Big Girls Don’t Cry.
That is, if your someone special manages to treat you like the queen you are this Valentine’s Day. And let’s face it: he’d better if he knows what’s good for him. Last year the husband provided his perspective on what every New Orleans lady wants Cupid’s kiss to amount to. This year, it’s my turn because I’m a lady (stop snickering) and we need a little of the feminine perspective.
First things first: If you are female and you are reading this, no worries. Simply leave a post-it for the man telling him specifically at which of the following places you most want to spend your evening. Perhaps you should also include the date and time just in case. Yes, after 5 years of marriage I’ve figured out that if I want something I need to spell it out very clearly. I have found sky-writing works best.
Here’s the hard part for the men. Guys, you must ascertain whether your lovely lady prefers a quiet, intimate night at home or a fantastic dinner out. If you’re not sure, you can ask. I think that is perfectly appropriate given the stakes (no lovin’ should you screw this most romantic night of the year up).
If she’s a stay home kinda gal here are the cliff notes:
Get a nice bottle of wine at your local wine shop. Have you heard that girls love champagne? If she’s not digging the grapes consider a specialty cocktail that you research and execute perfectly. This means you will need to practice. In case you were wondering, bourbon and coke is not a specialty cocktail. Remember, what she likes may be different from what you like and what you like really isn’t important at all. Here is the key: give her a glass of wine, champagne or her favorite cocktail as she walks in the door from work. This will get you huge bonus points and, if you don’t royally screw up dinner, is a shoe-in for a happy ending for you both.
Next, choose a three-course meal that you feel you can execute. Remember you can outsource portions of this dinner and she will still be thrilled. I would suggest if you are not a master chef that you pick up an appetizer of your choosing from the prepared meal section of Whole Foods and while you’re at it, pick up dessert. If the significant other is a huge dessert fan you may want to consider something special from Sucre and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Focus on the entrée. Steak is quite possibly the best bang for your buck if you are a kitchen novice. It is absurdly simple to make at home. You can find here two options for a sauce: blue cheese sauce or a blackberry Cabernet reduction. Grill some asparagus as a side and presto- dinner is served. Light a candle or two for ambiance and serve her. Do not allow her to help because she will feel totally pampered as you refill her glass and bring her three courses of tasty goodness.
For those of you who have decided your special someone prefers dining out here’s the skinny on my favorite spots (in alphabetical order) that are all high on romance.
- Restaurant August: If you are looking to splurge, this may just be the place for you. Indulgent dining is what they do well, really well. And the restaurant is quite romantic.
- Bayona: This is one of my old time favorites. Not only is the courtyard perfect but the restaurant itself is cozy and indulging.
- Boucherie: It is no secret that we groove on this place. I like it for the big V-Day because it is quaint and welcoming and if you’re on a budget, this place certainly won’t break the bank. Call now though for a reservation. Like right now.
- Brigsten’s: If your love is a little bit old school but high on flavor, consider this converted house in Riverbend. Notable for both game and seafood and some of the best service in town.
- Gautreau’s: On Steve’s list last year and on mine this year and worth the ink. Some may consider this quaint dining room slightly antiquated- but for a romantic Valentine’s Day it fits the bill perfectly. The food is fantastic!
- Iris: Outstanding cocktails and really great food. This place is slightly under radar and does boast a small but atmospheric courtyard.
- La Petite Grocery: To say Joel Dondis has an eye for detail is a gross understatement as this place is beautiful. Word on the street is that they are currently at the top of their game.
- Lilette: Here’s another encore presentation from last year. Service is great, the food is indulgent, and if the lady has a love of all things Paris, this is a good alternative in New Orleans. Top choice for francophiles.
- MiLa: If modern hip is her thing, this is definitely the place. Mila’s dining room has a chic sophistication about it that is matched by the food on the plate. My favorite sweetbreads in the city.
- Patois: This place is manages to be clubby-uptown and stylish-trendy all at the same time. Most importantly, the food and desserts are simply divine. Dine al fresco if the weather permits.
Whether you choose the Chef for an evening option or dining out, if you approach the plan (yes, you need to do a wee bit of planning) from her perspective, you’ll win big. If you have chosen the latter, a reservation is essential. May romance be yours!