10 Quirky, Cool Things to Do on Valentine’s Day

From aphrodisiac menus to animal hearts and Chinese takeout
February 3, 2014
by Sarah Freeman

Psst, Valentine's Day is almost here. We know, it's a Hallmark holiday, but try telling that to your girlfriend/boyfriend/desperate single friend who wants to go out despite the fact that it's February 14. Dining out on the day designed to spike long-stemmed rose sales doesn't have to be limited to extravagant prix fixe menus. We found 10 unconventional options for every type of V-Day reveler, from eating actual hearts to staying at home and eating Chinese food.

If Things With Your Significant Other Are Hot and Cold

Go to: Travelle
Order: The Fire & Ice five-course menu for two, with whole flambéed dorade and fiery chocolate cake with milk chocolate ice cream
How much it will set you back: $155 per couple

330 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-923-7705

If You Interpret the Whole “Heart” Celebration Literally

Go to: Atwood
Order: Pig heart pork tenderloin with sausage, caraway spaetzle and endive marmalade. It’s part of a four-course “heart” menu.
How much it will set you back: $55 per person plus $20 per person with pairings

1 W. Washington St.; 312-368-1900

If You're an Adventurous Duo

Go to: Frontier
Order: Four-courses of four different types of animal hearts including a turducken-style veal heart stuffed with lamb heart stuffed with blood sausage
How much it will set you back: $40 per person, or $60 per couple

1072 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-772-4322

If You Can’t Keep Your Hands off Each Other

Go to: Untitled
Order: The five-course aphrodisiac menu that encourages getting your hands dirty with hot-'n'-sticky black cod with asparagus, pork belly, toast purée and lemon mostarda
How much it will set you back: $200 per couple including a cocktail reception, dinner and dancing

111 W. Kinzie St.; 312-880-1511

If You Are Lovers Who Hate Love

Go to: Dusek’s
Order: Five courses with beer pairings and slow jams instead of sappy sonnets. Dine on seared scallops with white chocolate and roast dove with Job's Tears.
How much it will set you back: $65 for dinner only, $80 for dinner with beer pairings, or $90 for dinner with wine pairings

1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851

If You Are the Perfect Pair

Go to: Coppervine
Order: Design a four-course pairing menu with options like housemade pappardelle with oxtail-tomato ragout and warm Valrhona chocolate molten cake
How much it will set you back: $98 per couple plus $29 per person for taster pairings, or $49 for full pairings

1962 N. Halsted St.; 773-935-1000

If You Want to Have a Platonic Valentine’s Day

Go to: Mercadito
Order: Día del Amor y la Amistad is the Day of Love and Friendship in Mexico. Celebrate good friends with great food like grilled pear guacamole and spiced chocolate cake.
How much it will set you back: $55 per person for a five-course sharing menu

108 W. Kinzie St.; 312-329-9555

If Beer Is Your True Love

Go to: Jerry’s
Order: Something off the hop-centric tap takeover, complete with Bell’s Hopslam, Half Acre’s Navaja, Three Floyds War Mullet and Solemn Oath’s Death by Vikings
How much it will set you back: No cover for the regular food and draft list with the above hoppy additions

1938 W. Division St.; 773-235-1006

If You Need a Drink

Go to: Sable
Order: The Mockingbird Valentine (rum, sriracha, housemade grenadine, dry vermouth and fresh lemon), Power of Love (Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, housemade ginger syrup, fresh lemon and egg white) or War of the Roses (Pimm’s, 209 Gin, Chase Elderflower, fresh lime, housemade simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and mint)
How much it will set you back: $14 per cocktail

505 N. State St.; 312-755-9704

If You Want to Stay Home and Eat Chinese Food

Call: MAK
Order: MAK-Gogi, Korean-style marinated beef with Spanish onions, or General MAK, lightly fried chicken breast or shrimp tossed with a tangy glaze, and an order of donuts, of course
How much it will set you back: $1-$11 menu items with free delivery on Valentine's Day

1924 W. Division St.; 773-772-6251

valentine's day
date spots