Valentine’s Day Dating Advice

The Portland foodie blogosphere is awash with Valentine’s Day recommendations today. Part of that is intentional as the O-rama blogging crew takes a slight detour from burgers to coordinate on the topic of V-Day first date recommendations. Vrai-lean-uh and Stephen Cooks also exercised a fine tuned sense of editorial timing and posted their own Valentine’s Day thoughts today so I’ve included them in the summary below.

Appetite Portland a set of recommendations compiled by AP and her husband for a night out with 6 celebrity dates.

James Franco – to Novare Res Bier Cafe, then Sonny’s
With roles as diverse as Sean Penn’s lover in Milk, the partier in Pineapple Express, and the outdoor adventurer/survivalist in 127 Hours, sexy Franco can’t be pigeon-holed. And, as a PhD candidate, he attends poetry classes at Yale. What’s hotter than that? I’d get him a little tipsy with a few 10% beers at Novare, then spice up the evening with Sonny’s Latin-inspired entrees. We’d keep the night sizzling by sipping pepper-infused tequila at Sonny’s bar
.read the full article

Chris2fer – Chris and his partner went to The Salt Exchange for an early Valentine’s Day dinner.

I started with Crab Cakes (spicy!), moved on to Sweet Potato Soup (the highlight of the meal), had Poached Pear Salad for the first time (goat cheesy!) and finished with the Stuffed Chicken (a leg (boo)). George had Potato Croquettes (eh), Brocoli and Scallop soup (awesome!) and the “Local And Sustainable Daily Fish Preparation” (fine).read the full article

Edible Obsessions –a retelling of how she first met “the missus” and a strong recommendation for Miyake as a Valentine’s Day destination.

My brain kept going back to Miyake. I could actually picture us having our first date there. I could see us sitting at the bar, because you MUST sit at the bar, sharing a bottle of sake and enjoying ourselves immensely. There is a nice intimacy to being at that bar, sitting next to–instead of across from–the person you’re on a date with. You have the honor of watching Chef Miyake behind the bar, hands and blade moving so effortlessly and delicately, as he prepares your meal. It’s conversation. It’s the full article

From Away – Jillian shares how she and Malcolm first met, and recommends Caiola’s for a first date night.

The first night we went, there was a carousing group of fifty-something couples drinking copious amounts of red wine and getting boisterous. Immediately, we felt at ease. It’s like a gathering of family or a sprawling dinner party, where you can be private at a table for two, but not feel alone or stranded in a sea of stuffy white tablecloths and unpronounceable wine. I would arrive early for a first date and order a martini, and try and appear mysterious. This illusion would instantly be shattered the moment I stumbled over my high heels en route to the bathroom, but at first glad glance I might be alluring. In this familial atmosphere, one would feel at ease with the attractive person you met over a bottle of Tide at the neighborhood laundromat (is it pathetic or adorable that my imagination in this realm is as developed as a Hollywood romcom’s hackneyed meet-cute?)read the full article

Stephen Cooks – tips for planning a romantic dinner for two at home complete with a set of 9 recipes to choose from.

I like to do a meal that’s thoughtfully planned, lovingly prepared and served on a picture-perfect table. For me this this is so much more personal and meaningful a celebration than a restaurant meal, especially since so many of us have good restaurant meals on a fairly frequent the full article

The Blueberry Files – recommends Local 188 for a first date on Valentine’s Day for the casual atmosphere, good food and reasonable price point.

And that one little word, “first,” changed everything. I would NOT recommend taking your first date to an expensive, romantic restaurant! First dates should be more casual. Plus, on a first date, you’ll be nervous. And when I’m nervous, I tend to drink really fast. So, don’t risk becoming “that guy” by being all drunk and loud in a tiny restaurant!read the full article

Vrai-lean-uh – recommends going to Pai Men Miyake and saving the “real Miyake” for a second date.

I think the new Miyake would be a good option, with the following caveat: think really carefully about whether you want to order a noodle soup on a first date. Slurping noodles together could be a bonding experience: hey, we both splattered broth on our shirts! It could also be incredibly uncomfortable. If you think the noodle slurping will be uncomfortable, or that you might not be able to pull it off with the required aplomb or good humor, by all means, suggest that the two of you share a bunch of the small plates, which I think are better than the ramen the full article

Where is Jenner’s Mind – recommends Benkay as the spot that she and Seth head to when they want a romantic dinner for two.

the thing that really makes this a romantic dinner for two is the price. all this for $70! and for those of you out there who do go out to dinner for valentine’s day, you can get it all for $60! go to benkay’s website and print out the coupon and get $10 off from february 8th to 14th. normally benkay is one of those great restaurants that always has a table open, but for valentine’s day you will likely need reservations. other spots we find to be romantical are salt exchange and bar of chocolate. read the full article

My own Valentine’s Day first date advice would be to do a multi-destination meal. Eating your way across several restaurants let’s you assemble a really varied and outstanding dining experience, tapping into the very best that each spot has to offer. The walks between one restaurant and the next would give you and your date a chance to talk and get to know each other better. I’d start off with the Winter Point oysters at Old Port Sea Grill, head on over to Fore Street for the mussels, then up Munjoy Hill for a couple small plates at Bar Lola and finish up the night at Bresca for the 3-course dessert options they have planned for Valentine’s day.

Post a comment and tell us your Valentine’s Day first date recommendations.

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