Valentine’s Day 2012

Where to dine with your Valentine

Break out of the Valentine’s Day rut. Instead of dime store candies and $3 bubbly, tell your smoochie poochiekins you love ’em with a crispy pig ear, turducken meatball gyro or even dinner delivered in bed. The day (hint: next Tuesday, Feb. 14) is your oyster, to be shucked and slurped with gusto. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for daring dining (and drinking) throughout the week.

(Feb. 8th) American Mulefoot Pig Wine Dinner: Rustic Restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola winery features a four-course nose-to-tail dinner starring this unique heritage breed pig. On the menu: Lardo crostini, pancetta, blood sausage, crispy pig-ear salad, sausage, porchetta and chocolate, bacon and chili torte with gelato for dessert. Super sexy. $115 per person, 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville. Reservations required. 857-1485.

(Feb. 11) Longboard Aphrodisiac Wine Dinner: Chef Matthew Paille of Healdsburg Social Club creates a very sexy dinner including a trio of oysters: grilled, raw and crispy; truffled mushroom risotto with shaved black truffle and sauteed wild mushrooms; heirloom cauliflower soup with bacon wrapped scallop; crispy skin duck breast with sour cherry glaze; candied ginger with Korean ginseng and vanilla bean creme brulee, Just in case you aren’t hot enough yet: A Mayan chocolate chile shot for good measure. $69 per person, Longboard Vineyards Surf Lounge, 5 Fitch St., 433-3473. Reservations required.

Valentine’s Day
Willi’s Wine Bar: Three wines, three nibbles. We see a theme here. Menage your trois at the Valentine’s Tasting Tuesday: featuring winemaker Dylan Sheldon of Sheldon Wines (sorry, he’s taken). $16, reservations recommended, 4404 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, 526-3096. Tuesdays 4-5:30pm.

Zazu: Nothing says love like duck fat. $79 prix fixe three course menu includes oysters with tequila granita; hoisin pork buns, turducken meatball gyro; red risotto with gorgonzola; Dungeness crab tagliatelle, grilled T-bone with duck fat fries, chocolate budino, red velvet cupcake. 523-4814. 3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa.

Bistro 29: You had me at Maine Lobster Risotto with Lobster Croquette. Four courses include buckwheat blini with salmon and cavair, Coquilles St. Jacques, Filet Mignon, rack of lamb, raspberry fondant cake with lemon curd. $59. 650 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 546-2929.
Dinner in Bed: Ruthy’s Real Meals deliversValentines dinner for two. Menu choices include braised pork with apple cranberry chutney, curried pumpkin soup, lemongrass chicken and several vegan options. $105-$120, with leftovers for the next night. Or the morning after. 640 Martin Ave # 4 Rohnert Park, 888-0128. Reservations required by Feb. 11 for the 14th.

Gypsy Cafe: Four Course Prix Fixe, $45 includes creamy potato fennel soup with roasted mushrooms, winter greens with citrus, beet “spaghetti” and chevre, grill mahi-mahi, smoked pork chop with green apple chutney or mushroom walnut ravioli, flourless chocolate mousse cake with ginger ice cream. Classical guitar from Esteban Bello. Seatings at 6pm and 8pm. 162 North Main Street Sebastopol, 861-3825.

Bistro Des Copains: Regular menu plus a three course prix fixe ($55) that includes Dungeness Crab and spinach on puff pastry with Hollandaise; fire-roasted rack of lamb with Yukon gold dauphinoise, mille-feuille dessert. 874-2436.

Rocker Oysterfeller’s: Prix Fixe, $55 three course dinner. Dungeness crab bisque with caviar, Tomales Bay oysters with grapefruit mignonette, Kobe Beef Chateaubriand for two; Bellwether Farms cheese spoonbread with mushrooms and spinach, passionfruit sorbet, triple chocolate cake with zinfandel soaked cherries. Jazz Noir from 6-9pm, dinner from 5-8:30pm, Feb. 14. 14415 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford, 876-1983.

Viola Pastry Boutique and Cafe: Three course prix fixe ($40) includes choice of artichoke heart with wild mushrooms, crab and citrus salad, homemade ricotta gnocchi, braised shortribs, chocolate bon bons and homemade caramel ice cream. 709 Village Court Santa Rosa, 544-8830.

DIY French Country Bistro: Chefs Christopher Greenwald and Ciara Meaney walk couples through a romantic bistro-style meal, using hands-on techniques to make a Bordelais, pate a choux dough, oyster with mignonette and more, culminating in a candlelit dinner at the end of the evening. 6pm, $96, Relish Culinary Center, 14 Matheson St., Healdsburg, 431-9999.

Petite Syrah: Indulgent to the extreme, this four course meal says, “you’re so worth it.” On the menu: oysters with Proseco mignonette, lobster bisque, risotto with 63 degree egg and black garlic, foie gras with pork belly and lentils, pan-seared dayboat scallop, pork tenderloin with brown butter Hollandaise, whiskey cremed lobster vol-au-vent, grilled New York steak, black forest cake, white chocolate and pink grapefruit bombe. $85 per person plus tax and gratuity. Optional wine pairing, $40. 205 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 568-4002.

John Ash & Co.: Three courses, $60. Choose from Hog Island oysters, sesame salmon tartare, duo of foie gras, wild mushroom Risotto, duck breast, sea bass, glazed Kobe beef short ribs, raspberry swirl fromage blac cheesecake, Passion fruit pavlova. 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 575-7530.

Spoonbar: Craft your own four-course for $55. Menu includes grilled prawns, Niman ranch carpaccio, roasted beet tartar, pan-roasted sea bass, Kobe beef, roasted lamb rack. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-7222 for reservations.

Barndiva: Go big or go home is the theme for Barndiva’s 5-course, $87 dinner. Choose from cauliflower veloute, creamy lobster risotto, Dungeness crab, filet mignon, halibut with polenta and Brussels sprouts, chocolate Bavarois with coconut sorbet, Meyer lemon tart. 231 Center Street Healdsburg, 431-0100.

Tolay at the Sheraton Sonoma County: Four course menu from Feb. 10-14, $65 per person. Select from Santa Barbara smoked salmon coronet, oysters, Lobster medallions with rock shrimp, stuffed guinea hen, mixed berry trifle.745 Baywood Dr., Petaluma, 283-2900.
Central Market: Chef Tony Najiola always inspires with fresh, local ingredients. He’s on vacation until the 7th, but promises some special surprises for V-day. 42 Petaluma Boulevard North Petaluma, 778-9900.

Cupcake Lunch: Just because you’re over the usual wine and dine V-day doesn’t mean you can’t feed your sweet tooth Moustache Bakery (381 Healdsburg Ave.) is unfurling an all-inclusive cupcake lunch date, featuring two lovely Valentine’s cupcakes with your choice of Fourbarrel coffee drinks. $20. Reservations, 395-4111.

Got more ideas? Add ’em below!