Looking to Score Extra Points This Valentine's Day? Try a Romantic Picnic

​Bypass the 5 p.m. seatings, overpriced prix fixe menus, and -- whatever you do, don't even think about going to the Melting Pot. Valentine's Day is a walking cliché in itself, and we don't need any heart-shaped-balloon-filled tables to make matters worse.

Take this opportunity to show your girl you've got some edge. You do have more to offer than a cheesy box of chocolates and last-minute roses from the checkout lane at CVS, don't you?

(And no, Ferrero Rocher - while a step up from Russell Stover - is not considered a luxurious gift. Anything sold within a five yard radius of your Axe Body Spray is not V-Day material. Oh -- and lose the Axe Body Spray. Seriously.)

While men often get the bad rap of being thoughtless, last-minute, and cheap, now is the time to show your lucky lady that she's nabbed her very own exception to the rule. Or, at least, that's what she'll think. You don't have to tell her that you didn't think of this plan all by yourself, that it was surprisingly easy to throw together, or that you did, in fact, save some money on the deal.

That's right, fellas; it's picnic time. Grab your favorite wicker basket (or head to your nearest Target, Williams-Sonoma, or Macy's to pick one up) and read on to find out what you'll need to fill it up for a simple, sexy picnic for two.

Start with a bottle of champagne. Or two, if your date's a lush; we're not here to judge. Save the Korbel for another time and splurge on a festive rosé -- remember, you're saving money by not going out to dinner, and you need to show your lady you're not cutting corners. A bottle of Veuve or Moët will come in at around $50, though you can easily find a decent bottle for less than a 20 spot.

The great part about a picnic is that there's no real cooking required. Grab a nice, crusty French baguette and a variety of meats and cheeses from your local Publix or Whole Foods for your Valentine's Day spread. Fresh fruit is another option to add to the menu; a juicy bunch of grapes is perfect for feeding one another, and gives you the chance to show off your seductive side.You can also try the Mediterranean Market on Las Olas if you're in the mood for something heartier; they've got all the fixings to create your own personalized gourmet sandwiches.

For dessert, cupcakes are an easy choice. Head over to your nearest bake shop (We Take the Cake or Sweeter Days will both get the job done, and well) for the standard Valentine favorite, red velvet. And if you really want to turn up the sex factor, chocolate-covered strawberries are the way to go. You can pick up a half-dozen at Kilwin's, sure -- but why let them take all the credit? Show your lady you're willing to work for her affection. Grab a pint of strawberries and a bar or two of Ghirardelli, and you can easily (and economically) make them at home.

Now that you've got your basket filled with the goods, I know what you're thinking: Where will you take this party? Lucky for you, Fort Lauderdale is home to plenty of world-famous beaches to choose from. You can also try a grassy knoll located somewhere along the river (just beware of the bums), or your favorite park. If you're looking for some privacy and you have a yard that fits the bill, look no further than your own grounds for the perfect picnic locale; you can set the mood with a few candles, or create a scene straight out of a movie with a path of rose petals leading your lady to what awaits her.

And if that doesn't get you lucky, my friend -- I'm afraid there's just no hope.

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Sarah Schiear