Dining out at restaurants is lovely, but is not always the best idea during a pandemic. They can also be prohibitively expensive…and you have to put on a bra or real pants, drive there, park…maybe have a reservation. What a pain! That doesn’t have to prevent you from enjoying that fine dining level experience for a creative at-home date night, though. Chat with your S.O. about your favorite restaurants, and your favorite dishes at those restaurants. If you can agree on just one…great, go with that! If not, do this on a couple different nights, and take turns doing the prep work and cooking. If the restaurant you’re using is a chain place, you may be able to find copycat recipes for their popular dishes online. If not, have fun making something up to get as close as you can get it! Get creative and let your taste buds and intuition lead the way, and prepare that most loved meal for the two of you, appetizers and all. Then, do the best you can with what you have at home to re-create the restaurant setting and ambiance, too. Tablecloths and cloth napkins? Fresh flowers on the table? Candlelight and soft music? A bread basket and mints after the meal? Go all in on the details to help make the fantasy realistic. Cook together, then serve that meal, keeping presentation in mind like the chefs and servers would at your restaurant, then sit down and enjoy your efforts together!
Chopped: Couple’s Edition
Chopped is one of my favorite cooking shows! If you’re not familiar with it, but would like to try this date night, start by watching a few episodes on Netflix or the Food Network App so you get the premise of the show. Basically the contestant chefs (sometimes professional, sometimes amateur) are each given a picnic basket full of four to five “mystery ingredients”, which they then have to artfully combine and use their culinary magic on to create a cohesive and delicious meal. Sounds like a challenge, no? To do this one as a date night (it will actually span TWO nights), make up a mystery basket of ingredients for your partner, present the basket and any parameters (i.e. they have two hours to research and cook, they can use anything else from your pantry and fridge, etc.), and the heat is on! The next night is their turn to make the basket which YOU have to cook from. Just remember that you have to eat whatever they cook, so you might not want to get TOO wild and crazy with the basket ingredients! Before you start, make up little scorecards with categories for Taste, Creativity, Use of Ingredients, and Presentation. Discuss each other’s meals while you enjoy them together, then write down your scores in secret…it’s OK to be honest! After you’ve both had your turns to play chef, reveal the scorecards to determine a winner. If you want to take it up a notch, perhaps they win a sexual favor of their choice? 😉 Good luck, Chopped Champions!
Around the World in your Living Room:
When you’ve grown bored of the quarantine meals you’ve cooked over and over for weeks, add a little spice and flavor to your life by getting takeout and theming your date night around the country or ethnicity your food hails from. Order your favorite dishes from local spots which are still open for carry-out (bonus: you’re helping small businesses stay afloat during this challenging time), then bring it home at eat on your couch or on the coffee table while you watch a movie set in that country. Bonus points if you plan for a beer, cocktail, or drink that fits the theme. You can even find simple homemade games or crafts from each country to try for an extra bit of fun! Here are a few movie ideas to go with some popular cuisines you might choose from:
Indian food calls for films set in India: Lion, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Slumdog Millionaire, The Darjeeling Limited, The Jungle Book, or any Bollywood musical if you have three and a half hours to kill!
Sushi? Let’s go to Japan!: Godzilla, 47 Ronin, Kubo and the Two Strings, Isle of Dogs, Spirited Away, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Last Samurai
Taco and Tamale Tuesday…time to viva Mexico! : Coco, Roma, Frida, Three Amigos, The Book of Life, Nacho Libre, Sicario
Why not try Thai Thursday? Enjoy your Pad Thai & Tom Yum Soup alongside a movie set in Thailand: Only God Forgives, The Elephant King, The Hangover Part II, The Beach, Anna and the King, Rambo, The Impossible
For Italian food (my favorite!), go with a movie set in Italy: Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, Life is Beautiful, Quantum of Solace, The Godfather, Spider Man: Far From Home, Only You, When in Rome.
And For Dessert? :
Whichever fun, food-based date you choose for your evening, after the meal is when the real fun begins! Entice your lover into the bedroom with some sexy lingerie and the promise of a sweet treat. If you’re planning on using whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or any of that, just make sure it stays above the waist…you don’t want anything with sugar in it getting near your naughty bits! Flavored lubes, condoms, and sensual enhancements are sugar-free and made to be safe for genitals, so go to town with those if you want to sweeten the deal. Start by engaging with some sensual food play. Need some examples? Feed each other strawberries or grapes, spray whipped cream on her nipples and lick it off, or paint a sexy message with chocolate body paint. Then move on to pleasing each other (no need to share dessert here!) with favorite oral favors using a yummy, kissable warming aphrodisiac oil or oral numbing spray. The amazing sex at the end will be the cherry on top!
For romantic foodies who like to go out to eat regularly, this shelter-in-place time is definitely a challenge, but we will get through it together. It means more cooking at home and more dishes dishes to wash, but also more time to experiment and learn new culinary skills! Have fun in the kitchen by yourself or with your partner or family, don’t be afraid to try new things, and be kind to yourself if something doesn’t come out the way you hoped…there’s always pizza to fall back on! By cooking at home together as much as possible, you’re helping everyone to stay safe and healthy, and slowing the spread of Coronavirus while slowing down to spend quality time with your love. Bon Appetit, lovers!