Traditional:

Chocolates and teddy bears line the shelves for Valentine's Day

It's not too late to get those chocolates, and the bears are out of sticky fingers range.

Chocolate

You know it’s Valentine’s Day when the holiday isle at the grocery store runs red with heart-shaped boxes. But give us Theo chocolates over the soy lecithin masses any day. Available at several specialty stores, these chocolates are perhaps the best we’ve had. On a tour of the factory several years ago, we learned that the business operates on fair trade principles and produces certified organic chocolates. Sugar and good karma? You can’t beat that with a stick.

Dinner

The modern Second Floor lists several vegetarian options on its dinner menu and possibly one of the most interesting salad menus around. Pickled beet with watercress and goat cheese? Even if we have to leave off the profiterole, we say yes please. Of course we don’t encourage limiting yourself to salads, but these look to be great starts.

A French restaurant with a long family culinary history, Cadot has put together a special menu for Valentine’s Day. While this menu does not list vegetarian options, a prompt reply to an e-mail inquiry confirmed that, “Yes, you can order a vegetarian entree on Valentine’s Day. Just ask your waiter.” The standard dinner menu offers two options in the dedicated vegetarian section, and several of the salads appear easily modified to fit dietary needs.

We’re not going to say that all Italian restaurants are the same, but, while wonderful, they are always iffy for vegetarians. We’re partial to a couple of neighborhood places in the suburbs, but Lucia may be more your style. With so many great choices in the Metroplex, be sure the marinara doesn’t include a little beef broth and there is no chicken broth in the cream sauce if that is your preference. Often, Italian restaurants offer two tomato-based sauce options, one vegetarian and one not, so asking the server will ensure you get the one you want. And pairing bruschetta with caprese salad and a little candlelight goes a long way toward a romantic evening.

Less Traditional:

Beer and heart-shaped baloons

Apparently, nothing says, “I love you!” in Texas like a balloon and a six pack.

Picnic

Grab a wicker basket, fill it with a couple of #19s with avocado from Great Outdoors, some preserves, crackers, wine and a warm blanket, and take your partner to the Dallas Arboretum. Use a table on the patio or find a nice lake-facing slope to sit and share lunch.

Pizza Night

Papa Murphy’s has a pretty good gourmet vegetarian pizza, and maybe they’d even let you alter the meaty “Heartbaker” they’re advertising this week. Either way, this is a good chance to spend a quiet evening with your partner. Stay at home, get a fire going and maybe find a nice romance on Netflix and you’ve got everything you could have going out, only in a more intimate setting.

Non-Traditional:

Maybe the dinner and a movie route is just not your thing. If you’re like us, and go out for dinner several times a week, the excitement isn’t in the destination, but in the experience. If this the case, trying something completely different could be fun. Spend an hour on the trampolines at Cosmic Jump in Allen, or get up close and personal with a kickboxing class at Octagon in Uptown. Climb on at a local rock wall or start that SCUBA class you’ve talked about for so long. As long as you share a common interest, you can have fun and strengthen your relationship bonds this Tuesday. Just be creative and you’ll find a way to spend quality time with your partner.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.