Valentine’s Day weekend this year is just about perfect. First, Galentine’s Day — just for us girls — is on Saturday (Feb. 13) and, while Valentine’s Day itself is actually on Sunday, the next day is a — wait for it — federal holiday, meaning we can sleep in after enjoying V Day to its fullest.
All in all, it’s a perfect scenario for a true weekend of love. That may put a bit of pressure on making every moment count, so here’s a rundown of a few restaurants across the area offering something special for that special someone.
Bayou Bakery (901 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Capitol Hill): Locals on the Hill have been keeping this information close to their chests so they can get the best tables, but Bayou Bakery is now offering dinner service and it, frankly, is more than a match for the nearby Barracks Row eateries that have been attracting the hordes from Northwest D.C.
Built in a Civil War-era carriage house, Bayou Bakery’s dining room is both cozy and bright, with a New Orleans-inspired seasonal menu that most recently included Crispy Chicken Livers with pepper jelly and apple slaw and Crawfish Monica served over housemade pappardelle with a Creole cream sauce. You can end your meal with fresh beignets or the Warm Bread Pudding Brulée, a beautiful riff on the Commander’s Palace classic. But for Valentine’s Day you might consider ordering the brioche-style B.B. King Cake (order 48 hours in advance, to pick up or have there), which has been given a special heart-shaped makeover and even comes complete with its own cherubic plastic baby. If you want to check out Bayou Bakery before Valentine’s Day rolls around, they will, of course, be celebrating Mardi Gras in style on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Osteria Morini (301 Water St., S.E., Navy Yard): Sure, you could just go out for a nice meal on Valentine’s Day like everyone else, but you could also get a little more interactive by spending Galentine’s Day at Osteria Morini’s Pasta Lover’s Class on Saturday, Feb. 13. At $85 per person, you’ll be greeted with battilardo (Italian charcuterie), cheese and a glass of Lambrusco upon arrival, then learn some of the finer points of pasta making in an interactive class, followed by a three-course lunch with Sangiovese wine pairing.
If you prefer to stay in bed for the weekend, let pastry chef Alex Levin — a true master of confection — provide the sweet treats, which can be picked up at your convenience (order 48 hours in advance). Some of the offerings include Breakfast in Bed ($15 each), which includes chocolate danish, caramelized banana bread muffin, blueberry cheese danish, pecan brown butter cake bites and the Lovers Packages, which boasts all of the aforementioned as well as handmade Valrhona dark chocolate-covered toffee and peanut brittle ($30 each).
BlackSalt Fish Market (4883 MacArthur Blvd., N.W., Palisades): Once you’ve had breakfast in bed, why not continue the trend at dinner? BlackSalt Fish Market is packing up a three-course dinner for two that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home, aptly called “Cupid’s Choice.”
A special menu designed by executive chef Mike Huff includes such delicacies to choose from like Seared Maine Diver Scallops served with a caper parsley purée and house-smoked bacon, Lobster Bisque with crab and shrimp agnolotti, and Wood Grilled Boneless Rib-eye with roasted salsify and a truffle Cabernet jus, followed by a trio of chocolate treats like Chocolate Chambord Truffle Cake and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, all for $100 per couple. If you want to amp up the aphrodisiacs, you can add on caviar, whole Maine lobsters (cooked and shelled upon request) and oysters on the half shell. Bibs required, pajamas are optional.
Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Georgetown): If you can’t wait for Valentine’s Day, get a head start on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Four Seasons Hotel’s flagship Bourbon Steak restaurant, with their “Love Potion No. 9” class at $45 per person. Head bartender Torrence Swain and pastry chef Derkje Steenblik will combine forces to stimulate the senses through cocktails and desserts designed to inspire passion.
The class will focus on exploring the stimulating powers of absinthe, benedictine and chartreuse, centuries-old liqueurs that are known for their potency. Participants will sample such delights as the sharp green absinthe-based “The Color of Envy” cocktail, paired with a French macaron filled with absinthe ganache and gold leaf. Call 202-944-2026 or email email@example.com for reservations.
Kristen Hartke is a D.C.-based food and beverage writer and editor; follow her kitchen adventures on Twitter at @khartke.