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.