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Friday, February 10, 2012

Best Dates for Valentine's Day

Any of my friends will willingly tell you that after Thanksgiving (food AND family), Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. I'm the kind of person who loves planning elaborate dates, loves writing long cards for all my friends, and as The Format once sang, "I love love. I love being in love. I don't care what it does to me."

So what better way to celebrate than to make a list of my favorite dinner date spots (I'd tell you where I'm going, but I have a feeling Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas will be trawling this to guess at my surprise).

The List

 
Lamb kleftico at Zaytinya
For the Adventurous Eater - Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya. I've advocated this a couple times, but what better way to suit someone with roving taste buds than to restaurant hop? And no maestro provides this better than Jose Andres, with his trio of small plates restaurants within a stone's throw of one another. You can start at Oyamel for margaritas and tacos, move to Jaleo for paella, and finish at Zaytinya with Greek yogurt and ouzo. Or you can do sangria at Jaleo, the olive oil salmon at Zaytinya, and tres leches at Oyamel. The combinations are endless.

For Those Looking To Be Treated Like Kings - Posto: I'll admit, this one is a bit biased, being based on one particular experience we had with an incredible server, an experience that could replicate itself a hundred times over in any number of dining rooms across the city (other notables: sommelier Kat Bangs and the crew at Komi, the staff at Eola). But when it came time to book a reservation for the actual Valentine's Day dinner with Texas, there was no other option but Posto (though, a last-minute work trip scratched those plans).

Chilled tomato soup at Adour
For the Classy Pants - Corduroy or Palena. With apologies to Fiola and Adour, who both bring a gravitas and tidiness that will make your date feel like a class act, my two surprise favorites for an upscale dinner, Corduroy and Palena, combine the same high level of food and beautiful dining room as Fiola and Adour with a quieter and more off-the-beaten path setting (heck, for the non-classy pants, Palena Cafe offers the great food without the jacket).

For the Full Day Experience - Vermilion. The date gauntlet that is King Street offers 800 things to do, starting with the art collective Torpedo Factory to the cobblestone streets to Todd Thrasher's drinks at speakeasy PX to the cute bookstores and shops. And what better way to cap off the night than the beautiful and intimate Vermilion? Heck, even the restaurant is bathed in red.

Wine flight at Cork
For the Cutting Edge - Pearl Dive, Estadio, Cork. Everyone knows the new restaurant corridors: H Street, and 14th Street, with news and rumors that Stephen Starr, and DC's own Mike Isabella, among others, are bringing eateries to the already dust-unsettled street. So what better way to celebrate than a gauntlet run? Oysters at Pearl Dive, dinner at Estadio, and a nightcap at Cork?

For the Cherry On Top - Buzz Bakery, Baked and Wired, Kramerbooks/Afterwords. Dessert dates are underrated. Depending on where you are and what time it is, these are the best places in my opinion to grab a cupcake or pie.

Philly cheesesteak at minibar
For the Budget Conscious - Comet Ping Pong and Granville Moore's. There are plenty of small plates places where you can save a few dollars over the standard sit down dinner. But with apologies to the aforementioned Jose Andres spots, and Kushi, Comet and Granville Moore's both give you the same bang for the buck, but with fuller portions. Also, I really can't say enough about both Comet and Granville's.

For the Baller - minibar. Just kidding. If you scored a res for this weekend, I should be asking you for tips.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Clearly the Obamas listened to your advice and wanted the full day experience! http://dc.eater.com/archives/2012/02/15/the-obamas-celebrate-valentines-day-at-vermilion.php