It’s that time of year again, as we say goodbye to a wintery January and optimistically look forward to February. Ah! Valentine’s Day… regretfully it seems as if the darkest days of Covid-19 may not be behind us, which will most likely call for a Valentine’s Day spent indoors and free from contact with others. Luckily I have spent a plethora of time in the idea generation phase, in order to suggest a few fun ideas to spice up your Valentine’s celebration. Get your notepad ready, we have some planning to do because love is in the air.
Dining In: Supporting a Local Business
Whether you are sharing it with a significant other or have simply decided this is the time of the year to make an excuse to spoil yourself, you could do a good deed and support small businesses. Many people are wondering in which ways that they themselves could help contribute and prevent small businesses from folding up their tents. While we shop, keep in mind the opportunity to save a lifetime’s work, a lifetime’s creativity, as businesses all around the world struggle to stay afloat due to Covid-19. As cities impose safety measures that create boundaries on capacity levels, many restaurants are struggling to survive in the current environment. Restaurants have been hit particularly hard. This Valentine’s Day we can order in from our favorite local restaurants for a very special night. Who says you can’t order you or your date’s favorite pasta dish from one borough and their favorite chocolate chip cookie from another?! Helping our local restaurants has never been easier. This Valentine’s Day, share the love and order locally for your special night. Throw on your favorite album and enjoy some good eats and good vibes with your loved one.
To help with your decision process here are some NYC gems to include in your V-day celebration:
- 19 Cleveland : If you want to try some of the best Mediterranean cuisine New York City has to offer, I highly recommend you try out this place. 19 Cleveland is located in Soho; in the days of dining indoors, I can vouch for the insanely cool vibe their restaurant space and staff radiates. A special request for the Rotisserie Chicken Hummus is an absolute must. Some other great items are their Shakshuka, Falafael, and array of Shawarma. For those more on the simpler side, they also have a killer Cheeseburger. The best part is that you can order directly from their website this V-day!
- Kotobuki : A personal favorite. This place offers consistent excellent quality fish. There is a wide selection of Japanese rolls and items, and the service is always speedy! For a sushi-filled Valentine’s Day, check out Kotobuki on the 3rd Ave between 10th and 11th street. I highly recommend the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice (with Avocado), their Chicken Fried Rice, and any of their fresh Sashimi options. You will not regret trying this place out; it will become your next go-to!
- Emily : If you’re an American-food lover at heart, this is the place for you. They truly serve the best burger in New York City between their online reviews and personal justification. Luckily, they have expanded their locations as their original small location in West Village could not keep up with the city’s burger lovers’ demands. There are multiple locations Downtown – Brooklyn, West Village, East Village, and Upper East Side. It gets better… They are also known for their mouth-watering pizzas. Their signature toppings that create each pizza each embody exquisite flavor and an option for every person! Don’t sleep on their french-fries either, they are quite delicious.
- Some other great options Downtown: Kiki’s, Carbone, Prince Street Pizza, Jack’s Wife Freda, Thursday Kitchen, Shuko, Corner Bistro, Mokyo, Dante West Village, Van Leeuwen, Rice To Riches
- Momoya : If you are looking for more of an upscale Japanese vibe, I highly suggest you try out Momoya on the Upper West Side. For those of you closer to downtown, do not worry! There is also a location in Chelsea The food at Momoya is full of flavor; it has become my boyfriend, and I’s favorite sushi spot Uptown. Some personal favorite items on the menu include the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice and their Chicken Teriyaki.
- Hillstone: Hillstone’s Midtown location is the perfect place to order from this Valentine’s Day (as well as every day possible). The menu has so many options ranging from their noteworthy Spinach and Artichoke Dip to their amazing Salads and Sushi. At Hillstone, your possibilities almost seem endless. My personal recommendations at Hillstone are the Coconut Shrimp Roll, The Brick-Oven Chicken, Cheeseburger, and Ceaser Salad. I highly recommend spending some minutes staring at the menu before calling to plan out your order; you might get tongue-tied!
- Serafina: If your trying to channel the Lady and the Tramp romance levels this Valentine’s Day, Serafina on 77th Street is your best way to go. For those of you living closer to Uptown, you are in luck. Serafina is delivering, and nothing says V-day more than a night of Italian cuisine and romance. I adore their pasta selection; there is indeed a dish on the menu for any mood. Some of my favorite items are their Meatballs, Penne Alla Vodka, Cacio E Pepe, and Tagliolini Al Tartufo Nero. Their selection of items with truffles is quite large for my truffle-lovers out there!
- Some other great options Midtown/Uptown: Uva, Naruto , The Smith, The Burger Joint, Michael’s, Milos, Zuma, Ruby’s, Levain Bakery
Staycation: Supporting a Local Business
Circling back to what is aforementioned, it is more crucial now than ever to make a conscious effort to support small businesses. Getting hit particularly hard is the hotel and hospitality industry, as people consider alternative ways of lodging. According to MarketWatch.com, hotels have shifted their focus to cleanliness and safety certifications in order to continue to provide guests with a healthy experience. Are you in for a change of scenery and clean and crisp linens at your favorite hotel in your area or a nearby city? Whether it’s for one night or the weekend in its entirety, a staycation is always a great option.
Order in dinner from the hotel’s room service or your most-loved local restaurant. Pick and choose your hotel wisely, there are many that are offering Valentine’s Day specials – take full advantage! These specials include various spa, food, and alcohol packages for your special night/weekend away from home! Enjoy a night away from home with your special someone.
Staying In: At Home Movie-Theater
While you can’t enjoy the overwhelming array of buttery popcorn, the sizzling of a large soda, and a candy of choice in hand this year at your local cinema, you can turn your home into a very dreamy romantic movie theater of your own. Whether you have a big ol’ flat screen or a mini projector from Amazon on a spacey white wall, turn your TV room into a magical and festive place to celebrate. You’re going to need to get a few things together in order to replicate the experience best you can, and prepare for this great evening of film. To start, grab a mattress. It can be your mattress from your bedroom, a pull-out couch, an air mattress, etc. I suggest pillows, and lots of them! As many pillows as you can find… Once you have the area set it is time for snacks. Pick up you and your significant other’s favorite snacks and candy. Don’t forget sweet and salty! If of age, feel free to add a nice bottle of your favorite wine or spirit; that’s a great touch! Filling the room with candles, creates the perfect mood and aroma for any Valentine’s Day activity and further compliments this idea. Throw on your favorite film and enjoy!
Staying In: A Night In Paris
A classic take with a twist on making your Valentine’s date a delicious home-cooked meal. The first step in this idea is picking a place, it can be one of significance to you and your date, or a place you dream about visiting together someday. In this instance we will go with the city of love, Paris, but there are endless possibilities and ways your creativity can come into play to express details important to your relationship with your date. Each room or area in your home will exemplify the theme and serve a purpose for each different course. As each destination comes with different ideas for themes I highly recommend incorporating different elements to each room. For example each room can continue to get dimmer as the courses progress. String lights, candles, music, flowers, and even details down to the age of your wine is the perfect touch to any destination chosen. Each course of course will reflect the destination as well. Starters will be a charcuterie board paired with your favorite red or white wine in the kitchen. The second course is steak frites, which is steak and potatoes in the living room. The last and best course- dessert in the bedroom. The options for this course are endless and in my opinion the more the merrier. This idea allows a lot of room for customization which makes the experience all the more special.
Let these ideas spark your creativity and stir up excitement for this love filled holiday. Whether you share it with a loved one, your best friend, or even your dog we should all take a moment and remember this holiday is about spreading and sharing love. Supporting small businesses during this time of year is especially important, and there are so many easy ways to support them during this Valentine’s Day. Get creative, get personal, get crafty people. This is Valentine’s Day 2021 and we will not allow the pandemic to make it a boring one!
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