Valentine's Day Dining: Chef Judi's Picks

Chef Judi shares her picks for how to have a romantic Valentine's Day in Sarasota--without dining out at an overpriced restaurant.

By Megan McDonald February 12, 2013

By Judi Gallagher

I know most of you are probably going out to dinner on February 14--but please take my suggestion and go the 13, 15 or 16.

I personally have dinner plans to be at home, grilling out and enjoying fresh strawberries. For those of you who prefer a little romantic meal at home, like me, here are a few ideas--and yes, I will be dining out on February 13 and 15 instead.

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1. Stop over at The Butcher's Block on 17th Street and the staff will teach you the heart-shaped double rib eye trick. Pick up some au gratin potatoes and a nice bottle of red and bam—dinner and maybe a movie at home!

2. Take out is always an option (more suggestions below, too), but do something different: Pick up four things that are your Valentine’s favorites—maybe crab cakes from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, a kale salad from Morton’s, a fresh strawberry torte from Fresh Market and a big to-go order of fresh spring rolls and Asian noodles from Pho Cali. Lobster bisque might be a nice touch, too.

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3. Forget the savory and go straight for the sweet--think Sirard’s chocolates, some Veuve Cliquot on ice, caramel popcorn from Kilwin's or a huge slice of pina colada cake from Tommy Bahama.

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4. Breakfast for dinner! Yeah, it sounds silly, but eggs Benedict, mimosas and PJs also sounds pretty romantic.

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5. Il Panificio pizza. Really, I would find that better than overpriced roses.

6. Dumplings from Taste of Asia and a quart of ice cream from Big Olafs.

Now, relax and enjoy home with your loved ones on February 14--and dine out the other 364 days that you can.

Click here to read Chef Judi's "Hot Dish" in our February issue.

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