Two Things You Should Do to Impress Your Valentine’s Dinner Date

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In a brain that is constantly wracked with uncertainty and anxiety, there is one belief of which I am utterly certain: I am good at ordering. Put me in charge of menu-related decisions, and you will not be disappointed with the outcome. This is true of food, and it is true of beverages.

It’s hard to teach the art of ordering, but there are two moves I regularly execute that are guaranteed to impress not just your date, but (occasionally) the person taking the order: Order the weird wine, and order extra butter for the table.

What is a “weird” wine?

You will know the weird wine when you see it. There will be something about it that does not seem ordinary. This can either be a color (like an orange wine), a region (such as Hungary, rather than California, France, or Italy), or a wine that seems slightly out of place on the menu (such as Lambrusco). If you see such a wine on the list, you know it was placed there intentionally, and you know it will be good.

If you are not familiar with any of the above, do a tiny bit of research. You don’t need to know the exact fermentation process, but you should know that orange wine is not made of oranges (it is a skin-contact white wine, made in the red wine fashion), and that Lambrusco does not deserve its cloying, overly juicy reputation. Off-dry and dry Lambrusco is fizzy, flavorful, and well-priced, and pairs well with a variety of foods, from pizza to charcuterie. “Pet nats”—naturally sparkling pétillant-naturel—are also a good bet, but those are popular and don’t have quite the same cool factor as ordering an orange wine or Lambrusco.

Order extra butter for the table

Ordering more butter for the table is a first-date power-move. I’ve sung the praises of this particular move before, because it is—in a word—baller. It radiates confidence, and lets your date know you’re all about indulgence, flavor, and pleasure. It also prevents any sort of tension from forming around the butter itself, as there’s no need to ration.

It also signals a certain amount of maturity. As I explained previously, you are a provider. You are thoughtful, attentive to the needs of those around you, and capable of interacting with service industry professionals in a polite but direct manner. You’re an adult, is what I’m saying, and that is exactly how you want to present yourself on a date.

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