Los Angeles Times

Undercover lovers

This week is packed with Hallmark holidays. Today, it's Bosses Day. Then, come Saturday, Sweetest Day. And that got us thinking: What if your sweetie also happens to be your boss? You sure don't want the world--or at least the office--to know about your afterwork activities. And it's not just office romances that call for the occasional under-the-radar rendezvous. If you've got a stealth relationship, we've got a secret spot for you.

Sweetheart boss
You spend so much time at work, office flings are inevitable. But it's a bit more scandalous when your fling's also your boss. Don't want to let anyone in on your secret? Sneak away to Thai dining temple Arun's. With intimate alcoves for quiet conversation, you're unlikely to bump into that nosy guy from HR. The only dining option is the $85 degustation menu; sure, it's a little steep, but you know your boss, er, date, has the cash to cover it.

Good friend's ex
You pined for that cutie when your best bud was with her, and you secretly rejoiced when they broke things off. Now, you're finally going to get your shot. Trouble is, you haven't exactly received your friend's blessing. Don't ruin a friendship for something that might not work out--instead, head to Lincoln Park's Geja's Cafe for a covert first date. The subterranean fondue restaurant attracts an older crowd, so the only friends you're likely to run into are your parents'.

Dating two people at once makes for double the pleasure, but it also means twice the risk. Avoid sceney sushi spots and bring sweetie No. 2 to out-of-the-way Katsu. This North Side restaurant stacks up against trendy Wicker Park sushi counters and Randolph Street hotspots, but it's popular with Japanese businessmen--not hipsters. And that means you can nibble your nigiri without watching the door for an uncomfortable entrance.

Mr. WrongYou know he's bad for you, and your friends don't approve, but you still can't stay away. Ignore the naysayers and book a semi-private booth at Narcisse. With silk throw pillows and curtains for extra privacy, the opulent booths are the perfect place to share a bottle of bubbly with your secret squeeze--even if you know deep down that the name of the lounge probably suits his personality all too well.

Not quite your type
Your latest hookup doesn't listen to the same bands or hang out at the same bars. In fact, you're not really sure what you have in common, except for a mutual attraction. Before she meets your friends, make sure she's the real deal with a quiet evening at Sayat Nova. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves inexpensive Armenian cuisine in a romantic setting with semicircular booths and funky lighting.

Blind date
Gay or straight, blind dates all happen the same way: Your friend knows "this great guy" who's an even bigger John Cameron Mitchell fan than you. And, as luck would have it, he's single. What the heck. One drink never hurt anyone. But just because you've been out of the closet for ages doesn't mean the two of you should be--yet. Avoid the curious crowds at your usual haunts and head to underground lounge Katacomb. The Lincoln Park spot is only a short cab ride from Boystown, but it might as well be a world away.

[ Heidi Moore is a metromix special contributor. ]
metromix@tribune.com Originally published Oct. 13, 2006.

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