We get it. The struggle is real. And when you’re trying to court that special someone on a budget (or taking that relationship to a new level), there’s one thing you can count on: Netflix & Chill. We won’t get into it because…Googles. And since you’ve been on your mother’s Netflix account since 2008 and don’t want to make the effort to put on actual pants, N&C is pretty much your only option.

Now, introducing our new series, Mind Of A Chef & Chill.butterbeer

In the first installment, we head down to the nearest bodega, grabbing a full tasting menu that’s sure to impress on a $30 date. Here is the only guide you’ll need to pull off the most successful N&C of your life.

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MOVIE: MOONRISE KINGDOM, 2012

Ok, so you’re a few dates in, blowing most of your paycheck on watching Star Wars in 3D IMAX, taking your sig other to The Spotted Pig because you know that burger ALWAYS impresses. Now invite him/her to come over and watch a kind-of-recent feel good movie that shows your softer side. Maybe you both have watched it before, but that just means you can slip in and out of watching the movie and give your special someone a little more attention.

Tip: Turn off your Tinder notifications (not like it’s been successful these past few weeks anyway) ASAP. Stay as far away as possible from the DMs.

 

STEP 1: DRINKS — COCKTAILS, FAKE WINES AND 40’S

You’re going to want to find a drink that pairs well with Moonrise Kingdom, and you probably don’t have the funds to make it Suntory time, so go for the next best thing: A 6-pack of Porkslap. We know you couldn’t pull the trigger on the the Stone IPA, which is fine, but this beer is a fine choice for those who are unaccustomed to the wonder of Simpler Times. You’re thinking, “But what about wine?” Um, yeah, that stuff at your bodega, it’s not actually wine you want to drink. No. Don’t even look at the 40’s. You’re not in freshman year anymore. Just. Don’t. Do. It.  

NC9Serve: Chill those MSG collector’s tumblers or those Harry Potter Butterbeer Mugs in the fridge for an hour prior to N&C. This will show them that you have thoroughly done your homework.

 

STEP 2: APPETIZERS — BREAKING DOWN THE GREAT WALL OF POTATO CHIPS

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When you walk in looking for the perfect N&C appetizer, you will, undoubtedly. run into The Great Wall Of Potato Chips. Don’t let your mind wander toward the Utz! Lay off the Lays. Instead, head for the crackers. You see, you’re trying to be fancy, and if he/she sees you with Cheeto-dusted fingers, he/she may be inclined to skip the movie and do a single episode of The Great British Bake-Off — the dreaded one-and-done. Just go for the bougie crispies, grab a pack of salami and tell Papi to slice up the cheddar because you’re making moves right now.

NC11For assembly, find your cleanest cutting board, or if you were lucky enough to hit up that Bed, Bath & Beyond when your mom came to visit for Thanksgiving 2012, now is the time to finally pull out that useless cheese plate that you last used for the lame hors d’oeuvres you served during your Oscars Party.

Don’t know how to make a cheese plate? This gorilla will help you.

STEP 3: MAINS — CHOPPED CHEESE, BOAR’S HEAD, PHILLY

If you’re lucky enough to ask Papi’s right hand man to make you a chopped cheese, and he obliges without a hitch, you’re golden. Uptown folk will know what we’re talking about, but just in case, it’s essentially The Best Version Of A Cheesesteak you can get, EVER.

If not, go for the cheesesteak on a hero and a sausage, egg and cheese on a roll. Both will be cut in half, so when she ask, you can be polite and offer each other your second half, which will feel a little like Lady & The Tramp. All together, $8 MAX.

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Plating isn’t too important in this step, but hey, go ahead and take your fine china out if you’re so inclined.

 

STEP 4: DESSERT — BODEGA-LA-MODE

This is where you splurge. Go big or he/she will definitely go home. Seriously. If you think you can get away with a pack of Snickers, you should probably have one because you’re not thinking straight.

First step, find those $1 pies. You know, the ones on the shelf that are probably filled with preservatives to keep it “good” for years. But hey, good ice cream can always mask a terrible bake, so make sure to get a pint of the good stuff.

To start the bodega-la-mode, set your little toaster oven to medium heat, preheat to approximately 325º and take the ice cream out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. You don’t want your ice cream to get all soupy right off the bat. Assemble the bodega-la-mode in your favorite (your only) clean plate by putting the pie on the bottom, topping it a double-scoop of ice cream.

 

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STEP 5: “INTERMISSION” — CONGRATULATIONS

 

STEP 6: DIGESTIF — BEING RESPONSIBLE, WE BOTH HAVE WORK AT 9AM

You’re feeling really hyped about tonight’s N&C, but both of you are hard-working, responsible human beings that have work at 9 the next morning. So go on and make sure that he/she is alert for the commute back on the Q train and have them take a sip or two of a perfectly Chemex-ed cup of Café Bustelo. Sure, he/she’ll be wired on the ride home, but with a track record like Café Bustelo, she’ll crash an hour after he/she arrives safe and sound as his/her friends continue to rage in the communal 10×10 living space.

So the next time you get a text notification saying, “What are you doing tonight?” Bookmark this guide if you want to make something out of it.