by Nancy Stiles
Yay, Valentine's Day! Or, boo, Valentine's Day! If you're celebrating with your significant other, enjoy a candlelit dinner or howl with the wolves. Looking ahead to Mardi Gras? Watch some of the best chefs in St. Louis cook up some Cajun food, or help celebrate the city's 250th birthday. Check out our food-related recommendations after the jump.
Friday (February 14):
Yes, it's Valentine's Day, but the city is also kicking off its 250-year anniversary celebration with a big party. There will be food, fireworks, music, and even a mass engagement. Purchase eats and drinks from The Dam, Sugarfire Smokehouse, Local Harvest, Molly's in Soulard, Kakao Chocolate, Piccione Pastry, Stone Hill Winery and more. From 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Overlook the Burnin' Love festivites at Bixby's, the restaurant at the Missouri History Museum. The four-course dinner includes choices like butternut squash habanero bisque, Champagne-dressed arugula, herb-roasted quail and chocolate panna cotta. Tickets are $55 per person plus tax. Museum members get 10 percent off. Seatings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Reservations required; call 314-367-9523.
Don't have a Valentine? Maybe you'll find a beer-loving mate at Olio. Enjoy glass pours of rare sour brews and scintillating conversation. You can even get shareable bottles in case you decide to pair off. 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze, 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek, Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Cantillon Fou'Foune, Bockor Bellegems Bruin, 4 Hands Cuvee Ange 2013, Panil Bariquee and Loverbeer BeerBera will be available. 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Valentine's Day is a dessert-centric holiday. The homemade ice cream aficionados over at Serendipity and neighbor the Grove Deli are partnering for an evening without all those pesky appetizers and entrees. Enjoy live music and candlelit tables, coffee, tea and hot chocolate, or your own libations if you choose. Desserts include ice cream, fudge brownie sundaes, Sugaree pie and more. From 7 to 10 p.m. $10 per person. Reservations not required but welcome; call 314-962-2700.
Show your significant other you love by howling with the wolves! OK, you don't actually have to howl. But you can if you want. Enjoy appetizers, wines from Mount Pleasant Winery and desserts from Crown Candy Kitchen at this Valentine's Day event. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person; call 636-938-5900.
Forget Valentine's Day -- we prefer Mardi Gras. Kick off the season with a tastings at the Bud Light Party Centre. Sample Anheuser-Bush beers, Jack Daniels whiskeys and various wines. Admission also gets you four food tickets to try food from several Soulard restaurants. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, available here.
Saturday (February 15):
Ten professional and ten amateur chefs will be competing for the best Cajun dish. Enjoy New Orleans favorites like jambalaya and cochon de lait po' boys from Tony Chachere's plus an open bar with Bud Light, Southern Comfort Hurricanes and soft drinks. Competiting chefs include Dave Bailey of Bailey's Range, Bob Colosimo of 1111 Mississippi, Grace Dinsmoor of Nico, Jon Dreja of Franco, Ben Dressel of Dressel's Public House, Josh Galliano of the Libertine, Brian Hardesty of Element, Jack MacMurray of J. Buck's, Carey McDowell of Gringo and John Perkins of Juniper. From 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door.
It doesn't get more hands-on than this. Learn to make pain au chocolat, Napoleons, palmiers, pinwheels, croissants, cheese straws and more classic French pastries with the Institute of Culinary Education's Barry Marcus. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $150 per person; register here.
Sunday (February 16):
Much like the Breakfast with Santa event, it's kid-friendly. Along with brunch, you'll get a heart shaped cookie plus a chocolate fountain, crafts, Cupid photos and face painting. $15 per child and $12 per adults. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Reservations are recommended; call 618-233-0513.
Celebrate STL's 250th birthday with a cocktail party highlighting the city's rich history. There's an open bar, appetizers, desserts, live music and more, plus performances by MADCO and the Black Rep. Tickets start at $100, available here.