Entertaining Photo Credit: Western Living

Staff Picks: How We Want to Spend Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we asked our team what they’ll be doing on the most romantic day of the year.

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The view from the Canlis dining room in Seattle.

A Weekend Escape. I would love a little getaway. Even something close like Seattle would be fine. And then eat some good food and drink some good wine/beer/cider with the fella. —Jenny Reed, Assistant Art Director

chinese dumpling

A Daring Dinner. My partner and I don’t cook at home as much as we should (especially considering that I work for a magazine with such a robust collection of awesome recipes), but a special occasion is the perfect reason to challenge our status quo. Though WL posted these dumpling-making tips in honour of Chinese New Year, I think a hands-on project—plus a bottle of white—like this sounds like the perfect way to bust-up our take-out rut and incite some quality time this V-day. —Stacey McLachlan, Associate Editor

prontino vancouver
You don’t need a reservation for local favourite, Prontino. (Photo: Courtesy Prontino.)

No Reservation Required. I’m not a big book-in-advance person and I always feel like ‘special occasion’ nights like this sneak up me. That’s one of the reasons why I love being able to drop in at the takes-no-reservations Prontino (3475 Cambie St., Vancouver). It’s the sophisticated sister of the neighbourhood pasta joint Pronto (which is right next door) and it serves up the same sweet Italian eats, but in a setting that’s one of my favourites in town. Designed by Scott Cohen, the intimate interior is wall-to-wall mid-toned wood with a big bar and a handful of booths in domed art deco shapes—the effect is like stepping into a 1920s rail car. People rave about the fancy drinks menu, but I love that I can just show up—even on Valentine’s Day—and count on a cozy date night that comes with a generous glass of the house red. —Julia Dilworth, Staff Writer

PS_HKang_Aerial_6588415_Hrz8in
The windy shores of Tofino are calling to our Art Director for Valentine’s Day.

Beaching It. Definitely a walk on the beach in Tofino. Catch some storm watching or some early spring sun. Maybe a little treatment or dinner at Wickaninnish Inn. —Paul Roelofs, Art Director

mark-best-beef-tartare

An Uncomplicated Home Feast. I’ll be honest: for me the idea of going out to a restaurant for dinner on Valentine’s Day is a little cringe-inducing. Sitting there with everyone else trying to convey romantic love? Another double whisky please to help get me through this nightmare. It’s not that I don’t do romance, but for me I’d rather do it on my own terms and that means spending too much on ingredients and making dinner at home. The pitfall to avoid is getting too complicated: Beef Wellington is amazing, but you’ll be spending so much time in the kitchen that you’ll convey only devotion, not romance. My go-to? Beef Tartare. Sounds complicated, but it’s simple and hedonistic, and it has hardly any ingredients. Just don’t cheap out on the beef and get a farm fresh egg and you’re a star (like Australia’s Mark Best who shared his recipe with us last month). 

When you pick the wine your dominant thought should be using the money you saved not going out on a bottle to remember. So if you were going to buy Veuve Cliquot at restaurant prices that means you can buy, say, Taittinger at retail prices. Easy. —Neal McLennan, Food and Travel Editor

Café Bicyclette
Café Bicyclette in Edmonton’s French Quarter. (Photo: Café Bicyclette.)

Brunch is in the Air. I love brunch. So when it comes to choosing how to celebrate the most romantic date on the calendar—which conveniently falls on a Sunday this year—I only have eyes for Café Bicyclette (8627 Rue Marie-Anne-Gaboury, Edmonton). The bright and modern French bistro located in Cité Francophone has everything that a brunch fanatic could want. The menu stays true to its European roots with its simple and beautifully executed array of sweet and savoury dishes. Once you finish up with your chocolate croissant or eggs Benedict (or both), grab a coffee and wander outside with your date to warm up around the outdoor fireplace before walking hand-in-hand down the French quarter’s Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury. —Jyllian Park, Edmonton City Editor

Cassis-Bistro-Calgary
Cassis Bistro in Calgary. (Photo: Courtesy Cassis Bistro.)

French Kiss. When a trip for two to Paris, the City of Romance, isn’t in the cards head to Calgary’s Cassis Bistro (2505 17 Ave SW, Calgary). A cozy setting with an intimate bar, charming owners, and some of the best French food this side of the Atlantic, including the always outstanding steak frites, it’s my idea of the perfect romantic ‘date night.’ —Karen Ashbee, Calgary City Editor 

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