We Believe in a Thing Called Love … Just Listen to the Rhythm of Our Heart

Consider yourself reminded that Valentine's Day is grooving up on you faster than you'd think, and that no matter how many times your person is like, "Oh, it's just not a big deal to me," they WILL BE JUDGING YOU! Naw, not really—some people don't really care about it, but in case you fall in the other camp (or are with someone who does), you'll wanna start planning now.

Trust The Fork. We worked in restaurants for ages, and we definitely have war stories (note: we understand that restaurant work is nothing like actual war) from holiday services that'd chill you to the bone! From the dude we overheard getting dumped but then whose now-former boyfriend INSISTED on staying to eat, but was also guilt-crying, so everyone in the room who hadn't overheard assumed the guy who just got dumped was some kind of monster, to the couple who totally flipped out on us because a souffle takes kind of a long time to prepare—it can be rough out there.

So how does one prepare right? With The Fork's handy mnemonic device (a word we learned how to spell from Full House … the "mnemonic" part; we could spell device before)!

Make a reservation: Seriously, you’ll think “This is Santa Fe, there’s never much of a wait!” Wrong.
Understand your person: If they’re not into fine dining, why would you try to force that on them? Because movies?!
Read the room: You’ll be tempted to make grand gestures, but some people hate that. Most people, actually.
Dress the part: Ain’t nobody anywhere gets mad when you dress nice. Not that we ever dress nice, but we’re just saying…
Engage your person: Try to be present. Ask questions. Lots of them.
Regroup: Check in with that special someone about how it’s going. Spontaneity is something people like.

That's right, Fork Fans—if you just remember MURDER, you'll kill come V-Day! But here are some extra specifics:

-Those conversation hearts candies are no more (for this year at least) because the company that made them went out of business, and the company that bought 'em out isn't ready to produce yet. Drag. Still, you might find some in weird places … like the internet, or, like, a dusty store not a lot of people go to.

-Seriously, that souffle takes a long time. Order it ahead o' time. They'll probably tell you.

-Lastly, we meant it about understanding your person, so let us recommend three tiers of dining experience for you to choose from:

The Low Key
Here we’re talking a fun night out with burgers or such. Try spots like Second Street Brewery or Blue Corn Brewery or … breweries. Vinaigrette, too!

The Middle ‘o’ the Road
You wanna show ’em a nice dinner, you wanna keep it semi-classy, but you aren’t looking for lily-white tablecloths and a dedicated wine employee. You can’t go wrong with New Mexican staples like La Choza or Tomasita’s, and you definitely can’t go wrong with the bar area at Rio Chama Steakhouse. We also can’t really get enough of Pizzeria Espiritu lately, particularly the Greek pizza.

The You Fancy
Fine dining can take a bite out of your wallet, but it can also be worth it based on the quality and experience and service. Three places top our list—Santacafé, Arroyo Vino and The Compound. But did you know that the users of Trip Advisor recently helped vote Geronimo the 12th most-romantic restaurant in America? Boom! And don’t forget other awesome spots—Joseph’s, for example or, obviously, Dinner for Two—and a whole world of places that reside in between. You make the call.

If you have any tips or tricks for last-minute V-Day-ness, hit us up!

If, for some reason, there's absolutely no other way and you cannot be without conversation hearts, here's this!

-Kenneth Baltz of KJ Farms—a mainstay at the Santa Fe Farmers Market—received some pretty scary health news recently, and now, after 15 years selling fresh and delicious eggs at the market, he and his wife Judy have had to call it quits. But that doesn't mean the problems are over, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help out with mounting bills. We know people ask for donations a lot these days (which is really more about our country than anything), but if you can spare even a couple bucks, it'll surely help.

-Santa Fe is getting another Dion's Pizza at Las Soleras, whatever that is, and it's their 24th location overall. Don't act like you didn't immediately think of that Dion's ranch.

-We're worried about you guys, because the abject hostility in your "WE LIKE DIFFERENT FRIES THAN THE FRIES YOU SAID!" emails was … terrifying. Sorry we liked stuff, and sorry we thought you would, too. But mostly we're sorry you didn't like the same things. Y'know, we're down with great food and the world of foodies and whatever, that's cool, it's fine, but there just has to be room for guilty pleasures and freedom fries that aren't the most glorious thing you've ever eaten. We hope you'll all be OK.

-Anyway, speaking of Joseph's and fries, several readers reached out to let us know you can find duck fat fries at Joseph's. Yeah—Joseph's. We've also been told The Burger Stand does it, too. So go by The Burger Stand. Yeah—The Burger Stand. Meanwhile, at Radish & Rye, you'll find duck fat fingerlings (close enough), so head to Radish & Rye. Yeah—Radish & Rye. Hopefully that answers y'all's questions on that.

-James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Cheryl Alters Jamison returns to the Santa Fe School of Cooking on Saturday Feb. 16 for a class on making use of the slow cooker in a decidedly Southwestern way. Zang! You're looking at $90 per person, but it is probably more than worth it. Oh. Em. Gee. Now, that would make a cool V-Day gift.

-One of our SFR coworkers tells us that delivery app Postmates is in Santa Fe now (maybe this is old news, sorry if so … we usually actually just go places), and that with all the promos they're running, it's possible to get a lot of free food. You've been told.

More Tidbits
-A pair of USA Today articles paint a grim world—one tells of free bacon items from fast food places for hitting certain requirements; the other breaks down the most unhealthy fast food options from every major fast food chain in America. Yikes. Again, we're not too fancy about these things, we just think it's interesting.

-Meanwhile, in Appalachia, out-of-work coal miners are turning to the glamorous world of the amateur apiary aficionado to help pay the bills. As NPR reports, this might be the coolest thing ever (we need bees, you guys).

Hot. Fried. Pickle. Spirals. What else you need to know?

-Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made noise about a potential presidential run, if only to stop Trump from … Trumping. As Seattle alt.weekly The Stranger points out, though, people might not particularly like that.

-Since we don't eat meat and are always looking for recipes to ignore while we eat the same five things over and over, we found this rundown of 15 easy-to-make vegetarian dishes potentially helpful. If you actually get it together to make any, let us know how it goes.

-We also learned about the terrifying amounts of cheese Americans eat during the Super Bowl. Again, we don't know when that is because we don't care about sports, but if we'd known it was a cheese thing, our whole lives might have panned out very differently. Anyway, according to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Americans are on track to buy something like 88 million pounds of cheese, which, to put it in perspective, is apparently enough to fill whatever stadium the Super Bowl is happening in, from end zone to end zone (which is where the points are scored?) and about 10 yards (that's like, 30-ish feet) deep. Good lord.

-One last bit of local info—The Food Depot's Souper Bowl (which is a great play on words because the event is about soup) goes down tomorrow from noon-2:30 pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. This is the 25th iteration of the nonprofit's annual event, and we just, like, really believe in what they do. Truly.

In the print edition of SFR, our food writer went looking for handmade pasta, found some good stuff, found some not-so-good stuff. Check it out.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence Number of Letters Received
*With sheer freedom fry hatred.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week 
“You’re an asshole.”
*Now you just sound like our mom.

Actually Helpful Tip
From a freedom fry genius: “Like tonic in G&T, ketchup is a key ingredient and although highly commercial, I find that Heinz is the best although homemade sometimes is better.”
*Take THAT, small-batch ketchup!
Remember to love people? We don’t know. Live your life,
The Fork