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Cheap dates: Breakfast and a hike

February 01, 2009|John Corrigan

3 On our third date, Alison made me lasagna and a German chocolate cake. We stayed up talking till dawn.

Three kids and 30 years later, the idea of staying up all night, talking for hours on end, seems like a fantasy. And, maybe, a fantasy you wouldn't mind having again.

So here's a cheap date that allows a lot of time for talk -- unrushed, unscripted, unvarnished -- and is a bit more age-appropriate for those who aren't kids anymore: breakfast and a hike.

Start with the breakfast. You want a hearty meal before setting out on a trek, and as restaurant meals go, breakfast is a relative bargain.

We like a joint called Dish at 734 Foothill Blvd. in La Canada Flintridge. It's got comfy booths, toasters on the tables and plenty of elbow room.

The food is as good as the atmosphere. The full breakfasts run about $9 or $10, so we went with the oatmeal. Alison added banana and strawberries with hers, while I ordered a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ. With coffee, tax and tip, the tab came to $25 on the nose.

Another nice thing about Dish is that it's convenient to the hiking trails off Angeles Crest Highway. For this trip, however, we ventured a few miles north, to Deukmejian Wilderness Park at 5142 Dunsmore Ave. in Glendale.

For a workout, it's hard to beat the Crescenta View Trail. From the parking lot at 2,325 feet, you can follow this trail up, up and up to a fire road that will lead you to 5,049-foot Mt. Lukens in about four miles. It's a steep, switchbacked trail, with sweeping views of the Los Angeles basin and out to sea.

This day, we'll go halfway up. We'll have two hours to talk -- no phone calls, no e-mails, no knocks on the front door. There's nothing like a long walk to open up the conversation, just like the old days.

Cheap, yes. And in many ways, a treasure just the same.

-- John Corrigan

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