Date Night Recap {Hopleaf}

Last night, Ian and I went to one of our favorite restaurants and bars, Hopleaf. Hopleaf is really hard to get to from our apartment, otherwise we’d definitely go more often. Case-in-point, in 20 degree weather we had to walk 10 minutes to an ‘l’, ride for 45 minutes, and then walk over 10 minutes to the restaurant. On our way home we opted for the bus route, and rode a bus for almost an hour.

I’m not saying it isn’t worth it, just that when we get to go, it’s a real treat :)

Hopleaf also usually has a long wait. They don’t take reservations and when we arrived a little before 7 last night, the wait for a party of 2 was an hour. We usually don’t mind waiting though and how could you when they offer 50+ beers (reasonably priced!) and have two bars with additional seating? Count me in!

Ian and I grabbed a beer in the upstairs bar and waited until our table was ready. I had the Duvel and Ian the Grimbergen. Now, Duvel is one of my favorite beers but I really liked Ian’s as well. It was crisp and had a cider-y aftertaste.

I managed to make my beer last until we were seated (where I ordered another :P) but Ian ordered his second, a Fin du Monde, while we were still waiting. He proclaimed it to be his favorite beer of the evening.

When we were seated at a table around 8, both of us were pretty hungry so right away we ordered the Red Cabbage to split.

Maybe this salad really was the best ever or maybe it was just the beer in us, either way we dominated it! ;) The red cabbage was crisp and the cheese and apple paired really well with the vinaigrette. I need to make red cabbage soon, I forgot how much I like it!

For my main, I ordered Hopleaf’s specialty dish, their mussels. I opted for the Belgian-style- steamed in Witterkerke white ale with shallots, celery, thyme, and bay leaf.

These were so good! Maybe even the best mussels I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that I had a disproportionate amount of empty shells, meaning that there was no mussel inside. As this was my dinner and I didn’t just want to eat bread (although it was also perfectly crispy and delicious), I was a little disappointed. I mean this barely filled me up!

Ian ordered the pork rib. It’s not on their online menu, so I can’t tell you exactly what was in it but I do know that the pork was set atop sauteed collard greens and white beans.

He loved this dish. He kept saying that the pork was falling right off the bone and was super tender. Again, the only complaint was that the dish was a little too small for the $20 price tag (but still totally worth it).

However, it was really okay that both of our meals were on the lighter side because in addition to the bread, my mussels were served with a side of frites and aioli.

One of my weaknesses is frenchfries and I love them in all types and sizes and these surely did NOT disappoint. Ian and I just kept going back for more and more, and the aioli? Heavenly.

After dinner, Ian and I ran over to Starbucks to grab something warm to last us on our cold trip home. I had a decaf skinny peppermint mocha (didn’t know they could do that!!) and Ian had his usual no water chai.

And when we finally got home, an hour later, we cuddled on the couch and watched some Friday Night Lights before going to bed. We’re pretty wild, I know :P


Last night was such a great date night and I always appreciate getting to spend some quality time with Ian once the semester starts and I get really busy. What can I say? I’m just a lucky girl :)