5 More Unusual (but Still Romantic) Valentine’s Day Ideas

Try an underground dinner, bathe in chocolate, or keep it classy with an educational tasting.

Start with a generous round of cocktails in the lounge of the Blagden Alley Social Club, run out of GoodWood owners Dan and Anna Kahoe’s home. Photograph courtesy of DCHomeGallery.

You’ve already starting looking outside the heart-shaped
chocolate box with our earlier


for unusual-yet-romantic Valentine’s Day plans. The big day is
near, so you could
a) scramble to get a dinner reservation like every other
procrastinator in Washington,
or b) get moving on an alternate path.

Go Underground, or Pop Up

Love the idea of a romantic dinner out but not so much the love-day clichés? Check
out the latest in underground dining at the chic Blagden Alley Social Club, hosted
in the home of Good Wood owners
Dan and
Anna Kahoe. Recent
Top Chef contestant
Jeffrey Jew prepares the intimate, 14-person meal; dishes include caviar and lobster canapés,
lamb tenderloin with Israeli couscous and mint-red wine demiglace, and chocolate peanut
butter pot de crème. How it works, per Anna: “We pour generous drinks; you surrender.”
E-mail for reservations ($150 per person).

Those looking for something (way) more casual—and who
don’t mind celebrating late—can
head to Birch &

on February 15 or 22 for a

of the upcoming GBD, the fried-chicken-and-doughnuts venture
Kyle Bailey and
Tiffany MacIsaac. There are no reservations, and service runs from 11 AM until the fried deliciousness
sells out, so grab your loved one early to ensure you don’t miss out.

Get Schooled (in a Sweet Way)

A culinary class is a great way to bond with the one you love. Try a chocolate, cheese,
and Champagne tasting course at
Righteous Cheese in Union Market, where fromager
Carolyn Stromberg leads a small group through
four cheeses paired with bubbly and chocolate accompaniments
on February 13, 14, and 20. Prefer dessert with your wine? Head
to Trummer’s on

on February 13 for the restaurant’s “date

tasting of four different varietals with Valrhona chocolate
desserts. Straight-up
chocoholics can also find a variety of classes and tastings.
Check out our

to shops selling gourmet cocoa treats, which includes events at
Artfully Chocolate
and Cocova.

Plan for the Future

No, we don’t mean hitting the most awkward aisle in
the pharmacy. Tickets to a number
of popular food events are on sale now, and it’s better to get
them sooner rather
than later. Taste of the Nation
one of the biggest culinary gatherings of the year, is throwing
a Valentine’s ticket
sale from February 10 through 18, with passes to the April 8
event at a 10 percent
discount (use code VDAYDC). Music and food lovers can buy
tickets to the annual Sweetlife
at Merriweather Post
Pavilion, where you’ll
rock out to bands like Passion Pit and Phoenix while noshing on
eats from chefs such
as R.J. Cooper and Erik Bruner-Yang. (We ate our way through
last year’s

and can vouch for the food on offer). If your sweetie is a pork
lover, snag a ticket
to Cochon555, a
swine-tastic eating experience
going down on April 7. The location is still TBD, but based on
last year’s

there will be plenty of pig, bourbon, and elbow-rubbing with
celebrity chefs. VIP
early admission tickets are worth the splurge to avoid the

Get Creative With Your Chocolate

Sure, a box of gourmet chocolates is a nice gesture.
You know what’s even nicer? Getting
a picture of you and your honey printed on a chocolate

Tasty Image just opened a storefront in Bethesda, and it’s
stocked with all sorts
of personalized chocolate gifts.

Feel a little strange about chowing down on your paramour’s face? Feed it instead
with a “chocolate love tub” dessert at Juniper, available throughout February. Your
little bathtub for two is filled with warm Valrhona chocolate and comes with dunkable
berries, Rice Krispies treats, and raspberry mousse pops. If you want to actually
bathe in chocolate, head over to Qi Spa,
which offers two different cocoa treatments
for V-Day: an hour-long chocolate oil massage, or a chocolate facial.

The West End Ritz-Carlton (1150 22nd Street, Northwest) hosts a chocolate, Champagne, and jazz concert with billboard-topping artist Ski Johnson on February 14 from 8:30 until 10. Sample chocolates and desserts from pastry chef Nelson Paz, sip Veuve Clicquot, and listen to soulful tunes in one of the hotel’s private party spaces ($125 per person, with proceeds benefiting Boys Town Washington D.C.). Go nuts on the bubbly if you like: A special deluxe room overnight rate of $209 can be purchased along with the concert. Call 202-974-5566 for reservations.

Belly Up to the Bar

So you’ve waited until the last minute, and now all
your romantic restaurant options
are fully booked. Your best bet: Dine at the bar. You can get
closer to your date—sharing
small plates, brushing knees—it’s easier to get the bartender’s
attention, and it
eliminates the pressure of staring at each other across the
table for hours. Popular
Valentine’s restaurants such as


offer their special set menus in the first come, first served
bar area, or you could
go à-la-carte with regular menus at spots like

or the

Check out a variety of menu options in our Valentine’s Day

flip through our recent 100 Very Best Restaurants issue
(available on newsstands now),
and call up your favorite places to find out what they’re
offering. As always, hitting
the bar earlier rather than later greatly increases your odds
of snagging a seat.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.