The Valentine's Day Dinner That Costs A Year's Salary

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WebPhoto: Courtesy of Pera Mediterranean Brasserie
If you buy into the hype, Valentine's Day is THE day for grand gestures. In kindergarten, it was construction-paper love notes. In high school, it was carnations and bad poetry. As adults (sort of), the pressure and expectations get even bigger, with lavish gifts and elaborate affairs becoming the rule, rather than the exception. And, while the best date we've ever been on remains a rooftop dinner of homemade rigatoni served on a cardboard box (with a tablecloth — obviously), we wouldn't turn up our noses at some oysters and Dom Pérignon.

Enter Pera Mediterranean Brasserie. If you've got cash to burn Wolf of Wall Street style, this aphrodisiac-laden nine-course extravaganza is your one-stop shop for V-Day bliss. The restaurant's team approached the evening as an opportunity to create the perfect proposal environment, and this over-the-top meal, which costs a cool $30,000, includes everything but the ring. (Yes, that means a personal photographer to capture every magical moment AND a session with relationship guru Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Because, spending your life savings to woo the wrong lover would hardly encourage repeat visits.)

The menu features $1,300 bottles of 1990 Chateau Cheval Blanc, Royal Osetra caviar (at a moderate $1,600 per ounce), Venetian risotto with white truffles, Langoustine de la Manche, and Santorini molten chocolate lava cake sprinkled with edible, 24-carat gold leaf. And, of course, you'll dine in a private room, serenaded by a harpist (among other musicians). Your fairy-tale evening ends with a night at The Ritz Carlton, followed by a morning carriage ride through Central Park with Cristal and Cronuts, and a $5,000 shopping spree at Tiffany & Co. Swoon.

And, if by some terrible twist of fate, your love story does not end happily ever after, you'll be relieved to know your 30 grand also covers a therapist and a matchmaker to get you back in the game with as little wretchedness as possible. All things considered, this is starting to sound like a bargain. (New York Daily News)