It's everywhere you look -- heart-shaped treats hovering near the cash register, red and pink window displays in stores, and the increasingly loud ticking of the clock reminding you that you haven't made reservations for Valentine's Day dinner. Never fear -- for those of you who have romantic obligations, a quick search on Open Table today still showed plenty of places with tables for two at 8pm on February 14th. Pick one that suits you and your sweetheart -- will it be the romantic cheese-filled evening at Artisanal, a spicy exotic Indian feast at Dawat, or the more animalistic rib-gnawing at Dinosaur BBQ? Only you can decide.

2006_01_food_oysters2.jpgIf you want to go all out and have the cash for a splurge, we highly recommend the aphrodisiac tasting menu at Aureole -- we had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of the seven-course meal, each item prepared with one or more ingredients rumored to have aphrodisiac qualities. Sure, we all know that oysters are supposed to do the trick, but who knew that pine nuts were the Viagra of the 2nd century, or that French brides in the 1800's were served three courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinners? And we're not even going to get started on the "menage a foie" course. $120.00 or $185.00 paired with wines. Call 212.319.1660 for reservations.

Then again, it's often more romantic to cook a meal for that special someone in your life. Epicurious and the Food Network have a few recipe ideas to get you started. Plus, it's much closer to the bedroom.

What are your food plans for a romantic Valentine's Day?