Jean Grae’s advice for solo Valentine’s Day dining

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

eating-alone–large-msg-116727496077By Jean Grae, Special to CNN Eatocracy – If you’re like me, you’re single.

Also, a bunch of other things, but that’s probably not best to get into right now.

So here you are. Standing outside the window of a fancy restaurant watching your ex have dinner with someone…NOT YOU.

It’s raining. The lighting inside of the restaurant is warm, amber, romantic. The tables are filled with couples whose torsos stretch gently over the candlelit tables in effort to be closer to each other, as they speak in hushed, soft tones.

You can hear them smile through the window.

You pull your trench coat tighter around your sweats and thin hoodie.

Is…? Oh no. Your ex pulls out a tiny jewelry box and starts to get out of his chair. His date gasps, brings her hand to her heart.

Just at that moment, rain that has been collecting on the ledge over your head, overflows, dumping a bucket’s worth of cold water directly on you. You scream. Everyone in the restaurant turns to look at you. Your ex squints in disbelief, mouths your name.


It’s a rough day to be eating alone. Just cause you know. You KNOW that people are having super romantic dinners. You hate them. You love people generally, but today is rough.

I understand. It’s okay.

Eat this stuff and feel better. I got your back, homie.

1. TV Dinners

Anything that is really on some “single serving” stylee. Or a Lean Cuisine meal, or a Hot Pocket.

I get a TV dinner probably once every five years or so. They remind me of my mom. No, she didn’t serve us TV dinners all the time. My mom was and still is, a fabulous cook. She was doing a lot: running a record label, making albums, raising kids, managing my dad. Every once in a while she just got us a damn TV dinner.

Fried chicken with the tiny brownie and the corn and mashed potatoes? Feels like memories. Even though my mom really liked the Salisbury steak dinner. I secretly liked it. I still secretly like it.

Sometimes on tour, TV dinners are the only thing left to get in hotels that don’t have 24 hour room service. I will tear a TV dinner up with a quickness. But hey, a TV dinner on Valentine’s Day isn’t a bad thing. You’re just going straight for the stereotypical jugular. Yes, they will judge you at the checkout counter and you’re okay with that.

Also, TV dinners have gotten a lot better. Kashi has a line of frozen entrees. There’s Amy’s Kitchen, Organic Bistro…blah blah. If you really care.

Plus, you don’t have to wash any plates and you have room for the five bottles of Malbec you’re going to drink to numb the pain.

2. Five Bottles of Malbec (or whatever other red wine get out of here with white wine in February, for drowning sadness, you SAVAGE)

Yeah. I believe this counts as “eating” if you’re gonna have 5 bottles.

You don’t have to break the bank, if you’re on a budget. Grab you some Graffigna Centenario and go for it. Or any other selection of a great under $20 wine.

Okay, you’re probably not going to get through five bottles of wine by yourself. You probably also shouldn’t, because no one wants alcohol poisoning.

Hey, it’s wine, it’s delicious. Have some. Also, get a really nice candle. A big one that smells yummy.

Put some jazz on. Run a bubble bath. HIDE YOUR PHONE FROM YOURSELF.

Keep eating wine. LEAVE THAT PHONE ALONE!


Get a loaf of great bread. From a bakery. Or a supermarket. Whatever you want. I don’t know what you want. Something with olives in it? Rosemary? Sundried tomatoes? None of the above? Baguette? Focaccia?

It’s up to you.

Now, get things that will go with this bread.

A great olive oil.

A wonderful pesto.

A tapenade (I’m thinking about this anchovy and black tapenade that I had recently. OMG YES SO GOOD.)

Olives. A gang of mixed olives.

Sea salt chocolate.

An Asian pear.

Grilled asparagus.

Meats. Prosciutto…whatever, man.


Get you some GOOD damn cheese.

You could even make some Burrata. Dear lord, you should make some Burrata. It’s an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. Yes. Exactly.

Anyways, it’s not that hard to learn how to make. I’ve done it. It’s delicious and amazing and now you will know how to make cheese and THAT, is sexy. Make some Burrata and level up in life. People get excited when you tell them you make cheese. THEN THEY WILL MARRY YOU. OH!

Put everything on a big chopping board or a wooden whatever. Sit there. Eat it.

4. Butter Poached Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon

I like this one a lot because it feels like, “What people feel is the expensive date thing to have, but people in movies and not really in 2013, but I’m sure a lot of people actually feel this way still, you could probably find someone like that, which is not a bad thing, because COME ON, I f***ing love lobster and steak and who doesn’t want butter, so really it’s still a great thing I’m sure I could put a modern twist on it.”

I’m not going to give you recipes for this, because you’re on the internet and you would be so lazy to not just type that into Google. What’s wrong with you? That’s probably why you’re single. Type it in, dummyface.

5. A Pizza and Salad

There are some different ways to go about this. I think whichever is fine. It’s up to you, man. See, what’s cool about being single is that it’s all up to you. You can do what you want. You don’t have to worry about who doesn’t like what topping. Nah, man. Cool. So.

Order a pizza if you want. Get whatever you want.

Or. Get some pizza dough. Or those super handy ready for topping pizza crusts. Then, get WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PUT ON THEM!

It’s fun. It’s an activity and it’s delicious.

My favorite pizza that I made last year included prawns and white truffles. Yes, man.

Now. Make a great salad. I mean a really beautiful salad.

Go daffodil greens, watercress, or maybe endive. Go arugula and shave some asiago, with Meyer lemon and black pepper. Use herbs, get edible flowers and sprinkle those on it (awesome).

Make a gorgeous, fresh representation of what you think new love can be. It’s a nice way to choose ingredients for a salad. Don’t overdress it. The lighter the better. And don’t forget the miss delaware video.


Honorable mention: Vodka. Just vodka.