I have a proposal for you, and I know it will sound counterintuitive at best. Bear with me. Here's the plan: I want you to go to a park. I want you to go to a restaurant in a park. Time your visit between lunch and dinner services, and indulge in a holiday treat: sorbet.
Okay, it's not the obvious choice when the air's cold enough to double your face-lotion budget, but the green apple coupe at LARK on the Park will make you want to toss tradition to the wayside. Forget gingerbread and peppermint -- the usual festive, seasonal flavors. What you need is a beautiful layering of green apple sorbet and red prickly pear syrup, dotted with vanilla bean ice cream and bitters. You want the satisfying crunch of crisp, fresh apple tidbits and cayenne-candied walnuts. Get together with someone you like enough to share with, and enjoy the view of Klyde Warren Park afforded by LARK's floor-to-ceiling windows.
Fun though it may be to watch traffic buzz by and spot tourists striking "sexy" poses for photos by the park's massive Christmas tree, the best view is inside the restaurant. Huge chalkboards, featuring illustrations by local artists, cover LARK's walls. The artwork is refreshed every few months, and it's as impressive as the dessert. If you're there mid-afternoon, you may catch a glimpse of the artists at work on their black-and-white creations. There's a limited menu between meals, but ask nicely, and the dessert menu is yours too.
Round off the experience with any number of beverages. The extensive cocktail menu is tempting. And a nice, warm cup of coffee on a chilly day makes sense. But hold out for the cold-brewed, nitrogenated coffee that's on tap. Cuvee Coffee's Black and Blue is served bubbling and foamy, with the admirable ombre of Guinness. It packs a punch on its own, but it wouldn't hurt to ask for a warming shot of whiskey on the side.
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So what if it's 40 degrees out? It's a perfect day for a stroll in the park. Now that the shopping, present-wrapping, and family-visiting are over and the year's end is closing in, you can actually enjoy yourself. Bundle up and head out to LARK. You've got a new holiday tradition to begin.