If you're like us and you live in a fairly big city, by now you know that spots fill up really fast and if you wait too long, you'll be out of luck and look like a chump. If your town has OpenTable, check out their site for a list of good spots with slots still open (here's the NYC Open Table Valentine's list).
But don't despair. It's not the end of the world. You can still do something and make it count! So here's my recommendations:
- Can't make a reservation? Make a dinner! OK, so making a home meal isn't in and of itself romantic but you can MAKE it romantic by how you do it. First, invite her on the date...go all out and send her a card in advance (yea, even if it's to your wife to your own house)! Second, make something great - or order it in advance! Plenty of restaurants have takeout early on V-Day - get it made, take it home, heat it up! And be sure to plate it nicely. Or check out a personal chef for the night.
- Flowers. Yes, flowers. For me, roses are so boring. They do the trick but God made thousands of varieties and there is no doubt one that she likes better than roses. If you ask the right way on the sly, you can probably coax it out of her before then. Since roses are often twice as much on V-Day, it can even save you a few bucks.
- Do something else. Been married for awhile and fallen into the hum-drum? Do something different - go ice skating, take a pottery class or even a picnic drive-in movie. Do something that says "I spent more than 10 minutes thinking about this" for once. Out of ideas - check out the site How About We for couples. For just $22 bucks a month, they offer a bunch of really neat "dates" for discount or even free.
- The Card. The V-Day card is one of the most overlooked and highest impact items in your romance arsenal. Why? Did you ever write that letter that really said how you feel? If yes, do it again. If no, do it for once! And don't pick out a cheesy Hallmark card at the local drugstore...put some thought and a few extra bucks into one - maybe one completely blank so you have an empty canvas to work with. And if you really want something special, make your own. But Crayola on corrugated cardboard isn't going to cut it either, put a little effort into it. You need not be Picasso, you need to be yourself.
- Chocolate (or candy). Always a good idea. Do not, under any circumstance, buy cheap crap. Visit a real chocolatier and get some good truffles, hand-picked, and boxed and bowed. Or try something else like chocolate-covered strawberries or maybe some salted chocolate caramels.
- An "end of evening" clincher - make a dessert. Seriously - making something with your own two hands, even if you have two left thumbs, does wonders. There's some really simple and quick things you can make, like some Mariebelle's hot chocolate with a foam splash, a pastry puff with fruit, or even French toast (pain perdu) with figs and chocolate!
Anyway, to be honest - I am behind a little bit. Yes, I've made my reservations and we're trying something new at a hot little spot in Flatiron. I'll let you know how it goes!
Images from MadeByGirl and an unnamed restaurant