It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to enjoy a restaurant.
Our love of food has always been pretty central to our relationship. Before the pandemic, our dates always revolved around which cool restaurant we would try next. We were always on the prowl for a special gluten free menu while taking advantage of all the incredible cuisine Chicago has to offer. Juicy kabobs, fresh donuts, fried chicken, deep dish pizza… Excuse me, while I drool.
There’s just something about the buzz of a busy restaurant.
The dim lights. The hum of conversation from the neighboring table. Each plate of food arriving with a new surprise as you just sit back and enjoy the ride.
We’ve adopted an almost clinical lifestyle since the arrival of COVID-19. We have our groceries delivered, disinfect everything that enters our kitchen, and prepare every element of our meals ourselves. Our sink is almost always full of dishes from cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when I casually enjoyed a greasy hamburger with my shoulder pressed up against a stranger at the bar of some dive.
As the restaurants around town start taking to the streets for dining, we still can’t bring ourselves to brave the exposure. With Christian’s auto-immune disorder and asthma, it all feels to risky. The thought of someone bringing him a plate of food with unwashed hands and eating with a fork exposed to the elements invokes a physical sensation of panic. Nightmarish images of a maskless sneezing college student preparing our meal flash through my mind.
So, we are left to our own devices.
Day after day, as our cooking improves and our dishes continue to pile; we continue to lift each other up amid the chaos outside, and do what we can to maintain some sort of normalcy (And, dare I say, romance.)
As the months pass by, we’ve found several ways of making a date-night-in special, even when we’re stuck at home.
First of all- we make a night of it.
I’m all about “If you look good, you feel good”. Every now and then, dressing up in your best outfit can make all the difference. Changing out of your quarantine PJ’s and putting on your favorite dress can make you feel like you have a life again. Seeing Christian clean shaven and looking sharp in his blue blazer makes me realize; there’s still a lot that hasn’t changed.
Next, of course, comes the meal.
I must say, words fail for this oh-so-delectable charcuterie platter. We loaded up this baby with gourmet cheeses, meats, olives and fruits for $20. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to dive into it all over again.
Here’s what we put on our platter:
Honey goat cheese
GF seeded crackers
The best thing about charcuterie?
Exhale. Sigh of relief. Amen.
No stress of kitchen timers. No pots and pans to clean. It took ten minutes to prepare.
Then, we noshed all night by candlelight and a James Taylor vinyl. Sure, there were no waiters to bring us dessert, but our freezer is stocked up with ice cream.
All you really need is good food and good company for a simple, special, and memorable night at home.
What’s your favorite stay-at-home date night activity? Comment below!