Valentine's Day can be a drag. For all the single people out there, it's a stark reminder that there's no one special in their lives, and maybe never will be. For those lucky enough to be in a relationship, it's an unwanted obligation to spend money on cheesy gifts and chalky candy hearts. And for everyone, it means that all the reservations at your favorite restaurants are already taken, and the restaurant probably won't be serving a regular menu anyway. Still, there are some lovely ways to spend Valentine's Day weekend in Denver. whether it's getting your hands dirty in a cooking workshop, spending the whole day in bed, or muddying your mind — and maybe more — at a Kama Sutra dinner. Here are fourteen tasty ways to spend your Valentine's Day weekend.
There's science to chocolate.
14. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Boulevard
February 12-May 8
We all know that chocolate is a Valentine's Day staple, but do you know the story behind the sweet? Take your date on a titillating tour through the history of chocolate at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Chocolate: The Exhibition, which will be unveiled on Friday, February 12. Guests can unwrap the history of the "food of the gods" from its roots as a Mayan drink to its appearance on the shelves of your local store, while learning from interactive exhibits, games and more. The exhibit is free with general admission and runs through May 8. For more information, head over to dmns.org.
13. Hotel Teatro
1100 14th Street
Spend your Valentine's Day in the one place you probably want to spend it: bed. Hotel Teatro and The Nickel will be serving an in-room, aphrodisiac-inspired menu, available through room service so that you and your special someone barely need leave the comfort of your rented bed. To help you make the best of the night, the menu includes a half-dozen oysters, crab-stuffed avocado, a banana split with whipped cream and chocolate strawberries, and a bottle of champagne. Stay-and-play packages start at $459; make your reservations and learn more here or call 1-888-727-1200. The package also includes a $50 breakfast credit for the Nickel or room service.
12. May Farms
64001 East Highway 36, Byers
Cut loose at May Farms' pre-Valentine's Day shindig on Saturday night. The Barn Dance will offer guests happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., music by DJ Revolution, and a special "sweetheart" prime rib dinner ($35 per couple) along with the regular menu. Dancing starts at 7 p.m., so bring your dancing shoes. For reservations and more information, call May Farms at 303-822-5800.
11. Bonacquisti Wine Company
4640 Pecos Street
Bonacquisti Wine is hosting the tenth annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend in celebration of two Valentine's Day essentials. The open-house-style self-paced tasting will pair each wine with chocolate creations from Chocolate Lab. Chocolate and wine enthusiasts can sample four pairings on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. or Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests can also order from the winery’s full menu of small plates for more substantial offerings, and enjoy live music from Add 2 on Saturday and Lovelorn Regal on Sunday. Tickets for the pairing are $30 per person. Purchase tickets and learn more here.
10. Silver Spork
Silver Spork, the underground pop-up supper club founded by Denver native Paul Laurie, is holding a Valentine's event for all the single ladies — and gentlemen — out there. Silver Spork started with one simple question, "What would happen if Denver's most talented chefs, bartenders and musicians were brought together and given complete creative freedom over an evening?" Twenty single gals and twenty single guys will find out on Saturday, when chef Nick Martinez, formerly of Hunt and Gather, and bartender Kevin Galaba are handed the reins. Martinez will cook up a five-course aphrodisiac tasting menu to entice the senses, and Galaba will mix up five companion drinks to encourage, um, mingling. For those who are already shacked up, there will also be a couples' edition of the event on Valentine's Day. Find out more, including where the dinner will take place, pay the $120 donation per person, and fill out the requested information at silversporksocial.com.
9. eTown Hall
1535 Spruce Street, Boulder
Dinner and a movie might be a dating cliché that's being edged out by the notorious "Netflix and chill," but you can still kick it old-school in Boulder this weekend. The Boulder International Film Festival will be hosting a Mardi Gras themed "Foovie" (Film + Movie) event and benefit from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at eTown Hall Saturday. Foovie-goers will get a sneak peek at the BIFF 2016 short comedies while noshing on food from Guillaume's European Catering and washing it down with beverages from Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Boulder Beer. There will also be giveaways — including a chance to win passes to this year's BIFF — along with live music, dancing and post-movie desserts and sparkling wine. Tickets to the event are $95 and benefit BIFF and the Colorado Film Society. Get your ticket and all the details here.
Wine, cheese and chocolate, the Valentine's Day redeemers.
The Art of Cheese
8. Art of Cheese at Haystack Mountain Goat Creamery
505 Weaver Park Road, Suite E, Longmont
Valentine's Day is definitely a cheesy holiday. Candy hearts, sappy poems on cheap cards and enough red and pink to give a bull a seizure: pure cheese. The Art of Cheese will celebrate the more tasty side of the cheesy holiday with its Cheese, Wine & Chocolate Lovers weekend extravaganza. The three-day workshop will guide guests through everything they need to know in order to whip up a complete Valentine's Day date at home — next year, of course. On day one, students will learn cheese-making basics and enjoy lunch at Cheese Importers and a tour of the new Haystack Mountain Creamery. On day two, students will put what they learned on day one to use as they make mozzarella, ricotta and burrata cheeses in the morning, followed by a group-created lunch, winemaking class by Pamela Zorn of Denver’s Wine & Whey, and a cheese-inspired dessert-and-wine pairing. On the final day of the workshop, guests will dive into making hard cheese in the morning, with a catered lunch and a gourmet chocolate-making class by Miche Bacher of Mali b Sweets in the afternoon. You can register for each day individually (day one is $135, day two and three are each $145) or for the whole weekend ($350 per person, $525 per couple). Register and learn more at theartofcheese.com.
Will smooch for free food.
Qdoba may not be the hot reservation your date is hoping for on Valentine's Day, but you can save some green when you show your affection at the register. In celebration of the holiday, the fast-casual Mexican chain will offer guests who kiss at the register a free entree with the purchase of another entree. The best part is, you don't even need a partner to cash in on the deal — any kiss will do. Smooch a stranger, plant one on a picture, your hand, a dog, whatever. You can even snap a selfie of your smooch and upload it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #QdobaForAKissSweeps from February 10 though 15 for a chance to win Qdoba gift cards, or up to $500. For all the details on the promotion, visit qdoba.com.
6. Spruce Mountain Ranch
14771 Spruce Mountain Road, Larkspur
Forgo the swanky downtown restaurant reservations and the hip RiNo scene, and spend your Valentine's Day in a rustic Colorado setting while helping those in need. Spruce Mountain Ranch is holding a Valentine's Day Fireside dinner and benefit, where couples can enjoy a multi-course dinner, flowers, entertainment, photos, carriage rides under the stars and more. The dinner, catered by Occasions Catering, will feature a seated first course, carving station, risotto bar, salad station and dessert bar. Guests can make 6 or 7 p.m. reservations for $150 per couple here. All proceeds from the event benefit Mount Saint Vincent, a treatment center for abused and neglected children.
2900 West 25th Avenue
Sarto’s is launching a new cooking class program, and Valentine's Day will be the first chance to enroll. Students can enjoy cicchetti and drinks as they learn about wine pairings and the wine geography of Italy. Students will then learn the basics of making gnocchi and chocolate truffles before being served a three-course dinner complete with wine pairings. Tuition for the cooking course is $75 per person; save your seat in the class by calling the restaurant at 303-455-1400.
Put a little burlesque into your Valentine's.
Kenneth Hamblin III
4. Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
1215 20th Street
Nothing says Valentine's like a little burlesque. It's sexy, sultry, even a little risqué — everything a good V-Day should be — and it just happens to be one of Ophelia's specialties. Guests can enjoy a three-course dinner alongside a stunning burlesque show from Vivienne VaVoom and music from DJ Digg Haze. Tickets are $55 per person; for reservations, call Ophelia's at 303-993-8023.
3. Denver Beer Co.
1695 Platte Street
Wine may take the spotlight on Valentine's Day, but here in Denver, beer will always have a special place in our hearts — and our stomachs. So for the holiday why not skip the cork and crack a can at Denver Beer Co.'s Valentine's Day Beer and Chocolate pairing. Grab your lover, partner, friend, whoever, and take them to DBC for the chance to taste four chocolates from the Chocolate Lab, paired with three variations on DBC's Graham Cracker Porter — chili, chocolate coconut and coffee — as well as the original. You can try all the pairings for $25 per person, from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, visit denverbeerco.com.
Ian Clark is sharing the love this holiday.
2. BRU Handbuilt Ales
5290 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder
On Valentine's Day, chef Ian Clark of BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats wants to share his love of beer during Barley & Hops for Beer Lovers. Clark will spread the love by incorporating ingredients from BRU beers, specifically barley and hops, right into the foods on the menu, and then pairing the dishes with the same BRU beers the ingredients were used to brew. Reservations can be made starting at 5 p.m. by calling BRU at 720-638-5193. The menu is set at $50 per person; check it out at bruboulder.com.
You may see a pretzel at the dinner, but it's not the kind you eat.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Bombay Clay Oven
165 Steele Street
Get your Valentine's night moving in the right direction with Bombay Clay Oven's Kama Sutra Lovers’ Dinner. Soft candlelight will set the mood for a five-course dinner, which will highlight aphrodisiac ingredients including oysters, ajwain, ginger, garlic and cardamom. Dinner is priced at $96.69 per person (wink, wink). Reservations are required; call 303-377-4454 to make yours.
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