Valentine’s Day is a time of flowers, cards, chocolates, and romantic candlelit dinners. Of course, all restaurants that are even remotely romantic are booked up well ahead of Valentine’s Day, and if, like me, you have honed the art of procrastination to a razor’s edge, your options are likely to be limited. I usually cook dinner at home — last year I got a big thick ribeye steak that’d been butterflied to create a heart shape. Some salt, freshly ground pepper, a few minutes on each side over a hot charcoal grill, and served rare — how romantic can you get?
Well, if you don’t feel like cooking out in the middle of February, there’s another restaurant option: you can reserve a special Valentine’s Day dinner at a participating Waffle House. Here’s a list of participating locations, complete with contact and phone numbers so you can reserve a booth for two.
I’m a huge fan of Waffle House, both in terms of their breakfasts and their extraordinary leadership/corporate culture, as detailed here. Alas, Washington, DC is a food desert in terms of Waffle House locations as well as barbecue, and there are no Maryland or Virginia locations within driving distance. I’ll have to think of something else for Valentine’s Day, something to top the heart-shaped ribeye. Suggestions are welcome.
Saint Valentine, by the way was a Christian bishop martyred by Emperor Claudius II — Claudius Gothicus, not the Derek Jacobi Claudius of Masterpiece Theater fame. The official records were destroyed during the Diocletianic persecution, but the story goes as follows: Valentinus was a bishop who cured the blindness of a judge’s daughter, thereby prompting the judge to convert and to free all imprisoned Christians. This irritated Claudius II, but not nearly as much as Valentinus’ subsequent attempt to convert Claudius himself. Claudius promptly terminated Valentinus’ career at the neck. There’s not much romance in that, but there’s a nice tale that prior to his execution, Valentinus sent a letter to the judge’s daughter signed, “from your Valentine.” From such mustard seeds huge industries grow.