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Valentine Day- do you or don't you? And if you do-what?

To me dining out on Valentine's Day is like going out on NYE. Amateur night. I can't stand the set menu's and the abundance of cheap red roses. And if it falls on a weekend? Forget it!

Even when we were dating we never went out on VD. Instead we would stay home and make a romantic dinner.

Now that we are married with a kid VD is more a family celebration. So this year will continue our tradition of homemade heart shaped pizza's with heart shaped pepperoni, champagne for us and sparkling cider for the boy.

What's on your agenda this year? Do you dress up and go out? Do you stay home and cook? go bowling or movie with dinner after?

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  1. We went out for dinner just once on Valentine's Day and declared it one of the worst dining experiences ever. Extra tables had been jammed in to the restaurant, the set menu was no great shakes and the food tasted as if it had been pre-cooked and briefly nuked, we could hear every conversartion 'cause of the table set-up, prices were high, "free" champagne was cheap. And this was a restaurant we had previously liked quite a lot.

    Now we dine at home and find our own ways to celebrate.

    1. Went once (against my better judgement) to my favourite local restaurant. They had a special set menu and it was the worst service I'd ever received there and the food was not as great as normal.
      Now if I do go out on Valentine’s Day I will phone a restaurant beforehand to make sure they are running a normal service.
      If they are having a special valentine menu don't go near the place.

      1. The two days that I refuse to go out on are Valentines Day and Mothers Day brunch. Both are over priced, underwhelming cattle calls.

        1 Reply
        1. I must be extremely lucky, because I've almost always had a good time dining out on Valentine's Day. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant with special Lunar New Year dishes. Once, at a French restaurant, our reservation was lost. The staff more than made up for it by setting up a special table for us (not in the most comfortable place, but I appreciated the extra effort) and being super nice all evening. I won't go to a place that only serves a prix fixe, but that's not limited to Valetine's Day; it's my rule for the entire year. This Valentine's Day we're going for sushi in a Chinatown hotel restaurant that looks like something out of the Jetsons and serves an appetizer with ankimo, uni and ikura (three of my favorite things). I'm looking forward to it.

          13 Replies
          1. re: small h

            Well, having read this thread, I think I know now why my Valentine's Day dinners out are so pleasant. All the cranky people stay home.

            1. re: small h

              Not cranky at all but I got that sense from this thread as well. We have a great time at home and love to celebrate and spend quality time together in the kitchen as a couple in our lounge clothes

              1. re: small h

                Not cranky at all. Just find enjoying the day all the more enjoyable by not having to dress up & go out to what's frequently sub-par "special" menus & service - the sub-par service frequently due to a full house all night, something that many places don't experience all that often these days. And for restaurants doing "seatings", heaven help you if you want to linger over your dessert/coffee. Forget about it.

                Decades ago, we used to go out for V-Day, New Year's Eve, etc., etc., but as the years went on - & especially since I so enjoy cooking - it became more of a hassle than an enjoyable experience. In addition, my birthday is 3 days after V-Day, & we always dine out somewhere nice for that, so it's not like we're really missing anything except the crowds, etc., etc.

                I'm pleased that you enjoy dining out on V-Day, but don't brand me as "cranky" simply because I prefer to enjoy dining in on that day!

                1. re: Bacardi1

                  "I'm pleased that you enjoy dining out on V-Day, but don't brand me as "cranky" simply because I prefer to enjoy dining in on that day!"

                  I believe the "cranky" attitude is attributed to those who have trashed dining out on VD, not those who prefer to stay home. The OP asked "Valentine Day- do you or don't you? And if you do-what?" When people started trashing the idea of dining out is when some of us perceived them as being cranky. That's all.

                  Ok. Enough said on my part. I'm outta here! :)

                2. re: small h

                  Curious how you got "cranky" from these posts??

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Maybe not "cranky," but I think there is an underlying tone of bitterness in some of the posts. Whether this is due to bad past experiences or just a negative attitude towards dining amid couples who really can't afford to eat out the rest of the year but save up for a few special occasions, it is there.

                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      Interesting. I don't see it as bitterness at all. Some of my favorite high end places fall prey to the demand. Normally wonderful places with outstanding food and excellent service know they can make extra money at a lower cost by offering set menus and throwing in a cheap red rose/glass of champagne. I am not bitter about it, it’s business.

                      It’s why I don’t go out on NYE, Mothers Day, Thanksgiving or for that matter the super bowl. If I had to save my money for that one “special” night I would rather have that wonderful experience when a place it’s at its best. You don’t have celebrate on the 14th to show your love. However I certainly don’t begrudge or feel bitter about those who do.

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        Agreed. They too often cram in extra tables and place an emphasis on how quick they can turn them. It's a cash cow for the restaurant that they want to milk for all it's worth. Not that I begrudge them for doing so. I just don't want any part of it. I'll go to the same place on a different night and have a much more enjoyable experience.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          THANK YOU both!!! Perfectly stated. :)

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            THANK YOU!! Perfectly stated.

                            (Double post that I can't delete - sorry.)

                        2. re: foodieX2

                          I read phrases like "cheap red roses," "overpriced, underwhelming cattle calls," and "hate hate HATE," and I thought that language sounded cranky.

                            1. re: small h

                              "I am not bitter about it, it’s business. "

                              I never said you (or anyone for that matter) were "bitter." I said "there is an underlying tone of bitterness in some of the posts." Big difference.

                      2. I sit around at home lonely and forlorn.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: redfish62

                          Me too. Except I'm not exactly forlorn.

                          I eat all kinds of things that past boyfriends have raised their eyebrows at in repulsion.....sardines, raw onion and nasal-clearing mustard on pumpernickel.... steamed potatoes tossed with the sardine oil....sauteed chicken livers.....lightly dressed green salad eaten pinch my pinch with my fingers.....a celebration of the foods I love, men be damned. :)

                          1. re: 4Snisl

                            If you ever need any company being not exactly forlorn, I would bring the sardines. Your feast sounds awesome!

                            1. re: pinehurst

                              Aw, thanks Pinehurst! No need to bring anything, and the invitation stands 365 days..... :)

                            2. re: 4Snisl

                              You should give being forlorn a try, it's really not that bad.

                          2. Never out unless to "ethnic" food. Usually we pick another night tongi out and I cook something fun at home.

                            1. Every year we do pizza and champagne; it's enjoyable and keeps things simple and relaxed. Last year we added the 80s movie classic "Willow".

                              1. I despise going out in V-day. Either we celebrate it on another day, or we cook in a nice dinner at home.

                                1. I usually cook at home for v-day. Last year was surf and turf - steak and lobster. The rest of the week I spend dining out, having v-day dinner with other girlfriends. But I almost never go out on v-day for the reason stated in the op: it's amateur hour.

                                  1. I have never gone out for Valentine's Day. We usually stay in and cook, peaceful and quiet.

                                    1. Never, for all the reasons everyone else has already mentioned. DH and I aren't really into Hallmark holidays, so I rarely even cook a special meal, unless it happens to fall on a weekend or I have extra time. Pizza and champagne sounds like a nice tradition, though - maybe we'll have to start doing that!

                                      1. I think Valentine Day is pretty lame so we don't celebrate it at all. So if I feel like cooking I cook, if I feel like take out we get take out, and if I am in the mood to be social we go out. But on all those "Amateur Nights/days" when we have gone out I have never had a bad experience at a restaurant.

                                        1. We never go out for dinner on Valentine's Day, for all the reasons everyone has mentioned.

                                          We have, on occasion, gone to lunch at a nice restaurant, the kind that has a full menu then, not just sandwiches and salads. It has never been crowded or rushed.

                                          1. always stay home. ALWAYS. I hate going out on popular restaurant holidays for all the reasons others have named.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: IndyGirl

                                              SO and I might be boring but we even usually stay home for birthdays and such. We might buy a cake or order a special dessert and pick it up for the occasion, but have found that we can make pretty stellar celebration meals in the comfort of our own home.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                Yep, this is my preference as well. The only thing that gets in the way sometimes is our busy work lives. However, a home-cooked meal with just the two of us or with a bunch of friends is always our favorite!

                                            2. Oh God - NEVER go out for Valentine's Day for all the reasons you state & then some!! Hate, hate, HATE the obligatory roses on the table, the prix fixe overpriced meals, all the droopy young dates, & families with screaming kids. No thanks.

                                              Every year for decades now, we enjoy a lovely meal at home. ALWAYS Maine lobsters with melted lemon butter, shoestring fries, a nice salad, & some nice chocolate dessert. All quick & easy to prepare, leaving plenty of time for lovin. ;)

                                              Have no desire to add to restaurant coffers on this day; would much rather stay home in jeans & sweats enjoying a nice dinner & some good flicks on tv.

                                              1. Mac 'n' cheese, brussels sprouts, and champagne.

                                                1. Did a couple of restaurants back in the day; long waits, overcrowded, harried service. Never again.

                                                  We generally do "appetizers for dinner", with some nice wine/beers/bubbly, and of course chocolates to end. A small salad or raw veggies and/or cheese/olives, chef's choice of spanakopitas, pizza rolls, potstickers, nachos, pigs in blankets, grilled mini-sandwiches. Feels festive, easy, toss in a movie and cupcakes and don't have cholesterol or blood pressure checked the next day. :)

                                                  1. if we go out it's at a small local place, not some "destination" restaurant so usually not too badly crowded. We did go out for a nice dinner a couple years ago on V day, it was nice, tables a little more packed in than usual, but the food was terrific. Saw a couple get engaged that evening, which was very sweet.

                                                    1. We have just started going out for the last few years (after always believing the "amateur night" thing). We have had some great meals and beautiful evenings; glad we decided to do it. I cook almost every night of the week, so why shouldn't we go out on this night? We have had great luck with the higher end places we have gone to. Nice menus, wonderful service; no waiting because we always have a reservation. I really think it depends on the restaurant one chooses.

                                                      1. We don't go out for dinner on Valentines Day because at the higher end, it just doesn't feel special (see: seating times, extra tables, prix fixe menus, etc.) and at the lower end, well, it's just another dinner out. Which is great, but not really celebratory.

                                                        I'm not a Valentines Day hater at all and I think it's great to have a day dedicated to showering your beloved with love. I'm just not down with going out to dinner to do so.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Now THAT is a great idea. We have never enjoyed VD out at restaurants so this is a nice thought. Thanks HillJ.

                                                            1. re: mrsfury

                                                              I've never enjoyed any VDs, in restaurants or out :-D

                                                              1. re: mrsfury

                                                                Spas offer a custom menu, a relaxing spa room for two, a good deal of pampering, soft music, champagne and all with no crowds, no loud noise. It's an idea choice if you're thinking of spending Vday out.

                                                            2. I've got a Dr's (Eye) appointment that day. ~ Will hitch the team to the wagon and go into town...see the doctor...pick up a few supplies, eat some lunch, come home, cook something simple and retire early!

                                                              1. For the past 10 years, I've taken my wife to Paris for a long weekend. It's on the cool side and rarely there may be some snow. But it's great for walking. Few restaurants bother with special meals--just do their regular thing. We usually look for a fine restaurant for lunch and then have snacks at a wine bar in the evening.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: UPDoc

                                                                  Okay... As far as I'm concerned, you win Valentine's Day.

                                                                  1. re: UPDoc

                                                                    Dude you're making the rest of us look bad.

                                                                    1. re: UPDoc

                                                                      My jaw is hanging open, I may lose my butterscotch disk...

                                                                      1. re: UPDoc

                                                                        I hope my wife never sees this post

                                                                      2. We don't, but there is a compromise type thing. Our anniversary is the 2nd, so between then and Valentine's Day, we choose a night to eat at a nice restaurant and then go to some swanky bar that we usually would not (prohibition era cocktails are a favorite of mine).
                                                                        One present covers both occasions, and I never get flowers. Usually it's a free pass on a new outfit for the occasion where he'll just ignore that little section of the debit statement.
                                                                        This year's venue is sort of cheesy and predictable, but it's likely to be our last winter in the area, so why not?

                                                                        1. I was hesitant to post here, because, for one thing, I'm old. So is my SO. But, we've been together and getting into trouble together and laughing together for a loooong time. Valentine's Day? After nearly losing each other more than once, every day is Valentine's Day for us.

                                                                          I grow roses in our yard. We're grateful for every day we have together, now especially. We'd steal horses for each other.

                                                                          Go on, say, "awwwwwww", it's true. Love is like a fine wine. It improves with time. The day doesn't matter, all days matter.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                            You told me to do it. Awwwww...
                                                                            I feel the same about my other half. Becoming a legally bound unit at 19 and 23, we had about no chance of making it, said our folks. And here we are, thriving.
                                                                            I wish you and your chosen match all the best, afridgetoofar :)

                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                              Another awwww here.

                                                                              And 'gator--Mr Pine and I were told we'd never make it through the 1st year (we knew each other just under 2 months when we wed). We just celebrated year #35 last week!

                                                                              So, while we're the "cranky-pants" noted above, (re: eating out on Valentine's) we'll buy some good champagne and celebrate at home in a manner we see fit. ;)

                                                                          2. Dining out is usually out of question because 1) it sucks, and 2) being a pastry cook, I haven't had valentines day off in a while.

                                                                            Last year I made truffles (bacon, banana, Guinness) and wrapped em like a Godiva tin for the husband. When i got home after work (10pm ish?) we had them with our nice bottle of wine :)

                                                                            Being together for seven years, VD has become low key but it is not as stressful as before!

                                                                            1. The past two years, we've went out. The first year we were together, I was very sick and it was a spur of the moment try to get out of the house thing. It was only bad because it was the only option near a military base. Last year, we were traveling. Not too bad, honestly.

                                                                              1. I'm currently single, not dating, and really won't bother taking myself out for VD, but have had meals out on both ends of the spectrum in the past.

                                                                                When the ex and I were first dating, we went to a local place with a fixed price menu, choice of entrees - I had a fantastic lobster dish. The waiter took our picture in front of a mural. Many years later, he's still my favorite waiter there (as well as being the only one from that long ago still there).

                                                                                Another VD, a small local wine-bar type place had started having fondue dinners from time to time, so they did the whole fondue dinner shebang for the occasion. 3 long, painfully cramped and slow hours later, we got our dessert to go. The food was actually great, but the resto was totally unprepared for all of the people they'd crammed in.

                                                                                In my last relationship, we'd order live lobster to be shipped in time, and make a home occasion of it.

                                                                                1. We live within spitting distance of the Canadian (New Brunswick) border and there are plenty of gourmet restaurants for us to choose from in NB, so we don't run into the high price/low quality problem that we might find if we dined in the States. We have a double reason to celebrate because this Feb. 12 will be the 2 year anniversary of us both quitting smoking. Yay us!!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                    Pot House congrats! Quitting is the best gift you can give yourself!

                                                                                  2. My oldest niece was born on Valentine's Day. My sister and BIL both work in restaurants so they usually end up needing to work that day, making it hard to celebrate her birthday on the 14th. So niece (along with her little sister) goes to my mom's house and we all gather there for a special birthday, usually decked out in princess/heart theme. This year I'm going to make some red velvet cupcakes with heart decorations for her.

                                                                                    DH and I have been together for so long that going out on V-day itself seems silly. We go out all the time, so what's the difference if we celebrate 2 days later?

                                                                                    1. My BD is the 12th so we almost always go out,on that evening, to a restaurant that I want to try or a favorite haunt. Valentine's dinner (and most evening meals) out does not appeal to us. We'll go our for the family obligatory meals (graduations, weddings, etc) but we've never even considered going out otherwise.

                                                                                      We'll discuss a special meal for the 14th and decide what to have based on what's on sale. Then after the kitchen is cleaned up, we can put on pjs and relax. . .How unlike other days of the week! Ha Ha!

                                                                                      1. I cook a romantic meal for two and then refrigerate the other half.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. I've never gone out for VD (so to speak). This year, I'm taking my son to a Toddlers Yoga class, after which there won't be time to prepare a dinner. Maybe for the first time ever, I should brave the holiday-restaurant-war-zone and take a wound up, over-hungry 18 month old out for a meal, just to remind all the happy couples what their night could lead to... ;)

                                                                                          1. Whenever I *was* in a relationship on Val Day, I never liked going out on the day. I hated the general cattle round-up type of dining.....MOOOOOve them in, and MOOOOOve them out!

                                                                                            I'd much rather cook at home and enjoy a quiet evening. I've also (when in relationships) asked boyfriends *not* to buy me flowers on Val Day. I just couldn't justify the expense. I asked them to surprise me when I least expected it with a single flower or a card.

                                                                                            1. We don't make a big day of V-day. Last year we were living in different states so we just sent each other funny cards. This year, most likely SO will be flying back that evening after his usual weekly trip out of town for work, so I think I'm going to get a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's (do they do that?) to have after I pick him up. So cheesy, I love it.

                                                                                              1. My first VD with my SO, we had just bought a new place and didn't have much in the way of cookware or appliances even though we both love to cook. I bought him a wok, a Ming Tsai cookbook and all of the ingredients to make one of the recipes.

                                                                                                This tradition has continued over the last 15 years and we are now almost fully stocked with some great things like a Vitamix and Dualit toaster, that all have memories attached.

                                                                                                1. Valentine's Day is one of the worst days to go out to eat. I prefer to plan a quiet, romantic dinner at home...that is what is on my agenda this year.

                                                                                                  1. We celebrate Valentine's Day like a Jewish Christmas -- Chinese food and a movie.