To all of the Valentine’s Day skeptics out there: hear us out. During a time that has caused so much stress, we could all use a day to stop and feel the love. And what better way to treat your loved ones—and yourself—than with a few decadent dishes from a local eatery? Restaurants, bars, bakeries, grocers, and even entertainers (see The Takeout Getdown) are showing their devotion to Charm City by offering tons of amorous options for takeout, delivery, and distanced dine-in on February 14. Here are some of the many dishes, drinks, and desserts worth falling for:
AMOROUS À LA CARTE
Cafe Dear Leon: The expert pastry chefs at this Canton bakeshop have crafted a special mousse cake for the occasion. Filled with flavors of vanilla panna cotta, strawberry gelee, and white chocolate pistachio, the sweet treat is available for preorder now.
The Charmery: Swing by one of The Charmery’s four locations to sample a scoop from the shop’s special V-Day lineup. Among the flavors is a collaboration with Baltimore’s own winemaker Montfleur Duvin—which fuses a slow-roasted peach base with caramel and Montfleur’s signature Yvonne Gewürztraminer.
Miss Shirley’s: All locations of this beloved breakfast-and-lunch spot are extending their hours until 8 p.m. to make sure fans have time to pick up their comforting, cupid-inspired fare. The special of the day will be “Shirley’s Affair with Oscar”—a five-ounce filet topped with asparagus, crab meat, hollandaise, fried green tomatoes, and grits. Aptly themed breakfast-all-day options will include red velvet pancakes and strawberry chocolate chip cheesecake-stuffed French toast.
Sacré Sucré: Ditch the heart-shaped boxes and enjoy an edible work of art from this Fells Point pastry shop. A lineup of special sweet endings includes heart danishes filled with raspberries and chocolate cream, almond praline truffles, a heart-shaped red velvet cake with mascarpone mousse, and, of course, the signature macarons.
Scratch Made: Known for its focus on local ingredients, this meal delivery service makes use of purveyors such as Karma Farm in Monkton and Liberty Delight Farms in Reisterstown. For Valentine’s Day, expect offerings such as red wine-braised short ribs, roasted herbed chicken with mushrooms, spaghetti with Atlantic clams and garlic, spinach and herb lasagna, and an olive oil cake with local pears.
Aldo’s: While this Little Italy haunt remains in hibernation mode for the winter, chef Sergio Vitale is prepping meal kits to help diners celebrate with their favorites from Aldo’s. Available for curbside pickup, each kit comes with fully cooked dishes that you can reheat and finish off at home. Try the eggplant parmigiana, gluten-free meatballs, osso bucco, or Valentine’s Day brunch that highlights eggs benedict for two. Sauces by the quart, as well as garlic bread, tiramisu, and the restaurant’s famous limoncello, will also be available for pickup.
The Bluebird Cocktail Room: Executive chef Bri White and bar manager Ben Poole put their heads together to create the perfect boozy Valentine’s Day gift: a box of chocolate-covered Luxardo cherries that are soaked in bourbon and cherry liqueur before being dunked in dark chocolate. Another Bluebird special on offer is the “Old Fashioned Romance” box, which includes a 12-oz. bottle of the bar’s signature Old Fashioned and two individually wrapped boxes of the chocolate-covered cherries.
Bird in Hand: This Charles Village coffee shop is offering the perfect gift for the chocolate-loving bibliophiles in your life. A special holiday box includes a small bouquet arranged by Caesura Floral, a $30 gift card to Bird in Hand, and a four-piece truffle box from Pure Chocolate by Jinji at Belvedere Square. (Or, if your loved one is more of a wine person, you can opt for a bottle hand-picked from the Bird in Hand team.)
Faidley’s Seafood: This Lexington Market staple has partnered with Catonsville’s J.W. Treuth butcher shop to deliver a magnificent meal deal. The all-inclusive feast includes two of Faidley’s signature jumbo lump crab cakes, two four-ounce cuts of filet mignon from J.W. Treuth, two cups of Maryland crab soup, one side of whipped potatoes, one order of steamed spinach, and three classic Berger cookies.
Firefly Farms: Get fancy with curated wine, cheese, and chocolate packages from this Whitehall Market vendor. Firefly is offering bundles that include goat’s milk cheese, manchego, aged gouda, Chardonnay blends, bean-to-bar chocolates, and decadent bonbons.
Greedy Reads: The beloved book browsing spot—which has locations in Fells Point and Remington—is putting together curated gift bags that include a personal greeting card, a book, a candle from 228 Grant Street Candle Co., and an order of macarons from Fells Point neighbor Sacré Sucré.
Gundalow Gourmet: What’s more romantic than cooking together? Throw on an apron and crack open a ready-to-cook date night box from this gourmet caterer and cafe at Whitehall Market. Each will come complete with heart-shaped meatloaf, brie mac and cheese, roasted asparagus, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Pro tip: Add a few chocolate-covered rice krispy treats with sprinkles to your order for good measure.
Charlsie’s Bakehouse: If you haven’t had a chance to check out this bakery inside Rooster + Hen at Cross Street Market, treat your sweetheart to a package that includes a dozen roses from The Baltimore Florist, ingredients to make your own Italian feast (including charcuterie, pasta, meatballs, and salad), and a red velvet roll for two—which comes filled with flavors of white chocolate, orange, and buttercream. Charlsie’s will also offer à la carte sweets including whole blood-orange cheesecakes and rose pistachio shortbread cookies.
Sagamore Pendry: If you’re hoping to go all out with a staycation for Valentine’s Day weekend, the Sagamore Pendry is offering a package that includes a bottle of Champagne, a dozen roses, and a $60 breakfast credit for two—which is can be used for in-room dining or at the Rec Pier Chop House downstairs.
2/13: Galentine’s Day: Digital Edition
Baltimore blogger Alysha January’s annual Galentine’s Day event might be going virtual this year, but it’s still highlighting some fabulous local eats and drinks and supporting a great cause. Here’s how it works: Choose to order takeout from one of four participating woman-owned restaurants including Fishnet, Sally O’s, The Point in Fells, or Golden West Cafe. Then, register online to guarantee a free Jägermeister cocktail when you bring a female hygiene product to donate to the Helping Up Mission while picking up your meal. After settling in with your food at home, log on for a virtual toast hosted by January and organizers with Jägermeister and Sentimental Fools Events.
2/13-14: The Takeout Getdown
After a successful launch on New Year’s Eve, organizers Kathleen Overman and Aaron Brown are bringing back this innovative program that has one golden rule: your takeout is your ticket. Grab sustenance from No Land Beyond, Crust by Mack, Cane Collective, Dylan’s Oyster Cellar, Dutch Courage, The Land of Kush, Namaste Baltimore, The Bluebird Cocktail Room, The Urban Oyster, Grano Pasta Bar, Peabody Heights Brewery, Sentimental Fools, Heritage Kitchen, Sally O’s, or the vendors of R. House and receive a link that will grant you access to a virtual show. This time around, the entertainment lineup—which will be streamed on both Saturday and Sunday evenings—features live music spun by DJ James Nasty and hilarious sets from local comedians with the Baltimore Comedy Festival. Talk about the perfect date night.
2/14: Virtual Valentine’s Day Cocktail Class at Golden West Cafe
Join the bar team from this Hampden go-to for a virtual class will place an emphasis on rum. Pick up all of the tools and ingredients from Golden West ahead of time and log on to learn how to craft signature spins on a Mai Tai, spiced hot cider, and a winter daiquiri.
2/14: Ekiben x Miss Carter’s Kitchen Pop-Up
We get excited every time Ekiben announces a pop-up. But with chef Cia Carter of Miss Carter’s Kitchen on board, this one is sure to be spectacular. Collaborative dishes on deck for Feb. 14 (pre-orders are live now) include crab-stuffed lamb chops, Chinese spinach hot water noodles topped with alfredo sauce, wok-charred broccolini, and Carter’s famous banana pudding.
PASSIONATE PRIX-FIXE MENUS
Atwater’s: In addition to the scratch-made products at this local cafe chain (think iced heart-shaped cookies and raspberry rose jam), fans can choose from three fixed menus that will be available for pre-order and takeout. Main courses include roasted filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce, grilled chicken with rosemary and mushrooms, and butternut squash lasagna.
Bar Vasquez: Break out your best dinnerware to enjoy a take-home feast from this Brazilian steakhouse in Harbor East. The three-course menu includes options such as potato saffron gnocchi, roasted beet salad, wood-grilled filet mignon, bucatini with pesto and pecorino, and chocolate-covered strawberries with mascarpone whipped cream.
The Capital Grille: The prix-fixe dinner for two from this swanky steakhouse highlights surf and turf with hand-cut filet mignon and butter-poached lobster tails. End on a sweet note with flourless chocolate espresso cake or the restaurant’s classic cheesecake.
Charleston: While indoor and outdoor service will be a la carte, chef Cindy Wolf is preparing a three-course fixed menu for takeout Feb. 12-14. Look out for her famous she-crab soup along with roasted red beet tartare, grilled shrimp over spaghetti, lamb tenderloin, and a chocolate strawberry heart for dessert.
Cosima: At this Hampden hotspot, chef Anthony Franklin is presenting a three-course menu with suggested wine pairings—which will be available for dine-in or takeout. Expect rustic Italian recipes including lemon caper crab cakes, salumi fritters with salsa verde, fennel-crusted pork chops, filet with crab, and white chocolate raspberry cheesecake in a chocolate-hazelnut biscotti crust.
Duck Duck Goose: Chef Ashish Alfred is going all out with a charming carryout menu that includes an appetizer, protein, two sides, dessert, and a bottle of house wine. Decadent dishes to choose from include beef tartare, cote de boeuf, honey-glazed duck, whole-roasted cauliflower with tahini and dates, truffle mac and cheese, pomme puree, and chocolate mousse. Dine-in service at the Fells Point spot will also be available at 25 percent capacity.
Eddies of Roland Park: Dig in to a chef-prepared menu for two that incorporates Eddie’s classics, as well as some new recipes. (Mushroom and leek risotto, anyone?) Available for delivery and pickup at both Eddie’s locations Feb. 11-14, the four-course feast features dishes such as lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, pan-seared bronzino, fingerling confit with herbs, roasted-asparagus, and lots of heart-shaped desserts. Optional add-ons include sparkling beverages, red roses, and a “Chocolate Cravings” basket filled with local goodies.
Gunther & Co.: Though there will only be a limited number of tables available at this Brewers Hill restaurant on Valentine’s Day, chef Jerry Trice is offering a virtual experience that allows diners to cook along and enjoy his dishes from home. Ingredients for the five-course tasting menu will come with video links for preparing each dish.
H3irloom: Husband-and-wife team Dave and Tonya Thomas are spreading the love with to-go menus that highlight smoked sweet potato ravioli, pan-seared golden tilefish with collard and white bean ragu, and sous-vide jerk lamb with caramelized plantain rice. Don’t miss out on a beautiful “With Love” gift box that places Tonya’s cognac-dipped Chocolate Chess Pie Truffles in the center of 13 red roses.
Heritage Kitchen: Chef Rey Eugenio is flexing his Filipino flavors in a four-course prix-fixe that includes shitake mushroom and snow pea shoot-stuffed dumplings, his famous coconut crab soup, spiced tamarind-glazed duck leg confit, and ube cheesecake with jackfruit whipped cream.
Johnny’s: Roland Park locals will be happy to hear that this neighborhood mainstay is showcasing a three-course takeaway menu with optional add-ons like boozy chocolate-covered strawberries. Romantic dishes include lobster and fennel bisque, brown sugar-brined pork chops, and red velvet cupcakes. Also not-to-miss: The Cinghiale Pop-Up Market at Johnny’s will highlight a DIY holiday dinner box that includes lobster agnolotti rosso, lobster cream sauce, confit yellow tomatoes, fresh tarragon, and an arugula frisee salad.
Magdalena: Treat yourself to chef Mark Levy’s three-course menu, which will be available for pickup from the restaurant inside Mt. Vernon’s Ivy Hotel. Start off with housemade caramelized onion and rosemary focaccia before moving on to crab and lobster spring rolls, prime rib with a twice-baked potato, smoked mushroom tortellini, and a dark chocolate and passionfruit tart.
Ouzo Bay: The three-course menu at this Mediterranean mainstay in Harbor East kicks off with house favorites including flaky spanakopita, lamb meatballs, Wagyu-stuffed grape leaves, charred calamari, or mussels swimming in white wine. Savor main dishes such as lobster truffle risotto, pan-seared Dover sole, and locally roasted lamb shank with fava beans.
The Prime Rib: This white linen tablecloth spot at Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland is offering a fixed menu of fan favorites in honor of the Hallmark holiday. Indulge in a classic Caesar, chilled shrimp cocktail, surf and turf, Amish roasted chicken, Asian king salmon with miso glaze, and a chocolate cake with fresh berries.
Sally O’s: Chef Jesse Scanlin is whipping up seared scallops with pistachio brown butter, wild mushroom lasagna, lobster pot pie, and her take on surf and turf with filet and jumbo head-on prawns. Call ahead to place a pickup order, which comes complete with a link to attend The Takeout Getdown.
Tagliata: Surprise your sweetie with chef Julian Marucci’s “San Valentino” menu at this Italian chophouse in Harbor East. The three-course prix fixe features potato soup with black truffle, king crab bruschetta, chicken parmesan, squid ink campanelle, tiramisu, and a lemon meringue tart.
SWOON-WORTHY SPIRITS AND BREWS
Dutch Courage: It should come as no surprise that the team at this Old Goucher gin bar has bottled a special cocktail for the occasion. The “Parisian Silk” combines Hennessy with creme de cacao, St. George pear brandy, strega, and lemon bitters. Pair the cocktail with the bar’s four-course dinner featuring roasted beets and burrata, rockfish and crab imperial, and house-made bon bons with brandied cherries. Another option is the curated “Box of Romance” that comes filled with a bottle of bubbly, tiramisu, bon bons, rosemary caramel corn, and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Febrewary: In celebration of Maryland Craft Beer Lover’s Month in February—which was proclaimed by Gov. Hogan in 2015—breweries across the state are highlighting warming winter releases in their taprooms. If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a cold one at your favorite brewery this weekend, look for the “Love Thy Beer” logo on the draft list to find seasonal styles. Plus, check out the Brewers Association of Maryland’s site to spot tap takeovers and other events happening throughout the month.
Guinness Open Gate Brewery: Not only is the Halethorpe facility celebrating with a sentimental screening of You’ve Got Mail in its heated outdoor tent on Feb. 11, but the team has also created a curbside pickup menu that pairs perfectly with Guinness Baltimore Blonde. Available Feb. 11-14, the three-course meal showcases shrimp cocktail, braised short ribs with lobster ravioli, roasted vegetables, and a chocolate tart with candied orange and pistachio.
Old Line Spirits x Fuzzie’s Dinner Pairing: The team at Old Line is joining forces with chef Josh Vecchiolla of Fuzzie’s Burgers to offer two bottled cocktails with a selection of heat-and-eat dishes for two. Choose from a 32-oz. dry-aged cowboy ribeye, New York strip with a crab cake, or two jumbo crab cakes—all of which will be accompanied by burrata, Sicilian citrus salad, and potatoes au gratin. All meals will come with a “Perfect Form” bottled aperitif (vodka, sour cherry liqueur, aperol, fresh lemon juice, and housemade liqueur) and the “Out of Hand” after-dinner dessert cocktail—which combines Old Line’s Aged Caribbean rum with creme de cacao liqueur, chili poblano liqueur, and Aztec chocolate bitters.
Sugarvale: An aptly themed cocktail will be available for pickup at Sugarvale’s sister-restaurant, Dooby’s, in Mt. Vernon this week.The pink-colored “Too Much Heaven” fuses tequila with rose water, guavaberry, lime, and cocchi rosa.
Wet City: If you and your significant other—or BFF, roommate, or anyone else in your quarantine pod—are Aperol aficionados, go for the Aperol Date Night Flight at Wet City in Mt. Vernon. Among the many creative to-go cocktails that the bar features, this set comes with four drinks that all spotlight the bright-orange aperitif. They include the bourbon-forward “Paper Plane,” mezcal-infused “Mercury in Retrograde,” gin-based “Skøl,” and rum-focused “Jungle Bird.”