Tangierino, Mamma Maria and Improv Asylum

Valentine’s Day was comprised of my boyfriend doing his National Guard duty up in Massachusetts, clearing roads and debris after the blizzard, and me, stuck in a cramped conference room for 14 hours working on yet another audit. To make up for missing the opportunity to be romantic, I drove up to Boston for the weekend to spend some time with my man.

This was our third Valentine’s “together.” To give you a brief history… Our first Valentine’s Day I was still in school and living in the Bronx and he came to visit. I had class for most of the day, but anticipated returning to my apartment to find my boyfriend looking clean and sharp with a bouquet of flowers and ready for a dinner date. Instead he was in boxers, hanging out on the couch with nothing planned. Epic fail. I ended up booking us a dinner reservation at the Capital Grille and we made the best of it. Valentine’s Day #2 was spent home alone while my boyfriend served his country in Afghanistan. It was a tough day to be alone and I missed him terrilbly, but from afar we managed an ,”I love you” and carried on.

This time around my expectations were minimal. I imagined a repeat of V-Day 1. I sent a reminder text to let him know that I wanted flowers and that I was looking forward to seeing him. I figured it would be a normal weekend, nothing too spectacular. Though I did not receive any flowers, the Army Ranger had something even better up his sleeve.

Making up for two lost Valentine’s, he planned an extravagant weekend in Boston with wonderful food, drink and cheer.

Tangierino

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We began our date night at this beautifully decorated hookah and tapas lounge located in Charlestown. It was perfect. I imagine everyone in the restaurant was gagging as we spent the entire time sitting pressed against each other, laughing, sharing drinks and food and the occasional kiss.

We ordered the Merguez (Tangierino spiced ground lamb wrapped in phyllo dough, smoked eggplant, kalamata olives). Heavenly. I adore lamb, it is one of my favorite meats and this was perfectly seasoned.

The other highlight of this restaurant is the Moroccan Mojito made with Blackberry Bacardi, Moroccan mint tea, muddled lime and mint. Heavenly. This was hands down the best spin on a mojito I have ever had.

Mamma Maria

Probably the best restaurant in the North End, Mamma Maria is the only Italian restaurant in Boston to earn the Four Diamond Rating by AAA Travel Guide. It it well worth it.

This was a night for a new experience. I tried the Rabbit Pasta (classic slow-cooked Vermont-raised rabbit, in the Tuscan-style, with homemade pappardelle, crispy pancetta, and fresh rosemary). It was outstanding! The flavor was incredible! The meat was tender and succulent without tasting like strong game. Probably one of the best meals I have ever had.

The place is perfect for dates. Comfortable tables, excellent service and very romantic. I loved it!

Improv Asylum 

After dinner we headed to a midnight show at the Improv Asylum. This was my second time at the asylum and it was as hilarious as the first. The show is run by posing questions to the audience and running wild with the themes and ideas provided. The cast is hilarious and do a wonderful job on taking commonplace topics and giving them a unique and ridiculous twist. I highly recommend this place.

My man surpassed expectations. He planned a wonderful evening for us, full of good food, drink and romance. I had a truly fantastic time.

Spa Services for Men

Thank you, Time Out New York, for yet another inspiring article. All of you ladies out there searching for a Valentine’s Day treat for your man, look no further. TONY has suggested a few super masculine spas to satisfy all many needs. 

Following text and pictures courtesy of Time Out New York. See article in full here.

New York Spas For Men: Four spots that focus on guys

Most New York spas are guy-friendly, but certain places specialize in services for the male persuasion. Here are four of the best spas for men around town.

By Time Out editors

Guys sometimes get slighted at New York’s pampering spots. But there are a few barbershops, salons and spas that devote a solid chunk of their menu (if not all of it) to massages, facial andoffbeat treatments designed for just men. Four of our male editors test out some spas for men.

Kiehl’s Spa 1851: Close Shavers Squadron Service

The barber area of the steampunkish space is clearly for the boys, with its pair of black-leather-and-chrome chairs and Sailor Jerry aesthetic. My master barber, Justin Virgil, slathered my face with Close Shavers Shaving Formula 31–O preshave oil, followed by White Eagle shave cream and, finally, hot foam. A steamy eucalyptus-scented towel was applied between each potion for maximum whisker softening. Once the straight-razor shave itself started, Justin meticulously dispatched my 5 o’clock shadow. A postshave toner followed by a soothing mask and Facial Fuel moisturizer wrapped up the experience, and I walked away with none of the blotches or bloody spots typical of my own handiwork. Most products used in the service are available in the shop, so you can easily upgrade your at-home routine. 888-772-1851,kiehls.com/spa1851. $55.—Ethan LaCroix

157 E 64th St, second floor, (between Lexington and Third Aves)

The Spa at the OUT NYC: Customized facial

It’s easy to forget that you’re just a few blocks from Times Square when lounging in the glass-covered atrium of the spa at the OUT NYC, a gay-oriented (but “straight-friendly”) hotel. I opted for a facial, and felt completely comfortable as manager Christopher Drummond guided me through its many stages: a wash of OSEA Ocean cleanser, a gentle microdermabrasion scrub, an oxygen serum, an aloe mask and an antiaging balm (with brief intermissions of warm towels). Bonus: Booking any service gives you free access to the spa’s facilities, including the gym and deck. 646-527-7940, theoutnycspa.com. 60mins regularly $140, 90mins regularly $185. Mention TONY when booking or at check-in for 15 percent off this service through Jan 31.—Adam Feldman

510 W 42nd St, (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves)

Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers: The Professional package

The reception area of this guy-oriented salon—with its flatscreen TVs tuned to football games and open bar stocked with Sixpoint lager and Scotch—says it all: This is a man’s world. After I helped myself to a drink, my hairstylist, Miriam Vargas, conducted a thorough assessment of my preferences, dispelling the quiet desperation that accompanies most of my haircuts. Next, I was seated at a sink, my head shampooed with Redken Color Extend, then kneaded. The staff escorted me to one of several red leather barber chairs and Vargas set to nipping and cutting with scissors. My shoes were soon removed to be shined, and a manicurist scooted up to my side to clean, sand, moisturize and rub my digits into hand-model-worthy appearance. While savoring the novel sensation of having one’s hair and nails cut simultaneously, I eavesdropped on my fellow customers, who traded tales about high-end Mexican hotels. After a rinse, Vargas applied Mop Orange Peel molding cream to my hair before sending me off to a dinner date, feeling like a spiffier, shinier man.212-683-9400, trumans-nyc.com. $88.—Christopher Ross

121 Madison Ave between 30th and 31st Sts

John Allan’s: Sports pedicure

With a muted color scheme of browns and grays, the midtown location of this men’s club mirrors the professional, mostly middle-aged clientele I joined on a Tuesday morning. To start, I was offered coffee, iced tea or a beer (Sam Adams or Coors Light), then led to a private room off the main open-plan floor. The treatment itself began with each nail being cut, filed and buffed efore the manicurist used a succession of scrapers and pliers to clean the cuticles and remove the gunk from under the nail. Then came a sanding—vigorous and firm—of the heels, toes and balls of my feet. At this point, I expected comments on the amount of sloughed skin gathering on my technician’s lap, but I was mercifully spared a lecture. The service ended with the application of a CND Spapedicure scrub and mask, a hot towel wrap and a quick massage. The difference between my pre- and post-treatment feet was incredible—I’ll be back so that I don’t need to hide my trotters under a towel the next time I’m poolside. Visit johnallans.com. 45–60min; $49.—Jonathan Shannon

Locations throughout the city