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Essay: Why You Should Never Eat At A Fancy Restaurant On Valentine's Day

A table reservation is seen inside a White Castle restaurant during a Valentine's Day dinner on February 14, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
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I don't give a flying fig about Valentine's Day, not even a manchego-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, chocolate-dipped one. Still, I'm not one to tell people, "Hey, you enjoy this thing that I think is terrible and therefore you must stop enjoying it." Eat all the white chocolate and play all the golf you want. But let's be clear, among the racket of consumer-driven holidays (which is all of them at this point?), Valentine's Day is the grossest.

It's an overwrought display of overdue affection that overcompensates with overpriced roses, over-conched chocolate and overdone greeting cards. VD also shares an acronym with venereal disease so right there, it's enough. But among the holiday's many scams and shams, the prix fixe restaurant meal is perhaps its crowning achievement.

I know, I know. I write about food and I am therefore contractually obligated to run a Valentine's Day dining guide, but in my personal life, I avoid fancy restaurants on February 14 (and even semi-fancy ones trying to step up their game for a night) like the plague.

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Those Valentine's Day prix fixe menus are either filled with middling leftovers dressed up with truffle salt, gold flake and other ridiculous accoutrements, or they're rich to the point of being stomach-churning. And they're never cheap. In the overrated restaurant meal Olympics, Valentines Day gets the gold(leaf). Silver and bronze for awfulness are awarded to Mother's Day and Easter Sunday brunches.

You might wonder, since I'm such a hater, what do I do on this unremarkable day? Hubby and I have our own tradition: tacos, made at home or picked up from one of our favorite taquerias, served in the most romantic method possible — a Tacosaursus Rex.

Happy hating, lovers.

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