Among the many couples who will be enjoying Date Night On Pine next Thursday evening will be some friends of DLBA who forged their relationships in Downtown, developing a deep affinity for our community — and for each other! We spoke with three Downtown couples who laid out what they love about Downtown, why they care for their partner so much, and how they keep their relationships going. 



Next week’s Date Night on Pine on Thursday, Feb. 22 will have a special significance for this Downtown couple: They met 22 years ago, on Feb. 22! “We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in October,” said Kahookele. The couple got married on a sailboat with three Duffy boats full of friends and family floating close by. Then they all docked at Parkers’ Lighthouse in Shoreline Village for a wonderful wedding reception. “We love going to Parkers’ on date nights,” Witte said. “It will always be our special place.” 

Kahookele and Witte, who own and run their own company, are known in the DTLB community for their international travels. They’ve been to over 30 countries together, sharing adventures such as the heavenly spectacle of the Northern Lights in Sweden, a ritual in South Africa that involved kneeling and drinking beer out of a gourd, and a rental car trek in Bali that yielded many amazing surprises. 

“We love to travel off the beaten path,” Kahookele explained. “Our goal is international travel until we get old. Then we’ll spend more time seeing the USA.”  

Witte loves Kahookele’s sense of humor and her willingness to always be there for family, friends, and even strangers. Kahookele praised Witte’s calm personality and her ability as a runner; Witte, an accomplished marathoner, has qualified for the USA Olympic Team. 

RELATIONSHIP TIP: Witte mentioned that “really respecting and listening to the other person, and learning to pick your battles” go a long way in keeping a relationship healthy!  



This Downtown couple, who own and work at their own real estate business, has been married for almost two years — but have been together for 13!  “I knew he was the one when he agreed to move from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, my favorite city in Southern California,” said Urena Castro. 

The couple has lived in or near Downtown for many years, and has a few preferred spots for local dates. Urena Castro shared that “we love Modica’s Deli at the corner of Ocean and Linden. It’s so quaint, romantic, and walkable.” Castro added that they enjoy having dinner at L’Opera on Pine, and getting their French-pressed coffee at Creme de la Crepe in the East Village. They both mentioned 555 East American Steakhouse and Queensview Steakhouse as date night favorites.  

“One thing I love about Melissa is that she’s very uniquely nerdy about things,” noted Castro. “She’s got checklists! She’s very organized, and keeps us on the same page.” Melissa had great things to say about her husband: “You know how they say opposites attract? What makes our relationship work is that he complements the parts of me that I wish I could tap into more, like living in the moment and being artistic. Juan’s got an elevated appreciation for art, and for things that are more emotional than cerebral.” 

RELATIONSHIP TIP:  “It’s a partnership,” said Urena Castro. “You need to double down on the values and foundation that make your partner the person you picked, and just move forward from anything petty that happens; Nobody’s perfect!” 



Saint-Welch, a retired psychotherapist, was living in Los Alamitos and Welch was located in Redondo Beach when the couple met on Match.com 20 years ago. “It was so easy,” said Saint-Welch. “Pat is exactly who he said he is online.”  

The two lovebirds had many of their early dates attending Downtown events. Welch, who is also retired after a successful career as owner of a marketing and printing business, took his future wife to Lobsterfest, Celebrate Downtown, the Cajun Festival, and many other Downtown events. “To this day, these events are where we like to go on dates,” Welch said. “Downtown offers so many. We just went to the Mardi Gras Festival last week! And, of course we’re looking forward to Date Night on Pine next week.” 

Welch loves how well his wife gets along with people. “If we’re out and about and I want to meet someone, I just wind her up and send her over,” he joked. Saint-Welch sang her husband’s praises: “He’s really funny — a great sense of humor — but he’s also SO smart!”  

The couple spends lots of time bonding while cruising local bike paths on their eBike. “It’s a passenger bike — I just hang on and wave to people,” laughed Saint-Welch. 

RELATIONSHIP TIPS: “Be yourself,” said Saint-Welch. “You have to be confident in yourself and be who you are. The right person is going to fit!”  Pat added that “the thing to recognize is that eventually the honeymoon is going to be over, so are you going to be able to compromise? You’ve got to bend a little. If you can do that, maybe you’ve got a chance.” 

Click here to learn more about Date Night on Pine. Connect with your date under the stars for an evening of good fun – and perhaps the prospect of a long and happy relationship!