12 Oaks’ Guide to a Low-Key, Romantic Valentine’s Day

Happy 2020 readers! At 12 Oaks we are excited to kick off a new decade with a post dedicated to taking the stress out of the supposed most romantic night of the year: Valentine’s Day. Sure, some say that Valentine’s Day is a bit of a silly, manufactured holiday. But we believe any excuse to connect with your significant other (SO) and cultivate a loving, romantic relationship is a good one. 

Our goal for this Valentine’s Day? Let’s make it one of the best low-key romantic nights ever. Below we’ll share our three-step process to take the stress out of V-Day. Trust us, these tips and tricks are sure to make the night memorable, fun and romantic for you and your partner. 

Tip 1: Skip The Reservations

When we think back to Valentine’s past, we’re reminded of the pressure to secure the perfect reservation. Always at a fancy restaurant, serving their special Valentine’s pre-fixe menu. This sounds incredible, until you arrive at the restaurant and notice the tables are so close together that you could easily ask the couple to the right if you could just taste a bite of their lasagna (come on, just one!). Let’s admit, those tiny squished-together tables make for great eavesdropping opportunities, but the ambiance does not encourage intimate, romantic conversation (unless, of course, you enjoy being eavesdropped upon…)

Our advice: Skip the reservations and make other dinner plans. You’ll reduce your stress and the expectation that dinner, with that pre-fixe price tag, must be perfect. What are some better options for dinner? Consult Tip 2! 

Tip 2: Get Creative With Dinner

What do we mean when we say get creative with your Valentine’s Day dinner? Well, this all depends on what constitutes a fun, romantic night for you and your SO.

For some of us that might mean staying in and preparing some of our favorite recipes. On Valentine’s Day we like to keep the fare relatively light, hence we’re not preparing a giant roast. Some of our favorite Valentine’s Recipes are listed below with links to recipes…mix and match to create your unique dinner or let these be an inspiration for you to find the perfect Valentine’s Day menu and have fun in the kitchen together!


Shucked oysters with minonette 

Never shucked an oyster before? It can be a fun activity to take on with your partner, and it’s surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Check out Jaques Pepin’s how to video here.

Gussied Up Cheese Plate

Who doesn’t love to share a  good cheese plate? Thanks to Karen Small at the Flying Fig in Cleveland, you can try your hand at making a delicious sweet and savory cheese plate combo. This recipe requires some prep time, but not to worry, you can make them in advance and store them in your fridge for up to 3 days.


Our advice? Basically any salad containing burrata. Burrata is one of our favorite cheeses of all time and elevates any salad to super-fancy. And Epicurious has kindly compiled 10 Options for your consideration!

Main Courses

Grilled ribeye

For you meat-eaters out there, we love this option because typically one ribeye is great to share between two people. Don’t have a grill? Here’s a great way to make a delicious steak in your kitchen. Don’t have a cast iron? Check that VDay gift off your To-Do list and rest assured, you and your SO will get a TON of use out of the new addition to your kitchen.

Ina Garten’s Roasted Chicken

This is a more intensive dish if you have extra time on your hands. But roasted chicken is delish and Ina swears by it. Plus all of the sides cook with the chicken. Easy peasey!

Beet Risotto

This dish is not only delicious, it has the perfect VDay hue — we love the pinkish/purple the risotto gets when you mix in your cooked beets. This makes for a lovely vegetarian main course, or pair with seared scallops if you’re in the mood to take it over the top in terms of tastiness!

If our suggested menu doesn’t seem to be inspiring you, that’s okay too! Maybe you’re not a huge fan of cooking, or cooking dinner after working all day feels like a lot. Another option: You and your date could go back to the dive where you had one of your first dates. Or order in your favorite take out (pro-tip: try Postsmates or Caviar for delivery from your favorite high-end restaurants) and bring the restaurant setting to your home. That will certainly simplify the cleanup!


Tip 3: Indulge In Dessert

Now onto our favorite part of dinner: Dessert. This is a part of the night to lean on us at 12 Oaks to create for you a perfectly sweet, scrumptious bite. Particularly if you’re staying in for the night, we feel it’s nice to treat yourselves to something sweet and beautiful to make the night that much more special. 

Love-ly Cake Pops

Love-ly Cake Pops

Both decadent and dainty, our Love-ly Cake Pops taste divine and are gorgeous to behold. We form these cakepops using a silicone mold and hand decorate each heart to be special and unique. With toppings like edible gold leaf and fancy sprinkles, these hearts are a delight to behold. We love these for a special Valentine’s surprise for your SO.  

Valentine’s Cake Gems

Valentine's Cake Gems

Our Cake Gems have the perfect ratio of cake and frosting, and are a decadent dessert. They’re the perfect bite and while they’re very similar to our Cake Pops, they are just slightly smaller. For Valentine’s Day we’re now offering shimmery cake gems in Vday hues like pink and purple.

Valentine’s Day Roses & Cake Bites

Valentine's Day Roses & Cake Bites

For our local Los Angeles clients, we’re offering our beautiful Valentine’s Day gift box again this year! We’ve partnered with the wonderful crew at Garden Flowers and Gifts in Glendale to create the perfect Valentine’s gift box. Because nothing says “I love you” like a box of red roses and cake bites. Included in the box are 16 beautiful red roses and 10 cake bites in our most popular flavors including Red Velvet, Lemon and decadent Chocolate Chip. 

Wishing you a lovely and stress-free Valentine’s Day with your SO! Hopefully, our tips inspire you to plan something new and different this February 14th. 

Yours sweetly,

Katherine & Missy

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