Last-minute Valentine's Day ideas

The way to your sweetie's heart = through the stomach.

The way to your sweetie's heart = through the stomach.

Whaddaya mean last minute? Valentine's Day is still almost a week away. In the Hallmark holiday universe, if you haven't planned anything yet, you're already late to the party. Tables at V-Day favorites like La Belle Vie, Manny's, and Restaurant Alma are already sold out during peak dinner times. As early as last week, OpenTable reported that about 14 percent of its Twin Cities reservations for Monday, February 14, were already completely booked.

But don't panic. The Hot Dish is here to help:


1) Friday or Saturday is the new Monday Valentine's Day falls on a Monday this year, which is less than ideal. Why not pick another, less-harried day to celebrate and call it VDO, Valentine's Day Observed? Even most Monday-booked restaurants have some availability on the previous weekend, especially Friday. Open Table surveyed its readers and found that 39% planned to dine on Monday, 30% on Saturday, 15% on Sunday, and 4% on Friday.

2) Check for cancellations There's still time for couples who planned ahead to split up, so see if the restaurant is running a wait list, or check back periodically via the restaurant's online reservations system.

3) Think outside the restaurant For example, the Victorian mansion/event space 490 Summit in St. Paul is becoming a three-night-only restaurant for Valentines, offering a prix fixe dinner on Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Margaret Doran, of Margaux's Table, which recently shut down its lunch service, will be preparing the food. The 6:30 p.m. dinner includes tartines and champagne, salad, petite filet with shitake mushrooms and cognac, and a chocolate or fruit dessert. The cost is $85 per person and includes wine pairings from Ursula's in White Bear Lake. Call Margaux's Table at 651.387.7903 to book. 4) Cook at home Call Clancey's (612.926.0222) and reserve a couple of bone-in rib eyes and pick up something chocolate from Franklin Street Bakery. Just don't burn down your girlfriend's apartment.

Manny's books up fast for Valentine's Day. Maybe someone will cancel?

Manny's books up fast for Valentine's Day. Maybe someone will cancel?

Shredding the Love at MGM.
5) Say screw it to V-Day

Rolling solo these days and feeling unlucky in love? There are lots of Anti-Valentine's events going on in the Twin Cities this weekend. Shred the Love at the Midtown Global Market this Saturday from 12 to 2 looks rather exciting. The market will provide several paper shredders and giant scissors to chop up whatever steamy notes and lacy undies your ex left behind. Then fill up on tamales from La Loma, ceviche from La Sirena Gorda, and broken heart cookies from Salty Tart.

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