Didn’t I say not to go out for Valentine’s Day?

champagne_glassesLast year I wrote about the horrors of going out for Valentine’s Day. I even posted alternative ideas for your Valentine’s Day celebration. Here are some excerpts of what I wrote:

If Valentine’s Day had an equivalent to Scrooge, I would be a natural in the role. I spout all of the usual reasons for disliking it, such as it being in existence solely to sell cards, etc., that are almost as cliche as cupid and hearts. Of course I am married to a woman who loves it and insists on celebrating it, especially since one of our first big dates was on Valentine’s Day.

I then went on to relate some horror stories about times when we went out for dinner on Valentine’s Day:

So, a few years ago when we lived in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio, I made reservations at my favorite restaurant and talked up the food for weeks. When we got there the service was rushed, the ticket was high, the food was mediocre, my judgment called into question, and our night out fell way short of our expectations. My favorite restaurant became a place that I used to go.

The next year, as I could no longer be trusted to handle the arrangements for such a momentous event, my wife-to-be asked around and found out which bistro in town was considered to be the finest and made the reservations herself. The big night arrived along with some typically lousy February Toledo weather. The rain and sleet and snow slowed traffic enough that we were a few minutes late getting to the restaurant. Having over-booked, there was a line outside the door. When we finally got inside and inquired about our table we were informed that we were late. After standing on line in the elements for fifteen minutes we were late. No shit? Late, you say? Hmm…

It went on and on while getting worse and worse. Finally I concluded with this and a vow to never go out to eat on Valentine’s Day (or Mother’s Day) again:

That was, and will be, if I have my way, the last time that I ever set foot into a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. It is a day when the lure of a huge payday entices restaurateurs and chefs, who have spent years building a following and reputation, to over-book and under-deliver. Even worse than Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is a day to avoid restaurants, in my humble, and occasionally sodden, opinion.

That was some of the best advice that I have ever given. Valentine’s Day is the biggest day for restaurants and most of them grab every cent they can while they can. Their food suffers, their service suffers, and if you are one of the suckers who pay extra for less because it is a “special” day (thanks Hallmark, you pricks!) then you suffer as well. Why do that to yourselves? Take my advice, and if you can’t abstain completely, find an alternative to going out to eat. If you refuse to be one of the sheep you won’t get fleeced.

So, what are Amy and I doing for Valentine’s Day? We’re going out to eat, of course. Oh, quit booing! Our favorite wine bar, Chelsea, is having a party and that got us to break our vow about not going out. We know that we will have fun, the wine will be plentiful, and Bill and Madeleine will have something tasty for us to eat. Some rules are meant to be broken!

If you happen to be in the Bay Area of Houston, here is what Chelsea has planned for the evening:

Please join us on Saturday, February 14th at 7pm for a Valentine Celebration

Appetizer: Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella served with Vine Ripe Tomatoes
Entree:  Wild Scottish Salmon with Cointreau Cream Sauce OR
Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Portobello Mushrooms served with Roasted Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables
Dessert:  Chocolate Covered Strawberries & Champagne
For Your Listening Pleasure we are Showcasing “Glass of Class” Jazz Ensemble & Friends
$25 p.p.
Table Service Available by Reservation

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Just because it is a made up, bullshit holiday designed to sell cards and candy doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy ourselves. Find your own Chelsea, or stay home and cook a romantic dinner together, eat some good chocolate, drink some champage, just have fun. Beats watching a Sandra Lee rerun. Then again, what doesn’t?

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