by Chris Alt
Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. For those of us in long-term, happy committed relationships, there can be a tremendous amount of pressure to make Valentine’s Day perfect for our significant others. Fortunately for me, my wife is incredibly low-maintenance, which means I don’t have to move mountains for us to have a romantic Valentine’s Day.
Neither of us has much patience for waiting or for crowds, so an intimate dinner at home always takes precedence over trying to eat out. After dropping the kids off with the sitter, we go right to the kitchen to work together on a tasty, healthy meal. Pasta is a mutual favorite, and in a time crunch my cheat recipe for chicken penne is pretty satisfying. We talk about our day and she’ll pour a couple glasses of Pinot Noir. Meiomi is an ideal bottle if you’re on a budget and looking to get the most bang for your buck. I chop mushrooms and peppers to add to the sauce.
Soon enough, dinner is ready. I’ll make sure the dining room is clean and the table is candlelit, and we put our phones away for the night. We enjoy both the meal and each other’s company with a Spotify playlist filled with our favorite love songs—everything from classic Marvin Gaye and Etta James to more contemporary stuff like Børns and Lorde. For dessert, we like a tiramisu from Community Bakery (pro tip: call the bakery a few days in advance to ensure availability) that we enjoy with a glass of Banfi Rosa Regale sparkling red.
After dinner, I make popcorn while she picks out a movie. ALWAYS let your partner pick the movie on Valentine’s Day, because February 14th isn’t about you. Yes, you might have to re-watch something with Meg Ryan that you’ve already seen a dozen times, but that contented sigh while you cuddle on the couch is worth it. If I’m extremely lucky and she’s not too tired after the movie, I might even talk her into a few rounds of Mario Kart before the night comes to an end.
And that’s how I celebrate Valentine’s Day without jumping through a million hoops or spending the rough equivalent of a small country’s GNP. A cozy, intimate evening at home after spending a minimal amount of money at the grocery store and Colonial Wine & Spirits is much more romantic to us than worrying about frazzled waitstaff losing our reservations and fighting traffic after an overpriced meal. Celebrate more with someone you love!