11/01/2008 AT 11:20 AM EDT
What makes Rosario Dawson
happy? A simple night in with DJ boyfriend Mathieu Schreyer.
"I like the little things," she tells PEOPLE. "To come home, eat good food, watch your favorite show, all curled up just the two of you? That just feels awesome."
The Sin City
actress – who lives with Schreyer in Los Angeles but recently denied engagement rumors
– says that real love happens away from the red carpet.
"Sometimes relationships only work when all the fanfare is there," says Dawson, 29. "But it's great when it works when none of that is there."
Dawson herself has been away from premieres and parties: She's been busy canvassing at voter drives
for her non-profit organization, Voto Latino
"I guess I could have gone on vacation, but I've been a political junkie," she says. "When I go back to work, I'll feel very happy about doing this, rather than relaxing."
A huge fan of eco-tourism, Dawson has also been busy supporting charities such as Trip Advisor's "More Than Footprints" initiative
, which is donating $1 million to five travel-related not-for-profit groups.
"Economically, right now it's important to do this," she says.
The New York City native and self-confessed foodie did take a little time out this year – to visit her boyfriend's family in the south of France.
Her favorite treat from her visit? "It's pork in a can," she says, adding that you remove the congealed fat and eat the rest "like a pate. You spread it on bread. Mmmm."
Now that she's settled into a cozy relationship with Schreyer, does Dawson see herself having children one day soon?
"My grandmother and my mom are such remarkable human beings, I would love for them to have a little one to play with," she says, but quickly adds, "Otherwise, I'm pretty good."