Stay Home or Go Out For Valentines Day?

Stay home or go out for Valentines Day? You’re probably asking the same question. What are the advantages and benefits of a fancy dinner in that special restaurant versus creating a romantic dinner at home?

Most people would pick that once-a-year restaurant because the thought of cooking this type of meal is like a cold shower on what should be the most romantic dinner of the year.

What would cupid do? Even that bow and arrow armed pudgy cherub might have to give this some thought. Should we stay in or go out for Valentines Day?

To make this important decision, you have to consider benefits involved in creating a romantic evening at home, or letting someone else do it for you.

1) Money – Unless romance is Olive Garden or TGI Fridays to you, you’re probably going to drop some coin. According to Zagat, the restaurant rating people, the average couple will spend $147 on Valentines Day dinner. That’s $100 more than the average spent for any other night out. You’ll spend $100 more than you normally would on any other night of the year.

2) Convenience – Restaurant professionals like me know that Valentines Day and Mothers Day are the WORST nights of the year to go to a restaurant. There is an unusual burden on the restaurant staff and systems on these two nights. They often see a surge that they can’t handle. You face potential disappointment along with the $147 you spent because the otherwise excellent restaurant is swamped between 6pm and 9pm on this particular day.

3) Wine - According to Zagat, 45% of their survey respondents who said they were headed to a restaurant for the romantic night would splurge on a nice bottle of wine. However, that same bottle of wine at the wine store will be 20% of what you’d pay for it when uncorked and poured at your table. That means the $20 dollar bottle of wine you’d really want to buy is $100 when ordered out. Either save the money, or buy an even nicer than nice bottle and enjoy it at your own table.

4) Control and Quality – If you were to prepare a romantic meal at home you have better control over the source of the food. If you’re concerned about where your food comes from, to dine out you might have to visit your local “farm to table” restaurant and options might be limited. When you write the menu, you control the food AND the cost.

5) Aphrodisiacs – Yes, foods that excite more than the palate. There are many foods that, through science or myth, supposedly have aphrodisiac qualities to them. During the most romantic meal of the year, you could use the most romance-inducing foods for an extra special night.

6) Achieving Together - Despite the alleged aphrodisiac qualities of some foods, just the act of preparing a meal for the one you love, or working on the entire affair together is perhaps the most romantic part of Valentines Day. The pride and confidence you experience having created and enjoyed a fantastic meal in your own home is aphrodisiac enough.

7) The Ceremony – Going to a restaurant is easy, most of the time. However, if you have a long wait for a table, it can be a romance killer. Zagat says that only 17% of people who go to restaurants on Valentines Day make their reservation in advance. That means 83% are waiting for a table. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll spend your V-Day waiting in the lobby.

However, the ceremony of planning, creating, and presenting a romantic meal in your own home might spark fantastic scenarios in your head. Are you Lord and Lady of the manor? If you dress for the occasion, even in your own home, then you ARE aristocracy and it becomes more than a meal, it’s a total celebration of romance.

8) Portions - Stay in and you can control how much food is served. Most restaurants over-portion and that overly-full feeling is anything but romantic. It’s a food hangover. In the US, we get way too much food on our plates. Yes, you can ask for a doggie-bag, but those leftovers don’t look or taste the same the next day. As a matter of fact, eating two day old restaurant food diminishes the original experience in some way. You’ve heard of “beer goggles”? Call it “Burgundy goggles” when that entrée looked beautiful last night but is wearing the same tin foil the next day.

9) Time and Effort - It takes just as much time and effort to get in the car, drive to the restaurant, locate or pay for parking, wait for your table, wait for service, wait for your check, wait for your car, and drive home than it takes to create the meal yourself. With the right plan, a few cooking skills, and a lot of love, you can make a better meal in less time that it takes to go out and get one.

10) Warmth and Safety – If you stay in, you’re already home. Hopefully, you would never drink and drive, so a romantic meal at home means you can relax and enjoy your evening without worry. It’s cold outside. It’s warm in your home. Stay closer to your kitchen this Valentines Day and it’ll bring you closer to the bedroom too.

My recommendation is that you go OUT for dinner, but not on Valentines Day. Your local restaurant would appreciate your business every other night of the year, but they’ve got enough business on February 14th.

Now that you’ve decided to stay in for Valentines Day, what do you need to create the most romantic meal your kitchen has ever seen? You need a plan. You need a simple step-by-step procedure to create a menu, gather the ingredients, and lovingly present a meal that you’ve prepared and enjoyed together. I have that plan for you.

If you want to learn my exact process for creating a "soup to nuts" romantic meal at home (and I promise, it's easier than you ever imagined) Click Here now.

About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


Leave a Comment

  • Kelley Butler
    10:24 PM - 10 February, 2015

    Thanks for putting the tip to eat at home out there. I work in a restaurant and I know this weekend will be a hectic one. We will tackle your menu a few days after the din has died down. I am enjoying your cooking course.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      3:09 PM - 11 February, 2015

      Hi Kelley!
      Good luck in your restaurant this weekend, try to stay out of the "weeds".

  • Agnes
    11:09 PM - 8 February, 2014

    I'm excited about this chocolate e-book! Its a simple pleasure but I love making real hot cocoa and I always made it with milk and cocoa powder. Now I'm inspired through web cooking course and I'm melting dark chocolate bars infused with chili to add to hot milk - why? cause that's what I had in my cupboards. Its an adventure, thanks Chef Todd

    • Chef Todd
      2:36 PM - 10 February, 2014

      Hi Agnes!
      I'm so glad you agree with me about REAL hot cocoa. The extra chemicals in those mixes can't be good for you.
      I like the idea of chili hot cocoa. Nice inspiration!

  • Dan
    5:47 PM - 5 February, 2014

    What about cleaning up dishes, pots, pans, nice napkins, etc.

    • Chef Todd
      1:49 PM - 6 February, 2014

      Hey Dan!
      You make a good point, but when discussing romance, I leave the dishwashing out of it. lol.
      When you use appropriate methods and create the courses days ahead of time, you use less dishes and don't have them all at once.
      Making a pureed soup uses only 1 pot, your food processor, a cutting board and knife.
      However, if you tried to make the entire meal at once then you'd have a mountain of dishes.
      I can show you how to cook efficiently and limit the clean up time.

  • Jack
    4:35 PM - 5 February, 2014

    After watching and reading, I agree with you. Staying home is the new plan. Now I just need to come up with a perfect menu!

    • Chef Todd
      1:51 PM - 6 February, 2014

      Hey Jack!
      I would never discourage someone from patronizing their LOCAL restaurant because I'm a chef and have to support my brethren.
      But, just not on Valentines Day when you can use the opportunity to really make a romantic evening with your efforts.
      All you need is a plan and you know I've got at least one.

  • Chef Todd
    4:23 PM - 5 February, 2014

    What will you do this Valentine's Day? Stay home? Go out? Other ideas? Please share them here!

Leave a Comment