I believe the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, and the dinner menu I prepared was a perfectly designed express lane with equal parts of my guests 3 key C’s: Cosmos, Carbs and Chocolate. I opened impressively with a Caprese salad appetizer, with mozzarella balls speared on toothpicks with cherry tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Good start, right? A small loaf of fresh French bread soaked up the glistening liquids remaining after the disappearing act on red and white orbs. A Chicken Mushroom Risotto was reducing its way toward completion, and “French Cosmopolitans” with fresh squeezed lime, Grey Goose, Grand Marnier and fresh Acai juice provided ample anti-oxidants and wider smiles. The rice concoction was good, not great, but risotto dishes are always experimental for me, so next time I’ll employ the lessons learned. Unfortunately a few more painful lessons still lay ahead…

After going three for three, a pretty good “night at the plate,” if you know what I’m saying, the dark chocolate fondue was going to be a home run… Touch ‘em all, pal! Well, um, as my guest noted, making desserts is very much about chemistry and when I missed one little detail, our chemistry cooled like liquid nitrogen. Oh, not really. She did scoff a few pieces of fresh fruit dipped in the clumpy, oily mess, but it was just gross. My mojo damaged by the limp dip, I panicked and made another round of cosmo’s before we got comfortable and searched for a movie. Since I couldn’t find “Crazy Heart” or “The Wrestler,” our search became less focused and I calculated that my Cosmo plied friend would quickly lose interest in “Spinal Tap,” leaving me as her only option…

About ten minutes into the classic rock mocumentary, I sensed my plan was working as she turned toward me and purred, “If you wanted to pick a movie I’d lose interest in, you succeeded.” “YES! That’s right, I’m the man!” I thought… Wanting to play it cool, I continued chuckling at the ridiculous lines of the film, and laughed out loud at Nigel Tufnel’s classic rock god line, “We’ve got Armadillos in our trousers. It’s really quite frightening.” It was at that point I was the one horrified as I discovered there actually was another option for my dinner date besides me, and that was a very sound sleep! Yep, she was resting quite beautifully and I didn’t have the heart to wake her, although there was a strong argument made by another participant in my self-conversation. Yeah, it was a classic angel/devil on each shoulder confrontation. While those two argued, I tried to focus on the movie, but it just wasn’t as funny anymore.

So, as a public service, I offer you guys out there the following tips for a successful romantic dinner. Actually, “go to a nice restaurant” may be the only tip you need, but if you’re going to try the culinary bad arts thing:

  • Reading recipes before consuming cosmos is a good idea.
  • When making a chocolate fondue, “remove from heat once the heavy cream reaches a boil…”
  • Cosmopolitans kick ass, so if you do screw up the fondue, don’t panic and make more drinks. Serve ice water instead.
  • Trying to “play it cool” will often result in you playing by yourself. When she turns on toward you, it’s time to turn Nigel off.