All my close girl friends know not to invite me out on Friday nights as I have reserved that for date nights. No matter how hectic the week is, I cannot schedule anything on date night because that is the only dedicated time I have for my partner. It allows us to not have to think about when we will next spend time with just the two of us and in a romantic setting. We are both very social and make separate dinner plans with people throughout the week. We also have family dinner night once a week and “spontaneous” BCD Tofu House midnight soirees on the weekends. Our social schedules on top of our work schedules can easily be overwhelming, but at least we have one day a week to remind ourselves why we find each other awesome. 

We’ve been doing date nights at home for a while now. We’re both trying to eat better and pay less for alcohol (the $30 glasses of wine add up, you know?) so it just made sense to have dates at home. I’m also a very passionate home cook so I get to practice and we both get to be tipsy without having to call an uber. Here’s how we set up date nights at home.

Plan the menu ahead of time. I’m a very spontaneous person and I will only eat whatever I want to eat at that time, so I can’t plan too far ahead or I’ll risk not wanting to eat my pre-planned food. I usually think of what we’ll have for dinner during lunch so I can go grocery shopping after school/lab. Below is a sample menu that more or less represents what we make every week. A couple of my go-to main courses are spaghetti carbonara, chicken Alfredo, spaghetti with red sauce, aglio e olio, cacio e pepe, butter-basted ribeye, grilled kalbi, lemon roasted chicken, and taco bowls. I almost always make a cheeseboard with our favorite cheeses and we make sure we’re well-stocked with our favorite wines. As for dessert, sometimes I make my flan/crème brûlée hybrid or another homemade dessert, but sometimes we just share a small tub of Ben & Jerry’s; it’s called balance.

Begin date night when you get home. After coming home from the grocery store, I plop everything in the kitchen and pour myself a glass of wine. I also play some Micheal Bublé-type music so when the man gets home, he can relax before he starts grilling. I’m usually in charge of whatever is happening on the stove and in the oven, but he takes over the grill and setting up the table. The food prep is definitely part of date night so don’t be stressed if it takes longer than usual to prep everything. 

Set the stage. We are going for the full experience here. Dim the lights, light some candles, bring out your nice steak knives, be fancy with the food presentation, and play some romantic music. By putting in effort into these little things even if you only have an audience of one, it matters a lot. It means that you are willing to invest your energy into your partner, and if that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is. 

Enjoy each other. Not much explanation needed here. Take this time to shower your partner with words of affirmation and remind them how awesome they are.

I’ve learned to enjoy private dinners at home as much as the ones at nice restaurants. At home, I can pick the music, drink moscato with my dinner, have seconds, and keep conversations going without being interrupted. No matter where you do date night, as long as your focus is on each other, you’ll have a great time. 


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