January 27, 2009


A bell pepper "heart" I found in my rice. Awww.


Seafood and lettuce cups at Great Eastern.

Love it, hate it, into it, avoiding it, I have no idea what ~VALENTINE’S DAY~ means to you. I do know that probably every restaurant in town has something special going on that night. I have probably received upwards of 60 press releases and restaurant announcements about it (oh dear God, please make it stop). I sorted through the pile, and here are a few ideas for you, depending on your romantic situation, or not.

Rose-Free Dining
Who needs red roses when you can have black truffles for $20? ~COCO500~ is offering a four-course tasting menu (guests have three options per course) for $85, and you can have Perigord black truffles shaved to order on the entrée you choose for an additional $20—they’re being cool like Spruce and offering them at cost. 500 Brannan St. at 4th St., 415-543-2222.

Valentine’s Day with Someone New
Nothing like having V-Day appear after three nice dates with someone new. So keep it nice ‘n’ easy, and do something like ~UVA ENOTECA’S~ offering: four courses for $45 per person. On the menu: an aperitivo/glass of prosecco; lamb prosciutto from Salumi, Seattle, WA, and Andante Cheese “Quattro Stagioni” served with truffle honey, quince jam, and panforte; chanterelle mushrooms, sunchokes with arugula and pecorino, or heirloom beans; burrata salad with grilled chicories and Asian pears poached in saba; house-made sausage with farro or Anson Mills polenta with assorted vegetables, and gelato coppetta for dessert. 568 Haight St. at Steiner, 415-829-2024.

Romance-Phobic

Don’t feel like being seated at a two-top at a restaurant with a red rosebud on the table, or cooking an intimate dinner at home that night? Maybe you’re just a social couple, or single? Check out ~JAMES STOLICH’S ANTI-VALENTINES'S DAY INTERACTIVE DINNER~. You will produce a multi-course meal (some of you will help James make the gnocchi). For those who don’t wish to cook, you can relax, drink wine, and watch the action!

The menu: burrata with wild arugula, and red and yellow roasted beets; hand-made potato gnocchi with butter and sage; winter braise of Prather Ranch beef with white wine and San Marzano tomatoes; saffron panna cotta with seasonal fruit and balsamico; and a very special piece of chocolate for each guest. Cost is $85 per person and includes wine. Sign up by emailing james [at] stolich [dot] com.

Dinner and a Movie
~FOREIGN CINEMA~ is hosting a four-course dinner with some classic aphrodisiac dishes (yup, oysters), plus arugula salad with rose-petal vinaigrette, followed by Moroccan-spiced duck breast or New York steak, and dessert. Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast will be playing on the courtyard wall, plus there will be live music. $85 per person, excludes beverages, tax, or gratuity. 2534 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-648-7600.

For the Locavore Couple
On Friday February 13th, the ~FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE~ is hosting the sixth annual Food from the Heart event. The public can stroll through the Nave without paying any admission fees. Marketplace food vendors will offer small bites ($2-$4 per taste) and wine pours ($4-$6) from members of Napa Valley Vintners. Participating vintners include: Andretti Winery, Miner Family Vineyards, Salvestrin, Swanson Vineyards, Signorello Vineyards, and Zahtila Vineyards. There will also be music by Golden Gate Hot Club (gypsy jazz), Tango Milonga, and a classical music quartet, as well as tango dancing. No prior ticket purchase is necessary to attend, and there is no admission fee. All proceeds benefit Slow Food San Francisco. 5pm–8pm. Ferry Building Marketplace.

Kiss the Cook
Fired up to cook at home? Get some skillz at this ~PARTIES THAT COOK!~ event on February 12th and 13th: Date Night Valentine’s Day Couples Cooking Class at the Dacor Kitchen Showroom kitchen in South San Francisco. Champagne included. $170 per couple. For more details, click here.

Single?
Parties That Cook! has you covered, too. PTC is hosting a Cooking Crush Valentine’s Day Singles Cooking Class on February 12th at Crushpad Winery in San Francisco. 6:30pm–9pm. $95 per guest. For more details, click here.

Out with the Gang
Or, you can do what I do with my single friends each year: we get together and go out for a big Chinese banquet dinner. A few of our coupled-up friends even ask if they can come, but we politely deny their request. Some years we gain a few friends at the table, other years we lose a few. I just hope I don’t host this thing forever, okay?!

Last year we did ~GREAT EASTERN~, and five of us ordered the “Chinatown Selection” ($88), which came with minced seafood with lettuce cups (fabulous texture); shredded dried scallop soup; sautéed sea conch and scallops with yellow chives (also tasty); fresh Dungeness crab with XO sauce; sautéed soft bean cake and Chinese mushrooms with tender greens; steamed fish (our night it was catfish—really savory); and oranges and cookies for dessert. Yeah, a ton of food. And the joint is open until 12am! 649 Jackson St. at Grant, 415-986-2500.

Or you could do it up at ~LICHEE GARDEN~ or my current favorite, ~FIVE HAPPINESS~.

Loving you!

Valentine’s Day

Sat. Feb. 14th, 2009