Dining With Desire 

The special day dedicated to romance, friendship and adoration is fast approaching. Why must Valentine’s Day get a bad rap? Well, alert the media because I ADORE it wholeheartedly. Whether you choose to celebrate or not, dining with your boo has become a societal expectation about how to celebrate V-Day. Who doesn’t enjoy those moments of a beautiful shared meal? 

In fact, think about dining with desire apart from a specific day on the calendar. Manifesting thoughts, experiences and emotions with loved ones around the table—whether at home or elsewhere—should be celebrated every single day. 

“Remind me to tell you about the time I looked deep into the heart of an artichoke.”
—Bette Davis, All About Eve

Some of my favorite movies are because of the food scenes. Chocolat, Julie & Julia, Soul Food, Like Water for Chocolate, and The Hundred-Foot Journey are only a few films that have inspired me throughout my culinary explorations. The scene in Chocolat where they commune around the table, laughing, eating and smiling gets me every single time. Their speechlessness and facial expressions as they relish the flavors of a chocolate-centered meal are pure gold. And when Meryl Streep tastes her first bite of pan-fried fish in Julie & Julia, I connect with her inability to understand the deliciousness of her meal. That’s dining with desire, my friends. You “foodies” out there know what I mean. 

Watching films like these strengthens my desire to connect with food, friends and love. Why even wait for Valentine’s Day? Do it now. Here are a few ideas to celebrate your main squeeze, your best buddies or yourself: 

  • Choose a few friends to cook for this weekend and serve them a plate full of gratitude for their friendship. Curate a menu in the style of Bridgerton with King George’s Roast Lamb with Tarragon and Mango Relish or linguine al pesto from The Sopranos served with Don Draper’s favorite drink, an Old Fashioned. I love seeing a table presenting family-style bounty and love. Good food and great company for the win.

  • Don’t feel like cooking? Choose three places for a progressive dining experience. Pop into OHMS for pre-dinner cocktails. Head over to Las Brisas for a lovely dinner, and then finish off the evening with dessert at Downtown Crush. Stay in close proximity and support our high-quality local eateries.

  • Forget about going out or entertaining at home. Make breakfast in bed … for dinner! Whether it’s just you and your cuddle bug or the whole family, this one is wide-open to your culinary imagination. One of the most memorable V-Day dates I ever had was the time my family and I ate dinner in bed and watched Jaws. We jumped out of our skin, but not one crumb was dropped onto the sheets. If you’re not careful, it’s moments like these that become tradition. *wink wink* 

Whatever you decide to do for Valentine’s Day, make sure you inject a little culinary desire, and I will heart it fifty million times over!


  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.

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