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Valentine's Day Dinner Commercialism


gulfporter
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Is it just us, or does everyone hate much of the hyperbole that accompanies Valentine's Day?  

 

You know, the "special" dinner restaurant menu (read: overpriced); the competition at the office for who-gets-the-biggest arrangement of roses; the pressure to buy a heart-shaped gift, never to be seen again after 2/15; the embarrassment at being at the corner drugstore's greeting card 'picked over' display on the way home from work that evening.  

 

Not to mention that if you lived in DC-Metro where we did for 30+ years, if you didn't make your VD reservation at an 'in' restaurant, you were SOL.  Oh, the shame!

 

At least 2 decades ago (been married for 4 decades), after never having a great meal for VD at a restaurant, we decided that VD is best celebrated at home, cooking a wonderful meal together.  And lots of chocolate to follow.  For us a much better choice than going out and feeling a bit 'on display' at restaurants where maitre d's hand out a small sad rose as if to compensate for the 30% hike in normal pricing.  

 

What do you do for VD??  

Edited by gulfporter (log)
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We have no interest in having dinner in a crowded restaurant where the staff is strugglng to make everything happen.

 

Some years we make a special dinner at home but most years it is just cards to each other.  Since we date all year long and express our love for each other all year long we don't buy into making this one day into something it isn't for us. This year will be our 37th VD as husband and wife. We save celebratory dinners out for birthdays.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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My husband and I celebrated many Valentine's days at restaurants. The secret is to never do it on February 14.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Well, I cook every day. There are days where I'm happy to have an excuse to go somewhere. Altho', ja, Valentine's Day meals can be hit-and-miss. A few surprising misses. I mean, I 'get it'--even though I'm not happy with it--when a restaurant that's usually half-full finds the dining room packed a couple days per year. What I don't understand is when it's a restaurant that's almost full/completely full all of the time yet still somehow manages to fuck up the service, timing of dishes, etc when there are normally no such issues. Even if the head chef/owner has departed, I mean, it's not like that never happens on normal days.

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Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Toots and I will most likely have dinner at my place.  I'll fill the space with flowers, make her a nice card (actually, it's already done, just has to be printed), and prepare something that I know she likes and that will be a little special for her.  I already know what the dessert will be - a toasted almond panna cotta.  Neither of us are big drinkers, but there is a nice bottle of French Champagne here that I may break open - we'll see.

 

After dinner we'll probably watch a movie - perhaps a romantic comedy ... can't do that in a restaurant!

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 ... Shel


 

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I always avoided the day; I prefer gifts of jewelry back when we were on a tight budget, it was an either/or situation and the permanence of gold always won. Once though, we just happened to drive by a Maggiano's at about 8, and they had a banner outside advertising a special inexpensive valentine menu and stating that reservations were not required. We decided to check it out, see how busy they were, and amazingly enough, they weren't that busy. Everyone seemed glad to see us. We were whisked to a booth in a prime location, the food came out quickly and without incident, and the servers were cheerful. We had a lovely evening. I still recall the black currant gelato, a valentine's special dessert, as being excellent. Sure, it's a chain, but, they did a great job. I suspect that a lot of the Scottsdale locals were dining out at higher-end restaurants that night, this was during the height of the economic boom.

 

That said, if I have the night off, I prefer to cook.

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Champagne at home and, almost always (he has missed, but only 2-3 times in 33 years) a single rose from my husband. Dinner won't be anything more special than usual - I always hope it is at least a little special. Making dinner for us is one of the best things I do every day.

Elaina

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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Since pretty much every year I was that poor sap cooking for everyone on Valentine's - I was lucky last year, I ran a 'rock ballad' themed Valentine menu at the restaurant I was at, just to have fun, and poke at the overpriced oyster and chocolate menus. It was a blast, went over well.

 

This year I'm just doing a fun popup for people at a host spot. I absolutely hate the standard restaurant v-day stuff. It's boring, overpriced, and very rarely ever goes well - It's a ditch effort for a lot of places to pack it in, and most times they don't know how to handle it, over over book the reservations - I could just keep going.

 

If the wife and I were to actually have the day off, and do something, it would be either NOT eat on the 14th, or just cook at home. Much happier that way, and no other diners can ruin your night either.

 

I just can't figure out how people go from 'Showing a loved one you care', to 'let's go eat overpriced food, in a restaurant just like everyone else, eat the same thing, to show we love each other'. I know that while people are coming in to essentially give me money, I'd rather be closed and make people cook dinner at home for each other, actually mean something.

Edited by MattyC (log)
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Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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Probably one of the worst nights of the year from a diner's point of view. Overpriced and twee.Usually highly predictable, too.

Staying at home and doing something you both like is a much better idea.

 

Living in China, I get to go through it twice a year. The traditional Chinese equivalent is Qixi Festival (七夕节) observed sometime in August - it goes by the lunar calendar. However, in recent years China has also adopted a number of western festivals including Valentine's Day (I refuse to abbreviate it to VD, which suggests something very unromantic instead!)

 

One Valentine's Day, my local 4-star hotel offered the following special 14 course set meal at an outrageous price. Their translations  - not mine!

 

1)   The honeyed purpose of tenderness

2)   Canada ice-wine

3)   Fall in love at first sight

4)   Bake the French spiral shell

5)   Love is as deep as the sea

6)   Lobster of Chinese flowering quince of Hawaii salad

7)  Ten thousand wisps of silk of feeling

8)  Shark's fin of sea urchin soup

9)  The belt soup of abalone

10) The feeling is harder than gold

11) The American naked eye of highest grade is stewed

12) The Australian lobster of cheese

13) Smile

14) The bird's nest egg is flogged

 

 

If that is not enough for you they had a few extra:

 

Their hearts are like one's wholehearted response

The emperor young Yuan Bei

Affection is continuous

Fresh shrimps crab flirtatious salad

Shims vegetables salad of cigarette

Feel just like fish in water

The bone marrow thick soup of ox of raw oyster

Australian belt seafood soup

This feeling no the change

Mexican expert pork eyes are mixed and fry the silver snow fish fragrantly

The snow clam egg is flogged

 

I'm not sure what all the flogging is about! A bit of S&M?

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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liuzhou - Can you translate the translations? I am really curious about some of these dishes - especially the "American naked eye of highest grade."!
Elaina

Probably one of the worst nights of the year from a diner's point of view. Overpriced and twee.Usually highly predictable, too.

Staying at home and doing something you both like is a much better idea.

 

Living in China, I get to go through it twice a year. The traditional Chinese equivalent is Qixi Festival (七夕节) observed sometime in August - it goes by the lunar calendar. However, in recent years China has also adopted a number of western festivals including Valentine's Day (I refuse to abbreviate it to VD, which suggests something very unromantic instead!)

 

One Valentine's Day, my local 4-star hotel offered the following special 14 course set meal at an outrageous price. Their translations  - not mine!

 

1)   The honeyed purpose of tenderness

2)   Canada ice-wine

3)   Fall in love at first sight

4)   Bake the French spiral shell

5)   Love is as deep as the sea

6)   Lobster of Chinese flowering quince of Hawaii salad

7)  Ten thousand wisps of silk of feeling

8)  Shark's fin of sea urchin soup

9)  The belt soup of abalone

10) The feeling is harder than gold

11) The American naked eye of highest grade is stewed

12) The Australian lobster of cheese

13) Smile

14) The bird's nest egg is flogged

 

 

If that is not enough for you they had a few extra:

 

Their hearts are like one's wholehearted response

The emperor young Yuan Bei

Affection is continuous

Fresh shrimps crab flirtatious salad

Shims vegetables salad of cigarette

Feel just like fish in water

The bone marrow thick soup of ox of raw oyster

Australian belt seafood soup

This feeling no the change

Mexican expert pork eyes are mixed and fry the silver snow fish fragrantly

The snow clam egg is flogged

 

I'm not sure what all the flogging is about! A bit of S&M?

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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liuzhou - Can you translate the translations? I am really curious about some of these dishes - especially the "American naked eye of highest grade."!

 

Some of them are actually correct. The Chinese gives little clue, if any, as to what the dish is.

 

"American naked eye of highest grade" should read "First class American pork rib-eye stew"

 

My favourite "Shims vegetables salad of cigarette" is "smoked salmon with salad".

 

The 'flogging' should read 'whip' as in 'egg whip'.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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liuzhou - Thank you! Many things can be lost (or added) in translation! I can actually sort of see how 'naked eye' turns into ' pork rib eye' English has its own set of non-intuituve dish names - such as hopping john which I made for New Year's Day brunch. In my husband's Italian culture there is 'sheet music bread ' and 'crazy water fish' which are both delicious but the names make little sense.

Elaina

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have enjoyed myself in a restaurant on Valentine's Day but I've only gone to one -- a quirky little French place we like. We do this every few years and I like to do it with another couple, too. But sometimes I make a red velvet cake and we eat it in the bathtub. Been doing that long before red velvet was popular. Then there are heart shaped chocolate box years. Food is always part of it . . .

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Generally we will make sure to go to a restaurant which isn't offering a "special" menu. One enjoyable meal was a neighborhood Italian restaurant which dimmed the lights and sprinkled the tables with rose petals for the holiday, but nothing else was changed. It was kind of fun because it was unpretentious. We generally plan on gorging on chocolates, anyhow.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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