Here comes Valentine’s Day.
Get out the chocolates and overpriced red roses and start to panic over not-yet-made reservations at high-priced restaurants (even higher when they jack another $5-$10 per entrée) for this one special night of the year. If my husband Paul is reading this… hint, hint, I may not like chocolate—see my piece about missing the chocolate lover’s gene in Food and Wine in this month’s issue Sarasota Magazine, but I sure do like the look of pink roses and the sparkle of diamonds over a bottle of Veuve Clicquot (best price is usually at Sam’s Club).
Actually, I prefer to stay home on major holidays and enjoy a huge Caesar salad, fine porterhouse steak, a nice bold cabernet and good company after a walk on the beach at sunset. I do, however, enjoy dining out two nights before the holiday, when crowds are fewer and chefs have more time to make special preparations.
Hats off to Cosimo’s Brick Oven for offering a three-course Valentine’s Dinner for two Feb. 12-18, served after 4 p.m. Think about a Chianti poached pear with Gorgonzola and walnuts on a bed of baby greens, followed by lobster-filled ravioli tossed in a tomato and sherry cream sauce or rack of lamb with rosemary demiglace and finished with homemade chocolate mousse topped with fresh raspberries. At only $49.95 per couple with a bottle of Coppola rosso or pinot grigio, I can afford to take a few friends as well as my hubby.
Tired already of black ties? Here comes a Fat Tuesday party for Goodwill Industries worth checking out on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Michael’s On East. It is going to include some incredible New Orleans food. Unlike most galas, there will be no sit-down dinner; instead an ongoing New Orleans feast will be served from nine food stations scattered throughout Michael’s Ballroom and atrium. On the menu: seafood gumbo with cornbread, oysters Bienville and lump-meat crab caks, N’awlins style. That is my idea of a great night out! Bring on the beignets. For tickets, go to www.goodwillindustries.org.
Next week, local restaurants team up with the City of Sarasota to welcome our sister city of Treviso, Italy, for an incredible week of culinary and cultural exchanges. This is a wonderful opportunity for Sarasotans to enjoy local cuisine and the culinary products of the Treviso region. For more information, contact: www.sarasotasistercities.org.
Are you having a special romantic dinner this week? Share your story with readers by posting below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.