California native, food writer, stylist and “hostess with the mostess,” Valerie Rice is an advocate of all things fresh, yet delicious and simple, yet elegant. Throughout Valerie’s blog, Eat Drink Garden, she makes an inspiring case for thoughtful, but not overdone entertaining, always focusing on enjoying a beautiful meal in an equally beautiful setting.
So just in time for Valentine’s Day, when we’re inclined to actually set the table, she’s organized a menu of satisfying and romantic dishes for two, plus a list of tips for the table. Her table tips are simple, sexy and seasonal, and perfect with her French-inspired cozy menu. From February’s sweetest flowers (and how to display them) to lighting and location, Valerie’s styling tips have all the makings for a night of amore.
But don’t be afraid to work in your own personal touches. After all, one of Valerie’s mantras is “don’t worry about everything being perfect. The greatest memories come from real life moments with people you love.”
—Alissa Harb, Relish Editorial Assistant
Valentine’s Day Menu
A luxurious, romantic and simple menu for two
Braised Chicken with Mushrooms
Tips for styling your table:
- Move a table to wherever inspiration leads you; in front of the fireplace is a great spot. Add a tablecloth (white, preferably) and comfortable chairs, and you’ve got a cozy table for two.
- I love small Moroccan tea glasses for votives. The touch of gold and intricate design bring romantic texture to the table. Any small glasses will work.
- Add a fresh, simple glass of flowers—white tulips or Cymbodium orchids, which are in season now. Stick to one color for maximum effect.
- Start with some bubbly. Champagne or Prosecco sets the stage for a special evening.
- Remember that you’re setting the table for love, not for Pinterest. A clean, elegant aesthetic is always sexy. Don’t go for cute—go for simple and beautiful, with lots of cande light.
- Add music. I’m currently listening to Caro Emerald, whose music is perfect for a romantic dinner—sensual, fun and a bit exotic.