Where Y’Eat: How to Make Valentine’s Day a New Orleans Original

Feb 13, 2020

Valentine’s Day might be our most manipulative holiday. I say it’s high time we start manipulating it back and take the day on our own terms.

You have to reckon with it in some way. Even deciding to ignore Valentine’s Day means acknowledging it. It is a consumer event and consumer events are after our money and attention like hot-blooded lotharios.

There’s nothing wrong with the classic romantic dinner date on Valentine's Day. But at this point you’re already too late for most dinner reservations. You have to get creative.

Part ways with the script, and think about what your beloved really loves. New Orleans food gives us a whole bag of tricks to make Feb. 14 our own.

Know the terrain for this task. Wine and cheese at your trusty local wine bar or the bar at your favorite restaurant? Sounds good to me. Valentine’s lunch, when reservations are easier to get anyway? You spontaneous devil you.  

For plenty of busy couples I know, finding a little unscripted time together is more romantic than a soak in a heart-shaped tub.

Now, can crawfish be a Valentine’s treat? Yes, crawfish are messy. So is love. Both are worth it. If great crawfish make your beloved’s heart boil, make it happen. Bonus: crawfish pair great with bubbly, one of the few valentine’s clichés worth keeping.

And king cake, the one your dearest has dropped hints about really wanting to try? That could beat a box of chocolates hands down.

For the last-minute Valentine’s Day dash I’ll add this: the oyster bar may be the ultimate in unscripted dining grace. Even when a restaurant is booked to capacity, the oyster bar is often first-come, first-served. That means a visit requires no advance planning, which, if this little coaching session is speaking to you, probably isn’t your strong suit anyway. Bonus: If you happen to find a pearl in one of your oysters, just consider it a lagniappe Valentine’s Day jewel.