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A man's guide to Valentine's dinner on the Gulf Coast


  Tiramisu from Vrazel's (photo by C. McCain)

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You have purchased a twelve-dollar box of chocolates, a dozen red roses, a fancy card you have signed (but not read), and perfume; not because you like the scent, but because the cute girl behind the counter suggested it. The only thing left on the agenda is where to eat?

Fast food is out of the question. A mid-level chain restaurant would be OK, except there will be dozens of couples waiting outside jockeying for position to the hostess; all this while a man decides to make this Valentine's Day his future fiance's most memorable by proposing to her on the front sidewalk riddled with chewing gum and filthy cigarette butts.

How can anyone possibly compete with that? The night will not end well. Trust me.

Take my advice.

Ditch the candy. Find out her favorite flower and purchase a dozen. READ the card (better yet, make your own). Buy earrings instead. Lastly, make a reservation to one of these Gulf Coast gems:

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Confusion

Phone: 228.604.4617
Site: www.seekclarity.com
Location: 162 Tegarden Road
                Gulfport, MS 39507
Dinner entrees: $20+ and up

Fresh. Fun. Ecclectic.

These are some of the words that might cross the minds of those who walk into Confusion. Colors are on parade upon entering, reminiscent of Andy Warhol's pop art.

After Robin delivers the night's specials, you might want to take the time to admire some of the local artwork on the walls. They are definitely worth discussing over a glass of vino. But do not overload your senses while awaiting your meal. Save some for the food.

Your palate (and your date) will thank you!

  Mary Mahoney's

Phone: 228.374.0163
Site: www.marymahoneys.com
Location: 110 Rue Magnolia
                Biloxi, MS 39530
Dinner entrees: $20+ and up

The history of Mary Mahoney's goes without saying. This local favorite has been serving up fine seafood dishes for more than four decades. Sit in the same seats where presidents and celebrities have eaten.

Mary Mahoney's architecture dates from the 18th century, and it still stands proudly with a wonderful courtyard to boot. The wait staff is keen and knowledgeable. They will help you with your selections without being pretentious. Do not be surprised to hear a great story from one of the men in the green jackets!

If great seafood with southern charm are on the menu, Mary Mahoney's is the place to be.

 Vrazel's

Phone: 228.863.2229
Site: www.vrazels.com
Location: 3206 West Beach Blvd
               Gulfport, MS 39501
Dinner entrees: $20+ and up

Although Chef Bill Vrazel is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, he keeps the flavors of the Gulf Coast close to his heart. This culmination of knowledge and instinct lends itself to some of the best tasting food the coast has to offer (sorry mom).

Consistency is key in his kitchen, and your palate will experience the same essence of any particular dish each time you step through Vrazels' doors. As witnessed first-hand, Chef Vrazel is a perfectionist when it comes to his cuisine!

Welcome yourself to the warm ambiance of Vrazel's. Enjoy exceptional fare from a local chef who uses fresh herbs from the garden. Vrazel's will not be open Sunday; but by substituting a Saturday dinner in its place, your loved one will have more time to thank you come Valentine's Day.

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