February 13th, 2008

This Valentine’s, have a picnic

A Valentine's picnic

It’s almost here, Valentine’s day. Loved by some, dreaded by many, ignoring it is almost impossible. Some of you may remember my take on eating out on this day. Basically, I don’t want to be out dining out with the crowds. Last year, I put a little more thought into it and cooked a nice dinner for D, but this year we have much going on, including a move, so I thought ‘let’s have a picnic.’ An indoor picnic.

I’ll confess, I’m being a little lazy with this, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re looking for something to do for your significant other or, why not, for yourself. It involves no cooking and better yet, it doesn’t entail “aphrodisiac” meals at ridiculous prices. Just make sure you put in some love. Here’s what you’ll need.

1. Nice bottle of wine or champagne – By nice, I don’t mean expensive, though you can go that route to impress. If Total Wine has it in stock, I’m going with a Robert Sinskey 2006 Aries Pinot Noir ($19.99) that I discovered in wine appreciation class. Bonus: It has a beautiful label and it’s organic. But any Pinot Noir makes a good choice, said Natalie MacLean, editor of a wine e-newsletter and blogger at epicurious.com, whom I asked for a suggestion. “This silky, seductive red will pair beautifully with chicken, pork, salmon, veal and lighter red meats. It also goes well with many soft cheeses because of its mouth-watering ripe berry fruit,” she said. Florent Blanchet of W Wine Bistro in the Design District recommends a champagne, Besserat de Bellefon Brut Rose ($49.99). And the folks at Bin 18 suggest a 2006 Pretty Sally Estate Rose ($22). W Wine Bistro, 3622 NE 2nd Ave., 305.576.7775. Bin 18, 275 NE 18th St # 107, 786.235.7575.

2. Bread or crackers – Not much to say here, I’m a fan of Carr’s crackers but if you want to get fancy, try Chocolate Fashion in the Gables for great breads. 248 Andalusia Ave., Coral Gables, 305-461-3200.

3. Fruit – Go ahead with strawberries, cherries or raspberries. I’m going with grapes. If you want something different, freeze them plain or dip clusters of grapes into Moscato wine and then dip them into sugar to coat. Place on cookie sheet and freeze.

4. Some type of meat – Prosciutto, I love prosciutto, but salami or jamon serrano are good options. Try Xixon (1801 Coral Way #110, 305.854.9350), Casa Toscana’s gourmet store (9840 N.E. 2nd Ave., 305.757.4454) or Epicure (1656 Alton Road, 1.800.232.3218.)

5. Cheese – I’m thinking of Edam, but really, choose what you like. For a good selection, try Epicure or Whole Foods. To find out which cheeses go with your chosen wine, go here.

6. Chocolate – I stopped by Romanicos today and picked up a 9-piece box of their Aphrodite Collection ($16). Box includes Cayenne Pepper Royal, Almonds Nectar of Love, Honey Pistachio Delight, Cleopatra’s Secret Cardamom and Orange Love Potion. Valentine’s Day boxes are also available, as are delicious champagne truffles filled with dulce de leche. All their chocolates are handmade. 1801 Coral Way, Suite 116, Miami; 305.854.9936.

And with that I’ll be ready for my night in, a little cliche still, but low maintenance and laid back. If you absolutely must go out to eat, here are some ideas from the South Florida Menu Pages blog. And Miami.com has some suggestions other than dinner.

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4 Responses to “This Valentine’s, have a picnic”

  1. Love it! Last year we had a nighttime picnic at the beach and it was the most romantic Valentines Day I’ve ever had. The food was Pizza with Vodka sauce from our favorite place on 1st and Collins. We also brought some Champagne and a huge blanket. There’s nothing like tipsily counting stars with the one you love. If weather permits, we will be doing it again this year but if it doesn’t, we will take your cue and bring the picnic indoors!

  2. Yeah, with this weather I don’t know if outdoors is an option. But you can get a great effect by throwing your picnic blanket on your living room floor, turning off all electronics except perhaps for music and just relaxing. Sharing a pizza is a great idea!

  3. I have to agree about avoiding the restaurants on V-Day. My husband used to work in a restaurant so Valentine’s Day at restaurants brings to mind memories of throngs of red-garbed customers. Our more romantic and favorite celebrations these past few years have been stopping at Laurenzo’s Italian Market, getting wine, cheese, prosciutto, lobster ravioli, and cannoli and enjoying it all by candlelight at home! It’s a trek for us, but since we have made it a tradition, it’s something we both look forward to.

  4. I’m all for the picnic. Dip that cheese in some fig preserves! And you lucky, lucky girl…Vosges makes me drool. Happy Valentine’s!

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