Our Valentine’s Day Guide: Celebrating V-Day Close to Home (and to Your Heart)

heart cookies Flickr/Bianca Moraes

heart cookies Flickr/Bianca Moraes

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, we’re pretty divided. Some of us love Valentine’s Day — the ubiquitous hearts, the roses, the melty-eyed couples canoodling on the subway. Some of us opt to celebrate Galentine’s Day instead. Some of us eschew it altogether.

What we’re not so divided about? The influx of excellent chocolate, dining deals and amped-up ambience at our favorite local haunts. Show your love by treating your valentine (or yourself) to any of our picks, whether you’re going out, staying in or just taking advantage of the sweets.

Night In

Forget to make a restaurant reservation and don’t want to get stuck with the 10 p.m. table? Or want to compose a special menu exclusively of, ahem, aphrodisiacs? Enlist one of Kitchensurfing’s trained chefs (often sous-chefs at local restaurants) to make dinner for two. Work with the chef to design the menu; then he or she will bring the ingredients to your apartment, cook and clean up — what could be better than that? And it gets better: Edible readers will get $100 off their dinner. Click here for the coupon. Dinner starts at about about $100 per person for 2 people.

Weekly subscription food box service Quinciple has a special Valentine’s Day box in store for subscribers. It will include, among other things, pink-hued beet pasta, pasture-raised beef shanks for osso busco, two rounds of Crottin goat’s cheese from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery and Valentine’s cookies from the pastry chef at Northern Spy. Join Quinciple and order your box by February 7 in order to receive the Valentine’s box.

Let your valentine know you’re thinking of them by sending them an OwlGram from Manhattan’s own Owl’s Brew, a company that makes tea-based cocktail mixers. The OwlGram will include an 8-ounce bottle of their Pink & Black mixer, a hot pink rose and a personalized message from you. Order the OwlGram online or by phone, and then head over to your valentine’s to cozy up over homemade hot toddies.

Skip the busy (and noisy) restaurant scene this Valentine’s Day by having dinner delivered to your door. Saxelby Cheesemongers is offering a deal for Valentine’s Day this year: a “Valentine’s Dinner for Two” that includes two 12-ounce Akaushi steaks and two varieties of cheeses.)

Night Out

Pick out a nice bottle of wine and spend Valentine’s Day evening in, but surprise your partner with tickets to a walking wine tour in SoHo or the West Village with City Wine Tours so you you can sip your way through local wine destinations at a later date.

In Chelsea, Red Cat is offering a prix-fixe three-course menu with options for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Finish the evening by splitting their decidedly romantic chocolate fondue for two.

Pop up to Nick & Toni’s Cafe for an à la carte amore-themed menu for the holiday: think rich foie gras with pomegranate syrup, red snapper with saffron mussel broth and a “Box O’ Chocolates” cocktail. We also love their Forrest Gump cocktail (“Ah love you, Jenny”), made with Brooklyn’s own Cacao Prieto Cacao Rum.

No fireplace (or kitchen) in your studio apartment? Not to worry: Moran’s Chelsea has both, not to mention a live pianist to play through your Valentine’s Day dinner off their regular menu. A complimentary raspberry Champagne cocktail sweetens the deal.

Northern Spy’s prix-fixe Valentine’s Dinner offers as many as four options for each of its three courses. Choosing between the beet salad with blood orange, bergamot and ricotta or the squash bisque with ruby red shrimp, sea urchin and sage may very well be the hardest part of the whole day. Put your love to the test when you reach across the table to steal a bite of your date’s dinner.

Love, Sweet Love

MarieBelle chocolates are made here in New York — and their Valentine’s Day specials far exceed heart-shaped boxes. Try one of their holiday chocolate bars, some named “Seduction” and “Passion,” wrapped to look like old-timey valentines (think blushing couples seated at pianos). Or pick up a box of their ganaches, each piece painted painstakingly with a V-Day themed image.

It’ll be hard to choose what to pick from the glass case at Eleni’s. We love the gift tin of bright and shimmery Sugar Hearts, which is perfect for a crowd. Their tic-tac-toe-painted XO Cookies are pretty sweet, too. All of their treats are kosher and nut-free.

Featured photo: Flickr/Bianca Moraes
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