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Cheap Date: Lunch in Venice

Food: The lunch date is always a cheap date, but it can be even cheaper if you find places that offer a boxed lunch. Here are a couple from restaurants in the immediate area: The TapHouse Grill offers a boxed lunch consisting of a deli sandwich, a side and a drink for about $9. Paysanne's boxed lunch runs from $6 to $8, offering either salads or sandwiches. The sandwiches each come with a side, dessert and soft drink. Finally, Sin é gives a good boxed-lunch special offering a choice of four different sandwiches. Each comes with a drink and a piece of fruit for $7.

On the Water: Pick up the canal boat at the turning basin at Dock and 14th streets. The charming part of your date will be when you are cruising down the canal, chomping on your sandwiches, wiping away that morsel of mayonnaise from your date's chin. The cruise is free every Thursday and Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. The boats leave every 10 or 15 minutes, but be sure to show up a little early because seating is limited. To add to the romantic atmosphere and to make the date even more like Venice, maybe you could ask the boat driver to sing a song like they do in those high falutin' gondolas in Italy. But be warned: I know from personal experience that not all of them know the lyrics to Limp Bizkit songs.

— Francis W. Decker

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