Sure, you can rely on the Valentine’s Day standby of a romantic dinner in a crowded restaurant or the old flower-and-chocolate routine. But with so much food fun around Los Angeles, why settle for the tried and true?
On Saturday, jump on the hipster foodie wagon, er truck, at the L.A. Street Food Fest. The latest and greatest of the L.A. food truck generation will make an appearance including the Buttermilk Truck (mmm….doughnut bites), the artery-clogging Grilled Cheese Truck, and the bakery on wheels known as the Sweets Truck. (No Kogi truck, sorry to say.)
On Sunday, make it a day of romance at a local farmers market followed by a cooking session for two.
1. Large farmers market can be a little overwhelming—it’s crowded and if you’re not familiar with the layout, it can be daunting. The trick to most farmers markets is to get there very early or very late in the day. (Of course, getting there late runs the risk of facing limited and picked-over produce.)
2. One of the most romantic things about a farmers market is that it asks you to be in the moment. By definition, if you’re paying attention and using all your senses, it is a sensual experience. The way one should shop and experience a farmers market is to use all the sense: smell, look, listen, taste, and touch.
3. Any good farmers market will provide samples, as it’s a farmer’s greatest selling tool. When you taste something that’s been grown locally and in season, has been picked at its peak a day or two before the market, and carefully transported, you’ll be sold. Few things are more romantic than sampling fresh fruit together, whether it’s citrus, berries or apples.
4. Go in with an open mind and choose things that look fresh and seasonal to create your menu. You’re working together in the moment to create a future moment in the kitchen. Keep it simple and it will be fun to prepare the meal. Making it overly complicated with only spoil the mood.
5. To get into the mood, stop by the Carlsbad Aquafarm booth at the Santa Monica market on Saturdays. You can buy a few oysters which are known to be an aphrodisiac. They’ll even shuck them so you can eat them right there the spot.
6. Right now, California citrus is at its peak and that includes the coveted Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are amazing—they’re easy to work with to make simple yet sexy dishes. You can make a Meyer lemon and shallot relish to make sparkly mignonette to put on top of those oysters. Or try a refreshing light Meyer lemon ice cream served with beautiful Cara Cara oranges which also peak in winter.
Click here for Amelia's recipe for Meyer lemon relish.
7. We’re seeing a lot of beautiful, lush cooking greens right now. On a cold night, it’s very romantic to make a one-dish meal: Try a winter pasta dish made with whole-wheat pasta with potatoes, onions, cheese, and those rich greens like kale and chard. It’s simple, delicious and cozy without being too heavy.
8. Avocados are a natural aphrodisiac and winter avocados are in season. Pick up some Channel Island crab to make a simple avocado and crab salad. Bottom line, it's really not difficult to make something luxurious from farmers market ingredients.
For more farmers market advice, visit Amelia online at www.ameliasaltsman.com.