BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE
Having a candlelit dinner at a romantic restaurant is a tried-and-true method of celebrating Valentine’s Day, and if that’s your thing, you can choose from a plethora of dining establishments in the Twin Cities. But cooking and dining in on something special is also a great option. If you want to make a home-cooked meal for your loved one(s) this year, there are loads of traditional Valentine’s dishes to make. Foods associated with Valentine’s Day include those considered aphrodisiac or symbolic of hearts, such as oysters and other bivalves, game birds, avocados, nuts and seeds, pomegranates and most red fruits (cherries, strawberries), red vegetables (beets, red lettuce), edible flowers, and most sweet things, especially chocolate, honey and creamy puddings.
There’s Marry Me Chicken, a popular internet recipe right now, or a luxurious dish that’s easy to make – lobster risotto. If you really want to impress, try one of the “impossible” recipes from Laura Esquivel’s passionate love story, “Like Water for Chocolate.” A food blogger has updated the iconic Quail in Rose Petal Sauce to make it actually edible, although it is not guaranteed to make the eater so hot they set things on fire. Link: tinyurl.com/DKRatSSP-Quail. For a vegetarian meal, try sheet-pan roasted diced tempeh with root vegetables in a rainbow of colors and glazed with a honey or agave syrup marinade and aromatic spices. A side dish of saffron rice with pomegranate arils and a green salad with avocado chunks will round out either meal.
Music and dance events
Here are just a few of the Valentine’s Day events (not all are on the 14th):
At the Dakota, vocalist Sophia Shorai and pianist Tommy Barbarella will put on a dinner concert at 6 p.m. (doors 5 p.m.). The $125 per person ticket includes a four-course dinner with tax and gratuity (beverages not included). Purchase tickets in advance by going to events.etix.com and typing Dakota in the search bar to get the event calendar, then select the event.
At Palmer’s Bar, the Willow Waters Residency happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, and her show includes Nikki Grossman and Hemma. Tickets are $10 through Eventbrite.
The Hook and Ladder doesn’t have a Valentine’s show this year, but on Friday, Feb. 16, they do have New Fashioned HonkyTonk Presents: Clare Doyle, She Haws, DJ Rhinestoned, and Howdy Partner Dance. Tickets from the Events page at thehookmpls.com.
There is a love-themed Candlelight: Valentine’s Day Special featuring “Romeo and Juliet” and more at Luminary Arts Center (formerly the LAB Theatre). Two shows: 6:30 p.m. or 8:45 p.m. Get tickets at feverup.com/en/minneapolis/candlelight.
Minneapolis Cider Company is hosting a Bittersweet Dance Party (21+) on Friday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. In addition to DJ-provided music, dancing and cider, there will be tarot readings, crepes from Breizh Kitchen, Trail Magic THC drinks, and a fire pit where you can burn pictures of your ex or other things you need to burn.
Film and theater
History Theatre is partnering with Lori Dokken to present a Valentine’s Day concert event featuring great Twin Cities musicians delivering their musical thoughts about things they love, who they love and what they feel love is about. More info and tickets at historytheatre.csstix.com.
The six-film-plus-extras “Romance at the Parkway Theater” series started on Jan. 30 and runs through February. You can buy a pass to all six for significant savings, or just buy individual tickets. On Valentine’s Day itself, the film will be “Sleepless in Seattle,” and the pre-movie “extra” is live music from Leslie Vincent. The other films are “Dirty Dancing” on Feb. 8; “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on Feb. 15; “Harold and Maude” on Feb. 21; and “The Princess Bride” on Feb. 27 (with pre-movie trivia instead of music). More info and tickets at the Events page of theparkwaytheater.com.
If you’re currently in love with your own offspring (it happens!), take advantage of St. Paul Photo’s special price for mini-sessions with kids. (It’s actually on Tuesday, Feb. 20, but they’re calling it Valentine’s.) See stpaulphotoco.com for details and scheduling.
MITO Restaurant in Roseville hosts speed dating events, and one of them is happening on Valentine’s Day at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $40; more info and tickets through Eventbrite. (If you don’t find your mate, you can try again on Leap Day.)