The Dating Olympics: Why Not Go For The Gold?

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a little something called The Olympics going on right now. You know, that thing with all the pomp, circumstance and figure skating? Well, it’s happening, whether you’re watching or not. And, regardless of your personal interest – or lack thereof – in the great sport of curling, you can still inject some gold medal-worthy fun into your love life.

Figure Skating

So, you love sparkles, sequins and spinning around on a few inches of ice? Then figure skating is clearly the sport for you. Lucky for you, there are plenty of local places to take your beau for some blades of glory fun. Tutu and tight bodysuit not required. Pasadena has the gorgeous, state of the art Pasadena Ice Skating Center, where you can take classes, join a Freestyle skating session or even sign up for some hardcore broomball. Olympic skater Miri Nagasu even started her career in this huge facility, located in the heart of Pasadena. Although nobody will hold it against you if you’re not exactly up to her level.

In Culver City, kitsch is the name of the game, at the historic Culver Ice Arena, where pickup hockey games, open skating sessions and a vintage vibe make it the perfect place for a more low-key skating experience. And, in the valley, you can check out Iceland Ice Skating Center in Van Nuys, home of the perfect date activity – bumper cars on ice. And what’s better than the opportunity to show off your driving skills and your ability to come up with witty puns involving ‘bumping’ all in the same date?

Skiing & Snowboarding

Okay, so you don’t want to go all the way to the snow. Well, how about some virtual snowsports instead? For about $20 onAmazon, you can buy We Ski for the Nintendo Wii, which lets you ski and snowboard your way to victory all within the warmth and comfort of your very own living room. The balance board is going to cost you a little extra, but you’ll get to enjoy all the fun of frolicking in the snow without any of that actual pesky snow stuff. Because let’s face it. Us Angelenos weren’t exactly built to bulk up in those big ol’ winter coats anyway.

Hockey

Hey, did you know there are two whole hockey teams in the LA area? We’ve got the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. Yeah, those Ducks. Although, I don’t think Joshua Jackson is playing for them anymore, you can still check them out any time during their season, which runs well into April. Both the Ducks and the Kings have totally affordable tickets that start at less than $20 and often come in packages that include perks like hot dogs, sodas and more. Even if you’re not that into hockey, you can’t really turn down a date night that involves watching hot, sweaty men duking it out on the ice and comes with hot dogs included, can you? Sounds like a gold medal night to me.

Dating: iPhone Applications for Food Will Save Your Butt (even if you don’t exactly have an iPhone)

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So, you’re tooling around town with that special someone when suddenly, hunger strikes. You need food, and you need it fast. You also need it to work for your low-carb, low-fat, macrobiotic vegan diet. Or however it is you happen to be eating this month. Hey, nobody’s judging. It is LA after all.

Fortunately, in this land of Mozza and Matsuhisa, Oki Dog and Kogi BBQ, there are as many options for satisfying your stomach as there are surgeries for stapling it up afterward. Which begs the question – when you’re standing on the sidewalk in a strange part of the city, trying to impress your date with that perfect palate pleasing pick, how do you figure out which restaurant is the right one?

Lucky for you, there just so happens to be an app for that — and no, I’m not just talking about the drool-worthy biscuits at Animal on Fairfax. I’m talking about the kind of app that accessorizes your phone and makes your life a whole lot easier in the process. And, in fact, there are multiple applications that can turn your favorite iPhone, iPod, Droid, Hero, Blackberry, Palm or carrier pigeon into your very own, personalized Zagat Guide. Okay, so you’re probably not going to find an app for your favorite carrier pigeon. But, I guarantee you, any of these apps will help you find a place that’ll serve that sucker up on a silver platter.

Everyone knows about Yelp. Even my mother – who thinks Twitter is something you do when you’re stifling laughter – knows about Yelp. But, did you know that Yelp has a secret, special feature? It’s what’s called an “Easter egg” in the web business, and basically, it turns your iPhone 3GS into a 3D experience. Using technology known as augmented reality, the Yelp app will literally layer Yelp’s listings over the real, live world. So you can literally see what’s near you, and what other people think of the place — sort of like google street view for your cell phone. Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry. The Layar app will do the same 3D thing with even more features — you can set favorites, see stories about what you’re looking at and more. And, it works on any Android phone, as well as on the iPhone.

Augmented reality is awesome and all, but what if you just want to find a place that fits your picky preferences? Enter UrbanSpoon. This fun little app lets you set up a search by location, cuisine and cost. You can also set separate filters like popularity, no chains, distance, etc. Or, for a really fun experience, just turn it on, and shake it up. It makes a sound like a slot machine and serves up a random mix of results — perfect for picking out an appetizing adventure. You can get it for the iPhone and Blackberry, and you can also get it on any phone via text.

So, you’ve shaken your phone, seen the wonderful world of augmented reality and finally picked the perfect place to take your date. Now what? Well, if you’re smart, you’ll bust out yourOpenTable app and start setting up some reservations. Don’t have an app-friendly phone? No problem. Just hit the mobile version