The Sweet Spots: Sweets for Your Sweet on Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, losing track of the years spent with the love of your life, or feeling the sting of unrequited love this weekend, what better way to express how you feel than with something sweet? (Chocolate, mousse-filled, deep-fried, sugar-dusted, sprinkled with rose petals and paired with booze doesn’t hurt, either.) Here are 10 top spots to order sweets for your sweet on Valentine’s Day.

Sinfully Sweet at L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, Nevada
What happens on Valentine’s Day in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Wherever the night takes you in Sin City this Valentine’s Day weekend, you can at least bet on a memorable dessert at the sleek, French-leaning L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand. La Rouge Cerise stars its namesake red cherry in a compote with vanilla and dark chocolate cream while La Framboise comprises a white chocolate sphere filled with yuzu ice cream that’s revealed when cascaded with warm raspberry chocolate sauce at the table. Make a reservation at L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon.

Sweets for Your Sweet

Wine-Friendly Sweets at Five Fifty-Five, Portland, Maine
As part of its four-course Valentine’s Day menu, upscale American eatery Five Fifty-Five is tempting diners with three sweet conclusions from pastry chef Yazmin Saraya. Delicate Wine, Chocolate & Roses combines wine and berries pate de fruit, passion fruit truffles, and rose petal macaroon, lavender-laced cheesecake gets sweet tang from Meyer lemon and lightness from meringue, and a mouth-coating flourless chocolate brownie gets sweetness from white chocolate sorbet and sticky dulce de leche. Wine director/co-proprietor Michelle Corry’s carefully selected wine pairings will make dessert taste even sweeter (and your spoken love poems sound all the more impressive). Make a reservation at Five Fifty-Five.

Sweets for Your Sweet

Decisions, decisions! at 312 Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
For lovers who can’t commit (at least on a dessert choice), 312 Chicago chef Luca Corazzina is offering three sweet meal enders this Valentine’s Day. Torta di Cioccolato comprises rich flourless chocolate cake with pistachio cream atop a smear of wild berry sauce; Bombolini, or Italian fried doughnuts, sit atop white chocolate mousse with Champagne; and Panna Cotta de Lamponi pairs light vanilla custard with raspberries and kiwi salad. Don’t worry; dessert sharing is encouraged (though it may not resolve monogamy issues). Make a reservation at 312 Chicago.

Sweets for Your Sweet

Red Velvet Cake for Two at The Gage, Chicago, Illinois
The Gage pastry chef Kym DeLost aims to melt the hearts of even staunch non-dessert-sharers with her amorous Red Velvet Cake for Two. Rich with the color and flavor of cocoa, this layered cake is filled with cheesecake frosting and strawberry-wine jelly and then topped with crunchy meringue kisses and raspberries and strawberries glazed with sparkling red Brachetto wine and finished with candied rose petals that pop with desire on the crisp white plate. Make a reservation at The Gage.

Sweets for Your Sweet

Cupid’s (Semolina Cake) Arrow at Hinoki & the Bird, Los Angeles, California
According to Persian culture, if you bake a semolina cake for someone, the person who eats it will fall in love with you. So if you’re sensing your love might be unrequited, take your date to travel-inspired Hinoki & the Bird for the Semolina Almond Cake. This airy, not-too-sweet cake is infused with ground almonds and fragrant lemon zest and plated with fresh berries, crème fraîche, and honeycomb. In other words, Cupid’s arrow in dessert form. Book a table at Hinoki & the Bird.

Sweets for your sweetContinue Reading

Aren’t They Romantic? Meet Diners Megan + Drew

winners1Today, we notified the winners of our Valentine’s Day Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway. They were selected at random, but every entrant had a touching tale to tell. First up, Megan (and Drew, too!).

Name: Megan K.

Romantic dining partner: Fiancé Drew.

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, by way of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Fun fact: They’re getting married on March 15, 2014.

A night to remember: “Having dated my then-boyfriend (now fiancé) for six years, the element of surprise dates and gifts were long behind us after living together for a few years. On a random, chilly late winter weekend, my boyfriend told me to pack an overnight bag with a nice change of clothes for a weekend get away. We took the el from the Addison redline down to Chicago where he had me walk blocks out of my way to arrive at the Drake Hotel. We changed and caught a cab, and he instructed the driver to drop us off at Dearborn and Ontario. We walked into the Melting Pot and had a wonderfully romantic dinner over fondue. This started the beginning of our restaurant exploration and seeking out new and exciting restaurants together.”

Melted cheese seems to melt hearts. Are you big fans of fondue? Continue Reading

Enter the Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway: Share Your Tale of Romance + Restaurants for a Chance to Win 1 of 5 $200 OpenTable Gifts

giveaway-val-dayHave you ever been swept off your feet by your sweetie in a restaurant? Been surprised with an over-the-top romantic restaurant outing? Has your dining partner gotten down on bended knee to pop a very important question? Enter the OpenTable Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway!

With Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away, we want to spread the love with a giveaway we think you’ll love. Share a romantic dining story in the comments of this post, and you’ll be entered to win  one of five $200 OpenTable Gifts*, redeemable at a participating OpenTable Gifts restaurant. And, next week, we’ll publish several winning stories of romance and restaurants on our blog.

The entry period runs through Friday, February 7, 2014. Winners will be announced Monday, February 10, 2014, and will be notified via the email address associated with your comment below (so please be sure to check it!). Complete terms and conditions after the jump.

We look forward to swooning over your stories! Continue Reading

Top 25 Mom-friendly Dining Cities in the U.S.

[singlepic id=95 w=400 h=600 float=left]In celebration of Mother’s Day, we are pleased to release our rankings of the Top 25 Mom-friendly Dining Cities in the U.S. This list represents the best cities for moms who are also fun-seeking foodies.

The results are spread across 16 states and point to the places where it’s terrific to be both a mom and a foodie. Florida, California, and Texas cities are well represented, as is North Carolina, which boasts wins for Charlotte and Raleigh.

In order to provide this ranking, the OpenTable Mom-friendly Dining Index was calculated using four variables based on OpenTable reservation and diner reviews data from 2012: the percentage of people who dined out for Mother’s Day; the percentage of restaurants rated “kid-friendly;” the percentage of restaurants rated “romantic;” and the percentage of restaurants rated “hot spots.”

The following cities, listed in order, comprise the Top 25 Mom-friendly Dining Cities in the U.S.Continue Reading