Our typical date night is going out to dinner. It's just what we do, and we do it often. Probably too often. But anyway. Because there are so many great places near us, we like to try new places rather than become "regulars" at certain ones. And we are quite choosy, which means we hardly ever have a bad meal out. Not that it never happens, but it's rare.
So it happens that when there's a holiday on which people tend to go out to dinner, we do not. We don't take that risk, because it seems those are the times when disappointment occurs and your special occasions become not-so-special. You choose the perfect place, get a reservation weeks ahead of time, browse the menu every few days, get your heart set on enjoying that amazing dish, with amazing service, in an amazing setting, having amazing conversation and...poof! The reality sets in. It's freezing cold. You have to wait 45 minutes for a table even though you have a reservation. They are out of that one dish you really wanted. Everything on the "special menu" is slightly more expensive than you remember. Your server is too busy to pay any attention to your empty glass, and it's too noisy to hear anything your significant other is saying. Not. So. Special.
All of this is to tell you that we stayed home for Valentine's Day. Our date that day was cooking together. We put on some music and spent much of the afternoon and evening in the kitchen. We made our own bread. We prepared pots de creme au chocolat for dessert. Chris used his new butchery book and butchered a rabbit perfectly, then we browned and shredded the meat to make a rabbit ragu using this recipe (because the New York Times knows what they're doing). While the sauce simmered softly on the stove top, we made and cut our own pappardelle. Rolling those long sheets of pasta was much easier with four hands! We opened a decent bottle of wine (at its retail price!) and enjoyed our entirely-from-scratch dinner in the dining room. We talked. We ate. We used cloth napkins. It was fun. It was romantic. And, God-willing, we'll do it again next year. You should, too.