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Valentine's Day---Going Out or Cooking?

I don't like going out on Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve. Am I the only?

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  1. We're going out, but on Saturday, not Monday. I also wouldn't try to go to a "regular" place. We're going to a special limited seating gig where the room is served, not the table, so you aren't being rushed out in an attempt to seat someone else.

    But otherwise, I'd stay home.

    1. We will be at home. Two nice steaks, either strip or ribeye. The sides are still up in the air, but MsOC has promised to make a cheesecake for dessert.

      1. I think staying in. Thinking about doing something with lobster...havevnt decided what, exactly

        1. Every evening we eat by candle light. I cook wonderful meals all the time; my wife lives in a constant state of cut flowers. Friday I bought home a Navajo turquiose and silver necklace, just because I wanted to. For my wife, every day (almost) is Valentine's Day. I will, in the spirit of the holiday, make something red and white, possibly red chile enchiladas w/ a dollop of white Mexican crema.
          Psssst Virginia, Valentine's Day is a capitalist inspired guilt trip designed to seperate some poor schmuck from his money.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Passadumkeg

            ps We are driving to Las Vegas on the 18th for relaxing long weekend.!

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                I so agree, I HATE commercially inspired holidays. Some of the most romantic dinners ever, have been spur of the moment or out camping and cooking over a campfire.

              2. We're doing both, actually. Out to dinner on Friday night, sans child. "Family" dinner on Monday, cooked by the men of the house. Boys, don't forget the chocolate!

                1 Reply
                1. Not at all - and add Mother's Day to that list as well. Occasions like this are the worst possible nights of the year to eat out. You're pretty much guaranteed to be in for a night of overcrowding and inferior food.

                  1. We are definitely staying in for Valentine's Day, I need to finalize the menu. We have made a tradition of going out for dinner the night before New Year's Eve, so much nicer and it works for us.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ellaf

                      Yes, yes, yes. I totally agree. We did it too this year and it was terrific. NYE get too crowded and nuts for us now. The penultimate night becomes our tradition now.

                    2. Ditto for me on both counts. On NYE, i make a fabulous fattening cheese fondue, and we all just stand around the stove, dipping bread, steamed carrots and steamed broccoli into it. No drunk people or dangerous roads to deal with.

                      My husband and I either go out the night before Valentine's Day (you get way better service, it's not crowded unless it happens to fall on a Saturday, and you're the only people celebrating V-day) or I just make something rich and interesting at home.

                      1. Like others have said, we don't go out V day or Mother's day or New Years Eve and I'd like to add St. Patty's day (way too many drivers DUI). We usually get some nice take out for V day, nice wine,soft music..... you get the picture.

                        1. We order sushi in (we place our order earlier in the day, let them know what time we would like it delivered, and let them know that we are patient). We mix up some dirty martinis, put a movie marathon on in the background, and play Trivial Pursuit while we eat (and drink . . . and maybe drink a little more). We also do this for our birthdays and our anniversary. We've been together for nine years, and we're still waiting to get bored doing this.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I'm with you 100%!!!! Haven't gone out for V-Day or New Years (or Mothers Day/Fathers Day) in YEARS - & we like it that way. The majority of restaurants are nothing but cattle calls on holidays like that - overpriced "special" menus, long waits, & rushed service in order to squeeze everyone in. I MUCH prefer cooking or ordering in.

                            We've been able to create our own "traditions", & for V-Day that consists of me cooking up some boiled lobsters with melted lemon garlic butter, shoestring potatoes, salad, & something chocolate for dessert. I leave the appetizer up to whatever I find appealing when I go shopping on the day of. Hubby always comes home with lovely roses for me & the stage is set for a lovely meal without all the outside hoopla.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Breezychow

                              Hear! Hear! Ilike to cook something special on holidays and this Valentine's, we will start out with Kir Royale, a nice green salad with marinated beets, dried cherries and goat cheese, followed by veal chops with a cream and mushroom sauce with rostie potatoes. For dessert, we will have a dark chocolate mousse. Vive l'amour!

                            2. Hooray! I have always said the 2 nights of the year you SHOULD stay home are New Years Eve and Valentines day. I have never gone out for Valentines Day before, but this year a friend has recently bought and renovated a restaurant and is hosting a special degustation menu. They don't normally open on a Monday night and they usually just aim the special occasion degustation menu to family and friends, so it should be enjoyable. The menu is fantastic and not to mention lots of oysters and champagne.

                              1. Definitely in the staying-in camp. Personally, I can't *think* of something more romantic than cooking for/with your beloved! I'm generally always in the staying-in camp, regardless, but will make exceptions on various other signal holidays like birthdays or anniversaries, but never, ever on Valentine's Day. It's my own little conceit. One of my favorite dinners of the year!

                                1. Our tradition for the last few years is swinging by Chinatown, grabbing two lobsters, and boiling them for dinner. Easy and satisfying, yet with plenty of togetherness time.

                                  1. I live alone.. definitely cooking. Since I am single, I will have whatever I want.. meaning, if I feel like just cake: I'll have just cake. If I feel like french toast, I'll have that. Love thyself--especially when no one else does.

                                    6 Replies
                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I always celebrate Valentine's Day, whether I'm in a relationship with someone else or not. Last year I made a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting just for me! Bought myself a card AND a present (a cookbook, naturally--wrapped it up, too!) One year I took myself out for lunch and ordered a decadent dessert. Singlehood is no reason NOT to celebrate!

                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                          Yep: that's why I said the cake comment.. when you say "Chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting"... are you referring to the Smitten Kitchen one? I love that one! I have even made it with alternating pb and cookie-dough flavored buttercream.

                                          1. re: GraceW

                                            No, I think I used recipes from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book. Since it was just me, I just baked one layer, cut it in half and then layered it (I limit my sugar and white flour intake to weekends or holidays, so I didn't want to toss any more than necessary).

                                      2. re: GraceW

                                        Our joke with a waiter at this place we're going to on Monday is that you could only book a table for 3 or 5. I actually thought that was an excellent idea - we theoretically filled our table for 3 to start with, but we now have our theoretical table for 5. It would be excellent company!

                                        1. re: GraceW

                                          I'm sure some loves you to...even so your French toast may be the reason you alone ?
                                          Just a joke..
                                          Have a great mono cook out !

                                        2. My husband and I did the V-Day thing out one time and never again. Ever.

                                          Our quest for a romantic restaurant led us to a great possibility that ended with a prix fixe menu of pre-prepared food kept warm or cold, blazing fast service that had our courses piling on top of each other (we were still eating our entree when they set our desserts and the bill on the edge of our table), and a nice, fat mark up to pad the coffers of the restaurant. Total time we were allowed to savor our $200 meal: 47 minutes.

                                          Valentine's Day Dinner and Mother's Day Brunch are magical days in which normally sane and customer service oriented restaurateurs turn into drooling Feringi looking to turn a buck and as many tables as possible.

                                          No thanks.

                                          I can't think of anything less romantic than being treated as a cash cow by a restaurant on Valentine's Day.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                            Been there, done that. Never again.

                                          2. Going out. I want a break from cooking and he is often tired after from work. There is nothing wrong with going out in Valentine's Day, NYE, or any othercelebration if you plan right. It seems like those restaurants that do do holidays well don't get the credit that they deserve.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: viperlush

                                              Went out for apps of $1 oysters and wine @ local wine store, stopped at bakery for dessert, and cooking dinner.

                                            2. If it were the weekend, I'd think about cooking, but oy. When you're already the full time cook and work 40 hours a week and have a commute? Cooking on Monday night is about the most unromantic thing imaginable. i suspect we may celebrate "Valentines" on a different night to avoid crowds and be able to enjoy it all at our own pace.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: dingey

                                                Excellent idea! Make it "your" day, not St. Valentine's (whoever he was).

                                                1. re: BobB

                                                  BobB - funny thing about St. Valentine, I think he had something to do with snakes if memory serves.

                                                2. re: dingey

                                                  Um, valentines day is TUESDAY, Feb 14th, NOT Monday!

                                                3. Going out. Usually we stay in and make dinner together, but this year we are going to celebrate on Sunday (DH has grad school class on Monday anyway). We are going to brunch on Sunday, then going to a spa for a couples massage. For dinner, we are having take-out pizza from our local pizza place and a bottle of red wine. Can you tell I am counting down to Saturday?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: iambecky

                                                    Have a great time. So nice to be able to look forward to happy occassions.

                                                  2. Having been in the restaurant business those nights to us are the ultimate amateur nights. People who don't dine out regularly go out these nights. We choose to stay at home.

                                                    1. Same for me. Both are amateur nights out. The worst service I've had in my life has been the times when I was young and went out for Valentines Day. I haven't done the VD thing since I was in my early 20's. I hate the whole hallmark holiday crap, don't buy into it, and try to fight it. I don't give out cards, EVER. I can do romance just fine 364 days of the year, but am a curmudgeon on v day.

                                                      As for New Years, I have thrown some amazing parties. The lasttwo years I have gone out, but it was to friends cocktail bars, with limited seating, and I didn't have to pay the $250 fee. Starting this year I will have a new house and I'm back to throwing huge parties.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                        "I haven't done the VD thing since I was in my early 20's." Neither Have I. I think I got it from a bar girl in Saigon.
                                                        Read above post, 364 romance and 1 day curmudgeon as well. I just don't like being manipulated by the mass media. I simply cut out a construction paper heart, pin it to my chest, and say, "Dear, I have a heart on for you!" Never fails to her her to smile.

                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                          Damnit Passa, you beat me to a similar line!

                                                        2. re: JMF

                                                          I'll join you on the non-celebrator's bench. We do something for our anniversary and for the day we first kissed because those days have real significance for us. Valentine's Day and its bastard offspring Sweetest Day are arbitrary and meaningless in the context of our relationship.

                                                        3. Standing rib roast, baked potatoes, home-made ice cream and, to show my appreciation for her devotion and loyalty, a diamond tennis bracelet suspended from the neck of a Chateau Margaux '82,

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. Single, staying home.

                                                              Too busy messing with the garden to be bothered.

                                                              1. Grrr - My romantic dinner sans child was just cancelled. It seems that when I wasn't looking, my babysitter went and got a shiny new boyfriend. Somehow, she wants to spend her Friday night making googly eyes at him, instead of sitting on my couch renting movies and polishing off everything in the fridge.

                                                                It looks like I'm cooking tonight. Bah Valentine Humbug!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                  If it makes you feel any better our lovely dinner looks like it REALLY is turning into a table for three. My friends who offered to have the boy for the evening forgot they offered and are now working. Being Valentines Day everyone I know is busy. Not that I actually care about celebrating Valentines Day, I was just looking forward to having dinner out in only adult company. But there is no way I'm missing out on this menu so I WILL find a solution!

                                                                  1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                    If you live near Philly, you could drop him off at our house. We usually have some number of kids sleeping over each weekend. We have enough extra pillows and blankets for a very sleepy army.

                                                                    1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                      Aw, that's sweet. However, being in Australia makes for a long road trip :) I'm sure it will work out, it always does. Oysters and champagne still taste good in any company.

                                                                2. A few years ago I went all out and cooked a great V-day dinner for my hsuband and me. We have differing tastes, so I made it like a restaurant and cooked what he said he wanted for him and what i wanted for myself.

                                                                  Then we had to clean up.

                                                                  I never cooked a dinner like that at home again.

                                                                  We usualy go out, but often on a day other than the actual day. If we do go out on the day, we don't go to an "occasion" restaurant. We go somewhere casual and fun that we love, like a country pancake house or our favorite Indian restaurant.. Places people don't always think of as Valentine's Day restaurants are less crowded, dont' shove you out the door, and don't have some mass-producded price fixe menu.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                    Valentine's Day reminds me of being a kid. My family would celebrate with take out pizza and everyone would get a small gift. (One year I got orange fishnet stockings which were beyond exciting.) I loved that my Dad always gave my mother a big heart shaped box of candy with a doll on top of it. (I got the doll). Even though I'm married and will make a special dinner for us...it still reminds me of being a kid.....just glad for a happy occassion instead of another funeral.

                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                      When we were kids, my mom always bought my brother and I Valentine's gifts. She would surprise us with tickets to the Ice Capades, Disney on Ice, or the Circus, if no "Ice Shows" were coming through town. My brother even got tickets to go see wrestling a couple of times. It's a nice memory. You're right. Sometimes it's nice to just celebrate a happy occasion and all the "sweethearts" in your life.

                                                                      1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                                        I'm glad you have those kind of memories, too.

                                                                      2. re: DaisyM

                                                                        It was better as a kid. My mom would decorate the kitchen with red hearts and other stuff and give us little gifts and chocolate from the local candy store. I remember one year my bro got a white chocolate Ferrari while I would always got a small heart shaped box of chocolates. I don't think that the meals that she cooked where different than the usual, but the decorations and presents made it feel special.

                                                                      3. re: Avalondaughter

                                                                        <We go somewhere casual and fun that we love, like a country pancake house or our favorite Indian restaurant.. Places people don't always think of as Valentine's Day restaurants are less crowded, don't shove you out the door, and don't have some mass-produced price fixe menu.>

                                                                        Exactly. Going out doesn't have to equal price fix or high end. And it is a way to spend time with a loved one without having to worry about who is going to shop, cook or clean.

                                                                        But put me on the boat with those who don't like celebrating made up holidays like Valentine's Day, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day.

                                                                      4. We never go out to eat on "amateur night" either. NYE, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day are the three main ones.

                                                                        NYE tradition dictates we stay at home and watch the ball drop together, followed by a traditional Christmas turkey on NYD.

                                                                        We did the V Day once. Seated almost an hour after reservation time (made three weeks earlier). Limited, overpriced menu. Limited, overpriced wine list. Overcrowded, over noisy. Meh service. Tip automatically added to the check (a pet peeve of mine). Overall, not a very romantic evening.

                                                                        Now we do V Day at home. This year it will be whatever looks good at the fishmonger's tomorrow.

                                                                        1. We'll stay in. We're in NYC, and during the day last year we went to the Vosges store for hot chocolate and then Jacques Torres for warm cookies. I made shrimp and grits for din(his fave) which I'm considering making again. He shaped all the shrimps on my plate into hearts (using two shrimp, you get the idea.)

                                                                          He doesn't drink, so the decadent $6 hot chocolate fits the romance bill. We may have to do it again this year, maybe I'll try making it at home! We spend so much time running around the city that a night in together cooking, eating, and cuddling each other and our dog sounds like the best valentines day there is. *sigh* I get all warm inside just thinking about it.

                                                                          1. We are staunchly anti-Valentine's day. We know we love each other, we don't need to prove it with cliché gifts and dinner at an overcrowded restaurant, so we'll be spending our evening with a gangster movie marathon, home grilled cheeseburgers, hand cut fries, and triple chocolate brownies.

                                                                            1. NEVER go out On V. Day. I made My Valentines Day meal yesterday since I had more time. Molly Steven's Coq au vin. OMG, soooooooooo good. I MUST buy her cookbook. Leftovers tonight will be even better!!

                                                                              1. I hate going out on Valentine's day so the boyfriend and I are going to make dinner. We were going to do tonkatsu, but decided on doing two types of homemade gyoza.

                                                                                So we are basically going to spend valentine's day evening hand stuffing dumplings (don't worry it's the time spent together making food that matters)!!! I'm making extra because I'm going on a trip for the next 2 weeks and he LOVES dumplings.

                                                                                1. We're going out, to the most "non romantic" restaurant imaginable. A hole in the wall Mexican place that no one would ever think of as date night material. But we've gone on several dates there, so it is "our" spot and VERY romantic to us. Hole in the wall restaurants on valentine's day is totally the way to go, in my experience.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                    Here's the menu:

                                                                                    Prime Rib
                                                                                    Baked Potatoes
                                                                                    (yes, weight watchers begins tomorrow)

                                                                                    1. re: charlesbois

                                                                                      I agree charlesbois! My husband and I have been married 27 years and over the years we've done all the usual Valentine's Day stuff. We're going out tonight too, but it's very low-key -- a couple of seats at the end of the oyster bar at one of of our favorite restaurants here in town. It's "our" spot too. We'll often stop there after a movie for a dozen oysters and a couple of drinks. It's the perfect people-watching spot and also romantic for us! We know the manager there really well so my husband called to see if there was any way he could save us a couple of spots at the oyster bar. Mission accomplished! Unless you go super high-end, you just end up being one of the thousands of people trying to have a "romantic" dinner" on the busiest night of the year.

                                                                                    2. Nope I'm cooking a special meal for my hubby why go out when home is more personal

                                                                                      1. We went out (to Chilapan, great BYO Mexican in Chicago) on Friday. My husband's bringing home something tonight. Potbelly, probably - and that's fine with me.

                                                                                        1. we already "did" something for Valentine's Day (saw Tony Bennett in Altantic City, wonderful meal with oysters, and champagne)
                                                                                          I see no reason that anyone HAS to celebrate ON that day...
                                                                                          that being said, for the "fun' of it, we're having filet mignon and cold water lobster tails for dinner tonight
                                                                                          Hubby picked up some appetizers and dessert, (dessert is a secret) and a bottle of Duckhorn Merlot, (my fave)
                                                                                          we have a nice bottle of port for dessert, (in case dessert involves chocolate!)

                                                                                          1. Allways stay in on 'ametuer night out' as well... we are both great cooks, so taking turns tonight. I am on for seared scallop starter, then he is up for potato gratin and lamb chops.
                                                                                            I made chocolate cupcakes with choc. buttercream frosting with red sparkly sprinkles for dessert, in little red foil cups. Cute!

                                                                                            I am sure there is a great bottle of red waiting as well, knowing him:). Love staying in for this one!

                                                                                            1. Cooking... son and daughter will be home tonight, too (in their 20's finishing up college this semester), so asked what they would like. It won't be a dinner for two romantic dinner.
                                                                                              So... grilled burgers, got lean ground beef, will add ground pork; home-made mac-n-cheese, tater tots (yes, husband's favorite), baked beans (got several kinds in cans, will doctor it up with molasses, bacon, etc). Yes, sorely missing greens. Oh well, eh? Will have lettuce and raw veggies.
                                                                                              I stayed home today, so will get it all put together, then husband will get the grill ready later while I teach violin lessons at the studio.
                                                                                              Oh yeah, I'm making individual cheesecakes now, in valentine muffin papers... will do a white chocolate/orange zest topping.

                                                                                              1. Count me amongst those that never goes out on Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve. It truly is amateur hour on such evenings.

                                                                                                So, for this Valentine's Day I shall be cooking roasted garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach to go along with a roasted rack of lamb. Of course, the lovely young lady and me will also be sharing a few bottles of cabernet.

                                                                                                Later in the week we'll go out and share a romantic meal somewhere.

                                                                                                1. We went out over the weekend-- saw Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert here in Seattle-- but as new parents who both work, weeknights are pretty much always in. I'll be making spaghetti pie-- the first meal I ever made for my wife.

                                                                                                  1. We're definitely dining in, for all the reasons everyone else has articulated. The thing is, I was planning to cook a rack of lamb, which I have already purchased and which seems like Valentine's Day food to me. But I was just out doing errands, and I realized that my DH is not fond of lamb at all, so I stopped at the store and got the makings for his favorite meal, sausage pasta from Splendid Table. He has to work late, so it will be a nice surprise when he finally drags in. I can save the lamb for another night.

                                                                                                    1. Well call me an amateur since I do go out NYE and Valentine's Day. And I've enjoyed my meals and only once have I gotten a "special" menu. There are restaurants out there that don't take advantage of the diners and still put out fantastic meals on these nights. I like to eating out, dislike cooking, and don't see the point of celebrating holidays not on the correct day (in all fairness I don't like celebrating holidays in general, but the BF and family make me). Central Bottle (Cambridge MA), Rendezvous (Cambridge MA), Teatro (Boston MA), and the now closed Le Petit Cochon? (Fairfax VA) are just a few of those who know/knew how to do these nights right.