June 11, 2022 | 10:00 am by Danielle Nagase and Renata Mesquita, O Estado de S.Paulo
The saying goes that a man is conquered by the belly, the naked truth, but it is necessary to complement: the technique of seduction, one of the oldest that exists, in fact, also works, obviously, with women. No wonder, one of the busiest dates in restaurants, second only to Mother’s Day, is the Valentine’s Day. And the “baits” go further: edible gifts, a handpicked wine to toast the night or an entire menu made at home, from starters to dessert, to hook your crush once and for all. Well, the theory is perfect, but the practice can go very wrong if you don’t pay attention to some details, such as the simple choice of menu.
To help you organize the gastronomic flirtationO taste analyzed stories of real and disastrous dates to identify the root of the problem. So, who knows, in addition to not repeating the same mistakes, you still guarantee a good laugh with reading.
It seems obvious, but in their eagerness to surprise their boyfriend or suitor, many people forget to do the basics: take into account the preferences and dietary restrictions of the loved one. Well, it’s no use preparing a laborious bouef bourguignon, which takes hours to prepare, if the person who should eat it is a vegetarian. No spaghetti carbonara if you have an egg allergy. Crush doesn’t like peas? Onion? Cilantro? Shiso? Well, now you know what (not) to do.
Care must be taken so that the moment together in the kitchen does not turn into a nightmare. Photo: Unsplash
“Once a boyfriend, who is now an ex, of course, sent me a basket of artisan breads for my birthday and in the selection he included a cheese bread, completely ignoring the fact that I was vegan. I even asked him if the order was right. And the worst: it was. So much to give me, I don’t know, a paste to spread on the other bun, and he chose something I can’t eat. A genius”, recalls Paula Marinho with a certain (or a lot) heartache.
The same goes for the choice of restaurant. “Once my ex-boyfriend suggested we go to a tex-mex chain restaurant, and I said I didn’t like that kind of food – first because it’s not really Mexican, second because it’s really bad. Months later, on Valentine’s Day, he invites me to dinner and says that this restaurant is a surprise. And it still guarantees that I will ‘love it’. I got all excited. Where did he take me? In another unit of the blessed network that I said I hated. The guy can’t even pay attention to what I say”, shouts Camila Gil – and it’s no wonder.
Ah, another very important thing is, as soon as you choose the restaurant, make a reservation. We’ve already said, on Valentine’s Day, restaurants fill up – and whoever is sitting at the table, enjoying a delicious moment with the loved one, is not at all interested in eating quickly to vacate the place. Waiting hours, hungry, can ruin a date, there is no good mood that survives.
“Look for restaurants with closed packages and no turns at night, so no one will pressure you to leave to make room for another reservation. I also suggest that you choose a place with a set menu, created especially for the date. With the kitchen prepared, the risk of the dishes taking a long time to come out is less”, teaches chef Bruna Martins, Biroska and Café Florestal BH.
Another tip is to check the average ticket of the house beforehand to make sure the bill will fit in your pocket – or you can end your Valentine’s Day night in a simple crepe stall on the street, as chef Raphael Vieira, from 31 Restaurant. “I was traveling with my girlfriend and, as I was going out to dinner, I realized that everything in town was very expensive. The lack of planning led us to eat on the street, but the crepe was delicious”, he laughs.
Blacksmith’s house, wooden skewer
Chef Renata Vanzetto, who has already witnessed several marriage proposals in the halls of her restaurants – with the right to an engagement ring hidden in the food, as she tells in a video recently posted on her Instagram (@renatavanzetto) -, also has a good story with street food – but in this case, Cupid gave the couple a little help. “I asked Cassiano myself on New Year’s Eve, eating a hot dog”, she says. Soon she, who thinks about every detail of the Valentine’s Day menu at all her restaurants. “It’s a very important date for us and I start thinking about the menus much earlier. I like to choose aphrodisiac recipes, thought-provoking dishes, even to prepare here at home. Food is very important at these times.”
Well, if even Renata Vanzetto, who runs the kitchen of six restaurants – apart from the branches – thinks about the crush menu in advance, you, mere mortal, should do the same, focusing on easy recipes – to make and to eat – and , preferably not too heavy. Nobody wants to end the night on their back on the couch, waiting for the body’s good will to digest, right?
If you don’t have any experience in the kitchen, and it’s a pity even when it’s time to fry an egg, it won’t be on a special date that you’re going to start cooking – be prudent, go back three houses and order dinner. If you already have a certain culinary dexterity, invest in recipes that have already worked in your hands, this is not the time to invent fashion. A well-executed trivia is a thousand times better than a dish made to impress, but left half-assed. If the recipe is too much work or requires long hours of cooking, start the preparation before and leave it to finish when the suitor arrives.
Ah, leaving the pan on the fire and leaving the kitchen to enjoy your crush in the living room (or bedroom) is a gastronomic trap for sure, see?! We’ve heard that even a famous chef forgot about the cow swamped cooking and ended the night with a burnt pot. “What’s that smell, so-and-so?”, “My God, the rib!” At least the disastrous date yielded a story (with characters kept secret) to tell. You’re not going to give one of these, are you?!
Gastronomic Anti-Clutter Handbook
1Plan ahead: if the idea is to surprise your love with dinner at a restaurant in town, book in advance. Don’t leave it to the last minute, most places will be queued and nothing less romantic than waiting and hungry.
twoAvoid surprises: when making your reservation, ask if the chef has prepared a special menu for the date and how much it costs. Also give preference to restaurants you already know.
3Will you cook at home? Plan yourself. Think about the recipes you will prepare and don’t leave shopping to the last minute.
4Avoid possible disasters: bet on recipes that you already know how to make, within your skills, this is not the time to play a ‘Masterchef’.
5Avoid recipes with many steps or processes that will leave you more time in the kitchen instead of enjoying the night with your partner. Don’t forget that later the dishes will be there waiting for you, and the idea after dinner is not to go to the sink.
6And last but not least: avoid overly spicy recipes. Better to avoid the garlic breath, no?