No Reservation? No problem.

Food Columnist Devin Hardy offers up a tasty Valentine’s Day dinner for two.

It’s Valentine’s Day next Thursday, and you haven’t made a reservation! Don’t panic, keep it old school and prepare that special someone a fun, tasty meal. This meal is all about comfort. Time to get started on this taste adventure!

Let’s start off with something a little cheesy, an artichoke melt. This will dissolve any lingering tensions and melt away those reservations you have about tackling this challenge of cooking  from scratch.

Appetizer: Artichoke Melt 

Sourdough or white break, thickly sliced

Artichoke hearts

Mayo (substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream)


Salt/pepper/(to taste)

Combine mayo and hearts in a bowl, and spread the mixture over the bread. Top with a layer of mozzarella, bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Option: for presentation points, serve it over a sprinkle of parsley flakes.

Now, it’s time to get into the meat of this story, quite literally. We’ll dive into the main course—a bourbon (or substitute*) marinated steak that has a smokey flavor to it, but is also slightly sweet.

Main Course: Marinated Steak 

Caramelize the onions, and then add the chili and garlic. Then after letting them sauté, add coke. Then place your meat in it and let it sit for 5 hours. Take those out and sear in a pan. You can also boil the rest of the marinade for a reduction/the onions absorb the liquid making it a bit more flavorful. When the center of the steak gets to about 160 degrees in the middle, take them out and then you can finish it in the oven.

 *(Option: You can substitute the entire marinade above for coke, seven-up, soy sauce, and sesame oil. This goes better with thin slices of steak like brisket or flank. It is a lighter, more citrus flavor. It won’t overwhelm you either since it’s much simpler).

Dessert: Chocolate Caramel Corn

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 cups popcorn


Melt butter over medium heat. Add in sugar and corn syrup, whisking until mixture begins to bubble. Turn off heat and whisk in vanilla, salt and baking soda. Fold in popcorn. This is the point in time when I melt the chocolates and drizzle over Carmel corn.

Well, adventurer, you’ve reached the end of this story. Bottom line: Food on Valentine’s Day is about comfort. Because when you have comfort food, you feel as ease with that special someone.


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