A sweethearts guide to finding romantic culinary journeys for your valentine
It happens every year. You make those frantic last minute phone calls for a reservation at your favorite restaurant only to find that you might be so lucky as long as you arrive by 5 p.m. and have paid your check by 6:15.
Too early? Try 9:45 p.m. for the next open reservations.
Why fret? This year, why not try that romantic dinner Feb. 12 or 13 and follow our suggestive guide for romancing your beloved.
Now remember, we are in the height of season in February, so even the Monday before Valentine’s Day may be a difficult reservation to accomplish—think ahead and explore our options.
Here's a teaser to get you started:
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is offering 4 nights of celebration for Valentine’s Day. Now that is called planning ahead. Let your Valentine select lobster, you select the steak and you have a marriageof surf and turf. Don’t forget the extras like Champagne toast and chocolate lava cake.
Option Number One: Romantic Drive And Dinner At Beach Bistro
There is nothing better than a romantic drive up the coastline with soft music, wonderful conversation and the anticipation of a culinary feast. The award winning Beach Bistro awaits your arrival for this magical evening.
Consider even, enjoying this spectacular evening by starting with a chilled bottle of Champagne on the beach. Even more romantic, consider the use of a limousine for your special dinner. Relax with pre-ordered champagne and “kicker Shrimp and Crab Cocktails” while you embark in the comforts of your personal car. The Beach Bistro already has the red rose waiting.
The best part about this plan is to let the Zagat-award winning staff at Beach Bistro make these extra special arrangements for you! Avoid the actual Feb. 14 date— seriously—it will make for a slower night. And don't be last minute Louie.
Option Number 2: Plan that romantic dinner at home
However, why should one have to spend so much time in the kitchen? Hire a personal chef. Select your beloved favorites, with a few of your own as well and relax in the environs of your own home.
For ultimate privacy, this one is a gem. We recommend a candlelight dinner by the pool. Sprinkle the pool with rose petals, chill the champagne in a ice bucket filled with wild flowers and have the table set with beautiful candles.
Try a Beef Wellington for two, Caesar salad prepared tableside and for dessert do Strawberries Romanoff, followed by port and imported cheeses while someone else does the clean-up.
Last hurrahs with flaming Spanish coffees and you have a magical evening that will keep the romance alive long after the holiday has passed.
Option Number 3: Plan a Romantic Picnic
Now, it does not even have to be on the beach (in case of red tide) perhaps your own backyard will give you the ultimate privacy.
There is something to be said for Baguettes and patés, bowls of granny smith apples and brie cheese, chilled lobster tails and of course, a chocolate covered bottle of champagne that turns the evening into something special. Have votive candles surrounding your picnic blanket and the background of wind chimes and you are in romance heaven!
Option Number 4: Special Dinner For Two At Favorite Restaurant
Select your favorite restaurant—ask them to prepare a very special dinner for two that you will only have to finish off for a few minutes at home.
Something may get lost with takeout, but if you need only to heat and touch up a sauce or two, toss the salad in your own wooden bowl, flame the dessert, you have created a non-stressed culinary feast with minimal time and effort.
Option Number 5: Just Dessert
Forget the entrée, salad and starch—get right to the dessert! Select a bold Cabernet or zinfandel at your favorite wine store. Decant for 20 minutes and set a magical table with chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered graham crackers, chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate truffles, well, you get the idea!
There is nothing finer than treating a chocoholic to their ultimate nirvana!!! Fun, but pricey gourmet stores downtown might be worth it this year.
Option Number 6: Breakfast In Bed
For the early birds, try a luscious breakfast in bed! Croissants with fresh peach preserves, raspberries and whipped cream, poached eggs with asparagus and lump crab meat topped with orange hollandaise sauce and mocha late.
Of course, this is assuming that you are not rushing off to work. If so, think about the ultimate breakfast in bed the weekend before. It will be an utter surprise and may just last the whole week.
Option Number 7: Cook For Each Other
Why not both cook for each other? You can each select a few dishes or specialties to prepare and share the kitchen. Perhaps a dance or two around the kitchen will make this evening the most romantic of all.
Don’t worry if the cuisine isn’t compatible; the delight of enjoying each other’s company and the art of cooking your specialty for someone you care about is all it takes!
Option Number 8: Do It All!
All of the above! Why not select one for each month by making special cards for each special evening that you have planned and give your valentine a journal to record all the culinary treats that you have experienced together. This one may just land you on Oprah for most romantic.
Option Number 9: Takeout
Takeout from Taste of Asia on Siesta Key and a warm bottle of Sake—now that my friends is the ancient art of food lover's heaven.
Remember, like all special occasions, the less stress the more you will enjoy the time yourself. Think ahead or call ahead for help.
There is truth to the way to one’s heart is through their stomach, or at least their sweet tooth.