Valentine's Day Dinners Answered
All of those restaurants are charging a premium for mediocre food on Valentine's day; stay home and make something instead. Instructables is full of great recipes that can be made quickly and easily; the pictures make it (virtually) foolproof. I've included some suggestions below to get you started; feel free to add your own favorites.
I'd recommend picking things that can be made ahead, preferably the night before, so you KNOW you've done them right. Or at least things that require little preparation; pick only one thing that requires attention just before serving.
All of the recipes listed below are easy, and most can be made ahead of time except where noted. Light and fruity is probably the best choice for Valentine's dinner; I've also steered clear of heavy garlic. If you can lay hands on a nice-looking table cloth and/or cloth napkins it will be a bonus. Cloth napkins will fool most anyone into thinking you're classy.
Mangos (prep ahead; cute and fruity)
Avocados (prep ahead; fruity and a nice complement to mangos)
Catfish (fast prep, wide cooking window)
Scallops (quick, but require cooking just prior to serving)
Bulgogi (again quick, but requires cooking just prior to serving)
Beet salad (make ahead; cut into heart shapes for bonus points)
Roasted fennel (minimal prep, wide cooking window)
Artichokes (minimal prep, entertaining to eat)
Green salad of any type
Trifle (make ahead from easy ingredients; make individual servings in big wine glasses if you've got them, or a short wide-mouthed "old fashioned" glass.)
Frozen ginger/mango (make ahead with any fruit juice combination you like)
Chocolate truffles (make ahead; bonus points for chocolate)