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Last minute ideas for Valentine’s Day

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Do you sip Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc with your popcorn?

The flowers are ordered and…wait? What? Didn’t get a chance to plan your Valentine’s Day in advance?

If you’ve been waiting until the very last minute, here are some ideas that might add a spark.

First of all, don’t take balloons. Nobody wants that.

Movie theater

For a light evening, you can try one of Hamilton’s local theaters. They show old classics, but romantic goodies, which can’t miss the mark.

The Westdale Theater is celebrating with two classic romantic comedies airing Monday night. Get your tickets for “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) at 4 p.m. or “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940) at 7 p.m. Stick around after the second screening of Film Talk with Fred Fuchs. thewestdale.ca.

The Playhouse Cinema offers a rare chance to see “An American in Paris” (1951) on the big screen at 7 p.m. This dazzling production, with music by George Gershwin, won numerous awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture. Advance tickets are required. theplayhouse.com

cooking together

It’s not hard to find a romantic dinner for two – or for a crowd – if you know where to look. Check out The Spectator’s delicious recipes at thespec.com/recipes/search.

For example, search for “chocolate” and you’ll find this simple chocolate heart-shaped filet mignon recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Two filet mignon steaks (each about 5 oz/150 g and 1 1/4″ thick)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup each: balsamic vinegar, maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated chocolate, unsweetened

Directions:

1. Put the fillets in the freezer until they firm up (for a cleaner cut). Using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut a slit from the top center to about a third of the way through the tenderloin. Gently lay out the sections to form the top of the heart. Cut each side slightly at an angle to form the point at the bottom of the heart. Don’t cut too deep; save as much meat as possible.

2. Bring the fillets to room temperature. Spread oil all over. Rub salt and pepper on all sides.

3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until smoky. Add fillets. Cook one side for 2 minutes. Tower. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low. Cook the fillets for 1 minute on each side for rare, 2 for medium-rare.

4. Transfer the fillets to a plate. Tent with sheet. Let stand 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a small skillet over medium-high heat.

6. Once mixture simmers, reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer, 5 to 8 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from fire. Stir in chocolate until melted, about 1 minute.

7. Place each fillet on a serving platter. Drizzle with sauce.

We also have perfect wine and chocolate pairings in time for Valentine’s Day if you’re just looking for a match.

Stay at home

Do we keep Netflix and chill? A Valentine’s Day themed binge or romantic movie is sure to get everyone’s heart racing.

  • Check out Netflix’s new binge-worthy documentary, “The Tinder Swindler.” The program serves as a cautionary tale of why mixing honey with cash can be fraught with pitfalls. In the documentary, several women recount their experiences of being defrauded by the thousands and left with massive debt by the scammer.

According to the production team of Don’t F**ck With Cats, modern love is a dangerous game in the world of online dating, and all that glitters isn’t gold. Popularly known as The Tinder Swindler, he has seduced and defrauded young women for millions and is a fugitive from justice in several countries. One shot could change your life. This is the ultimate fairy tale nightmare. Follow three women who decided it was time for revenge.

Trip to Niagara

The honeymoon capital of the world is just a stone’s throw away from The Hammer. Day trip or stay overnight. You have the falls, casinos and restaurants in one package. Discover nine Niagara restaurants that made OpenTable’s list of Canada’s Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants.

A little support

Put yourself first this year and develop a self-care ritual. It means thinking about things you can do for yourself this Valentine’s Day.

romantic walks

A walk under the stars can set the mood, especially if you try one of these local hotspots:

winter lit trail

The woodland trails of Mountsberg Conservation Area are magical with lights and sounds for fun. The Winterlit Trail offers a unique lighting experience with art installations along the trail. Also in Mountsberg, the illuminated maple grove trail has soft overhead lighting to allow for a lovely evening stroll through the maple grove. This experience will include soundtracks from local musicians as you enjoy the beauty of Mountsberg in winter. The Winterlit experience costs $17 for non-members and is offered Wednesday through Sunday evenings between 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. until February 20. Click here to see the Winterlit map. chwinterlit.com.

  • Upgraded evenings are also available at an additional cost from February 18-20.

RBG Winter

The paths of the Royal Botanic Gardens are magical this time of year. Plan a walk together on a cold winter evening. rbg.ca.