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Nov 30, 2013 10:08 PM

Date night help

So I have date coming over to my place in a couple days and I need some help with the menu and some drink pairing.

I have decided to make a spice crusted ribeye steak. Now it'll be a bit bigger so it'll be like a small roast and I'm basically doing this recipe ( ). Now here are my questions and thoughts.

1. The only side I can think of right now is a salad and hasselback potatoes. Now I can't really go wrong with a salad but are hasselback potatoes a good choice? And what else should I serve with it?

2. We are going to be drinking wine. Now I know with red meat you go with a red wine. However I'm not sure of what kind to go with since it has the various spices of fennel and coriander and if that makes a difference. I was thinking a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah/Shiraz. Any better choices or good brands?

3. She is bringing dessert, italian rainbow cookies, but I still plan to have a little something. Now either that's a dumb idea to make dessert or I'm planning something with fruit like angle cake with fruit and handmade whipped cream or the simple chocolate covered strawberries.

Now this date is important in more ways than one so I'm hoping you all can help me out. Thank you in advance.

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  1. 1. I think any potato dish is nice hasselback or you could do crash potatoes. Another idea is sauteed or roasted mushrooms.

    2. I don't drink much wine so I can't help with recommendations but I've read that the old adage of red wine with red meat is not necessarily always best to follow if you have a white that pairs well. Otherwise I think a Syrah would be nice.

    3. You could make something chocolatey to balance the cookies, I like the strawberry idea although a nice chocolate bundt or lava cake would be fun too.

    Best of luck!!

    1. let her do dessert dont worry about it

      3 Replies
      1. re: vonshu

        I agree. If I said I was bringing something and the host went ahead and did his own thing especially on a date I would feel back. However a fruit plate can be refreshing and not considered dessert per se.

        1. re: melpy

          Yeah I was thinking of that. I actually forgot she was bringing dessert and when I start cooking for others, I just decided to cook everything myself and don't expect much from the other person

          1. re: Pwelsh4

            Do a fruit and cheese plate for your not really dessert but just in case.

      2. 1. Hasselback potatoes are a great choice. My only comment is to be sure that your date likes beef and spices. If you are getting a spendy piece of meat, I'd be careful about getting too carried away with spices - good meat like that shouldn't need a whole lot more than salt and pepper.
        2. I would serve a simple appetizer before the meal. If you do that, salad + meat + potatoes will be a good main.

        3. It's beaujolais nouveau season now, you might consider that wine, esp if you don't overdo it on spicing the beef.

        4. If she's bringing cookies, I would not prepare a separate dessert. OTH, if you want to put out a small plate of artisanal chocolates would be thoughtful but not trying to upstage her cookies.

        5. This may be stating the obvious, but get as much done ahead of time so you can enjoy the company of your date. I hope it goes well!

        1. I agree you should let her be the only one doing dessert. If you make something also she might feel you have no faith in her abilities, or that you must always be in charge of everything. That is how I might feel. Since there is a bunch of spice on the steak, I hope you consider a mild, creamy dressing for your salad. The potatoes sound like a good idea and someone mentioned mushrooms. Those would be perfect too. Wines I'm not good at recommending, since I'm not that familiar with various types. But I wouldn't want one that was too sweet or dry with this meal. Do you plan on continuing to drink the wine with dessert, or will you be serving coffee (which I think I would prefer)?

          9 Replies
          1. re: i_am_Lois

            I agree. Maybe we are crazy women, but I also would feel a bit slighted if you'd asked me to bring dessert and then prepared something "bigger and better" like a cake. Just do the strawberries, or other fresh fruit.

            The rest of your menu sounds perfect. I'd be very happy with it, personally.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Well I just get on a cooking kick so I just keep cooking. I also forgot she was bringing dessert at first so I already planned it but I can scale back to just fruit or the chocolate covered strawberries.

            2. re: i_am_Lois

              We are going to drink more wine after the dinner. I was thinking more of dessert wine. Something that could pair well with the cookies and the fruit.

              1. re: Pwelsh4

                might think about a little something nibbly while dinner is cooking? olives, spiced nuts, cheese straws, something like that.

                sauteed mushrooms or green beans with butter are simple sides that will pair well with the meat and potatoes. unless you do a chopped salad it can be messy to eat.

                cabernet is often the default red for steak, but is not usually a great pair with spices. consider a rhone red or spanish grenache for your dinner.

                cookies and wine don't really go. :) but don't worry about it.

                DO NOT make a separate dessert. you're totally good with fresh fruit.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Rather than just hitting "recommend," I have to add that as soon as I got here and saw that you'd posted I thought "well, I SURE don't need to" :) And I'm glad you continue to preach about keeping pre-dinner snacks as just that - a little something light. I still remind myself that they're to whet the appetite not kill it :)

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I agree with the stick with fruit advice, but I have to say I love a little cookie with the last bit of wine in my glass.
                    And vin santo and biscotti is my favorite dessert

                    1. re: rabaja

                      good biscotti are not super-sweet. the rainbow cookies are.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Oh my! I finally Googled and saw what they are. They really are cake and not cookies.

                  2. re: Pwelsh4

                    For a dessert wine i had this delicious fizzy itslian one recently, which is the picture.

                    A moscato or italian lambrusco would also be lovely.

                2. You sound as if you are not familiar with wines. Since you didn't mention your wine budget, it's hard to suggest. I would go to a wine shop, let them know your budget and menu and take their advice.
                  Love your menu, but I agree go easy on spices to let the steak speak for itself.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Gail

                    My budget is fairly small. Any bottle of wine I would get will be $20 and under. I was just hoping for the best type of wine and if anyone knew a good brand that would be a plus.

                    Yeah the steak will just be covered and I'm letting it sit in the fridge over night so itll be like a dry cure like the guy did in the video. So hopefully it won't be to much spice but I'll be sure to go easy on it

                    1. re: Pwelsh4

                      Gail is on the money - ask a wine shop for suggestions.

                      What you may want to consider is if your date is a wine drinker. Think about her age and formative life experiences. If she is - the stronger reds will be great. If she is not the Beaujolais is a great "intro" red. Louis Jadot is typically $ 11-15 (and I'm in NC, in NY usually $10).

                      Unfortunately or fortunately sweet whites have dominated many moderate markets particularly the 30& under. So if she is used to Moscato/Riesling/gutzf(can never remember that G one) /Pinot Grigio or Mosels a Pinot/Shiraz/Syrah might be intimidating and discourage her from finishing her glass. That can be awkward and intimidating. At a bar you can laugh joke and order a glass of something else. At a home date, I'm assuming you want her comfortable and to lose some inhibition.

                      If you are truly unsure as to her wine taste I'd encourage you to move your price point down a few dollars and get a couple of options and allow her to pick. Or if you are alpha male you can pick for her, watch her drinking and if it's not being consumed switch it up.

                      Beaujolais as an option for the main. I typically get Louis Jadot but there is another brand at the same price point with a white label - it was described to me as being "Pepsi v Coke" in the taste difference. Having had them as well as $20-25 btls I find the Jadot and it's counterpart perfectly acceptable. Also good because if she has an established pallete this can become pre-dinner sipping.

                      Two Rosé - one a shade dry. One a shade sweet. Again the $10-15 range. It's different, but rose holds it own against red meat if your date ends up being a novice wine drinker. If she is a wine drinker it will be good as a pre-dinner drink during appetizers or cooking/small talk.
                      The sweeter rose can be for after dinner conversation. It is also refreshing so if you found yourselves with lost inhibitions it makes a good intermission drink.

                      A Syrah/Shiraz for the main as a standby if her pallete can take it.

                      So think of it as giving her the option between the dry Rose and Beaujolais to start and from there you know what the main will be. If she goes stagnant with her wine drinking you pretty much always have something else to try. If you were planning on spending $20/bottle anyway, your final budget isn't too far off.

                      1. re: ncghettogourmet

                        Well shes a wine and beer drinker and she's not to picky. I'm sure I'm more picky but after a couple glasses I'm sure we won't be too picky. I'm only 23 and shes 21 so our life experiences are lacking but we tend to drink when we can. Again I think I might have some more experience since I'm always trying what I can to find something nice while she takes what is given to her.

                        I wanted to have some wine to make our dinner a little more fancy cause she would be fine with a 6 pack of Shocktop.

                        I like the Two Rose idea because for us there will be a lot of talking and joking around before and after dinner but I also plan to have a variety because even if she doesn't like some, I can always have it for later.

                      2. re: Pwelsh4

                        You can go to the Wine board and find plenty of suggestions.