The countdown is on to Valentine’s Day and regardless of the ongoing debate about indoor dining the simple fact remains that spending a romantic evening inside of a restaurant is one of the riskiest things you can do right now. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t still celebrate with some sweets and treats while still supporting local businesses.
(Check out Eater’s Guide to How To Help During the Crisis.)
From online cooking classes to take-and-bake meals, restaurants, bakeries, and chefs across the Triangle have a myriad of edible options to spice up your February 14. Whether deciding to dust off the fine china or opt for Netflix and takeout on the couch, you can help share the love during this difficult time by spending your Valentine’s money and some of these local businesses.
Take and Bake
It’s hard to find a restaurant that didn’t start offering meals that can be finished or reheated at home, and many of them are upping the game for Valentine’s Day. Durham’s Alley Twenty Six is offering a special three course take home meal with options like duck pate in terrine, boeuf bourguignon, and flourless chocolate cake. Sister restaurants Bull City Burger & Brewery, Bull City Solera, and Pompieri Pizza are also offering a meal for two — the spaghetti and meatballs are there to help recreate a Lady and the Tramp moment.
North Raleigh steakhouse the Capital Grille has a surf and turf take home option, while in Carrboro Tandem has a four-course take home meal with a choice of either coconut curry salmon or beef filet for the main course.
Or customers can celebrate with a romantic brunch — Durham’s Boricua Soul has brunch boxes for preorder with coquito french toast, chicken and maduro waffles, pimento cheese deviled eggs, and more.
So many restaurants are offering to-go meals (COPA, NanaSteak, Seasons52, Plum) that chances are your favorite spot might have something; just give them a call. (News & Observer food writer Drew Jackson has a great roundup as well.)
You might have the main meal already planned, but when it comes to dessert you can save yourself some work by outsourcing your sugary needs. Macarons are always a good call on Valentine’s Day, and in Durham both Rose’s Noodles, Dumplings, and Sweets and Sweets by Shayda have you covered. Parlour, also in Durham, is offering special ice cream flavors and pie preorders. Grab some cookies or a couple slices of Red Velvet Cake from Union Special Bread in Raleigh, or give Valentine’s Day a Mardis Gras twist with one of their King Cakes.
Something to Sip On
Many restaurants that offer to-go food have also begun to sell wine and beer to-go as well, so when ordering a romantic meal for two it might be worthwhile to see if the restaurant can add a bottle of bubbly to the order. But if wine isn’t your thing, you can switch things up by ordering a sampler box of beer and treats from Fullsteam Brewery. The Good Food Award Winners box comes with four of their award winning beers plus local winning products like Videri chocolate and Accidental Baker crackers. You could also opt for the Girl Scout Cookie and Beer sampler box, because GIRL SCOUT COOKIES AND BEER.
Honeygirl Meadery is offering a “All You Mead Is Love” tasting kit. The kit comes with three bottles of mead, a tote bag, two glasses, cocktail recipe cards, and gets you access to a virtual Zoom tasting on February 12th.
And if you need a little caffeine to get you going on Valentine’s Day, Little Waves Coffee Roasters has a “Invoke A Loved One” box set that includes both a bag of their Love Frequency coffee blend as well as melting chocolate and a spice of your choice (based on what you think your loved one would like) to make some delicious spiced sipping chocolate.
The Gift of Knowledge
Maybe your idea of a great date night is rolling up your sleeves and learning a new skill with your sweetie. Master Baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery is offering a virtual baking class on Saturday, February 13, where attendees will learn some of his family’s favorite French dessert recipes. Chef John Eisensmith of Season to Taste has a series of online classes scheduled throughout the spring, including a Valentine’s Day chocolate strawberries and truffles class. If mixology is more your style, owner Shannon Healy of Alley Twenty Six offers both monthly virtual cocktail classes as well as custom-tailored, private virtual classes.
However you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate!) Valentine’s Day this year, keep your local restaurants and makers in mind. We’re all in the same pandemic boat and they certainly would appreciate a little shared love this February 14.