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A Galentine’s Day feast: How to grub with your girls

If your heart can’t be full, then at least allow your stomach to be

<p>Bluegrass Grill &amp; Bakery has red velvet pancakes topped with cherry cream cheese and chocolate syrup for their February specials — perfect for your Galentine's Day.&nbsp;</p>

Bluegrass Grill & Bakery has red velvet pancakes topped with cherry cream cheese and chocolate syrup for their February specials — perfect for your Galentine's Day. 

For anyone unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the holiday, Galentine’s Day is on Feb. 13, the day before the well-known, overly mushy day of love. Rather than partaking in the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day is an opportunity for “ladies celebrating ladies,” as the “Parks and Recreation” character Leslie Knope puts it. It’s a day to show appreciation for your girlfriends, so you may as well indulge a bit — you know, to express your love.

If you’re in the mood to go full-on Leslie Knope, then there’s no better way to honor her than with waffles. Knope’s character is famous for her extreme love of waffles and all things breakfast-related. 

If you don’t have the luxury of owning a waffle iron, do not fret because each dining hall is equipped with one. Out of all the sub-par items the dining halls provide, waffles are luckily not one of them. Whenever I was stumped over what to eat my first year, an easy solution was to head to the waffle irons. I would top my creation with an assortment of sugary foods from the ice-cream bar toppings or go classic with some maple syrup. If you’re feeling adventurous, try topping your waffle with peanut butter and chopped banana.

If you don’t have a dining plan, head to any local Charlottesville diner for your fixing. I highly recommend the February special pancakes at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery — which are red velvet pancakes topped with cherry cream cheese and drowned in chocolate sauce. They may not be waffles, but I can assure you they would get the Knope stamp of approval.

While the traditional way to celebrate Galentine’s Day according to Knope is to “kick it breakfast style,” I personally believe any food can be used to commemorate your girls. I am the biggest pasta advocate — my stomach is endless when it comes to carbs. Not only is it delectable but also affordable. A box of pasta can be bought for a dollar. Sauce can vary in price based on how much you want to treat yourself, but most fall in the $2 to $9 range.

Pasta is also incredibly versatile — you can switch up the type of sauce and noodle based on your crowd’s preferences. You can use red sauce, pesto or alfredo sauce, and for noodles, you could go full on Lady and the Tramp and make spaghetti or go with a classic penne or any other tube shaped pasta. My personal favorite, though, are bow ties — known as farfalle to the more sophisticated pasta connoisseurs.

Last year, my friends and I celebrated at Chick-fil-A, and I can wholeheartedly say I recommend this plan. If you have a dining plan, the meal exchange at the Pavilion in Newcomb is the way to go. Your Galentine’s Day feast will practically feel free, and I am sure Knope would approve of Chick-fil-A waffle fries. If you don’t have a meal plan or are not satisfied with a chicken sandwich, order yourself some Chick-fil-A nuggets instead. I also heard participating locations are selling heart shaped trays of nuggets or chicken minis to fill your heart and stomach with joy.

Lastly, you might as well take advantage of the over-hyped holiday that is Valentine’s Day and at least buy some of the legendary chocolates in stores now. CVS is constantly having a “buy one get one half off” deal on their candy, so you can buy extra to share with your girls. 

My personal favorite specialty-themed chocolates this time of the year are Red Velvet Kit Kats and Strawberry or Cherry Cordial Hershey’s Kisses. You also can’t go wrong with buying yourself one of the heart shaped boxes of chocolate. If you buy your own, no one can yell at you for eating half of a bite and then putting the chocolate back because you didn’t realize it was orange-filled. 

I’m not sure if it’s the excessive non-stop viewing of “Parks and Recreation” my friends and I have been doing or the confidence and empowerment I somehow still manage to embody from my “new year, new me” persona, but I am ready to welcome Galentine’s Day with open arms. What better way to celebrate than with a celebratory feast?