Valentine’s Day

Pancakes with jam in shape of heart, hot chocolate and raspberries over white wood. Love concept with copy space.

I’m away on vacation this week, so here’s a column from last Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love. It’s a day for the sappiest of hopeless romantics, the most hopeful romantics, and everyone in between. You can get creative, go lavish, or do the anti-Valentine’s Day thing . . . whatever floats your [love] boat. It’s not just a holiday for candy and flowers anymore — not that there’s anything wrong with candy and flowers! It’s time to think outside the chocolate box. Here are just a few fun ideas to give you inspiration this Valentine’s Day, however you choose to celebrate.

You can never go wrong with a nice romantic dinner. Top picks for a romantic evening on the East End are as follows: 1770 House, Nick & Toni’s, Il Capuccino, Stone Creek Inn, North Fork Table & Inn, and Cappelletti. A staycation at one of the East End’s many inns is another great way to celebrate. Try The Maidstone, Topping Rose House, White Fences Inn, or Baker House 1650.

Looking to skip town for something a bit more adventurous? Head to Manhattan for Sugar Tooth Tours’ dessert filled excursion, the Sweeter Than Sugar Valentines Dessert Tour. Guests can walk arm and arm through Chelsea while enjoying half-pound cookies. Throughout the tour, guests will learn about Chelsea’s culinary past as well as Valentine’s history and trivia as they mosey down the High Line sipping hot chocolate until heading to the Meatpacking District. The tour winds down in the West Village, where tour-goers will create their own cupcakes.

Looking to go a more traditional route? You can never go wrong with a glass of champagne at The Plaza or a carriage ride (horse or human-drawn, whatever’s your preference) though Central Park.

Staying local? Create your own East End sweet tooth tour. Stops along the way could include Tate’s in Southampton, Grindstone in Sag Harbor, Sant Ambroeus in Southampton, Dylan’s Candy in East Hampton, Dreesen’s Donuts in East Hampton, the East End’s Blue Duck Bakery, Montauk Bake Shoppe, The Candy Man in Orient, or Hampton Chocolate Factory in Westhampton.

Maybe a fine wine experience is more your speed. For a Valentine’s filled with vino, create a wine tour of the North Fork. Fun fact: Raphael’s 2014 First Label Riesling is listed as one of the top 10 romantic wines for Valentine’s Day by The Daily Meal. Why not stop by Raphael Vineyard in Peconic to give it a try? The vineyard provides a very romantic setting.

You could also go for a trifecta of desserts, dinner, and wine. Stop by Kontokosta Winery followed by chocolate from Sweet Indulgences in Greenport. Finish the night with dinner at Noah’s. Who says you can’t have dessert before dinner?

Feeling anti-Valentine’s this Valentine’s Day? Invite your friends over for a romantic slasher film. Grab yourself an anti-Valentine’s day piñata and fill it with anti-Valentine’s Day candy.

If you’re looking to do something special but you’re on a budget, try creating a heart-shaped meal. A quick Google search will present recipe ideas for heart-shaped eggs, heart-shaped bacon, heart-shaped pancakes, heart-shaped cupcakes . . . you get the picture. Making your Valentine’s gift from scratch can get you some serious brownie points.

A nice way to make all of your friends and family know you’re thinking of them on Valentine’s Day is to send Valentine’s Day cards.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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