Lowe Party Guide: Romantic Dinner for Two
Valentine’s Day?! As most couples already know, it can be hard work coming up with the perfect just-the-two-of-us plan for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary celebration or a special date night. Do you make a reservation at a fancy restaurant? Do you make dinner at home? Do you go dancing or head out to see a show?
For those who aren’t buried in snow…imagine this scenario: You’re surprising your spouse or partner with a romantic, home-cooked, candlelit meal in an utterly private venue, one that boasts 360-degree water views. No other diners will disrupt your time together; you’ll have just water, sand, trees and the evening’s first twinkling stars for company.
OK, you ask — where’s this restaurant? It’s your pontoon boat, in your chosen cruising grounds, and you’re the chef.
Your pontoon is your ticket to a magical night filled with love, laughter and lifelong memories. After all, what could possibly be more romantic than a private candlelit dinner for two on the water?
First, you’ll have to invite your partner. Make sure he or she knows what to wear and what to bring along. In particular, a woman should wear comfortable, flat shoes with good soles, and if she chooses to wear a dress, she should select one that allows easy movement. Both men and women should bring a sweater and light jacket in case it gets cool, and it’s never a bad idea to have rain gear on hand, just in case.
Now, here’s your list of things to do. First, choose your destination. If you’re hoping to keep planning to a minimum and would like a full range of entree options, you may choose to dine at your own dock. That way, you can prepare the meal indoors and simply serve it on board.
Those looking for a truly memorable experience, however, will prefer to cast off the docklines. If you fall into that camp, you need to choose a protected, quiet anchorage or beach for dropping the hook or tying up. Make sure it’s not too far away, as you want to enjoy your meal without worrying about the time it’ll take to get home.
Next, you’ll need to decide on your courses. Bear in mind that you’ll be relying on a rail-mounted grill for hot entrees; plan your side dishes carefully, as you won’t want one dish to be getting cold while you are trying to cook or heat up the others. We recommend choosing a signature hot entree supported by savory cold side dishes, such as fresh grilled salmon served with cucumber and tomato slices, pasta or rice salad, and croissants or French bread. You’ll need to prepare some elements of the meal in advance, with the final grilling and assembly to take place on site.
And remember: You don’t need to be a hero! It’s absolutely acceptable to buy ready-made side dishes. Most of us would, admittedly, be hard-pressed to whip up a multiple-course meal from scratch on an open boat.
Once you’ve decided on the entree and side dishes, you may want to plan a few light appetizers. These will come in handy on the cruise to your dining destination or when you first arrive, especially if you’d both like to enjoy the evening’s golden light prior to sitting down to the main meal. Bring along a couple of candles in sturdy holders to add the final touches to your dining experience — just remember that you are on a boat, subject to wakes, waves and wind. If conditions are iffy, skip the candles. If it’s calm and still, go for it, but choose solid, wide candles in heavy jars rather than tall, thin ones in fine-dining holders.
You’ll also want to plan something special for your partner when he or she arrives — flowers, or perhaps a dessert basket that incorporates fresh fruit, cookies or chocolate. And if you do the latter, consider changing venues for dessert. Perhaps a short cruise to a nearby island, where dessert can be served on a big blanket, spread out on the beach with a spectacular view of the night sky.
Again, if the wind and weather allow, it’s a nice touch to light tiki torches or a bonfire for a shoreside course. Just make sure such activities are permitted in your chosen location.
However you choose to plan your event, it certainly will be a night to remember. So don’t wait — pick your special occasion, make the arrangements, invite your significant other, and bon appetit!