Cupid-hating Disclaimer: Valentine’s Day is probably my least favorite holiday of the year. All that romance and love and insanely crowded restaurants. Ba humbug. But here’s the thing: You can’t deny that there are some amazing opportunities to wow your Valentine with food this V-day. So instead of the usual listing of restaurants (trust me, your favorite restaurant will be offering special dinners throughout the weekend), I’ve hand-picked a few gems that even a jaded professional food writer would venture out for—on the busiest restaurant holiday of the year. #shudder.
Farmer’s Guild Boot Stompin’ Ball: Cowboy boots and a whole-hog roast? Now that’s a Valentine’s event we can get behind. The young farmers, food advocates and ranchers of the Farmer’s Guild makes a day of farming, field and forks with a “guild-raising” event from 1:30-6p.m. at the Petaluma Veteran’s Building, followed by a knee-slappin, boot-stompin’ ball with a whole hog, organic goodies right from the farm, a kissing booth, auctions, games, beer and wine. We can assure you this will be one of the most fun, best eating, family-friendly, cost-conscious (entry is $5, food is for purchase, or you can get admission, dinner and a drink for $20) nights of the month. And that’s pretty darn romantic in our minds. Tickets available at farmersguild.org.
Valentine’s Goodies for Two: Snuggle up for an intimate dessert with your honey from one of our favorite bakeries, Petaluma’s Della Fattoria. Best bet: Pugs Leap Chevre Cheesecake cakette ($15) or chocolate mousse heart ($12). Pre-orders only, before Feb. 11 and pick up by 3p.m. Feb. 14. Order form at dellafattoria.com.
Rosso’s Ramini Fundraisers: Do good and eat good at one of three pre-Valentine events at the three Rosso locations. Benefitting the legacy of Craig Ramini and his water buffalo mozzarella, co-owners John Franchetti and Kevin Cronin have organized a Mozzarealla Making Class at 5:30p.m. on Thursday at Rosso Rosticceria + Eventi (1229 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa, 526-1229) $20, reservations required; a cheese and wine pairing event with local food-lebrities Colette Hatch (Madame Fromage) and Ziggy the Wine Gal from 4-close at Rosso Pizzeria and Wine Bar (53 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa) and another mozzarella making class at 4p.m. at Rosso Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar (151 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma, $20, reservations required) along with a raffled for a full sized print from Rosso’s favorite artist, Sheryl Chapman and two $100 Stark Restaurant certificates.
Foie at Spinster Sisters: Gild the lily much? V-day is for going overboard on luxury calories we can burn off the other 364 days of the year. Spinster Sisters (401 S. A St., Santa Rosa) has an especially ritzy menu with foie gras torchon and pear butter, Miyagi oysters with finger lime mignonette, lamb with roasted carrots and Saba (a sweet, unaged balsamic vinegar) and plenty of chocolate for dessert. A la carte menu with cocktails, wine and beer. Two seatings, reservations required, 528-7100.
Get Spicy at Mateos: If any menu I’ve seen screams, “sexy”, its the menu for two at Mateo’s Cocina Latina (214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg). I dare you not to purr at this lineup: Steelhead tartar with J Cuvee brut, Hog Island oysters with trout roe, asparagus with preserved Meyer lemon, Dungeness crab stuffed rock cod, goat with ancho chile sauce (there’s no animal randier!) and Candy Cap ice cream with honey and mezcal. $45 per person without wine pairings, $70 per person with pairings. Reservations required, 433-1520.
An Italian Affair: A well-kept Wine Country secret, Forestville’s Canneti Roadhouse features some of the region’s most authentic Italian dishes. Treat your Valentine to an off-beat evening in front of the fireplace with a Bay shrimp souffle, Smoked spring trout ziti with spinach fondue and chestnut pasta with slow-braised Tuscan hunter meat sauce, sausage-stuffed roast chicken and cherry panna cotta with chocolate sauce. $65 per person, $90 with Tuscan wine pairing, 6675 Front St., Forestville. Reservations recommended, 887-2232.
Cafe Society: Mark Dierkheising’s Parkside and Midtown Cafes are go-tos for breakfast, brunch and lunch, but on Friday, Feb. 13 he’ll be featuring special dinners at both spots with no corkage. At the Midtown, enjoy butter poached lobster, beef filet with potatoes pave and Bearnaise, salmon with lentils or seared duck breast with fig chutney, along with chocolate bouchon with creme Anglaise. $130 per couple, reservations required. 1422 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 545-2233.
Ales for Autism Masquerade Black and White Beer Ball: Inspired by the recent release of 50 Shades of Grey? Here’s your chance to play Christian and Ana wearing a sultry mask and your cocktail finest. A benefit for local autism services, attendees saunter through beer tasting from more than 25 breweries, sexy sushi, music by The Crux (love them!), and pole acrobatics (inspirational!) for an evening of hoppy romance. Friday, Feb. 13, Friedman Events Center, 8-11p.m. Tickets $50 for general admission, $65 VIP. Details at aleas4autism.org.
Que and You: What says love more than a face covered with barbecue sauce? Make it a casual Valentine’s Day at BBQ Smokehouse Bistro
(6811) Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol, 575-3277) featuring stuffed cheesy potatoes, Andouille sausage and smoked chicken wings, “drunk and stoned” shrimp salad, baby back ribs and blueberry cobbler, $49.50.
Have a favorite I missed? Let me know at email@example.com.
Still hungry? Check out Heather’s food and dining blog at BiteClubEats.com.