Late last week, I thought I'd get an early start and phone for dinner reservations for Valentine's Day. Even though it was over two weeks away, the first three places I tried were either sold out, or had only very undesirable slots left. My wife and I have been married for 30-something years, but 5:30 is still just a *little* early for us, and a patio table in mid-February seemed kind of dicey, even in San Diego. I finally did get a reservation at a good seafood place, but I was certainly no longer patting myself on the back for getting such an "early" start.
In recent years, Valentine's Day has become a *big* deal. But while I love a romantic dinner out as much as anyone, I'll confess that several times I've waited too long to reserve and we've ended up at some places that were in no danger of overloading the Romanti-meter. But regardless of whether the restaurant was hoity toity or hoi polloi, *every one* of them was packed to the rafters. The servers always seemed harried and running full blast to try to keep up, and frankly, the stuff that came out of the kitchen, while often good, did betray subtle indications that they were trying to serve too many people all at once.
Last year, I again waited too long, and the first six places I called were sold out. So instead of going out, I bought a couple of nice bottles of champagne, some great chocolates, and a dozen roses. We sat together alone in our living room and had a lovely time ODing on chocolate butter creams (her favorite) and Pacific Echo (my favorite). When the bubbly was gone, we had a simple dinner. The next day was Friday, and I got us a primo dinner reservation at the first place I called.
Well, anyway, when I recently reminded my wife of how great it had been last year, when we didn't go out and fight the claustrophobia-inducing mobs, she nodded and agreed with me. Then, smiling sweetly, she asked, "You're not going to forget to make reservations again *this* year, are you?"
So what do my fellow chow hounds think about V-Day dining? Are there any tricks or strategies (short of reserving in August) that you've adopted to maximize the romantic potential of dinner with your beloved, and diminish the sneaking suspicion that you're being manipulated by some grand corporate conspiracy?
. . jim strain in san diego.