Staying in for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is both one of the best and worst days of the year for restaurants.  It’s a great day for business, but is probably one of the most difficult days of the year.  The dining room and the kitchen gets deuced to death.  A 100 seat dining room filled with parties of two is very different than one filled with various sized parties of 2 or 4 or 5 or 6….During service you end up with twice as many tickets than normal, all ordering at different times, eating at different paces, and putting twice as many demands on their servers.

Now add to that the expectations that diners bring with them. The expectations they bring of each other only magnify their expectations on the restaurant.  More than any other evening, service and food have to be totally flawless.  Inevitably there are one or two couples that end up in an argument during dinner.  Anyone who has worked on Valentine’s Day has witnessed at least once the poor sap left with his food and the bill after his girlfriend has walked out right?  Or how many times have you had to wait on a couple that included the guest who was so impossible to please, his/her dining partner felt the need to apologize to you? While this is not the norm, it is more common on Valentine’s Day than any other day.

This is why I am so glad that this Valentine’s Day I will not be anywhere near a restaurant. Instead, D. and I will be making a simple low carb meal of oysters, a cowboy ribeye, and salad accompanied by a lovely bottle of champagne. For dessert we will be cheating on our diet with a little with a mixed berry crisp.

Those of my industry friends who are working tonight, I would love to hear your Valentine’s stories, good and bad, past or present.

For those of you lucky to be staying home this Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for romantic meals for two:

Dinners for Two

Cowboy Ribeye with Chimichurri

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