Date Night at Hilldale
It all started at Hilldale… but seriously! Kyle & I had our very first date there six years ago. I remember nervously showing up to dinner and feeling instant chemistry as we talked with ease to each other. Not ready for the evening to end, we ended up at Great Dane to grab a beer & play pool. It was the start of our love story. To this day, it’s still one of our go-to spots for date night.
Hilldale, for those not local, is a beautiful open-air shopping & entertainment destination filled with a mix of over 50 restaurants, boutiques, and even a Sundance Cinemas movie theater. When the two of us need a night out together, we love to head there to walk around, do a little bit of shopping, and eat at one of their restaurants. There’s something no matter what we’re in the mood for! We’re excited to partner with Hilldale to take you to a few of our favorite stops for Madison- area couples (or best friends).
Our first stop of the evening is at Pasqual’s Cantina, a Madison favorite for Southwestern fare (& the best margaritas in town)! If you’re not sure which drink off their menu to try, we highly recommend the margarita flight so you can sample them all. Our favorite? The mango margarita flavor! We also tried the Sangamarita, the perfect blend of sangria & margarita. In the warm months, they have an amazing patio. Can you imagine anything better?
When the two of us go out to eat, we like to order a few different things & split them with each other so we can try more! We also like to ask the waiter or waitress if there are any specialties or dishes they’re known for. Sometimes they suggest something you never would have tried! These were a few of the menu items we’d suggest for your next date night at Pasqual’s!
Nachos: One of our favorite appetizers. Note that these are no ordinary nachos because they’re made with Pasqual’s famous (& perfectly seasoned) tortilla chips.
Blue Corn Cakes & Carnitas: This dish was suggested to us, and it ended up being one of our favorites. It paired blue corn pancakes with house made carnitas and cotija cheese. We LOVE breakfast for dinner and this was such a unique take.
Burrito Bowl: All of the delicious contents of a pork carnitas burrito without the fuss of a tortilla. The smoked ranch is a delicious topper layered over fresh pico, guacamole, rice, and beans.
Tacos: We like to opt for the unique combinations to try something new. First, we tried The Tacos Banderas, which pairs balsamic & strawberries with chevre cream and green chile chicken. We also enjoyed the ancho-rubbed cod Fish Tacos, which is saying something, because I’m not usually a seafood fan. Our favorite was the Steak Taco with perfectly grilled steak, sautéed onions, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese.
We said “Adios” to Pasqual’s and headed to our next stop of the evening, Great Dane, to play pool & enjoy one of their locally brewed beers. This part of our date gave us so much nostalgia. I got my favorite beer, the Crop Circle Wheat and Kyle got the Imperial IPA. Even though we thought we couldn’t possibly eat anymore, we couldn’t turn down one of their pretzels (that beer cheese sauce... How can you not love Wisconsin?!).
Kyle & I are both very competitive, so we thought it was only fitting to play a game of pool against each other for old time’s sake! Kyle won, of course. They also just got beautiful reclaimed wood pool tables in their bar area, which he was eye-ing up for the future farmhouse basement. It was fun to reminisce about how far we’ve come since that first date, but still enjoy doing the same things together. Some things never change!
Before we headed home from our date night, we stopped into Gigi’s Cupcakes to pick up dessert to take home with us. The talented baking team there made us the most gorgeous succulent & garden cupcakes I’ve ever seen — they know I’m a #plantlady! We can both tell you from experience that they were just as delicious as they were beautifully designed. I’ll have to keep them in mind for the next time I host a party. Cupcakes like these would be the highlight! Kyle and I shared a cup of coffee, split a cupcake and both agreed that date nights are good for the soul.
Be sure to check out our other Hilldale post highlighting its local shops & restaurants — a must- read if you’re ever traveling to Madison or a fellow local! They are making some exciting updates and developments to the area (rolling out late Summer).