Your memory of why we celebrate romance on Valentine’s Day may be a bit fuzzy—in fact the historical facts are rather hazy, too—but there’s no denying that our culture loves to show our love on this iconic day, Hallmark cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, sweeping romantic gestures and all.
However, if you haven’t been tipped off either by an industry expert or your own experience, the one way you should absolutely avoid showing your love on Valentine’s Day: by making dinner reservations at a restaurant.
Those in the know will attest that this is both the worst day of the year to work or dine in a restaurant. Why? Several reasons: To begin, the specialness of Valentine’s Day inevitably draws out swarms of restaurant amateurs—folks who rarely or never dine out—whose presence all at once in a packed dining room are likely to throw off a typically calm atmosphere and put added stress on staff (who likely wish they weren’t there).
The popular offering of the dreaded prix-fixe menu seems nice, but it’s almost guaranteed to be at an inflated price for food turned out of a hectic kitchen. You’re better off saving your pennies for another night, or to splurge on a nice bottle of sparkling wine to enjoy at home.
Still want to show your food-loving Valentine how much you care? Here’s how we’d play it:
Is your honey open to postponing your V-date ‘til the weekend? Plan a fun day centered around food:
Farmers Market: On a sunny day, there’s fewer things that get us smiling more than a stroll through the farmers market to pick out beautiful local produce to cook together at home, or maybe even to pack for a picnic in the park.
Fuzzy Feelings Farm Tour: If mixing Cupid with cute animals appeals, consider a drive out to Waller, Texas, to meet the adorable goats of Blue Heron Farm. Farmers Lisa and Christian provide tours of their farmstead, where they raise a herd of friendly goat gals and produce their famously good chevre, yogurt and cajeta (goat milk caramel), but baby goat snuggles are the real draw.
Share Some Sips: Share a passion for beer? Of late, the Bayou City is bursting at the seams with local breweries and well-stocked craft brew houses and beer gardens, many of which offer tasting flights, tasty eats and even patio games. More into spirits? Houston boasts several distilleries that host regular tours. And you could always plan a full weekend getaway to visit the wineries tucked into the Texas Hill Country.
DIY Dinner: There’s really no denying the old adage that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. And if you put in the thought, time and care into preparing a home-cooked meal, there’s no way your boo won’t appreciate it.
Call in the Pros: Love this idea but aren’t so swift with a spatula… or knife or oven mitt or…? You can always outsource the thoughtful gesture by ordering in. Or even better, consider hiring one of Cookery’s on-demand chefs for the night. Their menus can take you on a culinary voyage around the globe, from Fashioned By India or A Culinary Journey Through Africa with Chef James Haywood of Kitchen 713 to Traveling Through Sicily with Chef Thelma Portillo of The Wheel Kitchen, they’ll help you create a memorable evening, and they’ll do the dishes.
The Couple That Cooks Together… Looking for a more hands-on activity? Invite a Cookery chef to teach you and boo how to make a lavish meal at home. (Next year, you’ll be able to craft it all on your own!)
If you’re set on going out for a meal, consider doing it at a different time. Will your love really mean less the week before Valentine’s? A midday brunch or lunch (while playing hooky from daytime responsibilities) can be a sweet alternative, allowing you to lay-low and snuggle over a bottle of wine and favorite flick in the evening. Even the day before Valentine’s can be much more laidback.
However you choose to mark the occasion, remember that the important thing is enjoying each other’s company. The rest is just details.
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