Eating Around: Valentine’s Day

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Every week, we give you a calendar of upcoming dining events to help you navigate the week’s culinary festivities. This week, we give you a rundown of special Valentine’s Day destinations and other love-related events this weekend—because the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach.

SUN DIAL
After the March 2008 tornado trashed Downtown and shattered many of the Westin’s windows, the hotel’s signature restaurant, the Sun Dial, closed its doors for renovations. But the spinning restaurant with some of the best views in the city (at least according to our 67 Things Every Atlantan Must Do story) is back in action for Valentine’s. Chef Christian Messier will present a three-course prix fixe menu for $69 (or $99 for wine pairings) throughout the weekend. For a first course, patrons can choose from duck confit ravioli, a poached pear salad, gruyere cauliflower bisque, and steamed mussels. The main course offerings include pecan crusted trout, char-broiled beef tenderloin, roasted Ashley Farms chicken Florentine, seared diver scallops, and roasted lamb chops. And the dessert will be a to-be-declared, chef-inspired creation. (Not to ruin your special moment, but management expects about forty people will propose here this Valentine’s, so if a special someone makes reservations for you, just try to act surprised the night of.)

MELTING POT
It would be fitting to spend this holiday at a place designed to make your food as gooey as your heart’s supposed to be come Valentine’s. The Melting Pot will have a $65 five-course dinner (or $85 for wine pairings). The first course features either a garlic and herb cheddar or spinach and artichoke hearts Swiss cheese fondue. For a salad, the Pot offers the standard Caesar or the more unique strawberry walnut with champagne vinaigrette. Strawberry sorbet will cleanse the palate as the meal’s intermezzo. The possible entrees come in the form of themed combinations: The St. Valentine’s combo includes Maine lobster tail, filet mignon medallion, shrimp, honey Dijon chicken, teriyaki sirloin, and sun dried tomato ravioli; the cupid combo is similar but with pork tenderloin instead of filet mignon and ahi tuna instead of lobster. And for dessert, dip strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, marshmallows, pound cake, or brownies into either milk chocolate rocky road or strawberry mascarpone shortcake white chocolate fondue. I may be single, but that last fondue sounds like too delicious of a mouthful to pass up.

PACES 88
The St. Regis Atlanta’s Paces 88 surpasses the crowd with a six-course $125 night. Items on the menu include poached pineapple carpaccio, seared Maine diver scallop, Alaskan halibut, duck breast with chestnut waffle, petit filet of beef, and coconut and vanilla blanc manger—each accompanied by many an aphrodisiac. A complimentary glass of champagne and a roving violinist top off the night, but if you need more to top you off, the St. Regis Bar has a “quotable cocktail menu” featuring $12 literary libations along the lines of Shakespeare’s “my heart is ever at your service” made with Godiva chocolate liqueur and Plato’s “at the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet” made with blueberry and raspberry Stoli.

ROOM AT TWELVE
Twelve’s Room celebrates the holiday with specials ranging from maple leaf duck breast with pomegranate reduction to red velvet bombs topped with Grand Marnier caramel. To top off the evening, the restaurant will give each couple a rose, Bachelor-style. Since the reality TV geek in me has wanted to have that happen to him since 2002, I’m obviously heartbroken that I’m single and cannot partake.

SHED AT GLENWOOD
The Shed at Glenwood’s $45 three-course Valentine’s menu includes Gulf oysters, roasted beet salad, angus strip with jumbo lump crab meat, blackberry cheesecake, and the establishment’s famous ding dong dessert (with a name very appropriate for the evening).

PACCI RISTORANTE
Pacci’s $40 four-course menu includes wine pairings, with the food and wine coming from the four major regions of Italy. Dubbed “Italy Is for Lovers,” the night concludes with a parting gift catering to the holiday’s two main pastimes: chocolate body paint and a paint brush. Yum.

BLT STEAK
W Atlanta-Downtown’s BLT Steak will offer a special blackboard menu in addition to its normal offerings, and each table will get a complimentary dessert on Valentine’s. Designed for sharing, the blackboard menu includes Nantucket Bay scallops, foie gras terrine, porcini-stuffed calamari, seared Australian lamb loin, lobster tail, honey caramelized turnips, dark chocolate macademia crunchcake, and muscovado sugar cake.

SPICE MARKET
Up a few miles, W Atlanta-Midtown’s Spice Market will have a $65 five-course meal finished off with special flavors of fortune cookies—green tea, chocolate, and coffee.

LIVINGSTON
On Saturday and Sunday, Livingston will have a $40 three-course meal with possible courses including oyster duo, butternut squash soup, Virginia flounder, forest mushroom ravioli, and chocolate or tropical fruit tastings.

PURA VIDA
Top Chef contestant Hector Santiago’s Pura Vida has a Valentine’s package for $80 per couple including six tapas, one dessert, and a bottle of wine to share.

PARISH
Oysters, crab soup, smoked shortribs, roasted black grouper, and chocolate hazelnut truffle tart are all on the menu for Parish’s $42 three-course meal.

OTHERS
Some other restaurants offering Valentine’s specials or meals that caught my attention (briefly) include JCT. Kitchen, Aria, Two Urban Licks, La Tavola Trattoria, Canoe, Shaun’s, and Aqua Blue.

PLACES TO STOCK UP ON SWEETS
For something fresher than god-only-knows-how-old, grocery-store boxed chocolates, Bakeshop and Star Provisions both offer last-minute gift ideas. Backeshop will finally reveal its much-anticipated dessert bar this Valentine’s Day, and Star Provisions will host Allison Hooper as she presides over a cheese tasting and signing of her new book, In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen, while dolling out heart-shaped bonne buches for $11 to $13.


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