8 Food Ideas for a Valentine Date Night At Home

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by Andrew Coppolino

If there is one celebration suited to isolation and no social bubbles outside of the very closest, it has to be Valentine’s Day.

Make no mistake, however, the Valentine’s weekend, and often the two or three days around it, is traditionally one of the big days for restaurants to make money – that reality has never been more important than right now.

You can do your part during this lockdown by supporting local restaurants and ordering dinner in for a romantic Valentine’s evening in the comfort of your own home and kitchen.

Here are a few possible suggestions – out of the many – that you might investigate.

(Some quantities and limited and pre-ordering may be required, so check with individual venues regarding availability. Remember also that it is now legal for restaurants to sell you beverage kits and alcohol to takeout when you order food; that helps the businesses survive too.)

Valentine Date Night Ideas

Dana Shortt Gourmet and Gifts, Waterloo  
DSG has a great selection of chocolates and chocolate-themed gifts – likely perfect for after a enjoying a “collaborative” dinner that draws on the wonderful flavours created by neighbouring Waterloo bistro Red House Uptown: a shepherd’s pie with braised Beverly Creek Farms lamb shoulder with heirloom carrots, cauliflower and celeriac: good for two portions, the dish is topped with creamy, cheesy Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Nuestro 88, Kitchener  
Nuestro 88, located in the Deer Ridge neighbourhood near Sportsworld Drive, Kitchener, is taking orders for a “Sweet Treat Box.”

Overall, the restaurant blends Nicaraguan and Central American culinary influences and those of the Philippines: that means a combination of pandan macarons and dulce de leche cookie sandwiche, for instance.

Owners Paul Masbad and wife Evelyn are offering a bit of cultural education to the delicious food, according to Chef Masbad.

“Though Valentine’s Day here is considered more about personal romantic relationships, Latin and Filipinos also consider it love between family and friends. So I have combined a few pastries that I considered shareable not just personal,” he says

All boxes are $50 and come with a bottle of sparkling wine, compliments of Nuestro 88.

Café Pyrus and Outpost, Kitchener  
There is laid-back vibe to the organic vegetarian and vegan restaurant (now located at 305 King Street West in Kitchener), and there is also ‘sweetness’ beyond February 14.

There is a sweet barbecue “pulled-pork style” spaghetti squash on a bun, for one.

“Our drink specialty is a Chai latte that is both sweet and spicy,” according to Café Pyrus operations manager Tory Shantz. “We have it the full month of February, rather than just one day.”

The Outpost has also created sugar cookie decorating kits and fancy cupcakes for pre-order.


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Underground Flavour Group, Kitchener 
A collaborative and experimental cooking project located in the former Gilt restaurant space, Underground Flavour Group (UFG) is headed by local culinary entrepreneur Arnold Yescas. For Valentine’s Day, UFG is offering what he calls a “Cultural Collaboration Tapas Package.”

The package will feature five shareable tapas dishes from cooks Degni Sop, Claudio Perez, Zerka Mya, Navita Reedhi and Yescas, each with their own food businesses and culinary inspirations.

“Each chef will provide a small tapas dish that is meant to be shared and paired along with the other featured chefs’ dishes,” says Yescas. “It offers a fun, unique and delicious cultural collaborative dining experience.”

The box will also be paired with a bottle of Prosecco and a candle from the local candle makers Idle & Wood.

Jake & Humphreys Bistro, New Hamburg 
The porch pickup program at the bistro, nestled in a quaint older home in the lovely village of New Hamburg, is a satisfying one. While they don’t have specific specials for Valentine’s, it’s always a good idea to check Jake and Humphreys’ website because you never know what chefs and co-owners Janet Duncan and Klaus Ristanovic might be quietly preparing.

Their loyal customers, in fact, have being do just that for February 14.

“We already have time slots booked for customers’ take-out orders,” according to Duncan.

At JHB, the theme in pre-pandemic times was “Eat, Drink and Relax” – you can do that now in your own quaint home bistro with Duncan and Ristanovic doing the cooking.

The Culinary Studio, Waterloo 
Jody O’Malley and Kirstie Herbstreit, chef-owners of The Culinary Studio, newly moved to north Waterloo, appeal to “those whose love language is food.”

They suggest their dynamic Valentine’s cooking experience with your loved one in your own kitchen. The menu is Mediterranean-inspired and, along with an ingredient pack includes a bottle of wine. Sign up and you’ll receive a Zoom code as well as pick-up instructions for cooking 48 hours before the event.

The menu includes Gunn’s Hill Cheese cheese, smoked rosemary “reverse-marinade” Chicken Supreme, vegetables with baked Brie, couscous and yogurt sauce and raspberry-spiked chocolate pudding.

The Ridge Social Eatery, Ayr 
Tucked in on Roseville Road in Ayr, The Ridge Social Eatery states on their Facebook page that “just because you can’t sit in a restaurant this Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you can’t have a fine dining experience!

The Ridge is preparing two Valentine’s dinners for pre-order ($60 per couple or $80 per couple): an appetizer, a choice of main courses, and a dessert.

CE Food Experience, Waterloo 
Check out the Waterloo bakery’s three-course Date Night special dinner that includes sourdough crumble mac and cheese or vegan pot pie, along with a few other vegan and gluten-free selections

And … perhaps before your adult-time Valentine’s dinner later in the evening, you could get the kids involved making cookies earlier in the day: the D-I-Y vegan sugar cooking decorating kit from CE Food Experience can also be gluten-free (by pre-order only). Delivery also available where possible.


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Andrew Coppolino is a writer-broadcaster, and is a food columnist with CBC Radio in Waterloo Region. Following a stint as a cook at a restaurant in Kitchener, Andrew chose to work with food from the other side of the kitchen pass. As a food writer, he is dedicated to promoting and nurturing culinary businesses and advocating for local chefs and restaurants. Andrew’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada, the United States and England. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


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