Everybody thinks of lobster tails or beef fillet on Valentine’s Day, but seriously, is luxury food even all that sexy? Etta James sang about craving a Sunday kind of love, one that lasts longer than the champagne buzz, a succinct way of describing sustained romance.

Honestly, my romance-food ideal is the waffle. It’s got structure, playfulness. It’s about the sensuality of butter and syrup, without the creepy overkill oozing from chocolate lava cake. San Franciscans Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz proved my romance point by cutting into some waffles together out front of Linea Caffe, a coffee and waffle shop (the waffle bar inside the café goes by the name Lt. Waffle) they operate with Andrew Barnett. Myint and Leibowitz are also the founders of Mission Street Food, are part of Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth, and wrote a book together.

As they cut into a churro-style waffle, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, served with chile-spiked chocolate sauce and coconut crema (recipe link below), I peppered Myint and Leibowitz with questions about relationships. They met in 2004, were married in 2007, and have a toddler-age daughter, Aviva (the name means “springtime” in Hebrew). Like other couples in the business, a food-and-drink holiday like Valentine’s Day is low-key. Myint, who once cooked at Bar Tartine, used to work, so Valentine’s Day became more about the small, sincere gesture than the $300 degustation. “It’s the same with New Year’s Eve,” Leibowitz says, taking a bite of buckwheat waffle with crème fraîche and cherries jubilee sauce. “If you have low expectations, it’s fine.”

Actually, Lt. Waffle’s churro-style thing is the sort of heartfelt expectation that’s a metaphor for love, the Sunday kind that lasts for years, or decades. How is it even possible not to love someone who makes waffles for you?

Get the recipe for Churro-Style Waffles with Spiced Chocolate and Coconut Crema!

What are your Valentine’s Day food traditions? Lobster? Waffles? Chinese takeout? Let us know!

Photos and photo-collage by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com

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