Sold-out reservations. Credit card deposits required to get a table. Roses at $100 a dozen. Surly valets. Huge crowds packing tiny bars and foyers. Harried waitstaff rushing to turn tables. Limited menus. Food prepared two and three days earlier and warmed over. Couples who are resentful because their romantic evening out involves 100 other such couples.
Yep, sounds like Valentine's Day in the restaurant world.
We don't have this problem, my wife and I. We haven't had to experience any of this in years, because we've come up with the perfect solution.
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Valentine's Day in the Lieberman household, by mutual decree, is a Jewish holiday, despite the fact that neither of us is Jewish. Jewish holidays, for those who have been living under a rock for the last nearly six millennia, start at sundown the night before and run until sundown of the holiday itself. This means that Yom Kippur this year (5771) starts at sundown on Sept. 17 and runs until Sept. 18, despite all the goyisha calendars telling us it's Sept. 18.
Valentine may have been a goyisha saint, but starting our celebration of love at sundown on Feb. 13 turns St. Valentine's Day into Valentins Yontif. Roses cost the normal $10-$15 a dozen. We make a reservation wherever we feel like, no $75 deposit. Some years we tanz right in without a call-ahead, even. We get the full menu and normal, unrushed service. Chefs are normally on-site making preparations for the next night's assault, so the food tends to be quite good, and there's essentially zero stress. Babysitting is not usually a problem, either, since we're not treading on anyone else's Valentine's plans.
And while the rest of you are out fighting for your gracelessly-aging plates of gummy ravioli that were frozen a week ago and your uninspired flourless chocolate raspberry whatever with the milling hordes at dinner on Feb. 14th, we'll have dinner at home just like everyone else.
Now that's eppes saykhel.