My husband and I make it a point to go on a date night on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s dinner and a movie. Sometimes it’s out with friends. But sometimes we can’t think of a single thing to do. Let’s face it, we are too old (not to mention happily married) for the bar scene and sometimes there just isn’t a good movie that we want to see. This happened a few months ago…we had a babysitter, we wanted to do something fun…couldn’t think of anything to do. So onto my computer I went…in search of date night ideas. And there it was…clear as day…a cooking class!! But wait a minute…I was searching for date night ideas and my husband isn’t interested in cooking anymore than he is interested in doing laundry. But he does like to grill. And there on my computer screen was the answer…staring back at me like my own personal concierge on Google…Sur La Table was hosting a Date Night Cooking Class THAT NIGHT! And guess what the topic of the class was going to be? Yep, Grilling Techniques! I jumped out of my chair, full of enthusiasm and accomplishment in finding the perfect thing for us to do on date night. I ran to my husband with so much excitement you would have thought I just booked us on a trip to Hawaii. I didn’t exactly get the same level of glee in return. But it was something different and my sweet, always-wanting-to-make-me-happy husband, was willing to give it a try. I’m not sure we would have ever made it to cooking class that night if the topic wasn’t grilling. That was just one of those moments where you feel like something was just meant to be! The subject of grilling was definitely the key to the moment. It wouldn’t have been my first choice of classes but hey, we were going out on date night, my husband was willing to give it a try and I was excited.
We arrived at Sur La Table and just like the rest of the couples in the class, we were apprehensive and shy and awkward. Nobody in this class was on their way to studying at Le Cordon Bleu. We were all just looking for something fun and different to do on date night. The structure of the class has you work in small groups. We had three groups of two couples each. Our first course, the appetizer, was a bruschetta that can be prepared on the grill. Our instructor, Patrick, showed us how to dice the tomato and then it was our turn to emulate him. Nobody grabbed the tomato, nobody picked up the knife. We were all uneasy. Finally, I picked up the tomato AND the knife and got the ball rolling. As time went on, everyone eased into working together…taking turns and sharing the responsibilities. And everyone settled in and by the middle of class, you would have thought we were all the best of friends just cooking a nice Sunday dinner together. Our instructor was awesome…thorough and slow, patient, kind and funny. The class was a lot of fun and even my husband was enjoying it.
The menu for the class consisted of:
Main course: Grilled Steak with Roja and Black Pepper Glaze
We had a great time preparing all of these dishes. We had an even better time sampling all the food we had just prepared. And I got a lot of kitchen goodies with the 10% discount coupon they give you at the class! Towards the end of class, our instructor recommended the Knife Skills class. I made a mental note. On the drive home, I was pleasantly surprised when my husband mentioned that he would like to take the class. I was so excited and thrilled, I signed us up the minute we got home. A few weeks later, we were on our way to our second Sur La Table class together.
The Knife Skills class was also taught by Patrick and he was just as happy to see us as we were to see him. The class was fun and informative. We chopped a lot of veggies, perfecting our technique and all the while jealous of the speed and consistency of our instructor. He’s good…really good. And that leads me to the conclusion of this post.
Last week, while the kids were at Surf Camp, we had another opportunity for date night. We had just returned from 3 days in San Diego where we were in search of the perfect beer (see post, Searching For Beer in San Diego). Both of us were full of food and drink and so there we were again with nothing to do on date night. I checked the cooking class schedule at Sur La Table and it was a class right up my alley…Easy Summer Dinner Parties. This time I approached my husband with hesitation…convinced that this would NOT be a class he’d be interested in taking. And he probably wasn’t. But the menu sounded good and my hubby is good to me so he agreed to go. We were sipping on our cappuccinos at the cafe just across the way and coincidentally discussing wether or not Patrick was going to be our instructor for the third time, when he walked up, out of the blue, with his lovely wife Robin. It turned out, he would be attending the class, with his wife, as a student. They said their hellos and proceeded into the classroom. And a lightbulb went off in my head!! If the structure of this class was going to be consistent with our first class, we would be working in teams. And team members would take turns chopping and preparing all of the vegetables. I was determined to have Patrick and his wife Robin on my team. Patrick could do all of our chopping. Maybe I was cheating a little bit with this brilliant idea but it worked like a charm. We were paired up on a team..my husband and me with Patrick and his wife Robin. And while the other teams were struggling to chop their shallots and garlic and dill, I not so subtly slid all of our veggies over to Patrick’s cutting board and let him do his thing. It was another successful class and I was pleased to see our previous instructor as a student. It is proof that you are never to cool for school! We prepared an amazing meal. We enjoyed sampling all of the wonderful dishes. And I got even more kitchen goodies with my coupon!
The menu for the class consisted of:
Side Dish: Grilled Kale with Bacon and Chile
Dessert: Blueberry-Cherry Cobbler
(our instructor for this class was Ben Howard)
Overall, the cooking classes have been a lot of fun and it’s given us something to do on date night. It’s also brought my husband into my world…my love for cooking. If you are in need of a fun date night, go to Sur La Table and sign up for a cooking class near you. They have a ton of different classes and the Date Night series are a good place to start. Happy Cooking!