I’m a very lucky man on Valentine’s Day. Nena and I don’t exchange gifts, we don’t do flowers and we don’t go out to dinner.

We skip the gifts because there are always much better ways for us to spend money. I don’t like to give flowers on the days you’re "supposed" to-that’s not thoughtful in my book. And, we don’t do dinner on Valentine’s Day because it’s amateur night-restaurants offer over-priced, under-delivering set menus and people who never go out to eat at nice restaurants show up, and it shows.

Instead, we cook for one another to celebrate the Hallmark Holiday.

Tulocay_2000zinfandelUsually, Nena makes me my favorite breakfast, he banana-chocolate chip pancakes for dinner on Valentine’s Day and then I cook a special meal the following weekend. But, with little Jackson here this year, she made them for me yesterday morning and then I cooked a scaled down meal for dinner. Instead of five or more courses, I just roasted potatoes, cooked some green beans and grilled (in the freezing rain) some strip steaks. I did make a bacon dressing for the beans and some Gorgonzola butter for the steaks, but it was nice to just have a meal together.

This year, of course, we both had a new Valentine, little Jackson, who fell asleep just in time for us to eat. Nena even sipped a little wine last night-a 2000 Tulocay Zinfandel and 2005 Banfi Rosa Regale (with warm brownie sundaes). She only had a couple sips of each, but it was an important bit of normalcy I think.