OK, I know it's not the typical "romantic" place, but we had a very nice time at AOC Saturday night. We got there very early and sat on the patio which is very roomy with plenty of space between tables. Actress Robin Tunney was in one corner, but we were seated next to a couple who knew nothing at all about food on a rather uncomfortable first date. Despite their many restrictions (no wine for the gentleman, no pork, etc.), the server did a beautiful job of tactfully pointing out the "normal" foods on the menu for them so they could have chicken, steak and salad. I think they ended up unhappy with the small plates concept, though, which she has to explain to everyone as if they've parachuted into another dimension. Jeez, get a clue, guys. Based on the many recommendations on the board, we had the bacon-wrapped dates -- small portion, but so rich you couldn't eat any more. I could taste them the whole rest of the night. Wonderful. We also had the roasted pear salad, chicken liver crostini (my boyfriend's favorite), a New Zealand double creme cheese, and the clams and chorizo with garbanzo beans. Somehow the clams didn't excite me although they were just fine. We had a carafe of the Flowers pinot noir/syrah, very different and interesting, thanks to whomever recommended that. We also shared the tasting flight of Gigondas "from light to jammy." The light one was so light as to be practically tasteless...but interesting to try this type of wine. Oh, and the huckleberry cake (pastel de something or other), a basque spongecake with huckleberries and cream -- nice and light, not too sweet. All this came to nearly $100 -- I felt it was worth it, but we still had room for another dessert later at a friend's. I think if I go back, I'll definitely sit at the bar and maybe just get a cheese selection for a light dinner. And the dates, of course.