation-style, and park in front of the TV. I’m talking about spending quality time actually making memories together — and finishing the night with a product to share. One of the most bonding things a couple can do is to create together. And gluing, screwing, or whipping something together shows your lady that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and work as a team to achieve a common goal, which is superhot. Here are a handful of grown-up ideas for creating as a couple that are also good ways to spend an evening together.

Face it. Food is sexy. From biting into a chocolate-dipped strawberry, to slurping an oyster from its shell, to licking the drips off an ice-cream cone, the act of eating can be a sensual experience. So can the more subtle connections with your food — shopping for it, sautéing it, serving it, and sharing it. For perfect date-night meals, brainstorm as a couple at home, then head to the store together for choice ingredients or so you can improvise if there’s something tasty on special. Stick with simple, no-fail recipes like fresh salads topped with grilled meats or simple pastas and stir-fries and for a fun shopping experience, skip the ransacked Safeway and head to an upscale or specialty store like Whole Foods, Boulder’s tiny Asian seafood market (2833 28th St.), or the area’s largest Asian store — Broomfield’s Pacific Ocean Market Place (6600 W 120 Ave.)

Feeling flush? Spring for Sur la Table’s pair-centric Cuban-inspired Havana Nights cooking lesson ($79 per person; Fri., 6:30 p.m.; 1850 29th St.; You’ll learn about Cuban and Caribbean spices and cooking techniques from a professional instructor and have a four-course meal, including a flank-steak entrée, to share when it’s over.

If you’d like to make something a little longer-lasting than dinner, consider something crafty. A whittling project, building birdhouses, or even a 3-D puzzle kit could help you get creative and bring out the kid in you both. McGuckin Hardware (2525 Arapahoe Ave.; has about a million project ideas scattered through the store and is sufficiently manly that making a visit won’t make you feel like the next Martha Stewart. Another option is to attend a wine-fueled painting workshop at PoshSplat (1468 Pearl St.; Check their calendar for which masterpiece you’ll learn to recreate during class — you don’t want to shell out the $35-per-person fee for a picture you wouldn’t want to hang in your living room.

(Note: For most dating couples, I wouldn’t recommend actually making one, but practicing your baby-making technique is another creative endeavor that’ll score you points with your woman.)

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at

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