With the magic of Valentine’s Day behind us, we’re looking forward to special offers on delicious dining this month. Check out these February 2017 Restaurant Weeks and follow the savings to a city near you.
Russell Stover and the Whitman’s sampler are a major source of inspiration for bartenders at this time of year. Thanks to their cleverness and creativity, you can enjoy a heart-shaped box brimming with bonbons in liquid form. Here are eight chocolate cocktails to help you have a sweet Valentine’s Day.
Jackie Brown at La Moderna, Miami Beach, Florida
Garnishes don’t come cuter than this. A small side basket is filled with chocolate covered espresso beans. They’re the perfect complement to the caffeinated cocktail featuring white tequila, espresso liqueur, and spice syrup. Make a reservation at La Moderna.
Lost in Decadence at Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
Filed under the “A Sweet for a Sweet” section of the menu, this confectionary cocktail will delight candy crushers. A chocolaty blend of vodka, fudge, and coffee liqueur comes capped with a cloud of white chocolate espuma and a sprinkling of chocolate and cherry powder. There is no such thing as a guaranteed aphrodisiac, but this comes close. Make a reservation at Bourbon Steak.
Cocoa Smoke at LondonHouse, Tri-Level Rooftop, Chicago, Illinois
Finely balancing sweet and spicy components is an art. This mix of mescal, Averno Amaro, chile liqueur, and simple syrup pulls it off. Curls of dark chocolate float in its ruby depths, adding bittersweet bursts. Make a reservation at LondonHouse.
Chocolate Milk Punch at Waypoint, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Clearly, this is a translucent drink. (See what we did there?) However, the silver rum and green chartreuse powered cocktail evokes the flavor of chocolate milk thanks to the inclusion of cocoa powder and crème de cacao. Make a reservation at Waypoint.
Poor Soil & Low Temps at Filini, Chicago, Illinois
Tropical notes dance amidst the chocolatey tones of this tipple. Pineapple shrub and lemon juice add a beachside sensibility, which found a counterpoint in the cacao nib infused sweet vermouth and chocolate bitters. Rye forms the bracing backbone. Make a reservation at Filini.
Valentine’s Day is Tuesday, and if you’re dreading it because you don’t share our affinity for romantical dining or you find yourself without a plus-one, we’ve rounded up some fun ways to spend the day — and the days leading up to it. Read on for a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day celebrations for singles 2017.
Balena, Chicago, Illinois
Have a very Parks and Rec kinda day when you join the folks at Balena on the 13th. Coined by the character Leslie Knope, Galentine’s Day celebrates the most important love of a lady’s life: her gal pals! Boka Restaurant Group’s Balena invites gal (and guy!) friends to celebrate camaraderie with a $20 for two glasses of Prosecco and a pizza offer from 5PM-9PM the night before Valentine’s Day. Make a reservation at Balena.
Petty Cash Taqueria, Los Angeles, California
How about a ‘No Pressure Valentine’s Day’? Escape the pressure of finding the perfect Valentine’s date and indulge in an affordable La Nina del Mezcal tasting with nachos for just $35 a person from 7PM-10:15PM on the 14th. Make a reservation at Petty Cash Taqueria.
Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar, Menlo Park, California
Do all things Cupid and red roses have you feeling queasy? Put down the Pepto and coat your stomach with the delicious “Heck no! Dismal Date” cocktail. This frothy pink beverage includes Vodka, Frangelico, Grenadine, and crème fraiche, served chilled and up with a mint leaf garnish. Make a reservation at Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar.
STK MIAMI, Miami Beach, Florida
Calling all The Bachelorette fans. Try to catch Josh Murray’s eye at the STK Miami Love Bites Anti-Valentine’s Day Party. With beats by DJ Sk1tty and a meet and greet with Josh, the gathering also features complimentary passed Champagne for the ladies from 6-8PM and an extended happy hour menu at the bar. RSVP to: STKRSVP@Workshopcollective.com. Make a reservation at STK Miami.
Brasserie S&P, San Francisco, California
In a true bromance? The elegant restaurant and bar/lounge inside Loews Regency San Francisco is serving up a fun for you and your real match made in heaven – your BFF. The PALentine’s Pairing, offered now through the 14th, features the playful and sweet cocktail, a blend of vodka, pomegranate juice, pinot grigio, white cacao and orange bitters. The cocktail is served with a mini basket of decadent truffle garlic fries complete with Mighty Mo sauce – and you don’t have to sweat having garlic breath. Make a reservation at Brasserie S&P.
A great cheese course is more than just a few random selections on a plate. While some restaurants source their cheeses from specific regions or focus on hard-to-find cheese, others are actually making it or aging it in-house. In anticipation of National Cheese Lover’s Day, here are some the country’s best restaurant cheese plates and what makes them so special.
Barano, Brooklyn, New York
Recently opened in Brooklyn’s South Williamsburg, Barano offers Southern Italian cuisine from chef-partner Albert Di Meglio, who formerly helmed beloved Nolita pizzeria Rubirosa. The restaurant has a dedicated mozzarella bar, where Di Meglio hand-pulls three varieties of mozzarella to order: salted, smoked, and stracciatella di bufala. Guests can order an Antipasto Tasting with their choice of mozzarella, salume, and verdure — accompanying vegetable sides — or they can mix and match a variety of choices to customize their mozz’ board. Make a reservation at Barano.
Urban Farmer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chef Richard Brower and his team pride themselves on discovering new and flavorful cheese from all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They are particularly proud to feature cheeses from Chester County, Pennsylvania, which has received recognition as one of the best cheese regions in the world. Their cheese list is ever rotating and changing based on what is available with a focus on what’s local. Some of the cheeses that have been offered are Birchrun Blue, The Fat Cat, Red Cat, and Tomme Mole, which has notes of cocoa, chile, and cinnamon, from Birchrun Farm in Chester Springs, and Elsa Mae and the Noble Road Brie, both from Calkins Creamery in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Other selections have included Buttercup Brie and Havilah, both from Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and Seven Sisters, an aged cow’s milk cheese from The Farm at Doe Run located in Unionville, Pennsylvania. Make a reservation at Urban Farmer.
Crossroads, Los Angeles, California
When is a cheese plate not a cheese plate? When it’s a selection from Kite Hill. Kite Hill is entirely plant-based and the company was founded by Stanford biochemist Pat Brown in collaboration with Jean Prevot, a former cheese instructor at Le Cordon Bleu and erstwhile cheesemaker for Laura Chenel Chèvre, to introduce the first completely artisanal almond milk-based cheese line. The Kite Hill cheese products consist of nearly a dozen, including Original, Truffle Dill and Chive, Cream Cheese, Ricotta, Soft Ripened, and more. The cheese plate offered at Crossroads is one of their signatures at the LA- based vegetarian restaurant and a favorite among gourmands, herbivores, and carnivores alike. Make a reservation at Crossroads.
Found Kitchen & Social House, Evanston, Illinois
Executive chef Nicole Pederson believes that cheese plates should always highlight single producers. Their current plate features three cheeses from Capriole farms in Indiana. They are offering O’Banon, Sophia, and Juliana and serve them with housemade lavosh, peach and golden raspberry jam, and Klug Farm grapes. It’s not uncommon for cheesemakers to visit the restaurant or lead classes. In the past, they have featured The Farm at Doe Run, Meadowood, and Vulto Creamery. Make a reservation at Found Kitchen & Social House.
Artisanal, New York, New York
Artisanal Bistro is much more than just a bistro. Truly, Artisanal is a temple of cheese. The restaurant, with its cheese caves, offers a staggering 250 types of European-style cheeses, expertly paired with wine and breads baked in-house. The program was conceived and is led by James Beard Award-winning Maitre Fromager Max McCalman. In addition to cheese plates, you can also order bistro fare, such as a burger or truffled grilled cheese sandwich, each served with a choice of 13 different cheeses. The menu also includes cheese-focused entrees such as macaroni and cheese and fondue. As they move into a larger space later this year, they will have both a fromagerie and boulangerie and, of course, more cheese. Make a reservation at Artisanal.
Café des Architectes, Chicago, Illinois
Executive chef Greg Biggers is an ambitious guy. Two years ago, he converted a walk -n refrigerator into a cheese cave. The restaurant’s Chestnut Provisions features an assortment of housemade cave-aged cheeses, charcuterie, jams, and preserves. The restaurant has a Dairy Manufacturing Plant license allowing them to utilize the kitchen as a cheese production facility, complete with a temperature and humidity controlled cave. The cheeses they currently offer include a one-year-aged cow’s milk cheddar, an herb-steeped goat cheese, grass-fed cow’s milk tome, chevre, and Taleggio. Make a reservation at Café des Architectes.
Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California
Opened in 2007 by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich, it was one of the first to feature a mozzarella bar, located at the center of the room. You can start with a mozzarella tasting or move into specific imported specialties like mozzarella di bufala, burrata, burricotta, and ricotta. Each is served with a different condiment or salad, such as basil pesto, salsa romesco, tapenade, and caperberry relish, or braised artichokes, pine nuts, currants, and mint pesto. Make a reservation at Osteria Mozza.