Love Bites: Decadent Valentine’s Day Chocolate Desserts

It’s estimated that Americans buy a beyond impressive 58 million pounds of chocolates during Valentine’s Week. So when you go out for a romantic dinner to celebrate Cupid’s holiday, chances are your meal will end with a chocolate-y extravagance. Pastry chefs and chocolatiers spend months conceiving decadent desserts that highlight cocoa in a myriad of clever – and exceedingly delicious – ways. Here are 16 decadent chocolate desserts (including one that will set you back a cool grand!) that will melt your heart, blow your mind, and give your belly afterglow on Valentine’s Day or any day.

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York, New York
Here’s a heart-shaped boxed we’d like to be locked inside for weeks. Pastry chef Genevieve Meli forges a lid out of chocolate bark speckled with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and a galactic scattering of Maldon sea salt. It covers an assortment of beautiful bonbons sure to impress any date. Make a reservation at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria.

Chocolate Desserts

Daniel, New York, New York
Should you share a French kiss at a restaurant? In this case, absolutely. Executive pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira created a pair of dark chocolate lips for you to share with your sweetie. One is filled with triple vanilla mousse, ruby red grapefruit jam, and rose water Turkish delight. The other boasts dark chocolate marshmallow, passion fruit caramel, and hazelnut praline. Make a reservation at Daniel.

Chocolate Desserts

Fire, Denver, Colorado
Goodness gracious, great ball at Fire! A globe formed with chocolate and orange mousses is doused with warm caramel to melt it into a craggy meteor of delicious proportions. We would instruct you to eat it quickly before it dissolves into a puddle of goodness, but we doubt this dessert will last three minutes after it arrives at your table. Make a reservation at Fire.

Chocolate Desserts

America Eats Tavern, McLean, Virginia
George was a lucky fella. Turns out Martha Washington made a killer chocolate cake. Buttermilk and coffee add fluffiness and a bit of acidity to the cake, which is interspersed with cocoa butter icing. The triple layer treat is covered in chocolate Chantilly. A big wedge of it with a bracing cup of locally roasted Compass Coffee and we’re in heaven. Make a reservation at America Eats Tavern.

Chocolate Desserts

Veranda, San Diego, California
There’s no flour in these chocolate cakes, but there is a whole lot of love. Pastry chef Margaret Carvallo molds dark chocolate ganache into Cupid-worthy hearts, which she enrobes with 70% chocolate glaze. Perfect for sharing with your sweetheart. Make a reservation at Veranda.

Chocolate Desserts

Max Brenner-Union Square, New York City
Here’s a pizza for sweet tooths. A crusty round is topped with melted milk and white chocolate chunks and two toppings, which can include crushed hazelnuts, banana rounds, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows. And, yes, it’s absolutely acceptable to eat a cold slice of it for breakfast the next morning. Make a reservation at Max Brenner.

Chocolate Desserts

Aureole, New York, New York
Pastry chef Pierre Poulin took inspiration from classic love songs – including the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame,” Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses – to create his “Chocolate Mixtape Collection.” The 12-piece set showcases flavors that range from the enervating (coffee) and passionate (lychee-rose petal) to the purely decadent (foie gras). Consider it the edible soundtrack to your satisfaction. Make a reservation at Aureole.

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Arnaud’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
This dessert is the bomb. A chocolate toffee bomb, to be exact. Its cookie-crisp base is topped with English toffee-chocolate mousse and a rich ganache. Goes down well with a flaming Café Brûlot perked up with brandy and Curaçao. Make a reservation at Arnaud’s.

Chocolate Desserts

RPM Steak, Chicago, Illinois
Spangled with 14 karat gold flakes, this chocolate cake sports some serious bling. Dig in and you’ll find both milk and dark chocolate beneath the chocolate coating. Think of it as a candy bar for the 1%. Make a reservation at RPM Steak.

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Dining with the Stars: Kanye + Kim Kardashian Sup at Serafina; Jeremy Lin + Knicks Catch up at Catch; Chris Rock Rocks Tower Bar with Sandler + Spade

New couple Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart are clearly fans of dining in the dark.

Recent celebrity sightings at OpenTable restaurants…

* Several New York Knicks players, including Jeremy Lin, celebrated a recent win at Catch in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. [NY Post]

* Starlets Dakota Fanning and Emily Blunt feted designer Elie Saab at Crown in New York City. [People]

* Alec Baldwin dined at Greenwich Village fave Da Silvano with the world’s most photographed yoga instructor. [People]

* Victoria Beckham channeled her inner supermodel by ordering lettuce — and only lettuce — at Beverly Hills restaurant Il Pastaio. [Us Weekly]

* Hometown football hero Joe Montana got his Greek on at Kokkari Estiatorio in San Francisco. [Tablehopper]

* American Idol judge and newly minted cougar Jennifer Lopez was spotted at Planet Dailies in Los Angeles. [Us Weekly]

* Muhammad Ali knocked out a burger from Prime 112 in Miami that had been delivered to his car. [NY Post]

* Stars, including Neil Sedaka and Aretha Franklin, serenaded producer Clive Davis at his 80th birthday celebration at Brooklyn’s River Cafe. [NY Post]

* Kanye West dined with Kim Kardashian at Serafina in New York City, sparking rumors of a made-for-the-tabloids romance. [Radar Online]

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Celebrity Spotting: Bateman and Arnett; Kelly Bensimon Cooks with Scott Conant; Katie Couric and Matt Lauer Lunch; Where “The Bachelor” Wed His Bride, and More

A round-up of where some of your most (and least) favorite stars have been dining recently…

* A pregnant Amy Adams (Julie & Julia) dined at Napa Valley Grille. [EaterLA]

* Celebrity chef Mario Batali (and his Crocs) greeted fellow diner Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight) at Comme Ca.  [EaterLA]

* “Arrested Development” costars Jason Bateman and Will Arnett took a meeting with Hollywood execs at Lure Fishbar. [US Magazine]

* Kelly Bensimon of “Real Housewives of New York” got a lesson in making pasta from New York chef Scott Conant of Faustina and Scarpetta fame. Doesn’t Sam Talbot (“Top Chef”) know how to make pasta? [US Magazine]

* Actor/director Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen) and supermodel wife Christy Turlington hit up Napa’s Bottega. [Tablehopper]

* Someone gave singer Tracy Chapman one reason to dine at DOSA on Valencia. No word on whether or not that someone had a fast car.  [Tablehopper]

* Anchor Katie Couric broke bread midday with former “Today” colleague Matt Lauer at Le Caprice in Manhattan. [NY Post]

* Megastar Tom Cruise dined with CBS/Viacom boss Sumner Redstone at Il Piccolino in Beverly Hills. [NY Post]

* Gitane hosted Green Day’s Mike Dirnt. [Tablehopper]

* “Sex and the City” director/producer/writer Michael Patrick King ate with friends at Chaya. [EaterLA]

* “Parenthood” costars Peter Krause and Lauren Graham made an appearance at Quince in San Francisco. [Tablehopper]

* Super skater Michelle Kwan tucked into a meal at Legal Sea Foods. [Grub Street Boston]

* ABC’s “The Bachelor” lovebirds Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney got hitched at Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes.  [South Bay Foodies via Eater]

* Oscar winner Mo’Nique attended a luncheon at Philippe. [US Magazine]

* Johnnie’s on the Side hosted the musicans of Muse. [Grub Street Boston]

* Audrina Patridge (“The Hills) and Julie Benz (“Dexter”) supped at Katsuya in Hollywood. [US Magazine]

* Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was spotted at Scampo. [Grub Street Boston]

* On-again couple Pink and husband Carey Hart stopped in for a bite at Geoffrey’s in Malibu. [People]

* Former American Pie ingenue Tara Reid’s beau popped the question at The Little Door in Los Angeles. [People]

* Actor Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) lunched at Manhattan’s Brasserie 44. [New York Daily News]

* Precious costars Gabourey Sidibe and Lenny Kravitz attended a luncheon at Asia de Cuba in West Hollywood’s Mondrian Hotel. [US Magazine]

* Anything-but-square designer Christian Siriano (“Project Runway”) was spotted at Upstairs on the Square. [Grub Street Boston]

* Michelle Trachtenberg of “Gossip Girl” sampled the guac at Dos Caminos. [Grub Street New York]

* Kanye West and muse Amber Rose were seen at Lure Fishbar. [Grub Street New York]

* Everyone’s favorite “Golden Girl” (sorry, Rue) and future “Saturday Night Live” host Betty White was spotted at Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco. [Tablehopper]

* Actor-cum-mobile spokesperson Luke Wilson was recognized dining at the Bay Area’s Slanted Door. [Tablehopper]