Valentine’s Day is Amateur Night

Many people call New Year’s Eve “amateur night”, but not in this house. Here Valentine’s Day is for amateurs.

I know there are lots of people out there that think a romantic dinner out on the town on VDay is the way to go, but other than last year’s trip to San Francisco and eating at RN74, we haven’t dined out on VDay in ages. There are a LOT of reasons for that, but basically it’s because I don’t want to deal with the crowds and all the OTHER people. (Moment of Truth – On most days I can’t stand OTHER people, I only like MY people, especially when OTHER people are driving…). Because this has been a trend in my house for more than 10 years, I was really happy to see that Bon Appetit jumped on my bandwagon in their February issue this year with an entire section starting on page 17 about staying home and cooking together.

Each year I have made a surprise dinner for John (and Jack when he was home). It was always something we don’t normally eat at home, or something extravagant I had never cooked before. Lobster Thermidor was the biggie. When you are used to simply steaming or grilling a lobster, this seemed to take all damn day! Now I know why it is so expensive when you order it in a restaurant. This year, because VDay falls on a Saturday, there is even MORE reason to dine at home if you live in a big tourist city like Vegas. We set a fancy table, with crazy napkin folds and one year I even MADE the table runner and napkins. We’ll be using them again this year.

Panettone French Toast with Strawberries. Don't judge, the pic was taken with my old camera.

Panettone French Toast with Strawberries. Don’t judge, the pic was taken with my old camera.

Because John will be home and there is little or no way to really surprise him, I enlisted his help. As you know, if you have been following along, we love craft beer here at Casa Nota and to this end, I gave John the menu items and asked him to create a beer pairing to go with each course. Here are the courses, and yes, if I remember pics will be posted to Instagram:

  • Braised Oxtail Tortelloni (bigger than tortellini) served en brodo and yes, I am making my own pasta
  • Mixed green salad with Lemon Vinaigrette (and maybe a poached egg)
  • THIS Oyster and Scallop Pan Roast stew from Andrew Zimmern
  • Cajun seasoned Duck Breast with Andouille gravy and dirty rice
  • Salted Caramel Budino

Yes, it’s rich. Yes, it seems a little like overkill, but this is the only day of the year when I cook to this level of extravagance. Keep in mind those recipes will be cut in half and we’ll have some leftovers.

What beers would you choose? Skip the wine suggestions – John doesn’t enjoy it and I can’t enjoy it (sulfites dammit!).

Wanna see what and where I am eating? Follow me on Instagram or Twitter. And while we’re on the subject of Valentine’s Day, I LOVE it when you share my blog and share my page on Facebook. FYI – that’s a pretty broad hint to do both! In fact, invite your friends to follow along and subscribe to this blog – you’ll get a once a week email with ALL the posts from the previous week in one digestible mailing.

Happy Valentine’s Day – may everything you eat be spectacular!