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My Lazy Valentine

February 11, 2014

Friday is going to be here before you know it. At some point I heard that restaurants hate it when Valentines Day falls on a Friday or Saturday night. Those are busy nights anyway. Filling the joint on a weekday is a the kind of holiday that makes restaurant owners happy.

But a Friday night Va-Day-Day for the Fussies only means one thing. Shabbat. Yeah. And that’s family time too. So we’ll celebrate with the little ones. To make it a little extra special, we’ll drink some sparkling wine with our roast chicken, challah and string beans. Maybe I can find some small kind of chocolate dessert. And after tucking the kids to bed, perhaps I can convince Mrs. Fussy to watch some kind of romantic comedy. Breakfast at Tiffany’s could be a winner.

Usually, I advise against going out for a VD dinner. Why go out when two boiled lobsters, drawn butter, a baked potato, and maybe something green are so easy and romantic to eat at home with your fingers? Paired with this meal, the sparkling wine goes down like water. And then you can follow the meal with some soft gooey cheese by the fire. It’s amazing.

Surely there is some food blogger who has perused a bunch of local menus. This year, that’s not me. I did however, accidentally stumble on the VD menus for two Capital Region restaurants. And I have to say, I liked what I saw.

It’s been a long time since I talked about wanting to see the names of local farms on the menu. The desire hasn’t gone away. Seeing one of these listed on the Valentines Day menu for Taste in Albany made my heart swell.

Hello, Heather Ridge Farm chicken breast. Ooh, if I were in town and going out for a fancy meal, you would be mine. They don’t screw around with their chickens. Add truffles, Brussels sprouts, buttered radish and salsify and you’ve got one sexy winter chicken dish.

It should go without saying that a restaurant of this caliber should make its own pasta, but I appreciate the explicit call out in the appetizer section. House-made ravioli filled with foie gras and topped with duck confit ragout? That makes my heart sing.

Sure there are other choices, but I don’t see how anyone could reject these dishes.

Dinner at Taste is a four course affair and isn’t cheap at $69 per head. Oh, that’s cheeky. But it’s Valentine’s Day. There’s a premium for going out. At least the food sounds extra special.

On the more casual side, the love coming from Dimitrios’ kitchen at The City Beer Hall is palpable.

They still get oysters from fin – your fishmonger. It’s hard to go wrong with a little light aphrodisiac. Unless you wanted the lustrous beets with the unctuous burrata that’s drizzled with a sweet, concentrated saba and served with balsamic braised walnuts. That sounds lovely too.

One thing that made me stand back and say “Wow” is the entree that sounds as hot as Darth Vader and Elvira making love on black leather sheets.* It’s fermented black garlic risotto with black trumpet mushrooms and rabbit confit. Oh man.

But it’s one of the desserts that sounds like a stroke of genius. Okay, the name might not grab you, so bear with me a moment. Beeramisu. They’ve taken ladyfingers and soaked them in Founder’s Breakfast Stout instead of espresso. This dark and complex stout is brewed with coffee and chocolate malts, and layering it with mascarpone cream and cocoa is as unusual as it is obvious.

At $40 per person it’s probably more than you would spend at The City Beer Hall on a day other than February 14, but you wouldn’t get this menu then either. And if you tell me that you can’t bring your Valentine to CBH for Va-Day-Day, I’m going to tell you that you’re with the wrong person.

Surely there are some other great choices out there. I’m just too lazy to hunt them down for you. But better hurry and make ressies if you’re going out. VD is always popular.

* Full disclosure: While paraphrased, I totally stole that line from a wine review I read in a magazine called WineX about fifteen years ago. I wish I could find the author so I could more precisely attribute and quote the sentiment.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 11, 2014 10:16 pm

    I’ve spied a lot of really interesting things out their for Valentine’s Day this year, which is usually a day I avoid restaurants like the plague. This year, Finnegan is having his (second) knee surgery (sigh), so we are probably going to do Indian buffet or takeout with my mother, if anything (super romantic, right???). Lucky for us, Olde English is hosting Tea for Two (link below) on February 13th, while Finn will still be recovering at the vet. :)

    http://downtownalbany.org/events/tea-two-olde-english-pub

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