Monday, February 12, 2007

Dinner for 2

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. In my opinion, it’s amateur night for dining out (as is New Years Eve and any Friday or Saturday night), however it’s no less a to-do in Lincolnton than it is anywhere else.

I recall a Valentine’s Day in New York a few years back when Marty and I dined at Daniel. Daniel had catered our wedding a few months before, but we had never actually eaten at the restaurant. Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect occasion to dine at a swanky and upscale, 4-star French restaurant. And while the evening was delicious and exquisite on so many levels, I resented the over-priced, prix-fixe menu. I resented the overcrowded dining room. I resented the whole lemming-like mentality of the evening. Besides, when did Marty and I need an occasion to blow a wad on dinner?

I stopped giving a lot of thought to Valentine’s Day dinner after that night at Daniel. But this year, it’s been hard to ignore thanks to a handful of ads in the Lincoln Times-News. And while none of these restaurants will give Daniel a run for his money, they’ve certainly managed to catch my attention.

I have yet to write about Tradewinds (it’s on my agenda as it has been for the last few months) but it is a real restaurant that serves real food. Marty and I spend quite a bit of time there. We know the owner, the chef, the waitresses and the bartenders. For Valentine’s day, they are serving shrimp cocktail appetizer, prime rib for 2 (2 10-oz. cuts of aged prime rib), salad, bread, and red velvet cake. Cost: $39.95

You all know about Zippers by now. I think of it as an insanely smoky biker bar featuring questionable karaoke singers. But it’s also a restaurant – and serves more than just your typical greasy spoon breakfast. On the 14th, Zippers will be serving Surf & Turf for 2 which includes a 10-oz. ribeye steak with choice of fantail or calabash shrimp, dinner salad, roll and choice of French fries or hushpuppies. Cost: $34.95.

But The one that really caught my eye was Chuckwagon Grill. Chuckwagon is open til 9:00pm on Wednesday and serving a ribeye steak or prime rib dinner for 2 (you beginning to see a theme here?) including baked potato, side salad, choice of desert and drink (meaning choose between Sundrop or Cheerwine – not between Dom Perignon and Cristal). The ad continues: Curb service, dine-in or take-out. Dine Inside for Valentine atmosphere. Ladies receive rose and balloon (while supplies last). Cost: $32.95.

The thing is I am trying really hard to imagine eating a prime rib dinner while sitting in my pick-up, and all I can come up with is…

If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your…