Oh, the pressure to get Valentine’s Day right. This year, it falls on Thursday, February 14th–giving you the option of celebrating the weekend before, after or on the day itself. Why not spread out the love? Wine Country’s rife with romance if you just know where to look…
– Conquer the “No Manches” burrito, a seven pound monster filled with meat, cheese, rice and beans as long as your arm at Los Tres Chiles(http://www.lostreschiles.com/) in Santa Rosa for $19.95. Any one person who can eat it in 60 minutes gets the burrito free, plus a cash prize. How sexy is that? 2765 Yulupa Ave. at Bethards Dr., Santa Rosa, 707-304-5724.
– Dungeness crab cioppino, grilled lamb and cheddar grits, duck breast with candied bacon, red velvet cake with marshmallow cream and powdered sugar beignets at Rocker Oysterfellers (. $55, reservations recommended, 707-876-1983, 14415 Highway One, Valley Ford.
– Chef Josh Silvers’ brings back his Syrah Bistro V-day menu for one day only, including crab cakes with arugula salad, lobster bisque, pan-roasted quail, whisky creamed lobster, braised short ribs, and warm lemon pudding cake. $85 per person, reservations required, 305 Fifth St. at Davis St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4300.
– A chocolate three-way: J Vineyard’s Bubble Room has a lineup of haute nibbles, still and sparkling wines from new winery chef Jason LaBue (an alum of Madrona Manor, Meadowood and Cavallo Point). On the menu throughout February, oyster chowder croquette, beet risotto with cocoa nibs, braised brisket with gnocchi and black trumpet mushrooms and a baby red velvet cake and chocolate “three ways”. Seatings by appointment Friday through Sunday, 11am, noon, 2 and 3pm, $75 per person. 431-5430 to reserve.
– An evening of Shakespeare, romance and a four-course dinner at the Castello di Amorosa, Feb. 16 from 7-11pm. Guest Chef Alejandra Schrader serves dinner in the barrel rooms, actors inspire romance with romantic sonnets and wines flow freely. $225 per person, reservations required, 707-967-6274, 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga.
– The classic film, Casablanca, bubbly from Domaine Carneros and chocolates from La Belge at the Napa Valley Opera House, February 14th at 7pm, $10. 1030 Main St. at First St, Napa, 707-226-7372.
– Candy cap ice cream rolled into a blue corn crepe at Mateo Granadas’ Cocina Latino. Though it may sound a little strange, the foraged mushrooms have a sweet, maple-syrup flavor and a hint of earthiness that make for a perfect dessert. 214 Healdsburg Ave. at Front St, Healdsburg, 707-433-1520.
– A six-pack of conversation heart cookies for tongue-tied Romeos from Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar, various locations around Sonoma County, San Francisco and at siftcupcakes.com.
– Learning to butcher: Meat Revolution’s Berry Salinas and Fork Catering’s Sarah Piccolo are teaming up for a three-class series focused on teaching home cooks how to make the most of their meat — with the benefit of dinner and wine as part of the learning process. Session one (5-8pm, Wednesday February 13th) focuses on breaking down a whole chicken, how to brine and marinade and culminates with a communal dinner of coq au vin. Subsequent sessions include rabbit cookery, sausage and pork curing. Classes are $75 each, or $60 if you purchase the series. Limited to 10 students, 330 Main St. at Calder Ave., Sebastopol. For reservations or call 707-494-0960.
– Beer: The Black and White Beer Ball, Friday February 15th in Santa Rosa features beer-tasting from local craft brewers from 9pm to midnight, silent auction and food. Details at ales4autism.com.
But wait, there’s more…
Casino Bar and Grill: Choose from one of two $25 prix fixe menus: Confit of Duck Heart & Celery Heart Salad; Breast of Pork with Brown Sugar, Pickled Tomatoes, Aioli & Parsley Salad, Devils Food Cake OR Dungeness Crab Cocktail, Sole Roasted on the Bone, Rose Petal Cream Pots. 17000 Bodega Hwy Bodega, (707) 876-3185.
Viola Pastry Cafe: Four course prix fixe menu includes pan seared scallops with blood oranges, aioli, maple glazed pork belly, caramelle pasta with Taleggio cheese and black trumpet mushrooms, grilled halibut with pancetta, braised short ribs, chocolate Marquise with sea salt ice cream, $50. 709 Village Court, Santa Rosa, 544-8830.
Brody’s Burgers, The Lava Love Burger: Grass-Fed Beef, Monterey Jack Cheese, Lava Love Sauce,
Grilled Pineapple, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion Ring. Served on a Sourdough Bun. Includes your choice of fries, $8.27. 3135 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa.
Forchetta/Bastoni: Happy Hour from 3-6pm and 9-close in the bar, four-course prix fixe includes antipasti, Caesar salad, lasagna, risotto or slow-braised pork shoulder, flourless chocolate cake or lemon tart, $55. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 829-9500.
Charlie’s Restaurant at the Windsor Golf Club: Blackened sea scallops on roasted corn and jalapeno polenta with chipotle mango buerre blanc ($12.95), crab and artichoke crostini ($14.95), chicken and wild mushroom crepes ($12.95), herb marinated lamb chops with gorgonzola-chive mashed potatoes ($27.95), lobster ravioli with creamy sundried tomato sauce ($29.95), maple glazed veal chop with bacon cheddar potatoes ($26.95), roast prime rib diavolo ($25.95). 1320 19th Hole Dr., Windsor, 838-8802.
Chole’s French Cafe: Available Valentine’s Day only, green salad, cassoulet with garlic sausage OR buckwheat crepe filled with roasted butternut squash, spinach and cheese, raspberry ganache macaron and a glass of French sparkling wine, $15.95. Open 8am to 5pm., 3883 Airway Dr., Santa Rosa, 528-3095.
Gypsy Cafe: FRIDAY Four course prix fixe with sparkling wine and house made focaccia, truffled butternut squash soup, smoked beet salad with pecans and chevre, citrus-glazed mahi-mahi, flat iron steak with heirloom beans, housemade gnocchi with sauteed shitakes, triple chocolate brownie with caramel and cream, $50 with option $20 wine pairing. Reservations online at gypsy-cafe.com, 162 N Main St., Sebastopol, 861-3825.
Brasserie at Hyatt Vineyard Creek: Special menu runs through Saturday (regular menu available as well), includes lobster bisque with creme fraiche ($8), oysters on the half shel ($14/6), North Atlantic lobster ravioli ($30), grilled Scottish salmon with sour cream chive puree ($26), duck breast with sweet potato puree ($32), grilled steak medallions with white bean puree ($28). 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa, 636-7186.
Cafe Europe: Three or four-course prix fixe menu includes porcini ravioli, mussels, lobster bisque, Surf & Turf (filet mignon and jumbo prawns), wild boar ragout, puff pastry tart with wild mushrooms, Maine lobster. $35 or $40, 104 Calistoga Road, Santa Rosa, 538-5255.
Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe: Cheese Blintzes filled with fromage blanc, topped with mixed berry sauce and lemon curd. $5 Monday through Thursday if you tell them you saw it on BiteClub. 2901 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 56-6317.
Bistro 29: Prix fixe menu includes tart flamiche with smoked salmon, carrot and butternut squash soup with brown butter, crab profiterole with lobster buerre fondue, potato buckwheat crepe with goat cheese Mornay, monkfish stew with smoked scallops, pan seared beef with black trumpet mushrooms and macaroni gratin, duck with juckleberry syrah sauce, chocolate Marquise, $65 with optional $35 wine pairing. 620 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 546-2929.
Jackson’s Bar and Oven’s Gayla: Open-invite party on V-day to honor LGBTQ community and to support Marriage Equality. 25% of all proceeds donated to Equality California. 135 Fourth St., Santa Rosa.
Sweet 116: Celebrate Valentine’s Day on Saturday along Route 116. Seven wineries (Balletto, Dutton Estate, Graton Ridge, Hook & Ladder, Martin Ray, Russian River, Taft Street) offer wine tasting, decadent treats and cheese plus, enjoy a tour of Laguna de Santa Rosa. 11am to 4pm, Saturday, Feb. 16, $30. 823-3040 or online.
Corks Restaurant at Russian River Vineyards: Three course prix fixe menu includes oyster shooters, seared ahi tuna, asparagus wrapped in filet mignon, seared sea bass, roasted rack of Sonoma lamb, bricked rosemary garlic chicken, prime Chateaubriand for two with wild mushrooms, Meyer lemon tart or chocolate fondue, $89. 5700 California 116 Forestville.
Tolay Restaurant at the Sheraton Sonoma County: Prix fixe includes short rib pierogies with wild mushrooms, fresh oysters, lobster with kefir lime butter, enoki leek risotto, cowboy steak with twice baked potato, collard greens and ham hock, whole red snapper, wild mushroom ravioli, red wine chocolate cake, apple calette, rose gelato. $65, 745 Baywood Dr., Petaluma.
Patisserie Angelica: The haute bakery and sweet shop opens Wednesday through Sunday, Feb. 13-17 from 10am to 5pm with a case full of chocolate deliciousness including their coconut and black tea infused palets, Parisian macarons (the best I’ve had in years), truffles (try the white chocolate passionfruit), cookies and their Better Than Sex Chocolate Sauce. 6821 Laguna Parkway, Sebastopol, 827-7998.