With the country one month into social distancing, we’re all learning how to become our own chefs. Whether you’re on your 20th night of pasta or you’re up to your knees in dirty dishes, we’re here to save you from drab quarantine dinners and sad work-from-home desk salads. 

Keep your culinary palette thriving and your social life blooming at a distance by renovating your at-home dinner plans. We’re dishing all of the best ways to make your quarantine dinner routine a chic and inviting event. 

Best Ways to Make Your Stay-at-Home Meal Feel Like an Impromptu Dinner Party

Create Your Virtual Invite 

Get together from a distance. Don’t let quarantine ruin your chance to connect with loved ones. Combat cabin fever by celebrating friendships and family gatherings virtually using a streaming app like Zoom, Facetime, or Skype. Paperless Post has risen to the occasion of creating chic virtual events for all of your guests. 

Photo via PaperlessPost.com

Break Out Your Best Dishes

Make your dinner party feel like a luxury experience by breaking out your best dishes. Whether you’re pulling your great grandma’s china or that fancy wedding gift you’ve yet to use, plating your meals on elevated dishes can add an instant dash of glamour to a home-cooked entree. Turn humdrum dinners into fancy affairs with an ornate set of dinner plates.

Anthropologie Dish Set for virtual dinner party
Photo via Anthropologie

Old Havana Dinner Plates at Anthropologie

Elevate Your Flatware Game 

We know you’re tired of doing the dishes for the thousandth time, but having stunning flatware is worth the effort. Don’t cave into the urge to grab the plastic utensils—the environment will thank you. Elevate your flatware game by incorporating a luxe metal like rose gold or brass into your table setting. 

Photo via West Elm

Blair Flatware at West Elm

Invest in Linens

Give your dining room the restaurant treatment with a flowing tablecloth. Your tablescape won’t be complete without stunning linens. Add springtime inspiration with one of the stylish online selections from Pottery Barn

Photo via Pottery Barn

Arella Embroidered Floral Table Throw at Pottery Barn

Make Things Festive 

A socially-distanced party never hurt anybody! Whether your dinner party is for you and your quarantined roommates or completely virtual, party favors and decor can turn a drab setting into a fab one. Big Ass Balloons, Emerson Sloan and Coterie Party’s party goods (including an adorable collection with Draper James) are open for business and can enhance the presence of your party with fun stirrers, pinwheel fans, and table decor. 

Photo via Emerson Sloan

Emerson Sloan is open for online and curbside pick up

Photo via Coterie

Draper James x Coterie Gingham Pinwheel Fan at Coterie Party Toppers

Photo via @bigassballoons

Incorporate Fresh Flowers 

What’s a tablescape without fresh flowers? Add a whimsical garden to your dinner with a locally-made floral bouquet. Flowers add elegance to a table setting while benefitting mental health. “There is a growing body of research that illustrates how environmental design positively impacts health,” Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D., Associate Professor of University of North Florida’s Department of Public Health and lead author of the study, said. “When life seems to be in a constant state of frenzy, flowers can provide us with a much-needed moment of calm.”

Houston florists Composto Fiori and Maxit Flower Design are still creating lush arrangements for delivery.

Photo via @maxitflowerdesign
Floral arrangement delivery during Covid-19
Photo via @composto.fiori

Light Candles to Set the Mood

Set the mood for your quarantine dinner with bespoke candles from a local Houston maker. Dim the lights and strike a match to one of Ellion’s locally poured candles. The newest La Mer candle features a sea breeze scent with notes of lily of the valley,  oakmoss, hibiscus, and more. If your summer travels are canceled due to coronavirus, you can bring a little piece of the beach home with this soothing scent. 

Photo via @shopellion

Plan a Backyard Picnic 

Getting cabin fever? Take your dinner outdoors with a backyard or balcony picnic. Supper under the stars may be the cure to livening up your mealtime. Mark and Graham’s Al Fresco Picnic Basket includes all the tools for a romantic dinner for two. Don’t forget to stock up your picnic basket with one of Mutiny Wine Room‘s ‘Front Porch Picnic‘ packages. (Bonus, any two bottles of wine from the new to-go menu are 40% off with a food purchase!)

Mutiny Wine Room’s Front Porch Picnic Package

Make the Menu Count

Are you missing dinner out at your favorite Houston restaurants? Recreate a prized dish with Chris Shepherd and Kaitlyn Goalen’s “Cook Like a Local.” The recipes include signature dishes from Shepherd’s restaurants, such as braised goat with Korean rice dumplings and fried vegetables with caramelized fish sauce. Understand the pantries of international cuisines, while mastering how to use these flavors in your kitchen.  

While some restaurants have temporarily closed, there are plenty of local culinary gems to enjoy while in quarantine. Support local restaurants and treat yourself to a fancy meal from a Houston establishment. A few of our favorites include Le Colonial, Theodore Rex, Georgia James, and Coltivaire

Photo via Penguin Random House

Cook Like a Local at Biscuit Home

Master the Cheese Board

We love a delectable cheese board! Quarantine is the perfect time to learn a new skill, so why not master the art of charcuterie? Accounts like @cheesebynumbers include fool-proof tutorials on making stunning, Instagram-worthy boards. The account event offers in-depth workshops you can find at The Cheese Plate. Brie prepared for a treat! Lucky for us, Houston Dairymaids is still open for pick-up. 

Photo via Anthropologie

Quincy Composite Agate Cheese Board at Anthropologie

Shake Things Up with a Cocktail Kit 

Don’t let quarantine leave you feeling high and dry. Shake things up and support a local business with a craft cocktail kit. a’Bouzy has $8 kits for margaritas, rum punches, carajillos, old fashioneds, and more. The crafty cocktails can be picked up or delivered within a five-mile radius. 

Photo via Kailochic

Confetti-Filled Cocktail Shaker on Etsy

Looking for more inspiration? Check out tips from interior designer Lauren Braud of Lauren Louise Designs. 

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