Create special memories by dining ý deux
By Jane Trask
Dinner for two... Three little words with a magical sound. Romance is in the air, and whether you're married, have a steady beau or simply dating, dining ý deux can add a little spice to your time together. To ensure that the memories of these special times will be good ones, here are some tips to prevent dining ý deux from becoming dining adieu!
When you're planning a romantic dinner in a restaurant, do a little homework. Because it's important to select an atmosphere that allows you both to relax and enjoy each other, decide on a place together. If it's a surprise-or your call-choose something that you know he will like.
If you're comfortable together, a candlelit bistro is lovely, as is a restaurant with an atrium or year-round patio dining. Ambience is very important for such romantic moments, and there's nothing like low lights to open up one's heart-and awaken the libido.
If you're not at ease with each other-yet-choose a place where there's something to do while dining. A restaurant with live music is a possibility, but be sure it's music your partner will enjoy. An opera lover may not dig dinner in a jazz club, so it's best to know his taste in music before making your reservation.
Then check the place out to make sure it will fill the bill for your romantic evening. See if the decor is conducive to the mood that you hope to create, take a look at the menu and resolve any size-related issues that might interfere with your big night.
If you're satisfied with what you find, make a reservation. When the night arrives, if you have to wait, find something to do so there won't be awkward moments. Have a drink in the bar, take a short walk outside or find a cozy nook to settle into while you wait for your table.
Dining for two doesn't always have to happen in the evening or take place in a restaurant. Likewise, breakfast for two doesn't always have to be the morning after-it can also take place the morning before! Or it can just be a great time to get together and break bread, er, toast.
When planning a breakfast/brunch for two, find out how soon after waking the other person comes to life. Any time from the crack of dawn to three in the afternoon is considered breakfast or brunch. After that it tends to become dunch.
Whatever time you choose, brunch is a pleasant way to entertain someone you've shared breakfast with before, or someone you'd enjoy waking up with in the future. And don't forget, husbands appreciate special breakfasts for two just as much as lovers do.
If you're cooking for someone you'd love to get romantic with but don't know very well, cut down on pauses in the conversation by providing something to do while eating. Fondue is back, and can keep one (make that two) very busy. Shabbu-shabbu type dishes where tidbits of food are cooked at the table, usually in broth, are fun joint projects as well.
Another pre-prandial occupier for a guest who might be a tad uncomfortable is to have a jigsaw puzzle in progress on your coffee table. Most people find them totally irresistible.
On the other hand, if your guest likes to cook, make dinner for two together. A stir-fry could work great, with one of you playing sous chef and the other doing the chopping.
Picnics are a wonderful way to dine ý deux. For those who live in frozen climes, an outdoor winter picnic can be invigorating, and warming each other up afterwards is the best part.
Picnics in the car can be fun, too, and can turn out to be quite intimate. Pack a lunch and if it isn't dark outside, drive somewhere scenic, even if it's just down the block for a better view of the city skyline. In the evening, go watch the sunset, or find a splash of moonlight. Then turn on the radio, light a votive candle on the dash and voilý, you have your very own sidewalk cafe!
For an indoor picnic, cook hot dogs in the fireplace or spread a tablecloth in the middle of the living room and pretend you're in the forest! For someone really special, put cushions on the floor and give him the royal treatment. You might even want to go totally nuts and fashion a tent out of a couple of sheets and imagine this is your first wilderness trek together. Or just go for the cushions and candlelight and feed each other finger food.
There are endless possible locales around the house, places you might never think of for dining ý deux or dining, period. How about in the bathtub-a great place to eat messy ribs-or in bed? If you choose the latter, make sure the meal won't leave any crumbs.
Whether cooking or dining out, serve or order things that don't require much dexterity-your mind is going to be on other things.
The dress code is also very important, and should be agreed upon in advance. If you're going out, you don't want to find yourself in eveningwear while he shows up in khakis. If he's coming over, establish whether it's grunge, casual or dress-up. And remember, he's going to be seeing you at the table, from the waist up. Pay special attention to enhancing your eyes and lips and other points of interest that will loom large in his point of view.
If dining ý deux is just a prelude for other activities ý deux, wear something you can be peeled out of like a big, beautiful banana instead of an outfit that will require the services of a safecracker.
Whatever you do, and wherever you do it, be playful and have fun. Memories are made from times spent together and from unexpected surprises.