heart day

Let me tell you about Valentines Day.

Jay & I have never really celebrated it.

It seems too commercial, too contrived to have a day that’s stipulated by retail to be romantically surprising on the most unsurprising of days.
It’s a marketing holiday created by the likes of Hallmark and the florist industry to sell us romance complete with overpriced flowers, over-inflated chocolates and un-inspired restaurant set-menus.

A couple of months ago I found this Etsy store that does personalised art prints to tell the “it all began” tale of your own love story. I thought this was a beautiful & inspired idea, so I created the one of my own and ordered it.
With this in mind, I also calculated that I’d be receiving my order a few weeks before the day of St Valentine and I may as well give it to Jay to mark the occasion and that we should go out for dinner to top it off!

A Tavola is a restaurant that we’ve been to before in April last year for Dinner Club [that review here]. It’s Italian consisting of a well thought menu with simple dishes bursting with robust flavours that stay true to the various regions of Italy. The pasta is mostly hand made onsite and the small menu card (3 entrees, 3 mains, 3 sides) is supplemented by daily specials.

I received an email from them saying they were taking bookings for Valentines Day and it would be menu as usual, no set situation or set times. Huzzah!!!

We arrive early and get a drink at a lovely little Euro bar called Lil Darlin’ across the road from the restaurant while we wait for our booking.

Lil Darlin street front | pic courtesy of http://excusemewaiter.wordpress.com
interior communal table - pic from Australian Gourmet Traveller
pic courtesy http://jbjose.com

Below: Jay orders a special from the Consigli board. Unlike me, he’s generally not a pasta fan but he is in love with this dish and barely comes up for air as he omnomnom’s his way through it! (I couldn’t think of a better word to describe his complete face stuffing!)


Below: I have pasta off the standard menu. It’s right up my ally, with proscutto and tomatoes and Tuscan herbs. Yum.

Bucatini all `Amatriciana

We have a side of “Red cabbage, raisins, dolce latte, walnuts, balsamic” which is acidicly tart and has delicate clumps of blue-vein cheese through it scattered with crunchy walnuts. We drink a Sangiovese from Toscana ‘2007 Giacomo Mori – Palazzone Chianti’. Then boo, we’re too stuffed to contemplate dessert!

All in all Tuesday night was a lovely date night free from cheesy heart shaped anything! I could get used to this Valentines Day thing…


  1. Sounds like you had a great time. The pasta looked delicious. I hate restaurants that do prix fixe menus on holidays and cram in extra chairs and tables and rush you thorough your meal–some of my favorite restaurants do this and it’s so annoying. I’m glad you found one that doesn’t do that whatsoever.

    1. so true. it actually makes me riotous when restaurants ruin it with those silly set menus. I hope you at least ate something delicious and a little bit special on V-day!

      1. On the way home from work, I picked up a mess of tapas from a little Spanish place, some brut rosé (because one can’t get sangria to go!) and some white ranunculus (my wife’s favorite after tulips). We pigged out and watched the Westminster Dog Show…and a freakin’ Pekingese won!

  2. Oh my hills hoist! We shared a snack sized Cherry Ripe that Willow brought home from school and a card that she made us. I think it’s stupid that they make Valentine’s day stuff in Grade One but if it weren’t for Mrs Schur, the day may have passed unnoticed.

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