The Day of Love is Upon Us.

[ 0 ] February 1, 2018 |

I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day. I have always been a fan of the day since I was a kid writing out my classmates’ names on my boxed Valentine’s Day cards.  Some years I have gotten tons of gifts from my beau, some years have been spent with Galentine’s and some have been spent solo.  All have been awesome because I love any reason to celebrate love and affection whether it is with someone else or by my lonesome.  This year is no exception.  The only difference is now I know the things that truly make my Valentine’s extra special and it involves approachable, good food.

Bahama Breeze Hibiscus Margarita

Recently, I have found myself frequently at Potomac Mills shopping for new threads and the like.  During my shopping trips, I was able to revisit a couple of my faves in this area, Bahama Breeze and Matchbox.  With VDay on the brain, I thought about these two as the perfect place to suggest for JKGF readers looking for a no-fuss celebration meeting place on the day of love.

Bahama Breeze is so laid back.  Their coconut shrimp, Sister Nancy “Bam, Bam” playing in the background and Hibiscus Margarita’s always make me question why I am not on a plane headed somewhere sunny with white sandy beaches.  After the reality of bills, bills, bills kicks in I realize Bahama Breeze is the best bet for me and my beau for now in seeking out that island flavor.  There are no special menus for VDay, just order what you want.  With the menu, drinks and music, however, you could easily create your own aphrodisiac.

Bahama Breeze Warm Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The Mojito Cubano is a good place to start (or finish…depending on where the night is taking you… ;-). If you are out with a steak and potatoes kinda person, go for the Steak Oscar or one of their other steaks paired with the red skin mashed potatoes.  You could also opt for the Jerk Chicken bow-tie pasta if you need a carb pick-me-up.  For those that do not like spice, the Jerk Chicken Pasta will not disappoint.  For the dessert, which made my heart palpitate at the table, you have to try the Warm Chocolate Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.  It. Is. Ahmazing.  When the server insisted I try it, I told her I would only have a bite.  Here we are a whole cake eaten later and I am craving my next visit.  Chain restaurants can sometimes get a bad rap because their recipes can seem contrived but I can assure you this is one recipe that you will be glad to see repeated.  I want everyone to have at least one bite in 2018.

Matchbox Sausage + Onion pizza

I was also able to revisit another one of my faves, Matchbox, which has some of my favorite pizzas in the area.  The thing I appreciate about Matchbox is that they have managed to stay local and sustainable while building out their brand in other locations.  Their food has integrity at an affordable price.  As I think about what I want for Valentine’s Day, pizza, wine and pasta all sound like part of that package.  Matchbox has an amazing deal going on for the day of love with the selection of one appetizer (Ahi Tuna Tacos, 369 Mini Burgers or Cream of Crab Soup), one entrée (any one of their pizzas in a small size, Braised Short Ribs or Shrimp Linguine Pasta) and one dessert (Lemon Curd Cake or Classic Brownie with Ice Cream) for $35/person.

The cream of crab soup at Matchbox is the BEST cream of crab soup that you will get in this area.  Chunks of crab combined with the spiced creamy broth with a hint of sherry make it just rich enough for you not to get overwhelmed and give up on the rest of the soup.  The Sausage and Onion thin crust pizza would be my suggestion if you opt out of the Margherita style pizza (my go-to favorite here).  Locally produced by the Logan Sausage Company, the sausage is baked into the pie alongside Spanish onions and mozzarella.  It does not get more romantic than Spanish onions.  The Shrimp Linguine is a pleasant surprise for anyone who doubts Matchbox’s skills outside of their wood-fired brick oven.  The hint of lemon combined with the light tomato sauce and tossed together with a thick spaghetti and grilled shrimp is what pasta dreams are made of.

Valentine’s Day does not have to be fancy schmancy and cost you hundreds of dollars (well, unless you insist…). Try something casual this year that leaves you full and financially guilt-free.  For a $120, you and your date could have a night on the town, sip some floral Margaritas, eat some artisanal pizza and whine up to a little Beres Hammond.  Now who can hate on THIS Valentine’s Day?!

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Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., MD, restaurant reviews, Reviews, VA, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Washington, DC and North Carolina. All three places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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