Cozy Date Night: City Picnic Style
Ever since this summer, R and I have only had a handful of weekends together where we don’t have plans. Life just has continued to accelerate. We celebrated our first anniversary, I turned 25, we watched our friends get married, we started prepping again for the holidays. All of this meant that our alone time kept falling to the wayside.
Last weekend I came home from yet another trip away to our living room spread with flowers, wine, chocolate snacks and my favorite movie queued up on the tv. It was so thoughtful, I started to tear up! It is so nice every now and then to give a date or surprise like this some extra thought and attention to make your spouse feel cared for.
I wanted to do something for R to return the favor, so this weekend I prepped an easy picnic for us to take down to the water and watch the sunset. I didn’t really have to spend any extra money since I would have made dinner anyways, but taking it outside and down the street turned an ordinary night into a special date.
I wanted to share the idea, because living in the Bay Area often makes me think that dates equal a lot of $$$. Dinner out, catching a movie, or even just grabbing a drink can be so spendy! It also usually means getting dressed up, which I’m not always keen to do when I get home from a long work week.
For this night, I told R to get cozy and I did the same, grabbing my absolute favorite fall teddy jacket from Tobi to stay warm and snuggly. R loves “cozy nights” more than anything so he was already excited about the plan.
Okay, let’s talk about the food for a second. I’ve been gluten free for years and I woke up on my 25th birthday unable to consume dairy any more (aggressive bloating if you know what I mean, such a good bday present). R and I have been cutting both for the most part, which we’re not too upset about…but it makes the idea of picnicking hard because the concept of “easy food to go” and “gf/df” don’t really seem to mix. However, I’ve been obsessing over a cashew based cream sauce from Love & Lemons that I’ve been putting on everything imaginable. One of my favorite cozy dishes is pasta with chicken and brussels sprouts, and tossed in a little of this cream sauce, it’s heaven. If you aren’t going far, it is too easy to throw together this dish in 10 minutes and pack it in something with a lid to go. We made it down the road in 5 minutes and were still able to enjoy it hot. I also packed easy finger food and wine (duh). Pumpkin spiced popcorn and a little goat cheese and cracker action made everything feel a little fancier, even though it took two seconds to throw in the bag.
We can also talk about the “decor”. It is for real so easy to grab a blanket or two and a pillow to sit on, wrap the wine glasses and dishes up in them so they don’t break, stuff em in a bag and head out the door. R hates it when I overcomplicate things but I like a good photo op so we find a middle ground where I still bring my cute supplies but we make it as simple as possible (don’t mess with him when he’s hungry!)
At this point, I feel like I can’t fully lie to you guys - the weather turned on us at the last second, and it was SO foggy which is often the case in the bay! Thankfully, R noticed the fog wasn’t as bad towards Emeryville so we turned at the last second and headed away from our original plan. We ended up catching a beautiful sunset and kind of could see the city across the water, but my initial plan was NOT the beach - and there really is no beach at all in the east bay and the waterfront can be super gross (which hopefully you can’t see in the photos). My recommendation sans fog was going to be the Marina, which is grassy and lovely - but hey, life throws curveballs! As R said, life kind of gave us lemons but we made a full on smoothie with kale and everything (don’t ask…)
Another sweet spot would be up in Tilden park, there are gorgeous views over the city behind Cal’s campus that would also be great picnic locations.
I’d love to know how you treat your significant other to a special night!