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Seduction dinner, ladies?


I've reconnected with a gal who I knew years ago, when I was married and she single. I'm now single, she's coming for dinner-how does this sound? (We met for drinks recently).

with drinks
Marcona almonds, mixed olives, sliced sopressatta from my local guy

first course
Creamy gazpacho (new Cooks Illustrated recipe) with chopped shrimp garnished with toast points with a schmear of pesto

crabcakes on field greens, celeri remoulade, crispy potatoes

cold zabaglione over raspberries in a gratin dish, then bruleed.

  1. Actually that sounds very, very good! Great inspiration!

    1. Well, I'm seduced. It all sounds wonderful.

      1. I'd be less than thrilled with the gazpacho, I can't eat tomatoes. The rest sounds absolutely fantastic though!

        17 Replies
        1. re: bluemoon4515

          I agree on the gazpacho, as I don't care much for it. But now a good dill pickle soup - yum! Otherwise, what time do we eat?

          1. re: boyzoma

            Dill pickle soup being romantic??? I was going for salty first, to spur the appetite and to help the Negroni go down, then something light for the first course, then who doesn't like crab cakes? I love capers in celeri remoulade, she can pick around the potatoes, and bruleed raspberry zabaglione will put her over the top.

            I like being inventive; last summer at a farmers market I chatted with a gal over zucchini blossoms. She grabbed a paper bag and scribbled her name and phone number on it. We spoke and for the first dinner I cooked her I did Marcella Hazan's recipe of veal, asparagus, fontina with marsala in parchment paper (think paper bag).

            1. re: johnlockedema

              Gotta love it! You must have the "gift" of gab. And I love marsala (especially in sauteed mushrooms) and that reminds me to make some veal marsala and/or chicken marsala soon. As for the soup, my DH and I used to have wonderfully romantic dinners at the Trianon restaurant where Dill Pickle soup was served first.


              1. re: johnlockedema

                I hope she got the papillote/paper bag thing, that's a very nice touch.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I had written her number on the outside of the parchment paper bag, she couldn't miss it!

                    1. re: johnlockedema

                      PS whatever way you go, don't bring Locke into the conversation. Ladies who love discussing Locke are rather thin on the ground in my experience. Worthy of course but...<<yawn>>> I think it's time for me to go...

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Unless it's John Locke from Lost. I don't mind discussing him one bit.

                        1. re: small h

                          Oh silly me, I wasn't thinking nowadays, I never watched the show.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            I once had a girlfriend who was into Hobbes and sidewinder chimichurri. A real pistol, that girl.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Locke and Hobbes, no. Calvin and Hobbes yes!

                        2. re: buttertart

                          John Locke? This is a first date. Careful for that "Invisible Hand."

                          Hobbe's Leviathan however conjures up a whole different image. He/She/They will eat anything. Your culinary problem is solved.

                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            Excellent points, both. It seems the John Locke in question may not be the one we have in mind.

                            1. re: FoodFuser

                              The date with a Hobbesian, however, could easily turn out to be short, nasty and brutish.

                  1. Gazpacho not so much. But I'd put out for the rest. ;-)

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: mcf

                      Atta girl, mcf. Oh, and the crystal is Baccarat Nancy, the china is Ceralene Festivities, and the silver is Tiffany Audubon.

                      1. re: johnlockedema

                        Actually John - Keep the gazpacho - It's so perfect this time of year. I'm not saying I'd put out but you're definitely a keeper (especially in the kitchen). dunno much about china and crystal so I'll trust your word on that.

                        1. re: johnlockedema

                          Could you at least lose the crystal, china and silver for the first date? That's scarier than having it at home IMO. Screams VERY SPECIAL OCCASION. I'm 63 but that would give me the shivers. He and I and the good stuff. No, no, no :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I know her well enough to know she'll like it, and she's been asking me to cook for her all summer.

                            1. re: johnlockedema

                              Ah. Well. Not trying to sound snarky, but if you know so much about her tastes, why bother asking for advice about the dinner?

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Well, I've gotten some nice suggestions-I didn't think about sopressatta being too garlicky-point well taken. Champagne (rose or full bodied brut), served through the meal-point well taken. Roxy Music background music-point well taken. What I haven't asked for is relationship advice, which some want to comment on. I can handle that end just fine, this ain't my first rodeo!

                                  1. re: johnlockedema

                                    If you think menu and tablesetting advice is relationship advice, well, I'm just shocked. These types of things are regularly discussed on CH. I have ethical issues with rodeos so don't know what you're alluding to.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      c oliver, you were the one who sounded like you'd be creeped out by a first date at someone's home AND even more if it was served on fine china, crystal, and silverware. Isn't that you offering relationship advice?

                                      I never asked for feedback other on what I'm serving. and I'm grateful for the menu feedback I've received from fellow chowhounders.

                                      1. re: johnlockedema

                                        I'm not trying to be argumentative. There are people who have posted here on CH that they keep the TV on during dinner parties, that they use or don't use cloth napkins, all manner of things of that sort. If this post had been on the Home Cooking board, it would have narrowed its focus to the menu. Being on GC opened it up to other comments. Just like having the boss or the in-laws over for dinner, a "seduction dinner" has nuances that go beyond the menu. Not relationship advice in the least. I and a few others just felt that you could use a little nudge to the more casual, middle of the road. Obviously not your style. Enough said.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                lol! It scares me too in a way, but to me it screams "trying to show the gal how weathly I am". I agree.

                                1. re: mcel215

                                  We share similar socio-economic levels, 'trying to show the gal how wealthy I am' simply doesn't enter into it. We 'get' each other, and I'm ok if there are a few Chowhounders that I wouldn't 'get' either.

                                  1. re: johnlockedema

                                    I have been on a lot of first dates in my time. I have also dated people who have the finest crystal, china and 'similar socio-ecomonic' level. I am simply stating that on a first date, I wouldn't want such a formal dinner date. It would appear (besides my first statement), much too formal to have fun and relax.
                                    And you are right, JMO.

                                    1. re: mcel215

                                      Again, I'm not asking for advice how to frame the date, I know my friend well enough to know she'll love it. If that's not your thing, well, it's not your thing. Doesn't mean it can't be someone elses thing.

                                      1. re: johnlockedema

                                        Yes, but you added the element of fine china and crystal into your post, therefore I gave feedback on it.

                                        And I absolutely love exquisite table settings, just not on the first date.

                                        I like your menu, minus the sopresatta, which you have removed.

                                      2. re: mcel215

                                        Not anything like a first date if she is asking to be dinner guest. Can be romantic if he brushes the crystal and china off the table and gets right to it.

                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                          If they have chemistry, then they have romance. From what the OP has said thus far, I think he has a good sense of things.

                                          Beautiful food deserves a beautiful setting, and an appreciative companion. The Op seems assured of the latter.

                            2. Make sure she eats seafood. I personally love gazpacho and done correctly I'd totally swoon but it is a very polarizing food. People either love it or hate it.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: melpy

                                Ditto re: be sure she eats seafood (this coming from one woman who doesn't). And while I love gazpacho, if the goal is in fact seduction I might think twice about serving a dish thet typically involves large quantities of uncooked garlic and onions . . . Dessert sounds fabulous btw.

                                1. re: cookie monster

                                  Good call! Women can be uncomfortable if they don't think they have stellar breathe. Raw onions are one to avoid!

                              2. This sounds very, very nice!

                                Only additions I can see would be a little cheese with the drinks (fresh mozzarella, etc.) and perhaps 1-3 truly stunning handmade chocolates (dark, truffles) with a cognac after dinner. Actually, get a few different chocolates to share bites of...(screen fading into waves crashing).

                                Your menu and attention to all level of detail is sure to make serious points!

                                Have a lovely evening!

                                1. Maybe a Pouilly-Fuisse with those crabcakes?

                                  1. Honestly, the fact that you cook is seductive enough. Nice choices though, especially the celery remoulade.

                                    (Can you tell I don't have any other cooks in my life?)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Peachie

                                      I'm with Peachie.

                                      Please post the rest of the story!

                                    2. I'm just hoping this isn't a first date. I'd run for the hills. First dates shouldn't be at home. And this menu screams that you're trying to get laid. Just one old lady's opinion :)

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Oh, I don't know about that. It depends on the personalities. I was once asked out by an acquaintance, but the days we were both available were days that no restaurants were open; (Mondays in a rural area). He offered to cook for me at his place instead. I was actually pleased because it kind of meant the pressure was off. Maybe part of it was that I didn't have to worry about people prying and gossiping; (again - rural area), but we had a wonderful time with no distractions and simply good conversation and good food. It certainly helped that he and I both loved food and loved to cook. It didn't work out in the end - my fault - but I have to say that date ranks up there among the most memorably comfortable and nice first dates I ever had.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I had the very same vibe: IE trying -too- hard to impress. Unless if this lady is a foodie that would appreiciate it and "get" it, it might scare her off. Tons of garlic and onions on a first date= bad idea, unless she's told you she loves them dearly.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            It takes two to tango, she can thank him for a lovely dinner and head home. It's not like he's baiting a leg-hold trap with crab cakes.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              Damn fine bait however. I didn't mean that he actually thought he was going to score but rather the menu (IMO only) was a bit over-the-top for a first date and could send a wrong (or right) message.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                LOL @ Veggo. You've just cheered me up on a very dull evening at work! Actually, this thread is very entertaining full stop. Can't wait to see how it ends!

                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                I couldn't agree more. I hate when guys go all out on the first date in hopes of getting laid. That may not be the case here, but with that menu, it would be easy for the date to assume. I feel like a first date should be more about getting to know the person than about impressing her with culinary skills or anything else.

                                                I think more basic foods that tend to have a broader appeal than crabcakes and gazpacho would be a better choice. I think part of the problem with cooking at home for a first date is that you really don't know the date's likes and dislikes yet. If the date doesn't like what you cook, you will end up focusing all on the food and not each other. I know it's hard for me to enjoy myself when I am busy pretending that I really like a dish I can barely stomach. When it's a first date, people don't normally feel comfortable saying they don't like x or y.

                                                1. re: queencru

                                                  It's not the case here. If you've read my thread you'll see I've known the gal for fifteen years or so . . . and I noted that I want to get inside her head rather than her pants. We've double dated and I've entertained her before (when I was married and she had a b/f).

                                                  Sorry if the thread title has made me sound like a guy on the make; I thought the readers here would think of seduction being cerebral rather than animal!
                                                  And crabcakes and gazpacho are rather basic cooking, at least for me.

                                                  1. re: johnlockedema

                                                    You don't need to apologize. I'm a grandmother, so no young thing, but went to hubby's house on the first date (only for appetizers, he's not much of a cook so took me out to dinner after a glass of wine and a few bites, and a walk on the beach.....). and yes, fine china, etc. is seductive to me. To me, it says he appreciates the food served on it, and the company.

                                                    Regarding the menu: the gazpacho would be only ok in my book, I probably would ignore the toast points since pesto is definitely *not* a favorite, and the rest sounds great. I'd consider a different first course. Perhaps gazpacho is a bit polarizing?

                                                    Or just skip that course. I'd worry more about the food being overwhelming then I'd worry about the china. and if the prosciutto is very good I'd so much rather have a bit more of that than any soup....

                                              3. first of all...I think your efforts go the distance more than the menu. The only thing I would suggest (just one woman's opinion) is the sopressatta can be oily and garlicy, which is perfect for for some nights, and not so much for others. I'd want my breath to smell sweet at the end of the meal. But that's just how I roll. Good luck.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                  I thought the same thing and I always serve sopresatta.

                                                2. - Four pounds of bacon, variously prepared.

                                                  - Half gallon of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in her favorite flavor.

                                                  - A salad of frisee , lightly dressed with a homemade vinaigrette, served as the side. The homemade dressing is your chance to shine.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. Make sure you both eat the gazpacho.

                                                    It sounds lovely and like the very best of summer. Lucky her. Congrats on the reconnect.

                                                    1. just one girl's opinion... one girl who herself loves to impress but...

                                                      sometimes i find soup (however lovely) makes me feel a little full and unsexy.

                                                      large rich meals, however yummy and thoughtfully prepared, make me feel full and unsexy.

                                                      you see the pattern... presumably, you have a fair grasp on this woman? maybe (hopefully) she's not like me... otherwise, the menu sounds elaborate and fabulous. as other posters suggested, you probably don't have to go all out on the first shot... keep something in your arsenal for next time ;)

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                        While I think it sounds like a lovely meal, this is a very valid point. And since the food is homemade, she may feel extra pressure to clean her plate so as not to insult the host. For this reason, and those mentioned above, I'm firmly on the "no first dates at home" side. Then again, the OP has known her for a while and had drinks with her, so it's sort of date 1.5.

                                                        1. re: small h

                                                          She loves all types of seafood, and the gazpacho calls for two medium cloves in a recipe that serves 6, so I don't think that's a big issue. I really think of gazpacho as chilled vegetables rather than a soup, and it's pretty light.

                                                          I may consider some red label prosciutto di parma that my local guy gets, two year old aged from pigs fed the whey of parmigiano reggiano, over the sopressatta. Cheese I serve after dinner, usually in the winter, although I pig out on caprese salad when good tomatoes are around.

                                                          And this isn't a 'get her into bed' seduction-it's more to get inside her head first.

                                                          Oh, and the dinner may get pre-empted by a picnic lunch at the Tinicum Park Polo Club north of New Hope, PA if the weather isn't too hot. It's very romantic, and at halftime you get to walk the field hand in hand and step down on the divots. This isn't happening for two weeks though.

                                                          So a Negroni with the snacks, Prosecco with the gazpacho, ? with the crabcakes?

                                                          1. re: johnlockedema

                                                            An Alsatian Pinot Gris or Austrian Riesling would do it for me. Or a Negroni and then Champagne (brut rosé) throughout. (My ideal seduction meal would be salted almonds with drinks, oysters on the half shell with lemon, rare lamb tenderloin with asparagus and waffle-cut potatoes, and a box of chocolates from Bernachon for afterwards. Would want something meaty and something crisp going on in the meal.)

                                                            1. re: johnlockedema

                                                              I won't eat cucumbers period so you'd lose me there.

                                                              As I mentioned upthread, it's not your intention that matters but perhaps the impression. Now I LOVE the idea of the polo match. And I doubt there's a woman alive who wasn't horse crazy as a girl. Don't worry about the "divots"; it's the poop you need to keep an eye out for :)

                                                              1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                Oh - you're in that area - could I suggest the Homestead Inn in West Trenton for a second or third date if you're not already familiar with it? My all-time favorite Italian restaurant in the US, and I lived in the North End of Boston for 20 years.

                                                                1. re: pasuga

                                                                  I know someone who went there (the place with no menus??) and felt totally ripped off. I'd try it if I was in the area, but I have lots of wonderful restaurants nearby and in Manhattan I don't think I'd take someone there on a date.

                                                                  What's up with restaurants in that area? The famous pizza place with no bathroom, this place with no menu?? I have an open invitation from a friend who's been going to DeLorenzo's for years, so I'll take him up on that one day, I've never had a legendary Trenton tomato pie.

                                                                  1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                    Quite possibly the best pizza I've found outside of Italy was at Candela just on the southern outskirts of Trenton. It's just a humble, family pizzaria, but man they do make a mean pie. One of about two things in New Jersey that I actually miss.

                                                                    1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                      If your friend went there for a first time and wasn't prepared for the prices I could see how he/she might feel ripped off - it's expensive. I don't live in NJ anymore, and the last time I was there a few years ago dinner for three came to about $250. (salads, a couple shared appetizers, entrees, coffee, a good bottle of wine, no dessert) It's clean, the decor isn't much, but the atmosphere is great. They don't have a website. It has a great history - mobsters and politicians mixing. When I was growing up in the area years ago they didn't even have a listed phone. They don't have menus, the waiter comes to the table and tells you what's available and you won't hear what the prices are unless you ask. That said, the food is terrific, and any place that's stayed in business for 50+ years on word of mouth only (devoted/repeat customers) has to have something going for it. It's certainly different from any other restaurant I've been to in the US and novelty can be a fun thing when you're on a first date - or as in the OP's case, reconnecting.

                                                            2. Stuff her with enough wine, and you can give her a hot dog.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. I think your menu sounds fab and love the gazpacho with the shrimp..good call on the crabcakes too.
                                                                chicks love good French champagne..usually seals the deal.
                                                                For music...I wouldn't go with a Barry White's greatest hits..too obvious.
                                                                ; )

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                  Yeah, throw her off the scent with some Barry........Manilow.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    hee hee
                                                                    he wants to seal the deal..not kill the deal!

                                                                  2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                    Lots of great suggestions. Keep in mind I'm trying to spend as much time at the table rather than the stove, so except for sauteeing the crabcakes and finishing the potatoes and bruleeing the dessert everything else can be prepared in advance.

                                                                    And I love the idea of serving champagne throughout a dinner, I'm thinking it won't work with gazpacho.

                                                                    Barry White, lol, that would be a bit obvious! Nick Drake's greatest hits maybe?

                                                                    1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                      I would say with a creamy gazpacho, with a nice Vueve Clicquot would work just fine..regular gazpacho would be too acidic imo, for champagne but the creaminess of the gazpacho would work well with the champagne.
                                                                      Music is key to the mood and sets the tone..so choose well.
                                                                      Good luck and report back!

                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        Oh please, entirely TMI. Just tell us the final menu :)

                                                                  3. I'm still trying to figure out whether you're trying to seduce the date or the ladies on this board. So far, I suspect maybe both? '-)

                                                                    Be that as it may, I suggest you scratch the soup as a first course. The problem with soup for a first date is that if the dinner guest is at all nervous, and if that lends the dinner guest to shaky hands (and it does for many), then what you're really doing is inviting her to WEAR the soup! If your heart is set on the gezpacho, you could serve it in mugs to bystep this possibility, or go with a more solid first course that won't ealisly fly out of the spoon if her hands tremble.

                                                                    Oh, and for what it's worth, I would go with some really mellow chamber music at a low volume. IMO, NOTHING lends itself to a candlelight dinner more than chamber music. Then, after dinner you can switch to whatever.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      Right. Haydn during dinner, 2 Live Crew after dinner.

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        She won't be nervous, we've been friends for fifteen years. We grew up in the same town, have many friends in common, her family likes me.

                                                                        I may drop one of the appetizers and serve fried zucchini blossoms, I made them a lot last summer-yeah, it's a bit more hands on but I can make them when she's on her way over and keep them warm in the oven. Here's some i made last year.

                                                                        1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                          Regardless of shaky hands, I had a great cold tomato soup presentation at Alan Wong's in Honolulu - two batches of soup, one made with yellow tomatoes and the other with red. Served in a cocktail glass swirled in a yin/yang pattern (you might want to practice that ahead of time). A large parmesan crisp across the rim of the glass held a small "grilled cheese" sandwich of fresh mozzarella, kalua pork, and foie gras. Sub the prosciutto you mentioned for the kalua pork, and you've got a sure-fire winner...

                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                            Holy cats, that is attractive. I had a similar soup presentation at Aquavit in Manhattan - I think it was vichyssoise on one side and...something red on the other.

                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                              Bouillabaise with the vichyssoise?

                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                Gosh, I certainly would've remembered THAT. No, it was a smooth soup, maybe a red pepper bisque or something. I think bouillabaisse and vichyssoise would be like a cage match in a bowl. I'd eat it, though.

                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                  Fun to say it, horrible to contemplate.

                                                                            2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                              You've known her for 15 years? Hell, a fifth of scotch and a sack of chocolate chips oughta do it.

                                                                          2. I wonder if you might both like a nice cold avocado soup instead of gazpacho. I made it several times last summer--just because I love avos, not to make anyone fall for me, HA HA. You could still garnish with chopped shrimp, or a little crab...or just let it be on its own.

                                                                            I made Bittman's avocado soup using 1 percent Over the Moon milk (tastes like whole milk):

                                                                            More recipes (for both avo and other cold soups) here:

                                                                            P.S. Serving the avocado soup in demitasse cups is a fun idea...plus doesn't take away from the rest of the meal.

                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              I like but don't love avocado, but I love the demitasse cup idea. My cousin had them set at the table Thanksgiving, with a few pomegranite seeds and thyme leaves in the bottom. He had made turkey consomme, ladled it into the cups, and the thyme bloomed and it was a great amuse to start the meal. Sorry for the thread drift, but that was incredible.

                                                                              1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                Very nice! As you'll see, there are dozens of recipes over on the cool soups thread to inspire you. :)

                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                That appeals to me more than the gaspacho before crabcakes. And the prosciutto over the sopressata. Figs, anyone?

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Right there with you with prosciutto over the sopressata for this meal, though I do love both. Figs, yes! What a lovely idea...wrapped in prosciutto, even, and stuffed with cheese, if you please. Or however you wanna roll with figs is fine with me!

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    Figs stuffed with gorgonzola and then broiled. Is it fig season though? Gotta be fresh.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      I can never count on good figs here in NJ, except when I had a tree-even then it was war with the birds. And while I enjoy Gorgonzola myself, it's pretty strong. I like to quarter them almost to the bottom, put a nugget of Gorgonzala inside, wraps with thin pancetta, and cook on a ridged grill pan.

                                                                                      1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                        And see? I'd eat a pound of gorgonzola before I'd eat a slice of cucumber :) I like the pancetta idea better than proscuitto.

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          Figs are best raw and cold with proscuitto. It is hard to get good ones on the east coast, the Calif ones are often pretty tasteless.

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            Clarify please, bt. Are you saying that if you serve figswith proscuitto, then they should be cold. But if serving with cheese and pancetta to serve them hot? I find that roasting, grilling, etc. boost flavor of subpar fruits and vegetables significantly. After a two or three year relapse, I'm back on the "if I can't get local asparagus, then I won't eat it til next year" bandwagon.

                                                                                        2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                          You could split the difference cheese-wise and go with a milder blue...you know, the "bridge" to blue cheese...starts with M (draws a blank on name!)...or take it in a different direction altogether and just stuff with something triple-creamy...

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            Maytag from the great state of Ioway?

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              No, I love Maytag, but that's true blue. The name will come to me later. It's a kinder, gentler blue, this one!

                                                                                                1. re: tomatoaday

                                                                                                  !!! Think, Katty, think!!! Here is a link to our friend moh's blue cheese thread:

                                                                                                  I just scanned it, but still cannot recall the other "M" cheese. Cambozola is a great place to start, though.

                                                                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                  Manchego? This is starting to sound like the Monty Python cheese shop sketch. Not much call for that round the manor, squire...

                                                                                        3. re: buttertart

                                                                                          I love figs, I love gazpacho, I love prosciutto, and I love gorgonzola. Having said that, however, since the theme of this thread seems to be to stay away from "breath-ruining strong flavors," I would opt for a goat-cheese-stuffed fig wrapped in prosciutto over gorgonzola. I think the creaminess (is that spelled right? It lost wrong) of the goat cheese plays off nicely witht the sweetness of the figs and the crunch of the seeds, as well as the nutty, salty prosciutto. You can pop it in the broiler to get the prosciutto crunchy, if you like, but it's also a no-fuss, make-ahead thing where you can just put it out to get to room temperature, as well.

                                                                                        4. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          This is the bowl I'll be serving the gazpacho in; it's actually called a melon bowl, but I use it for hot and cold soups.

                                                                                        5. Just a quick request that replies focus on the menu, rather than on the music, since we're a food site. Thanks!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                            Artist playlist is hosted on the Not Food Related forum, fyi all. Suggestions welcome there.

                                                                                          2. So long as the soup is served in a cocktail glass or espresso cup, sounds wonderful!
                                                                                            Though brulee involves some last minute kitchen action - or is that part of the cunning plan?

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Peg

                                                                                              It's not a cunning plan, that sound nerfarious. I've got a strong torch, that takes just a minute.

                                                                                              1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                Would it be feasible to torch the creme brulee table side? If you are going to go all out, then go all out!

                                                                                                1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                  Further down I note that I'm not bruleeing the dessert anymore; I'm going to layer the zabaglione and red and gold raspberries in wine goblets so we can enjoy away from the table on the sofa.

                                                                                            2. Rule 3001.2.4 of First Dates: Be very wary of serving or eating anything that can drip on clothing and leave a stain.

                                                                                              * * *

                                                                                              That said, lots of people hate gazpacho and shellfish, so those are not things I would serve unless I knew the guest like them.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                Karl, I posted earlier that she's fine with that.

                                                                                                1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                  Just looked at the gazpacho recipe in CI: looks pretty darn good to me.

                                                                                              2. john locke, i tell you what, your menu sounds terrific, and your going all out sounds very romantic. i'd appreciate the effort! (LOVE ceralene!).

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  Thanks alkapal. If you ever watch Sleepless in Seattle you can see the china pattern when they're in the NY Tiffany store walking around!

                                                                                                2. I feel like a warm soup is more seductive then a gazpacho, but thats my personal opinion. Perhaps I nice tomato soup with a cumin spiced shrimp and a light crema atop the soup?

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Rachael5000

                                                                                                    It's going to be early July, any other of the three seasons I'd agree Rachael!

                                                                                                    1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                      It's actually on for this coming Saturday, I'll report back afterwards.

                                                                                                      1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                        Dang, does that mean the polo match is out? That would have been perfect.

                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          She lives out of state and won't arrive until late in the day, so no polo match. And on the phone tonight she reminded me I made creme brulee for her years ago-she thought the torch was fun.

                                                                                                  2. Sheesh, that's quite a menu. You may be setting a precedent as the designated cook if this turns into something. Unless you *prefer* to be the designated cook. Otherwise, eat light, my friend....eat light

                                                                                                    1. Is this what they mean by the term "food porn"?

                                                                                                      1. My first instinct is that you have shellfish in 2 courses. I read downward that she likes shellfish but I still wouldn't serve the same type of ingredient in 2 courses, especially in a row.

                                                                                                        My perfect "seduction" meal would be all creamy food, with goat cheese and chocolate mousse in there somewhere. But that's just me. I think overall, she's a lucky lady for you to put so much effort and thought into this meal. Good luck!

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: rednails

                                                                                                          The chopped shrimp are an accent, maybe two medium cooked shrimp chopped into dice and floated on top, amongst a swirl of olive oil.

                                                                                                          T-3 days; tomorrow shop for everything I don't have, Friday make the celeri remoulade and the cold zabaglione, and buy flowers and set the table. Saturday make and chill the crabcakes, cook potatoes half way, clean and chill the salad. Picked up a candle for the powder room today. And rather than do the dessert in gratin dishes I think I'll just do the cold zabaglione with raspbereries (red and gold) in wine glasses so we can eat that on the sofa together.

                                                                                                          Oh, and I'll have fixings for breakfast, not that I'd ever tell you if I served it! I do a mean oven Swedish puffed apple pancake with powdered sugar though.

                                                                                                          Ladies; would you prefer for me to 'plate' your dish, or should I use my serving pieces? I think she'd be comfortable with me plating her dish, as I don't overload anything. I have the feeling some chowhoud ladies would think I'm being controlling in some way if I do that.

                                                                                                          1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                            i like the plating idea - you can make it pretty for her.
                                                                                                            your menu is great, you're not over the top, she'll appreciate the effort.
                                                                                                            if it scares her off, who needs her?
                                                                                                            if she knows you she's not going to freak about any of it - tastes, smells, etc. you will be eating the same things so you will smell the same. that in itself is seductive.
                                                                                                            and yes, bubbly all the way!
                                                                                                            and i personally would be charmed, not insulted, to know someone planned a spectacular breakfast for me too, if things happened to go that way.

                                                                                                            1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                              <Ladies; would you prefer for me to 'plate' your dish, or should I use my serving pieces?>

                                                                                                              Oh, yes, plate the dishes. Who doesn't like a guy with a good aesthetic sense? I am a sucker for a lovely presentation, to the point that I actually ringed the serving platter with micro-greens when I grilled last weekend (I'd just thinned the beets and carrots in the garden).

                                                                                                              1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                She probably wouldn't mind if you plated her dish. She probably wouldn't object if you mowed her lawn and made a couple of her car payments, either.

                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  Wow, I wanna have a first date with YOU, Veggo.

                                                                                                                  She also probably wouldn't mind if OP doublechecked that the candle in the powder room is unscented.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    Oh Veggo... where were you when I was single?!

                                                                                                                  2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                    As to plating, just ask her what her preference is. In my experience, there is a fine line between extensive preparation/planning and over thinking. I tend to over think.

                                                                                                                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                      I think plating at home is no different than plating in a restaurant. That's one part of this everning that doesn't sound contrived.

                                                                                                                    2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                      Yes, plate the dishes -- unless you think she's one of those ladies who fears being controlled by the cook. Your meal sounds so carefully planned that leaving her to serve herself seems like it would make the meal less special. I like serving myself at an informal gathering, but for a nice dinner I think an assembled plate is the way to go.

                                                                                                                      Since you're going all-out and she's mentioned creme brulee, why not invest in a kitchen torch and brulee even though you're eating dessert on the sofa?

                                                                                                                      Keep us updated!

                                                                                                                  3. Chocolate cover bananas or chocolate covered strawberries.
                                                                                                                    And......Jello Pudding Pops

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: HotMelly

                                                                                                                      You're inviting Bill Cosby to this dinner? HA HA HA HA!

                                                                                                                    2. Table set (have to polish silver tomorrow), creamy gazpacho melding and chilling, same with celeri remoulade, cold zabaglione to be made in a bit, have to buy wine tonight, playlist set.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                        so exciting!
                                                                                                                        + 2 the suggestion made above re: good dark chocolate. helps with seafood breath! you could fill a few pretty bowls and place them here and there. flowers, chocolate, champagne...she'll get the picture. make sure some flowers are red!
                                                                                                                        bonne chance!

                                                                                                                        1. re: bakersdelight

                                                                                                                          I've never noticed the breath of anyone I wanted to get that close to, seafood, garlic, cheese, whatever. If it matters you're with the wrong person.

                                                                                                                        2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                          Here's something that might help you tweak your tablesetting esp. the napkin under the fork.

                                                                                                                        3. SO HOW DID IT GO? was breakfast served???

                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                            Oh, please, I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO don't want that info. Just yuck.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  I noted earlier that I wouldn't talk about breakfast-but we had a great time, she loved the food, turned out to be a closet Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music fan (glad I had a few songs on the playlist). We're synching our calendars for a weekend getaway sometime in July. We barely finished a bottle and a half of wine over 5 hours, we were enjoying talking so much.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                                    thanks for the update... woke up wondering about the fantastic dinner! Shows the gaping holes in my own social life ;) Ignore the prudes!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: toutefrite

                                                                                                                                      yeah no kidding - wasn't asking for specific details, just "was breakfast served?"!! and most importantly, she loved the FOOD.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: toutefrite

                                                                                                                                        Clearly, the OP thought that was an inappropriate question, and attempted to pre-empt it by stating early on he would not discuss it. So you've just characterized him as a prude.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                          Geez! I didn't want any unsavory details! I just meant that I enjoyed his post, and his meal vicariously, and glad that he wasn't turned off of reporting back by a few "ew! protect my delicate sensibilities" comments by others.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: johnlockedema

                                                                                                                                        For someone who doesn't want relationship advice, you sure do want to share non-Chow details. You may want to bear that in mind for future first date menus.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                          for me making food and sharing food, and even the setting for that food, and what the outcome may be of that sharing, is all about chowhounding - and this was all in good fun, i thought. thanks for sharing, johnlockedema!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                            Thanks marciacarmen, you and many other CH'ers get where I was going with all this. Whether cooking a romantic dinner, or preparing a meal for a shut in, or making soup for the church soup kitchen-isn't the human element the most important in the end? I get great satisfaction from a romantic relationship, joy at providing for someone who can't for his/herself, and humility for helping those who need it most.

                                                                                                                                2. This thread has run its course since the occasion has now passed we are locking the thread.