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Six ways to Valentine's Day: a primer for Cupids in training

The Food Dude shares ideas to make your Valentine's Day sizzle.
by Dave Cathey Modified: February 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm •  Published: February 12, 2014

Time is running out, my cupids and cupidesses, so today I will show you six ways to Valentine's Day.

The most obvious thing to do is make a dinner reservation at a nice restaurant then invest in some combination of flowers, chocolates, silk undergarments and a greeting card — not necessarily in that order.

As far as dining out is concerned, recently released its list of the 25 most romantic cities in the U.S., and Oklahoma City ranked fifth thanks to places like The Cellar at Castle Falls, The Melting Pot, Paseo Grill and Opus Prime Steakhouse.

While Oklahoma City's inclusion might surprise you, keep in mind OpenTable's Most Romantic Cities Index was calculated using three variables: The percentage of restaurants rated “romantic” according to OpenTable diner reviews; the percentage of tables seated for two; and the percentage of people who dined out for Valentine's Day last year.

Only San Antonio, St. Louis, Providence, R.I., and Atlantic City, N.J., rated higher than Oklahoma City on the list.

Now for the bad news: If you haven't secured a reservation at any of Open Table's list of romantic local restaurants or even your own favorite secluded rendezvous by now, the pickings might be slim.

1.No. 1 on my list is a trip to Tsubaki, 5900 W Memorial Road, Suite E, for The Heart-Stealer roll. This brand-new sushi and hibachi restaurant on the far northwest corridor is a lovely little spot for dining-in or takeout. If you want to experience the full glory of this heart-shaped roll, plan on sticking around.

2.Sushi is light, bright and oozes romance, but I realize it's not for everyone. If you're looking for a dining experience like no other, consider my No. 2 recommendation: Queen of Sheba, 2308 N Macarthur Blvd., where eating with your hands is not only likely, it's the law. Owner Mimi Younis has been known to confiscate eating utensils at her fine Ethiopian restaurant, but in the case of romance, Mimi told me it's not enough to eat with your hands; you must feed your lover.

“It's the ultimate act of trust,” she said of allowing your beloved to feed you from his/her fingertips.

Top secret

I do have one other potential Valentine's activity to mention, but I can't yet speak about it from experience because it is so new. The ultra-talented chef Christine Dowd and her partner Maggie Howell, who are proprietors of Aunt PittyPat's Catering, have started A La Minute, which they describe as a culinary flash mob. I haven't yet done an A La Minute event, but I have eaten plenty of chef Dowd's food to vouch that no one will be disappointed. And as it turns out, chef Dowd and Howell have an event planned for 7 p.m. Friday.

For information about this super-exclusive experience, you'll need to go online to or “like” the Facebook page, The menu and location will be revealed when you register. Only 96 seats are available for this event.

Dining at home

Because Valentine's Day proper falls on Friday, seats at local restaurants will be hard to come by, so I expect there will be a lot of folks destined to dine at home this year and celebrate the holiday out on Saturday or Sunday. That's right — it will be a double Valentine's experience for many.

3.So, for dining at home, consider my No. 3 idea: the heart-shaped steak. Rhett Lake, owner of Rhett's Meat Market, and many other local butchers can hand-carve a full rib-eye into a heart shape large enough to feed two for two days. Lake will even throw in a batch of his famous mashed potatoes and a dusting of his specialty rub developed over two decades at the Indian Hills Steakhouse in Norman, where Lake spent the early part of his career.

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Valentine's Whoopee Pie


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

3 tablespoons red food coloring


8 ounces cream cheese

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2½ cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a heart-shape cookie cutter, box or template cut from heavy stock paper, trace evenly spaced hearts onto two pieces of parchment large enough to cover a cookie sheet.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, espresso powders and baking soda into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in half the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat. Don't overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip or none at all. Pipe the batter in a V-shape within the heart tracings on the parchment paper, then curl back to make a heart. Press batter together to fill in the tracings.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until the tops are set. Transfer cookie pies to cooling racks. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract then beat in the confectioners' sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Using a small rubber spatula, apply frosting to flat sides of each cookie pie, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich frosted sides together and press gently until filling reaches the edges.

Refrigerate in an airtight container to help the frosting set. They can be served chilled or returned to room temperature.

Source: Dave and Lori Cathey


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