Ahh, love is in the air…or is it?
These sub-zero, ice encrusted, snow covered days of February belie the fact that one of the warmest (emotions-wise), coziest, most romantic holidays of the year – Valentine’s Day – is right around the corner.
Hunkered down in our mid-winter cocoons (often in the company of cabin-fever-suffering progeny), it can be a challenge to find ways to kindle the fires of romance.
But lovers everywhere take notice – Feb. 14 is a call to action – and Cupid’s call is one not to be ignored.
Statistics prove the point. An online survey conducted by information services company Experian indicated that 95 percent of men and 73 percent of women surveyed plan to spend money on a significant other this Valentine’s Day.
Dads take note – another survey of mothers by TOTSY revealed that a scant 15 percent of moms said their significant others forgot or were late in acknowledging heart day.
Among those answering Cupid’s call, 53 percent of men and 42 percent of women plan to dedicate their financial resources to an evening out on the town. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day of the year to dine out (Mother’s day is first).
In the interest of assisting love-struck locals – as well as those just wishing to avoid the doghouse – here are suggestions for local venues just perfect for sparking a little romance:
/255 E. Illinois Road/Lake Forest/847-234-2280
The Romantic Weekend Getaway features deluxe accommodations; champagne and truffles; $20 voucher for Sunday brunch; and complimentary appetizer voucher. Packages start at $169 per night. Diners will enjoy classic romance in the English Room with a special menu featuring appetizers, Tuscan Table and entrees for two; including Chef’s Tres Colore Salad, complimentary glass of champagne; homemade black and white chocolate truffles and more.
/28800 N. Waukegan Rd./Lake Bluff/847-234-7643
Enjoy a special Valentine’s Day menu offering a choice between two appetizers, two entrees – including beef tenderloin with crab claws and potato pancakes or Chilean sea bass with snow crab and potato leek purses with white truffle sauce – and finishing with flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. The prix-fixe dinner is $50 per person, or $100 per couple, with the couples’ dinner featuring two complimentary glasses of champagne. The special Valentine’s menu will be offered Feb. 12-14. Additional specials will be offered, too.
/293 E. Illinois Rd./Lake Forest/847-735-9235
Start the holiday early with a Cupid-inspired cooking class at 1 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 12). The Chef will teach attendees how to create a romantic Italian meal which features mixed greens with raspberry vinaigrette, caramelized walnuts and bleu cheese; ravioli with garlic parmesan sauce drizzled with white truffle oil; roasted tilapia with lump crab meat, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, peppers and tarragon butter sauce; and flourless chocolate Lava Cake with raspberry sauce and fresh berries. The class is $60 per person.
In the dining room, Francesca’s Intimo will spotlight a special holiday menu with special items such as Heart-Shaped Pizza Margarita; Carpaccio Adam e Eva; heart shaped cheese ravioli; Lobster Risotto and Roasted Sea Bass with Lump Crab Meat.
/181 E. Laurel Ave./Lake Forest/847-234-9660
The Grille’s Valentine Prix Fixe menu beckons diners to choose three courses from an array of inspired dishes, including soups such as Boston Clam Chowder or Black Eyed Pea with Zucchini; salad; entrees offerings such as Baby Halibut, Lobster Ravioli or Filet Mignon Wellington; and the Chef’s Trio of desserts featuring Caramelized Lemon Tart, Double Chocolate Cupcake and Strawberry Crème Brulee. In addition, on Feb. 14, Cupcake Wines will be featured at a reduced price. Valentine’s menu specials run Feb. 11-14.
/28 E. Center Ave./Lake Bluff/847-295-1000
/915 S. Waukegan Road/Lake Forest/847-234-8013
Both of these popular dining venues will feature regular menu offerings, as well as specials, over the weekend and on Valentine’s Day.
And you still want more? Check out our family-friendly refreshed every Wednesday.
We know you have your favorites that we missed. So share the goodness in our comment box below.