The first thing to do when setting up a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner? Take a moment to relax and tell yourself, “I’ve got this. This is going to happen, and it’s going to be amazing.” Next, make the meal feel special.
THE MENU: Ask yourself, do you love filet mignon and crab legs or are you tacos and beer people? Just because it is Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you must opt for super fancy cuisine, if that is not what you two love most. Determine if you want to dress up for a dinner in your own home or if cozy pajamas is the way to go.
SET THE TABLE: How do you want the table to look? A neutral colored linen tablecloth, or detailed decorative placements, will elevate the look of the table you typically use, setting the stage for a special meal. Pull the fancy dishes out from the cabinet and give them a rinse. If you have multiple sets, layer them for a more polished look. Forks go on the left of the plate, followed by the knife and spoon on the right. If your main entree includes meat that needs to be cut, add a serrated knife to the right side of the plate. If you have a special dessert that will be served at the end, lay either a fork or spoon horizontally above the center of the plate.
SET THE MOOD: Along with candles and low lighting, music can help establish the mood. Curate a playlist that involves some of your favorite songs, a throwback song from your first date or song you danced to at your wedding. Personalize a greeting card with a sincere message for your special someone. It’s a thoughtful momento that can be kept for years to come and looked back on fondly.
ONE LAST THING: Before you sit down, make sure your cell phones are in another room and out of the way. Eliminate distractions and focus on the person you are with.
—Daulton Van Kuren is the owner of The Refined Host, therefinedhost.com. Photos by Alyissa Landri Photography
If you are looking for recipes to create an amorous mood, look no further than Hobnob’s Aphrodisiac Party Plan. What you’ll see: Filet Mignon in Cherry Port Reduction, Sexy Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces, Mini Tarts with Beets and Ricotta, Make it Quick Ravioli Sauce: Hazelnut Brown Butter, and for dessert, an intoxicating 10-Minute Cherry Chocolate Mousse. There’s also a couple of cocktails to wow your love.