If you want to have a successful excursion in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between "pre-game" drink, food and a show, we bring you the Date Night series — a block-by-block guide to weekend itineraries that only require one parking space. Today, a night on the town in the Valencia Corridor.
See: Sunday is going to be all about the Super Bowl, so use Friday or Saturday night for a different kind of cultural exploration. Catch the latest exhibit at the Mission's newest photo art gallery and book store, Carte Blanche. Thursday's opening night madness should give way to a more apropos weekend mood for absorbing Polish photographer Lukasz Biederman's austere, wintery works.
Eat: Around 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Pie Fridays' cherry red pie cart (on the corner of 19th and Valencia) will start selling fresh slices in this weekend's flavors: lemon custard, blueberry crumble, ginger apple pear and double chocolate banana cream.
We're sending you to a new wine bar for the evening's first savory bite. Alsace, France native Alexandra Gerteis' month-old Etcetera Wine Bar (795 Valencia St.) is still ironing out some of the service kinks, but they're worth overlooking for unexpectedly delicious chorizo- and caramelized onion-slathered "Spanish bruschetta." This is also the only place we know of with ten different savory and sweet variations on the traditional Alsatian flambéed tart flammenkeuche.
Another nearly exclusive-to-Valencia Street bite resides at Mission Cheese (736 Valencia St.). Raclette, the traditional heated Swiss melty cheese, is served with the right accompaniments here: roasted potatoes and cornichon.
Drink: Even though most people think of old-favorite Range (842 Valencia St.) for dinner, we like to slip into the bar to savor one of the day's seasonal cocktail creations.
If tequila's your thing, wedge through the weekend crowds at new Mexico City-themed Mosto (741 Valencia St.) for sippable shots from Valencia's longest list of distilled agave spirits—even creamy, smoky mezcals that are far too smooth to shoot back.
Of course many of you are going to want something low-brow, cheap and easy to wile away your weekend night. And for that, we give you the Phoenix (811 Valencia St.), where 20 draft beers await your exploration. Or Amnesia (853 Valencia St.), if you don't mind paying a $5-7 cover charge when it comes with live music. Check out this weekend's scheduled entertainers here.
Got another great weekend itinerary to suggest? Do tell, in the comments.