Valentine's Dining Options Abound

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Valentines Linzer Cookies from Chefs Market
  • Valentine's Linzer Cookies from Chef's Market
Valentine's Day falls on a Friday this year. That's a lot of pressure to plan for a big deal meal! Luckily, plenty of Nashville restaurants are offering special menus to make it a little easier on you. Here are some of your options for making Feb. 14 a little more special.

First off, Cantina Laredo in the Gulch has a deal for you. (Why are they first? Because they were kind enough to give us a $25 gift card for a lucky Bites reader. Stick with me until the end of the post to figure out how to win!) Cantina Laredo will be serving their full menu for the holiday, but executive chef Josh Santiago has also put together a special three-course menu available Feb. 13-15.

The dinner deal is $35 per person with three drink pairings available for an extra $15. For starters, diners can choose between a mango salad or a nice rustic red pepper soup with almonds and queso fresco. There are three entree choices ranging from shrimp with spicy mango mole sauce to an ancho-rubbed chicken breast or a peppercorn filet over horseradish-dijon sauce. Dessert choices include strawberries on cinnamon chips and churros with chocolate raspberry sauce.

The drink pairings are tequlia-centric for the first two courses with an upscale Mexican Coffee with dessert. I was a part of a preview tasting for the menu this week, and I should let you know that the drinks definitely fall into the "sweets for the sweet" category. Actually, much of the meal features sweeter flavor profiles, so if that's down your alley, give them a thought for some modern Mexican fare. (And read through to the end for a chance at a gift card.)

For a more upscale international Valentine's option, head over to Etch on Friday night where chef Deb Paquette will present a creative four-course menu. The cost is $90 per person plus tax and gratuity. Wine pairing for each course is available for an additional $40 per person.

Chef Brandon Frohne is turning up the romantic heat at Mason's at the Loews Vanderbilt with his aphrodisiac-laden three-course prix-fixe menu available on Feb. 14. (Note: there will be no a la carte items served that night at Mason's.) The fare is $120 per couple with the choice of a specialty cocktail or glasses of Ruffino Prosecco.

Frohne's wife is from the Phillipines, and he used her heritage as an inspiration for two of the dishes, a Pickled Shrimp and Butternut Squash Fritter that is a play on a Filipino dish called ukoy, which is a popular street food in the Philippines, and a Beef Polpette that is a goof on bola bola, another dish from the Phillipines. There will be multiple options for each of the three courses, so you don't have to take a ride through the islands if you don't want to. You can check out the entire menu here.

All the courses feature ingredients with reputed powers as aphrodisiacs, including chocolate, eggs, chili peppers and figs, so you might want to have a cup of coffee with dessert.

Finally, if you don't feel like fighting the crowds to dine out on Valentine's, Chef’s Market Catering & Restaurant in Goodlettsville has created the perfect solution to put romance back into staying at home. On Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15, Chef’s Market will offer a four-course dinner take-away special.

The take-away meal comes beautifully packaged and ready to heat and serve. Even better, the package also includes breakfast-in-bed for the next morning. The Valentine's dinner and breakfast-in-bed package for two is priced at $95, featuring the following menu items:

Course one: Wild mushroom strudel

Course two: Two hearts salad, baby greens with hearts of palm and artichoke hearts

Course three: Herb-crusted rack of lamb with madeira thyme sauce and butter-poached lobster and shrimp with fresh tarragon and champagne with cranberry vinaigrette

Accompanied by Parmesan herbed risotto, haricot vert, bell pepper bundles and fresh butter rolls

Course four: Chocolate genoise mousse cakes and chocolate-dipped strawberries

Breakfast in bed: Fresh baked scones, diced fresh fruit and hot tea

The take-away Valentine package must be pre-ordered by Wednesday, Feb. 12, and will be available for pick up either on Feb. 14 or 15. To place an order contact Chef’s Market by phone at 615-851-CHEF (2433) or by email to Stacey@chefsmarket.com.

So as a reward for sticking with this post to the end, let's have a little contest for that $25 Cantina Laredo gift card. All you have to do is share your Valentine's Day/Night plans (food-wise only, keep it clean, Bitesters!) in the comments below, and we'll select a winner at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Have a delicious and romantic Valentine's!

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