How David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris Celebrate Valentine's Day with Their Kids

Chef David Burtka and actor Neil Patrick Harris make a family Valentine's Day breakfast with a whole lot of heart.
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Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

The first Valentine's Day that Neil Patrick Harris spent with his now-husband, David Burtka, he was blinded by love. Literally. 

"As we were pulling up to this sweet little restaurant, The Little Door in Los Angeles, I came down with a really terrible migraine and lost vision, so I couldn’t see anything for the first half of the meal,” Neil recalls, as he and David sit in the study of their brownstone in Harlem, New York. “I had to read the menu to you. It was foreshadowing for when you’re losing your eyesight at 80,” says David. “I only had eyes for you,” Neil replies with a smirk.

Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, and family

This exchange is pretty typical of Neil and David’s relationship, built over 15 years together. They finish each other’s stories, constantly show affection, with a rub on the back or a squeeze of the hand, and enjoy taking walks down memory lane to the many Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, and holidays they’ve spent together. As we chat, Neil scrolls through the photos on his phone to find one of himself, then super-blond in 2007, posing with two giant bouquets of orchids and roses that David gave him. Then David grabs a particularly special gift that he got a few years ago: a box filled with dozens of photos of the couple and their now 9-year-old twins, Harper and Gideon.

David—who is an actor, singer, and trained chef—is all about expressing his love through food. Even though breakfast in bed has been ruled out by the pair—“No one wants syrup on the pillowcase,” David says—it’s still the kids’ favorite meal to cook. Gideon is a fan of slow-scrambled eggs with lots of cream and herbs, while Harper is dedicated to pancakes—David wrote out their go-to recipe and hung it up in the kitchen so she can surprise the family with a stack anytime.

David Burtka and daughter Harper

David and Harper get cracking on breakfast prep.

Going hand in hand with David’s love of food is his passion for parties. He and Neil have epic Halloween celebrations (check out their Instagram for proof), and David’s cookbook, Life Is a Party, highlights all the ways you can decorate and cook for holidays and other get-togethers.

So it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day gets the festive treatment, with a menu full of heart-shaped foods: bacon, fruit salad, red velvet pancakes, and eggs-in-a-heart. “Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples,” says David. “It’s for spreading love to your family and other loved ones.” Adds Neil: “Anyone can be your Valentine!”

Neil Patrick Harris and son Gideon

Neil and Gideon play around while mixing up the pancake batter.

But back to breakfast. Even though the kids are old enough to cook solo, there’s a certain magic in the kitchen when everyone cooks together. Laughter echoes through the house when David puts flour on Neil’s nose as they mix pancake batter, Harper nearly jumps on the counter to stamp out a heart from a piece of watermelon, and Gideon yells “SNOW!!!” while he sifts flour into a bowl.

As you watch the family have a ball whipping up breakfast, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of love in the house. When you start Valentine’s Day this perfectly, as Neil says, “Everything else is dessert.”

David Burtka's Eggs-in-a-Heart

Eggs-in-a-Heart

Recipe: Try David Burtka's Eggs-in-a-Heart

David Burtka's I Love Fruit Plate

I Love Fruit Plate

Recipe: Try David Burtka's I Love Fruit Plate

David Burtka's Heart-Shaped Bacon

Heart-Shaped Bacon

Recipe: Try David Burtka's Heart-Shaped Bacon

David Burtka's Red Velvet Pancakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Topping

Red Velvet Pancakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Topping

Recipe: Try David Burtka's Red Velvet Pancakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Topping