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Dining In: The Invite Over for Dinner (or Take-Out)

Let me start off by saying that dining in works BEST if you already have your own place, or access to a friend’s place. I have never lived in a college dorm, but I am sure you could make this situation work out for you the same.

(I lived in military barracks which are kinda like college dorms. I’d invite girls over all the time, just had to kick the roommate out. A six-pack was enough to keep him away for the night…)

ALSO, if you are contemplating asking your friend to use his place for dining in (either because you don’t have your own place, or his is much nicer), he will probably agree to it if:

  • A) You make it a “Double Date.” He invites his girl over, or your girl invites one of her girlfriends to come along (for him).
  • B) Hook him up. Get him a movie ticket to get him out of the house for a while. If he insist on staying (it is his house after all), then rent him some movies, get him a box of pizza and some booze, and PRAY that he stays in his room and doesn’t try to flirt with your date (or embarrass you).

For this Dining In article: I WILL NOT plan out your night for you with an itinerary. You know, stuff like “Start the night off with a nicely aged California red wine as the two of you nibble chocolate trussles by the fireplace…” Nope. Not here. I am leaving all the hokey stuff up to you.

But what I WILL do is try to point you in the right direction as to all the things you can do to have a successful dining in experience.

The first thing you need to know is what ALL are you planning to do for the evening? Are you JUST eating dinner? Or do you also plan to watch a rental movie? Drink? Listen to music? Play checkers?

The second question is will the food be ready when she arrives? Or will you still be cooking or waiting for it to be delivered (or have to go pick it up)?

If so, then prepare to entertain her while she waits. If you are cooking, then it’s not a good idea to watch a movie at this time, because all you will be doing is “start” and “pauses” while you check on the food (and this gets very annoying for her after the first few times).

BUT YOU CAN listen to music, drink, or play board games while you wait for the food to be ready. Anything to help pass the time and to keep her (and yourself) from thinking about how hungry you are.

Finally, the MOST IMPORTANT question is what are you going to eat for this dining in occasion? And are you cooking or ordering out?

Now is also the time to be honest with yourself…CAN YOU COOK?

If the only three people who have ever had your cooking are you, your mom, and your dog, then there is a good chance that someone else (her) may not like your cooking. So don’t be afraid/ashamed to order out from a restaurant if you have to.

She will appreciate you more if you didn’t force her to have to “fake” being impressed with your god-awful cooking 😉

Whether cooking or ordering out, PLEASE do yourself a favor by asking her what she wants to eat ahead of time, so that you don’t waste any time or money making/getting something she doesn’t like to eat.

Best Meals for Dining In

It all depends on what the two of you have in mind. It can be something as simple as “Pizza and Beer,” or as complex as “Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu with a Gundlach Bundschu Cabernet Sauvignon red wine.”

The key here again is to make sure it’s something she wants to eat, and that IT IS (read “taste”) GOOD! If she remembers the meal, then she will DEFINITELY remember who prepared it!

So when her girlfriend asks her “what did you eat last night?” YOUR girl will say: “You know what? (Your Name Here) cook/ordered this really good (food name here) last night. I can still taste it right now!”

Some popular meals for a dining in (in no particular order) are:

  • Pizza
  • Lasagna
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Pasta(s)
  • Baked or fried Catfish
  • Roast Beef

Notice that these meals are not too messy like fried chicken, tacos or burgers. A good thing to keep in mind if the two of you will be dressing up a bit.

If you plan to order out, then do yourself a favor and CALL AHEAD OF TIME! Don’t wait until she shows up before you place the order because depending on the food, it can take a very long time before it is even ready to be delivered or picked up.

If you do plan to pick up the order, then be sure it is something that can be run in the oven for a few minutes to take the chill off of it. You don’t want it in there too long, since it’s already been cooked once.

To give you an idea of the types of places you want to order from, here are some popular restaurants we have here in Houston. If you do not have them in your city, then seek out their equivalent:

Do a Google Search to find out which restaurants are located in your area:


  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Menu
  • Boston Market: Menu
  • Souper Salad: Menu
  • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: Menu
  • Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen: Menu
  • Pappasito’s Cantina: Menu

Keep in mind that different locations may have different things on their menu. When I lived in Hawaii they had (and probably still do) Spam on the breakfast menu. No thanks…

As far as drinks, keep in mind that a woman may not care too much for “Scotch on the rocks” or “Budweiser.” So be prepared to stock up on “girly drinks” like “Rasberry Smirnoff” or even Champagne.

Mixed drinks work well for ladies too. My personal favorite is Holland House Tom Collins Mix with Seagram’s Lime Twisted Gin (or Bombay Sapphire Gin if you want to get a little upscale). Another favorite of mine is Belvedere Vodka and Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. Chicks love it!

Just drink responsible. Don’t get too drunk to where you can’t drive her home, or don’t get her too drunk to where she can’t drive home (oh, I bet you’d just luv that, you sick puppy you, lol).

Since everyone doesn’t like the movies and music that I like (you’re all crazy because of it) then I’ll leave it up to you and her to decide what you plan to listen to or watch whilst dining in.

Bon Appetit!

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