Something unsettling has spread about the culinary mediaverse in recent weeks.
If you spend as much time as I do browsing the websites, Instagram accounts and — on particularly hungry evenings — LinkedIn pages of restaurants, you’ve probably noticed it. Also, get yourself some help — your homework, pets and sleep cycle need you.
It arrives as a pop-up window on The Grill’s landing page, as an email from Baltimore’s own Cinghiale and, admittedly, in my blog post for the James Beard Foundation.
I’m talking about the ceaseless barrage of Valentine’s Day fuss and hoopla dominating the food Twittersphere and refusing to let anyone, either single or taken, forget that Saint Valentine martyred himself so that we could all spend an extra $11.50 on an overcooked chocolate lava cake tonight.
I know this column sings with enthusiasm for CVS’s favorite holiday, but I, shockingly, am not thrilled. I’m single — very single — with no plans for today and no ambition of making any.
It’s actually my first solo V-Day in a few years. OpenTable so kindly reminded me just yesterday of my anniversary with their reservation system, which is to say the first Valentine’s Day dinner rez I made for my ex. I hear Resy is quite nice this time of year.
So I’ve spent this week racking my brain as to how exactly I should spend this evening. After whatever classes I manage to attend are over and extracurriculars wrap up, what is this fine bachelor to do with himself on the most romantic day of the year?
In truth, I’m gonna eat my goddamn heart out.
Once I step out from the sultry mood lights of the Blue Jay Shuttle and make my way up to my apartment, I’ll shower, put on some especially ugly pajamas and set up for a long night of pigging the f*** out.
I picture it thus: I’ll start by lighting the candle for which I paid an inordinate price in a shop in Hampden last week. Then, I’ll gently apply my red clay face mask — self care is important — before slowly sauntering over to the kitchen.
There I’ll meet my hot date, the half jar of Nutella that’s been sitting in my pantry since I returned for Intersession. Joined by an apple, a bag of tortilla chips or maybe just a spoon, we’ll waltz back to my bedroom, where the true romance will begin.
By that, of course, I mean I’ll curl up in bed and dedicate the rest of the evening to catching up on my Game of Thrones (GoT) rewatch schedule. I’m about halfway through season two, when Jon and Ygritte’s love really picks up steam, so the next four hours or so are sure to be exceptionally romantic.
An episode or two in, my chocolate–hazelnut lover will probably run out, and I’ll be forced to confront the fact that I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping in a couple weeks.
Dejected, I’ll turn sheepishly toward that late-night rendezvous I can always count on — UberEats. The nights we share are always unpredictable — will it be a container of tofu pad thai, a whole Ledo’s pizza or a Wendy’s frosty with fries for dipping? — but seldom unsatisfying.
Maybe the disconcertingly large bottle of Campari on top of the fridge will serve as a welcome palate cleanser. Its bitterness will help to wash away some of my own and freshen me up for a few more hours of self-indulgence.
By two or three, when the credits roll on the end of GoT’s second season, I’ll feel hideous, pathetic, even immoral. But far, far more importantly, I’ll feel full.
So, my single comrades, I implore you: Eat your heart out this V-Day, and feel no shame for it.
Did Andy decide to hit up your newly minted little for an evening of Barefoot in the dorm instead of you? Upgrade to Yellowtail and Chipotle in the two-bedroom — that’ll show him.
Did Jenn from O-Chem leave your heart-eye-emoji–laden notes of devotion on read? Don’t worry, bud, your roommate’s expired bag of shredded cheese is here for you.
And if you feel like you deserve a little extra treat, maybe call ahead for a table for one at your favorite Baltimore date spot. Order a glass of Poulsard you can’t afford and a plate of pasta that will warm your frigid heart. Plus, you won’t have to pretend not to notice when your greedy date splits the chocolate panna cotta 60/40.
However you prefer to do it, make sure to treat yourself right tonight. Have a drink, throw on some impressively winged black eyeliner and show Hallmark what you’re made of — resilience, pride and Reddi-Whip straight from the can.