Romantic restaurant meals, anti-Valentine eats & even a cook-it-at-home option
(Cross-posted to MileHighOnTheCheap.com, the metro Denver-Boulder area site for info on values, bargains, deals and freebies.)
Along with Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is the occasion that restaurants often use to offer special dinners at specially high prices. Here are some suitably festive and yet affordable ones that I have found for Thursday, February 14 (plus tax and gratuity): The 5th Sun Cafe & Lounge” Valentines 2 Day” special on February 14 & 15 is a healthy, scratch-made 3-course Mexican dinner with a bottle of wine, a choice of soup or salad, a special entrée and dessert for $60 per couple. 3024 N. Speer, Denver, 303-433-6935. ♥ The Blue Bonnet Café, a favorite Mexican restaurant since the 1930s, is putting on an even more affordable Valentine’s Day dinner for just $25 for two. Start with one of six specialty margaritas, then have a choice of two soups, follow with a choice of seven taco or vegetarian poblano combinations with rice and beans, and finish with sugar/cinnamon-dusted sopapillas with honey and whipped cream. 457 S. Broadway, Denver, 303-778-0147. ♥ Super-cool Crave Dessert Bar & Lounge is doing a $30 three-course dinner that bears explaining. The first course is a selection of specialty cheese, fresh seasonal fruit and a brioche, followed by seared scallops, buerre blanc, lemon, parsley, farfalle pasta and fresh vegetables, or fried eggplant, wilted spinach, tomato bruschetta, roasted red pepper couli and basil for the second course, and then for the dazzling dessert, strawberry mascarpone cheesecake and hibiscus foam; passion fruit mousse, fresh lime coulis, chocolate ganache, roasted berries and pink peppercorn; or chocolate flourless cake, white chocolate mousse, cherry gastrique, candied hazelnut, malted milk crème Anglaise, caramel-vanilla bean French macaron and Luxardo cherries. 891 14th St., Denver, 303-586-4199. ♥ Gaetano’s “One Love,” a $30 three-course dinner, from February 14 to 16 includes a choice of arugula salad or lobster bisque as first course, sautéed Hawaiian fish or house-made ravioli as an entrée, and a choice of house-made chocolate cake with Nutella or classic cheesecake with amarena cherry for dessert. Head to the bar after dinner to enjoy a complimentary glass of Prosecco from Denver’s only on-tap Prosecco. 3760 Tejon St., Denver, 303-455-9852. ♥ At Phat Thai, the “third wheel” dines at 50% off. 2900 E. 2nd Ave., Denver, 303-388-PHAT. ♥ For those immune to traditional sentimentality, the Pub 17 on Welton has an “Get Messy Anti-Valentine” menu featuring their Barbeque Rib Platter — perhaps an opportunity for couples to celebrate with their own “Tom Jones” moment, and then top it off with a Sweet Action Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Float for dessert. This prix fixe menu in addition to Pub 17’s à la carte selections is offered on Valentine’s night only for $18 per person. In the Grand Hyatt, Denver, 1750 Welton St. Denver, 303-295-1117. ♥ Along the same vein, start the evening at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) for a complimentary chocolate & champagne reception for the launch of their latest exhibit, the Museum of Broken Relationships, starting at 6:30 p.m. Later, Boulder’s Kitchen [Next Door] hosts its 2nd Annual Anti-Valentine’s Day 80’s Dance Party with DJ Jahsonic spinning songs from the ’80s from 9 p.m. to close. 1039 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-544-5973. ♥ Flights Wine Cafe, with locations in Morrison (116 Stone St., 303-697-0492) and Arvada (10475 W. 64th Ave., 303-432-7553), has a menu for $125 per couple, which seems pricey until you consider that it includes a welcome glass of bubbly, a $50 bottle of wine, a full evening of “loving tapas” and desserts. ♥ Another option is the Heat-n-Serve Valentine’s dinner from Tony’s Markets for those who want chef-made fare without the restaurant experience or cost. The $79.99 feast for two includes an Goat Cheese and Sweet Pear Phyllo Purse appetizer, a first course of Lobster Ravioli in Basil Cream Sauce, then Pear, Lemon and Vanilla Salad with Spring Greens and Candied Pecans, Beef Tenderloin Filet Mignon with a Wild Mushroom Demi-Glace with Herbes de Provence Roasted Potatoes for the entrée, dinner rolls and for dessert, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries & Killer Brownie Bites. Save more by buying your own wine or bubbly without the retaurant markup –and there’s not tipping. You do have to handle the clean-up, but it’s economical trade — especially for couples who don’t also don’t want to pay for a sitter. Order online, in person or by phone at any Tony’s location. Orders must be placed by 2 p.m. on Monday, February 11 and are ready for pick- up after 12 noon on Thursday, Feburary 14.