The dumbest mistakes diners make on Valentine’s Day, according to chefs

The candles are glowing softly and you are holding your sweetheart’s hand across the table. As the waiter approaches to take your order, you may feel that all is well with your relationship.

While a dinner for two at a romantic restaurant may seem like the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, professional chefs say there are dangers that await the unsuspecting dinner party – ones that could upset what’s supposed to. to be the most loving night of the year.

Here’s what to avoid if you want the night to go well.

Mistake #1: Dinner before… well, you know

As with so many aspects of romantic relationships, the timing of your Valentine’s Day dinner is everything.

“I’ve had my share of non-romantic Valentine’s Days, and realized a few years ago that it was directly attributable to my love of food,” Christine Pittman, founder of CookTheStory and The cooker, told HuffPost. “After a multi-course dinner, wine and a gourmet chocolate dessert, the night never ended with the kind of bedroom romance I was hoping for. We would come home and find ourselves overfull of rich food, a little drunk and very aware that we have to be up for work in the morning. »

Now older and wiser, Pittman has learned to rearrange the evening’s agenda for maximum enjoyment.

“Now we’re enjoying the ‘romantic’ part of the evening before we go out to dinner,” Pittman said. “The best part is that unbuttoning your pants at the end of the night is just to make you feel more comfortable. an entirely romantic Valentine’s Day.

“Everything you hear about beans is true. Fortunately, we both had a sense of humor and a pack of matches.

– Chef Rossi

Mistake #2: Drinking pink drinks

On a festive occasion, many diners believe that the fancier or more colorful the drink, the better. But boss Renee Scharoff of Runaway Blonde Caterer observed people lapping up too much sweet pink sparkling wine that is billed as “Champagne” during the holidays. That, she says, is a recipe for a sugar headache or a hangover.

“My team and I once hosted a Valentine’s Day dinner where we were asked to serve only pink or red cocktails, filled with dry ice and heart-shaped garnishes,” Scharoff recalls. . “I could tell most attendees just wanted a bourbon or a beer.”

Keep it simple and order what you would usually like to drink for your romantic meal, not something that will make you feel bad later.

Mistake #3: Take the meal at a fixed price and eat every bite

Many restaurants offer a fixed price dinner on Valentine’s Day. Since it’s one of the busiest nights of the year, it makes sense for chefs, as it allows them to accurately order inventory and produce dishes they know their cooking. can handle. But it’s not necessarily the best ordering option for a night dedicated to love.

“People are just too tempted to eat whatever is put in front of them during these multi-course seats,” the chef said. John Sugimura of Pinku Japanese Street Food noted. “It’s a good idea to get away from overindulging in food and alcohol, at least that night.”

Smart restaurants pick up on these cues to keep things light. “One year, I capped off our Valentine’s Day service with a Valentine’s Day cookie decorating activity, instead of serving a rich dessert,” Sugimura said. “It brought people together and talked and had fun, and they could take the cookie home for later if they got too full.”

The pantry via Getty Images

Are you sure your date wants the steak for two?

Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday like Thanksgiving, when the focus is on food, or even Super Bowl Sunday, when the food never stops. Chief Michelle Bernsteinco-owner of Miami’s Cafe La Trovasaid he noticed that many V-Day diners seem bent on filling their bellies, not realizing that it won’t necessarily keep their hearts light or their libido humming.

“I’ve seen Valentine’s Day menus offering chateaubriand for two three-pound lobsters dipped in butter or, my favorite, a three-ounce piece of foie gras with something sweet underneath,” Bernstein recalled. . “Everything is delicious and good to share, but does anyone really feel ‘romantic’ after a meal like this? Why don’t we eat a light salad, a nice piece of fresh fish and a panna cotta instead? »

Mistake #4: Ordering for your appointment without asking first

It sounds like something straight out of “Mad Men”―the man (whose menu is the only one that includes prices) calls the waiter and orders for himself and his date, without any prior consultation. And yes, it still happens, according to Chef Rossiowner and executive chef of a New York caterer The raging frying pan.

“The sight of all that rare meat bleeding on the sizzling plate, and her boyfriend sucking on the bones, elicited a reaction far different from romance.”

– Chef Rossi

“I watched a couple walk into hot water on Valentine’s Day, when ‘meat boy’ ordered a T-bone for two, rare,” Rossi recalled. “His beloved would have preferred a semi-cooked filet mignon, but he didn’t ask for it. The sight of all that rare meat bleeding on the sizzling plate, and her boyfriend sucking on the bones, elicited a reaction far different from romance and more like revulsion.

For Rossi, a good Valentine’s meal starts with clear culinary communication. “My best advice is simply don’t prepare anything for the object of your affection without a full list of do’s and don’ts from them. And when eating out, don’t order for them.

Mistake #5: Ordering the sloppiest thing on the menu

You’ll want to finish the meal as well as you started, so consider your order accordingly, the chefs said. “Avoid spaghetti with red sauce unless you’re into Jackson Pollock’s splatter art and are ok with looking like a work of his art at the end of the meal,” the chef advised. executive and managing partner. Robin Seldeof Marcia Selden Caterer.

And not all salads are created equal, so order carefully, Selden said. “One Valentine’s Day, my husband took me to an elegant French restaurant with a special tasting menu. It all started with a lovely salad of butter lettuce, leaf lettuce and endive, served with a creamy lemon vinaigrette and caviar. But the lettuce was so soft and difficult to navigate that at the end of the first course, I was carrying the caviar that flew off the lettuce leaves.

Mistake #6: Choosing Ingredients That Ruin Romance

Peter Curtisleader and owner of Maud and Butcher and restaurant Gwen in Los Angeles, said he was a fan of all the traditional ingredients that make up a romantic dinner, including oysters, lobster, caviar and champagne. But he suggested considering the effect the foods you love might have on your dining partner.

“Stay away from polarizing ingredients that literally leave a taste in your mouth, like garlic,” Stone advised. Stone and his wife, Lindsay, will dine together this vacation at Maude in Beverly Hills, Calif., which he called his “little dream restaurant” — without garlic.

Timon Ballou is the chef and restaurateur at Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, restaurant Catherine. He suggested it was a good night to keep things sweet – at least as far as your dinner was concerned.

“Stay away from super spicy foods,” Balloo said. “They could turn your evening into a serious case of heartburn or even a potential bathroom nightmare – and yes, I said it, a bathroom nightmare.”

Rossi brought up the bean issue, because someone had to. “I committed my own major league Valentine’s Day boo-boo when I served a gorgeous black bean soup with a sour cream garnish to my sweetheart,” she said. “Of course it was fabulous. But honey, believe me, everything you hear about beans is true. Fortunately, we both had a sense of humor and a pack of matches.

Selden had two more no-no’s as parting advice: “Stay away from Brussels sprouts and cauliflower,” she said. “Believe me.”

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