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Valentine's Day. Oh F*ck.

Valentine's Day.  It's not a day for the weak or the meek.  Valentine's day will swallow you whole, man!!! It will chew you up and spit you out if you let it!!! It's a day that has caused blood letting, unhealed scarring and untold pain.  Yes, it's Valentines Day!!!! AAAAAArgh!!!  Ahem.  Sorry, you should know I have a flare for the dramatic.  However, Valentine's Day is deserving of your attention, kids.  It's better to begin your groundwork early and formulate a plan and take care of some logistics.“Utter nonsense,” you exclaim.  No, kids, you really should begin thinking and planning your night out.

Why?  Well, that's an easy one to answer.  There's no exact science of course, however, I like to break make dinner the center piece of any special date.  You gotta eat, after all.  That said, It's important to have some places in mind to take your special someone for V day.

I break it down like so

  • Tier 1 – These are restaurants that are hip, trendy and popular.  Or they could be an ordinarily popular dining destination to begin with.  These places are high end restaurants, think 75 dollars a plate and up to start.  For a dinner of two you could be eclipsing the 300 buck mark right quick.  The food at these places is pretty insane as well and the wine selections will  put a decent dent in your wallet.  These places are also restaurants that you'll want to book more than a month in advance to assure yourself a table.  These places may be prestigious restaurants owned by prominent chefs or celebrities, or perhaps a place that has a particularly unique specialty not offered elsewhere.
  • Tier 2 – These restaurants, like the Tier 1 places, are probably going to be one-off places, or if it's a chain then probably one of limited size.  In my area Ruth's Chris is a popular and highly regarded steak house, it' s a chain, but small, Fleming's also falls into this range.  The quality of food at these places will be fantastic with a price per plate around 50 dollars and up.  Again, drinks will burn a hole in your wallet, but remember you're out to have a good time, so splurge a little bit.  Your foodie friends will be good help here and probably know a number of these types of restaurants.  A reservation of three weeks to a month out is a good idea to get things situated and taken care of.
  • Tier 3 – These places are unique interesting and take a two weeks plus to get a reservation set aside.  Often these places are only moderately expensive and for a dinner for two, with drinks/wine, you could be looking at $150 or less.  The variety of places, I would think, are much wider in range from what you would find in pricier fare, so it's also a little more of an adventure.  Sometimes places in this tier could be ‘hole in the wall' places which heightens the romantic mood of your special day.  In other words, taking your special someone to a place like this will certainly get that vday card punched.
  • Tier 4 – You pretty much dropped the ball and are resigned to taking your special someone to Olive Garden.  There's nothing wrong with Olive Garden… Kind of like there's nothing wrong with kicking defenseless kitty cats or telling a child that their parents hate them.  Which is only to say that you suck and should have thought of something better much sooner.  Perhaps there are other problems in the relationship that are lurking aside from an inability to plan.  Olive Garden, Red Lobster are two places that fit this mold.  You can pretty much walk in here and get your table the night of…

Tier 2 places are the ones I like best, because they offer amazing view, unique atmospheres at prices you won't be embarrsassed to tell your friends about.  Tier 1 places?  They are always on my radar as a rare treat, I figure I can drop nearly four hunrded on a single meal once  a year… Or so… Or maybe not at all.

You know what, though, I get that times are tough and regardless of that people are on a budget, too.  There are other ways to show your special someone a unique and classy night for cheaper than you might think.  However, planning, planning, planning; there is no replacement for planning.

At this point you should begin listing out the places you want to take your Valentine's date.  Whether it's a home cooked affair or a night out at a restaurant that will eat your last pay check for a sensible midnight snack, figure out some places to go and CALL AHEAD and make a reservation.

I'll be doing a follow up piece on this leading up to the special day.

Until next time, don't be a putz, make a reservation already.

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