When it comes to romantic dinners, why should Valentine’s Day and anniversaries get all the attention? My husband and I have a standing Friday night date, which over time has morphed into a “stay-date” since going out every Friday evening takes more energy and money than we seem to have these days. Our rules are no prepping, no chopping, no measuring, no eating until the kids are in bed, and most importantly, no clean-up. Here are five ways we’ve perfected the at-home romantic dinner:
The Butcher’s Market (locations in Raleigh & Cary)
This small gourmet market is a one-stop shop for your entire romantic dinner from noshy apps to perfectly proportioned desserts. They’re known for their marinated beef-tips, and their plentiful side options are just as tasty. If you can preheat an oven and lay aluminum foil on a sheet pan, you are twenty minutes from a delicious dinner courtesy of The Butcher’s Market.
On our romantic dinner menu: Signature marinated beef tips, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, and twice baked potatoes.
Supper Meals (www.suppermeals.com)
I heard about Supper Meals from a mom on the playground, and it sounded like the perfect solution for my no-cook romantic dinner desires. Supper Meals partners with local chefs and caterers to deliver fresh and healthy gourmet meals to your front door. Simply choose from the menus listed online and Supper Meals delivers your meal between the hours of 4-6pm on the day specified. Simply heat and eat. We had a great experience with our first meal created by Catering Works. Note: you’ll need to pre-plan your romantic dinner since you must select and order your menu before noon on the Saturday prior. As of publication of this article, SM has Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday options available, but I was informed all meals are meant to last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
On our Romantic Dinner menu: Beer Braised Brisket with Cheddar Grit Cake and Grilled Kale. Parmesan Breaded Chicken with Red Pepper Cream Sauce with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans with Roasted Red Peppers
The Fresh Market and Whole Foods (various Triangle locations)
It’s no secret most grocery stores have elevated their prepared food options. Still, I feel The Fresh Market and Whole Foods are on a level higher than your usual chain. I prefer The Fresh Market because the shopping experience is super enjoyable– jazz music, the smell of gourmet coffee beans, less crowds– plus their options are vast and phenomenal.
On our romantic dinner menu: BBQ bacon-wrapped chicken skewers, Mediterranean pasta salad, and freshly baked baguette.
Sushi (Sushi Lulu/The Pho Place, N.Raleigh)
What is sexier than sushi? You share it. You show off your chopstick skills. It is filling yet light on the stomach, and holds up remarkably well in a takeout box. Our favorite place to order sushi, Sushi Lulu, happens to be within walking distance. I would highly recommend it if you’re in the 27614 area.
On our romantic dinner menu: Hot Mama and Sweet Dragon Rolls with miso soup and seaweed salad.
A Bottle of Red and a Pizza Pie (Sergio’s Pizza, Raleigh & Apex)
Ordering a pizza is usually our very last resort, but thanks to Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw there is something extremely romantic about sharing a NY-style pizza and an expensive bottle of wine. (I can assure you this sentiment is simply tolerated, and not shared, by my hubby). Maybe we eat directly out of the cardboard box. Maybe we break house rules and eat in front of the TV. Either way we’re relaxed, full, and happy to be in one another’s company.
On our romantic dinner menu: Sergio’s meatball and green pepper pizza with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bottom Line: There are plenty of options in the Triangle for a romantic dinner date at home so don’t wait for a special occasion to start planning yours.