The Foobooz Guide to an Actually Fun, Delicious Valentine’s Day

A last-minute guide for the happily in love, the bitterly single and everyone in between.

Cake Life Bake Shop’s conversation heart cookies | Photo provided

Valentine’s Day is … complicated. In addition to basically being a fake holiday, it kind of sucks. Most of the time, you spend a lot of money and put a lot of pressure on an evening that turns out to be pretty mediocre. Alternatively, you’re single and, no matter how you feel about being single, you’re very annoyed by all the pink and hearts and roses coming at you from every corner. That’s where we come in. We’ve rounded up all of the actually fun, actually cool things that you can eat, do, buy, attend and order so you can have a pretty fun night, no matter your relationship status.

Things you can order online if you get home and realize you forgot to pick something up:

Cake Life Bake Shop, Fishtown
Cake Life delivers via Caviar, so if you competely forgot to pick something up, or you don’t want to, or you’re far away, or you just want some cake, they can make that happen for you. Their delivery page is updated with a couple of Valentine’s Day specials, so you can order their conversation heart cookies, which will even include the option to specify a “naughty” or “nice” message.

Again, this is not exactly a candlelit dinner recommendation, but I think you could create a real vibe in your house using nothing but items from GoPuff. My recommended order: Hot Cheetos, roses (preferably red, to match the Cheetos), Bagel Bites, a twelve-pack of Modelo and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. If anyone isn’t happy with that, you shouldn’t be around them anyway.

Opening Corks, tickets $65
Get the wine-lover in your life tickets to Opening Corks, the kick-off event to Philly Wine Week. Wine professionals from throughout the city and region will be on site opening over 100 exciting bottles, and food will be provided by a yet-to-be-announced roster of cool Philly restaurants.

Sang Kee Peking Duck House
You know what makes a statement? A whole duck. You can order one on Caviar through Sang Kee’s website. Set the table really nice with a good bottle of wine and you’ll get more kudos than if you cooked.

A Special Dinner at Laurel, tickets $225
If you want to treat your partner to a really, really nice meal but you know better than to go out on Valentine’s Day proper, buy tickets to Nick Elmi’s winter “Cook the Book” dinner at Laurel on February 26th. He’ll be cooking through the winter dishes in his book, so it’s a super-personal way to check out Laurel.

Where to go if you must go out

Our instinct around this holiday is to hunker down in our homes, but if you must go out, skip any spot with a Valentine’s Day prix-fixe or very sultry lighting in favor of excellent neighborhood spots that don’t have red heart-shaped balloons floating in the windows. You’ll get better service and probably better food, because the servers and cooks won’t be overwhelmed by the panicked masses. Here are a couple of spots to get you started.

Kim’s BBQ
Fake cooking with your sweetheart by heading out of Center City to Kim’s, where the servers will help you out if you have no idea what you’re doing with Korean BBQ. The cozy banquettes are comfortable (no bar stools here) and cooking the food yourself will give you a chance to linger.

Jamaican Jerk Hut
Skip the fake romance in favor of an excellent neighborhood spot that will likely be hurting for business this weekend anyway. BYO six-pack and dig into jerk chicken, grilled over the jerk pits in their kitchen.

Tacos California
Tacos California specializes in tacos de canasta, or basket tacos, where to tacos are premade and stacked into a basket layered with onions and sometimes chili oil, and steamed in hot oil. The result is a very tender, very moist taco and a very … er, steamy Valentine’s Day.

Things you can preorder with only 48 hours notice:

Fiore Fine Foods, Queen Village
In addition to their Valentine’s Day prix-fixe, you can still preorder any of Fiore’s beautiful, handmade confections, including their incredible soft chocolate torrone, chocolate-dipped vanilla bourbon caramels, or a box of assorted, handprinted bon bons in a variety of flavors. You can also preorder pastries for a delightful morning moment. Finally, if you want to cook something nice at home, Fiore has a nicely stocked array of high-end dried pasta, olive oil, vinegar and very tasty condiments like black olive pesto and wildflower honey.

Federal Donutsmultiple locations
Skip the useless bouquet of flowers in favor of a very useful (read: delicious) bouquet of 13 donut holes from Federal Donuts, all in special V-day flavors. Extra points if you deliver them to your beloved in bed. With coffee. Just saying.

Black Cat Tavern
For long-distance carb-lovers, pre-order a $10 plate of pierogis from Black Cat through Etsy, send them the giftee’s Instagram account and they’ll tag that person letting them know there’s a piping hot plate of pierogi’s waiting for them. True romance.

Places you can stop by on your way home to pick up something nice:

Primal Supply Meats, East Passyunk or Brewerytown
This is not a recommendation for where to go, but instead a recommendation to spend your splurge on a really nice steak at Primal Supply (and maybe also a nice bottle of wine to go with it) and then cook it in the privacy of your own home, where you can be alone and also not pay the markup involved with having someone else cook you a (probably less nice) steak. They’ll also have plenty of options for a cheese and charcuterie boards, fresh pasta, and handmade Nathan Miller chocolates.

Di Bruno Bros.
A piece of fancy cheese and a bottle of wine make any evening feel special, but Di Bruno Bros. also has various Valentine’s Day specific items, including a salami bouquet and a chocolate-filled chocolate heart complete with a hammer to crack it open. Available for to order online or at the Rittenhouse Square location.

Weckerly’s, Fishtown
Weckerly’s really has the seasonal ice cream sandwich game down, which is why they OF COURSE are selling conversation heart ice cream sandwiches that are definitely 100% better than the dust-flavored ones we all received in elementary school. Preorder them here, or just go into the store.

Things to check out if this whole list makes you want to barf:

The Bourse, Old City
Bring a picture of an ex to the Bar by Bluebird Distillery in the Bourse any time on Valentine’s Day, run it through their shredder and receive a free cocktail.

Photo courtesy of Punch Media