Dinner for Two at Cavé Vin
Prepare for an evening of fine food and pleasant conversation where American cuisine is prepared with classic French technique in a cozy yet refined atmosphere. Extra touches for Valentine’s Day make Cavé Vin pulse with amour. “Some people think it’s too romantic—nice and quiet,” says owner Ken Wills.
The restaurant’s name roughly translated means wine cave. The Old World setting builds drama and sets the stage for a memorable dinner for two. A carpet of scented rose petals stretches from the sidewalk to the patio to the door and into the restaurant. Crimson votive candles flicker with romantic light. A whisper of music fills in the blanks but never dominates. “Before you even get in, you know you’re in for something special,” says Wills.
Love really is in the air at Cavé Vin. “We’ve had five to six proposals in the restaurant,” says Wills. On a few occasions, plans were made for staff to present a rose or a box. A carefully orchestrated surprise can spark a proposal. In keeping with the neighborly restaurant vibe, these events become social. “Once it’s out, people join in the congratulations,” says Wills.
Cavé Vin prints new menus daily and can customize the names of dishes to commemorate customer events. With advance notice, the Prince Edward Island mussels can become Sue’s birthday mussels. It’s a fun recognition for a customer to be noted on the menu. The staff is really tuned in for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, not just Valentine’s Day.
An award-winning wine list offers plenty of celebratory choices. “Sparkling wine always adds to the occasion,” says Wills. Or opt for glass pours and sample different vintages. Servers are skilled in wine pairings and can offer helpful suggestions that enhance every course, from your appetizer through dessert. Half-glass pours are $5, so you’ll be tempted to sample a few.
Break bread with your valentine with a New French Bakery baguette. A slather of high-quality butter foreshadows the caliber of food yet to come.
Choose lighter dishes to keep a dynamic mood and enjoy your multi-course meal to the fullest. Seafood is a favorite on Valentine’s Day. Cavé Vin is known for its calamari, but the crab cakes are winners, too. You’ll be tempted by a tasty catch: cornmeal-crusted scallops, crab gnocchi, sea bass—the kinds of fare Julia Child might include on her classic French cooking show.
A chocolate splurge on Valentine’s Day is a must. “About 85 percent of people order chocolate. It’s kind of the theme for the day,” says Wills. Cavé Vin’s chocolate pot de crème with its soothing custard-creaminess will do nicely.
This family-owned restaurant has been one of the best-kept secrets in the city, but the word is out! While reservations are not mandatory, it’s a good idea. A special night out is no time to be working out details. Prior arrangements ensure you’ll get exactly what you want, so you can focus on spending time with your valentine.
See’s Candies Valentine’s Day Chocolates
At See’s, you can’t help but fall for Valentine’s Day sweets. See the chocolate, smell the chocolate, taste the chocolate. (Yes, See’s gives samples). Suddenly, you are a love-struck kid in a candy store.
For many, chocolate is an essential splurge for Valentine’s Day. It’s a lovingly sweet tradition that reaches back 95 years for See’s. Generations of candy lovers have celebrated special moments with fancy chocolates.
“Every Valentine’s Day, the shop looks forward to seeing this one gentleman in particular. He celebrates every Valentine’s Day by bringing in his empty heart-shaped boxed that he purchased from See’s years ago when he married his wife. The love that red satin heart has seen and all the memories make us honored to pack it for him every year,” says Laurie Johnson, Southdale shop manager.
Prepare to treat your valentine and yourself, too. Prices range from $6 to $100 with packaging, and Valentine’s Day-themed or white gift wrap is included. “We are famous for our variety of heart boxes—with sizes for all the loves in your life,” says Johnson. Take your pick of pre-packaged boxes and bagged assortments or build your own customized mix from the case, piece by piece.
Dozens of confections draw you in for a second look: seasonal strawberry truffles, milk-chocolate peanut butter hearts and deep chocolate truffles, plus chocolate-covered creams, caramels, marshmallows, nuts, nougats and more.
“Working around Valentine’s Day is extra-special because we really get the opportunity to help make special moments extra-sweet. Every year there’s at least one customer proposing with a box of chocolates and we’re happy to help place that diamond ring carefully in the box for them.” says Johnson. “Life is pretty sweet working at See’s.”
Strawberries and Cream Cocktail Tavern on France
Think pink with your Valentine’s Day drink. With the rainbow of cocktails available at Tavern on France, it’s easy to go with a Valentine’s Day shade. While the strawberries and cream is available year-round, this cocktail’s especially appropriate for sharing with a valentine.
The fruity fizz of bubbles is the preferred specialty cocktail among staff. During a panel tasting, the strawberries and cream was the one everyone wanted to take home, explains general manager Emily Mendoza. “Who doesn’t love whipped cream? It has a strawberry—just kind of screams Valentine’s Day.”
A splash of soda water gives the strawberries and cream a light finish—“so you could have a few,” says Mendoza about this brandy snifter chock full of pastel pink hues. Whipped cream and a big red strawberry top off this sweetly spirited cocktail in style.
Should you wish to take the nip out of the winter air, the strawberries and cream is also available hot with a dose of coffee in lieu of soda water. Cold or hot $8.
Note: Tavern on France does take reservations for small parties on Valentine’s Day.