Your Valentine’s Day Feast, Pickle Fried Chicken; Bull’s Horn/Facebook
I didn’t mean to get a babysitter for Valentine’s Day. It’s just that my husband and I have always preferred to go out on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. Most people aim for the weekend, which is undoubtedly better if you like to say out until a reasonable hour. My fella and I—we live for the moment, and have never concerned ourselves with making great long-term plans. (I have a penchant for convertibles, in Minnesota. I’m comfortable with what this says about my sense of practicality.)
So, when I called up the teenager who lives across the street, I confidently requested a Wednesday dinner-date time with my husband—thinking hump day. (Gee, that’s romantic.)
Then, of course, I realized this particular hump day is actually Valentine’s Day, which is an entirely different kind of dining experience. Once a year, everyone clamors for a reservation and a bunch of long-stemmed roses. This means crowds of people, elbow-to-elbow, while restaurant staff works on constant overdrive in an attempt to create a special event.
If you’re like me and didn’t think far ahead enough to come up with a great plan for a Wednesday-through-Saturday dinner out (trust me, everything new and noteworthy is booked), these are the best bets for grabbing a last-minute seat and a chance for some romance in unexpected places.
Cedar Inn’s Juicy Lucy: This neighborhood watering hole has what is arguably the best cheese-stuffed burger in the Twin Cities (and nothing says Valentine’s Day like making a declaration guaranteed to start a fight in many Minneapolis circles).
Bull’s Horn’s Pickle Fried Chicken: This new dive bar from chef Doug Flicker and his wife Amy Greeley has all the charm of an Iron Range country bar, with the Heggie’s Pizza to prove it. Enjoy a quiet night with stacks of pull tabs and a tray of this incredibly juicy, ever-so-slightly briny, crispy fried chicken. It used to be available only on Wednesdays, but now it’s made the move to full-time on the menu. If a night in sweats is your version of romance, the chicken is also available for take-out by the bucketful.
Kitchen in the Market’s Netflix and Chile: Rather than trying to shoehorn yourself into a restaurant during the busiest time of the year, instead make a couple’s cooking investment at this super fun spot inside Midtown Global Market. Learn from a real-deal sommelier about the really cool (and crazy affordable) wines of Chile while snacking on empanadas, Tuscan beans and chicken, roasted squash with homemade ricotta, and more. Tickets for the February 21 class are $100, available here, and an opportunity to prove yourself capable of thinking ahead. (Unlike some people…. Ahem, me.)