Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Love, Rent and Valentine's Day

Our Valentine’s evening last night was perfect – candles, roses, laughter, good food – five good friends and take out Indian food.  More than a decade ago I ate my last meal out on a Valentine’s Day.  My then-boyfriend and I, truly young people in love, made a reservation at the Hungry I in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.  It was well outside of our price range (that in itself a testament to our love) and the kind of place with a website declaring, "You don't have to be planning to propose to your loved one, but if you are, it's the perfect place."

I in my ballgown (seriously – gunmetal gray and shimmery) and he in his cap, set out for a meal – and a young lovers’ trap.

That the old brownstone the restaurant is in is stunning is not up for debate – fires roared in each fireplace, grand flower sprays framed each doorway, and staff so kind they must have known we were bordering on spending our rent that night for a meal.   But the tables were packed in and there was no smiling server who could make it feel private.  We had our first adventure with quail (such tiny bones) that was a good laugh, but the prix fixe menu wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for – a little limiting.  And as we squeezed through the crowd at the end of the night, trying not to clear the tables with my skirt, as we wended down hundreds-year-old brick stairways after having a meal whose preparation was painstaking but cost was breathtaking, I looked at my date for a moment. 

“Are you thinking about Monday?” he asked.  I nodded quickly, embarrassed.  “So much better,” he said, “and we’d still know where rent was coming from.”

We’d had our traditional Monday: take out barbeque on the living room floor while watching Monday Night Raw.  (Oh, the things we do for love.)

We realized then that we’d been fleeced by the restaurant-Hallmark-industrial Valentine’s Day complex and I haven’t been out on a Valentine’s Day since.

Here’s hoping your evening -- in or out-- with friends, a special romantic person, or solo, was just as you hoped it would be.


  1. Both of my children simply said "I Love You Mommy." Better than any meal, flowers, or candy...

  2. Paul made me rack of lamb, and even bought a circular form from Surfas so he could "make the mashed potatoes look fancy." Way better than going out!

    1. I just made rack of lamb last week for the first time (recipe testing is the best thing ever) and I was thinking of the amazing lamb Paul made on your birthday. And that salsa verde you guys made that time -- I have to get that recipe from you! So glad you had a lovely v-day -- and I hope you saved me mashed potatoes!

  3. hi jess , niall in england the blog ..been trying to send a personal message , but hey , ho ..blogs great ..we also belive that slow roasted meat should be cut with wooden spoons not knives..might give the granolla a miss though..i`ve heard it soaks up stella quicker than paper towels..
    will be sharing with my friends..good work missus x

    1. Niall! I'm so glad you left a comment -- sorry to be cagey, I should really include an email address up there. Noted!

      I'm so happy that you're reading and that you like it. I have to say if I had to choose between the granola and your lady's flapjacks, I'd choose the flapjacks. xoxo