February is widely known as the month of love, and food and drink are an important piece of a couple’s romantic history. We have compiled our favorite date-night (in some cases date-day) hotspots and red foods guaranteed to ignite that Valentine’s spark, everything from breakfast to beets to Broadway Pizza. This eclectic mix of red foods is the perfect collection, because love is, if anything, unpredictable.
Cherry Kijafa Crepes
The Original Pancake House
Is there a more intimate meal than breakfast? Dawn is breaking, there’s sleep in your eyes, and the hunger pangs are primal. Well, Original Pancake House is serving up classic favorite recipes so you can sleep in and still have your morning feast, any time of day. Case in point: the cherry Kijafa crepes, which pop off the plate with cherries simmered in a Kijafa wine sauce and are then rolled into three soft, fluffy crepes ($8.75). For more red on the plate, ask your partner to order the fresh strawberry waffle. This dessert-for-breakfast is one waffle packed with strawberries and whipped cream, then glazed with strawberry syrup for good measure ($10.75).
Valentine’s Day is certainly a time for love and affection, but let’s not forget that Cupid’s holiday is incomplete without a little spice. This year, kick your night out up a notch at Ketsana’s Thai. There are quite a few red-paste curry options to keep your red-hot-love theme alive, and owner Ketsana Suvanphim recommends the chicken curry. Sliced chicken breasts, simmered in coconut milk to balance the kick of the curry, this dish is partnered with crunchy bell peppers for a textural bite to enhance the rich curry flavor ($10.25). We know your honey is worth the money, but if you’re dining on the cheap, try the pad ped. Coconut milk and red curry again come together, only this time they are joined by cooked broccoli, celery, bell pepper, carrot and Napa for a delightful dish ($9.45).
Roasted Beet Salad
Rock Elm Tavern
Beets get a bad rap. They’re the ugly duckling of the garden, but packed with vitamins and minerals, this red veggie gets roasted at Rock Elm to bring out its bevy of flavors. Served with toasted cashews, goat cheese, sweet oranges and tangy honey-apple vinaigrette ($11.25), this flavorful mix will have your tongue doing flips and prepped for the entrée. Keep the beet party bumpin’ with Rock Elm’s Hipster sandwich. Essentially the beet salad on a bun, this dish drops the oranges and vinaigrette and picks up a fresh basil aioli on focaccia bread ($11.75). A vegetarian treat that fills you up comfortably, it encourages a guilt-free dessert to split after your meal. Keep it fancy with a delightful take on crème brulee ($6); true love is not fighting over the last bite.
Lucky’s 13 Pub
As a wise quarterback once said, “Chicken parm, you taste so good.” This sandwich of love brings together the unique flavors of Italy and the good old U.S. of A. for a partnership packed full of flavor. Lucky’s parmesan-crusted chicken is covered with warm marinara and spicy pepperoni, and is topped off with melty mozzarella for a cheesy finish ($12.49). If you’re feeling particularly romantic, why not order a dish to split? The jambalaya is an over-size offering of spicy sausage, fresh chicken and shrimp, tossed together with bright red tomato rice ($15.49). They say the best advice for love is the same for life: variety. Fortunately, that is the specialty at Lucky’s 13.
Jake’s Red Chili
Jake’s City Grille
The first adjective food writers use to describe chili is “hearty.” I’ll spare you the punny Valentine’s joke, and instead direct your attention to Jake’s warmest original recipe. This bowl is so deep, there’s room for three types of meat: Prime rib, ground beef and pulled pork all lend their savory flavors to this delightful witch’s brew. Fresh onions, celery, garlic and kidney beans are stirred up in a tomato chili broth that brings all the warmth and affection of a partner ($7.95/bowl). Single folks need to eat, too, and this big bowl of chili has so much personality, you won’t really be eating alone.
Build Your Own Pizza
This year, take a break from your busy social schedule, and spend some quality time at home with the one you love. Try an exercise in communication and build your own delicious Broadway pizza. Choose between Broadway’s original red sauce or the creamy red, and let the fun begin. Is your love strong enough to share or tolerate jalapenos or sauerkraut on a pizza? With more than 30 toppings to choose from, the flavor is truly your own design ($11.29/medium). Broadway has a menu of favorite combinations to accommodate the indecisive. The classic deluxe is a house favorite, piling sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, cheese and green pepper together for the perfect slice of comfort food ($17.99). Part of being in a committed relationship is occasionally watching your partner eat pizza in sweatpants.