Valentine's Day Planner: When you go down on one knee, try not to knock over the Cliquot

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Not on the V-Day Menu at Trina
Right, gents, it's the most perilous time of year to be a man. Every move you make or fail to for Valentine's Day will pretty much seal up your romantic prospects for the year. My brother once made the hideous gaffe (who knew?) of giving his girlfriend a ring on February 14th. It was a very nice antique ring with a sapphire. Only problem was, she'd expected an ENGAGEMENT ring, which this one clearly wasn't. Was he in the doghouse!

Miss Lonelyhearts advises you to make your dinner reservations no later than the end of this week. Depending on how superstitious you are, you might get creative and celebrate V-day on Friday night the 13th, avoiding the crush of canoodlers, particularly if you're planning to propose (although I admit, it sounds pretty risky). This article from Gourmet should put budding proposal plans in perspective: Skip trying to plant the ring in her pudding (one woman actually swallowed a one-carat diamond) and for a best-case scenario, propose at home, then go to dinner. That'll help avoid any embarrassment if she turns you down, and maybe the happy in-laws-to-be will even pick up the tab. After the jump, a short list of restaurants with special V-Day menus or prices:
  • Sublime in Fort Lauderdale is doing a vegan V-Day dinner for $75 per person for a four-course dinner plus $25 for a caviar and champagne supplement. The menu includes tomato bisque, Garden of Eden salad, "beef" bourguignon or gourmet mushrooms en papillote, and Sublime "cheesecake." Seatings from 5:30 to 10. 
  • One of our favorite places for romance, Josef's in Plantation is putting on a fancy 5-course meal that includes a choice of options. Here's what would put me in the mood: Lump crabmeat cocktail, lobster ravioli, chopped salad, veal chop with wild mushroom marsala and baked mac n' cheese, a dark chocolate tart, and a glass of homemade orangecello. Cost is $85 per person and requires a $50 deposit at the time of reservation.
  • Lola's in Hollywood rolls out a three-course meal in shades of rouge: a raspberry bellini to toast with; seared ahi tuna with red cabbage and red pepper slaw, or, red beet salad with poached pears and candied pecans; red chili crusted filet mignon, or, seared chilean sea bass with red lentil pancakes; and finally a red velvet cupcake or red rhubarb pie. Price is $65 per person.
  • Trina Fort Lauderdale wants you to do it early, so you'll have some energy left over later for, you know... Their sunset "Lovebirds" special is only $39; after 6:30 the price for a menu with additional choices rises to $59. Chef Brian Kaye's Menu of Love includes asparagus veloute or stuffed squid; arugula or baby watercress salad; a main course choice of lobster risotto, stuffed jumbo shrimp with peekytoe crab, or a grilled lollipop veal chop; and a choice of desserts. 
  • Finally, if you're on a budget, the Banyan restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure has a prix-fix that'll fix you up. $35 per person gets you a salad, surf n' turf, snapper, or grilled NY strip steak, a free glass of bubbly, and a choice of four desserts.
See the restaurants' websites for further details (believe me, the shorthand descriptions above do them no justice.) I'll post more options as they come rolling into the in-box.
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