Food & Drink: Eat your heart out with Valentine’s dining

A Sweet Tart cocktail at Rally Pizza. (Rally Pizza)

Feb. 14 may cause you to turn into a hunk of burning love or to just want to burn all things red, pink, purple and paper lace. Whether you plan to celebrate or “celehate” Valentine’s Day, here are several food-and-drink events to meet your needs.

Love brunch?

Paris-inspired C’est La Vie Bistro & Crêperie in Hazel Dell will have a three-course Valentine’s Day brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($30 per person). The menu includes croissants and pastries, as well as entrees such as croque madame topped with Dijon crème and a farm-fresh egg, quiche with spinach, tomatoes and feta, and a crêpe topped with chicken, crimini mushrooms and creamy rosemary Parmesan sauce. The third course features luscious desserts such as a Valhrona chocolate pot du crème.

Hate Valentine’s Day?

If your feelings about Valentine’s Day mirror Grumpy Cat (love is in the air, get a gas mask) then book a ride on Exo Bus’s Valentine’s Day Bites tour ($90 per person). This no-mushy-feelings trip includes a three-stop progressive meal with beer pairings. The first stop is Brothers Cascadia Brewing with appetizers by Cajun masters La Oie Cajun Cuisine. Next is Heathen Brewing Feral Public House for beer or wine with a dinner entree. Then Trap Door Brewing for three beer pairings accompanied by desserts by local favorite Killa Bites.

Also included are anti-Valentine’s Day cards by Seedy Cards, party games and a special playlist of anti-love songs to belt out during this four hour tour. Love may bite, but this tour rules.

Have kids?

Rally Pizza is throwing a free, family-friendly Valentine’s Day blowout for those of us who still believe in love at first sight but don’t feel like hiring a babysitter. DJ Galmeron will be spinning R&B and soul, and there will be a card decorating station for kids and forgetful or procrastinating adults.

Eat and drink your way through a special Valentine’s Day menu with pink things like a Sweet Tart cocktail with aperol, Cocchi Torino, lemon and sparkling rosé, and Chef Alan Maniscalco’s toothsome house-made egg pasta squares with basil, rose petal pesto and Fiore di Sardo. Other specials include nonpink  items such as a seafood and citrus salad with a citrus-chile vinaigrette and a Secret Admirer pizza with sweet onions, leeks, fennel, roasted mushrooms and Fontina D’Aosta and Grana Padano cheeses.

Save room for romantic desserts like a Tiramisu Concrete (for all those “Sleepless in Seattle” fans) and a Baci di Dama Sundae — chocolate-filled hazelnut “lady’s kisses” cookies and chocolate sauce over vanilla frozen custard, topped with hazelnuts, whipped cream and a cherry. Regular menu items (such as the kids pizza) will be available in addition to Valentine’s Day specials.

Love food and wine?

Koi Pond Cellars is hosting an All You Need Is Love Winemakers Dinner at their cozy downtown winery and bistro ($85 per person, $75 per person for wine club members). Upon arrival, you can sample their delectable antipasto board and sip Koi Pond Cellars’ gold medal-winning Geisha Red blend. After finding your seat, you will be treated to a four-course dinner of sausage stuffed mushrooms, butternut squash soup, stuffed flank steak and a flourless chocolate torte, all paired with their award-winning wines.

Rusty Grape Vineyards in Battle Ground is hosting a Wine and Chocolate Dinner featuring a six-course small plate dinner for two, which includes a truffle goat cheese endive salad with candied pecans, Dijon pork medallions, and a chocolate and port pairing ($80 for two, $20 deposit to make a reservation). A bottle of champagne can be added for $30 and wine pairings for each course are available for an additional cost of $10 per person.

Love cocktails?

Cocktail lovers paradise Amaro’s Table is offering a three-course menu ($45 per person, $60 per person with wine pairings) with two choices for each course. Lobster bisque, prime New York strip steak with demi-glace and bleu cheese crumbles, and a cannoli with chocolate chip filling are just some of the goodies on this decadent menu.   

Drinks include several cute Valentine’s cocktail specials, a milkshake for two and flights of spirits. Amaro’s Table’s February cocktail menu has a range of love-inspired concoctions worth tippling. The smoky, citrus-y Some Kind of Wonderful created by mezcal-lover, lead bartender and social media manager Cheyenne Sutcliffe is highly recommended.

Love beer?

Ben’s Bottle Shop is throwing A Most Gigantic Valentine’s Day celebration featuring beer from Gigantic Brewing Company. On tap there will be some of Gigantic’s specialty beers as well as their core offerings (like good, old-fashioned American IPAs). Their latest creation, an oyster stout with chocolate called Weapons of Mass Seduction, will be paired with Askinosie chocolates (which are available for purchase). This event is free and reservations are not necessary.

Want Valentine’s Day to last all weekend?

Fuel Bistro & Wine in Ridgefield has moved its Valentine’s Day festivities to the weekend of Feb. 16 and 17. Their regular Sunday brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday with some Valentine’s Day themed specials like red velvet pancake, sweet cream berry crêpes and Valentine’s Day-themed mimosas. If you prefer Galentine’s Day to Valentine’s Day, grab all your single ladies and sip mimosas while eating waffles and breakfast skillets.

On Saturday night, Fuel will host a Valentine’s Winemakers Dinner of five courses paired with carefully selected Willamette Valley wines ($75 per person). According to General Manager/Chef Megan Sanchagrin, “The star of the show is a 72-hour marinated skirt steak served with a Parmesan asparagus risotto.” There’s also creamy crab bisque and house-made herb and mascarpone ravioli with chanterelle mushrooms.

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