Joyeuse Saint Valentin!

There’s lots to love about celebrating Valentine’s day in Washington D.C. Here are a few of my picks for this year:

1) Celebrate La Saint Valentin in France (sorta)
Can’t quite afford a romantic getaway to the city of love this year? Well, you can try the next best thing and treat your sweetie to an evening of French food and champagne at La Maison Française on February 13th. The $75 ticket includes valet parking, live music, a Parisian-style buffet complete with sumptuous patisseries and an open bar. In addition, you can have your picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower and participate in a silent auction of one-of-a-kind items ranging from the moderate to the luxurious.

2) Wine and Dine… or skip the dine, just wine!

It is kind of perfect timing that this year, Valentine’s Day falls not only on a 3-day weekend, but also also at the same time as the DC International Wine & Food Festival. From the (cancelled) to TastePost’s wine and cheese pairing session on Friday evening ($25), the grand tasting events on February 13-14 ($85 Saturday, $75 Sunday, $140 both days) and the Sunday Champagne brunch at Ris ($55, benefiting D.C. Central Kitchen – sold out) (also cancelled)… you could easily keep your date drunk all weekend!

3) Take a cooking class (or make your man take one)
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, if that’s the case, why not take a cooking class this Valentine’s Day? Learn to make Oyster stew with Pancetta at CulinAerie ($190 per couple, Feb. 14th, 6pm) together, decorate cupcakes at Hello Cupcakes ($50 per person, Feb. 13th, 10-12), learn to make Whoopie Pies at M Bar in the Renaissance Hotel (February 13 at 5pm, $15) or even better, send your man to a cooking class so he can treat you to a home-cooked meal. DC Coast is hosting a “Cupid’s Cooking Class” ($75 per person, Feb. 6th, 11am-1pm) and Art & Soul’s Chef Timberlake will demonstrate how to make a four course meal ($50 per person, Jan. 30th noon–2p.m). With those classes, your sweetie can learn to be not only the man of the house, but also of the kitchen! Afterall, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, too!

4) Fall in love… with the District of Columbia

Don’t think D.C. is much of a romantic destination? It might be time for you to rekindle your love affair with the District. Head to the Goethe Institute on February 14th for the 3rd Annual Our City Film Festival featuring documentaries and narratives ranging in topic from the history of Go-Go music, to a man’s love affair with the Anacostia River or life for Jews in old Washington.

5) Say non to Valentine’s Day!
Unattached? A couple of local restaurants are planning special evenings with just you in mind. On February 13, AGAINN will feature a 3-course anti-Valentine’s Day menu inspired by the cuisine of the British Isles, priced at $39 per person. Alternatively, you can have a “sweet” anti-Valentine’s day at Coco Sala which is teaming up with Red Door Spas to bring you a night of treatments, chocolate and bubbly. On Wednesday, February 17th (rescheduled from the 10th) between 6-8:30 p.m. enjoy a variery of “anti” treatments (Anti-dehydration Eye Treatments, Anti-Oxidant Citrus Polish Changes, & Prevage Anti-Aging Hand Treatments) while sipping ‘Sex’ Brut Rose and savouring chocolate dipped strawberries injected with Amaretto. Miam… do you really have to be single to attend this one? Tickets are $85 per person and space is limited. Reserve your spot by February 3rd by emailing homer@quackit.com There’s also a couple of other fun activities for single ladies, from going to the movies to see Valentine’s day to attending the DC RollerGirls Double Header at DC Armory pitting the DC All-Stars against the Pittsburgh’s Steel Hurtin’ and the Cherry Blossom Bombshells versus Scare Force One.

6) Explore the sexual behaviour of other… species.

I had a blast last year learning about animal mating, dating and reproductive habits at the inaugural Woo at the Zoo event. On (Rescheduled to February 19), join the National Zoo‘s charismatic animal experts for a frisky presentation on the sexual behaviour of your favourite zoo animals. This Valentine’s Day event at the Zoo is $7 for FONZ members (Click here for information on becoming a FONZ member) and $10 for non-members with a choice of two presentation time slots: 6:30-7:30 p.m. or 8:30-9:30 p.m. Open to singletons and smug-married-couples over the age of 21, all guests will be treated to complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a free long-stemmed rose courtesy of Whole Foods Market. A cash bar will also offer a “My Tai” specialty drink in a commemorative glass.

7) Get half-naked… and run!

Being half naked in public places in D.C. seems to be a new trend! First, there was the no-pants-metro-ride on January 12th. Now just on time for Valentine’s day, you can run around the capitol building in your skivvies! Hosted by The Pour House and benefitting the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the first annual Cupid’s Undie Run will take place on February 13. My favourite local lingerie shop, Coup de Foudre, will be raffling off some prizes at the pre and post run bash at the Pour House. And if running in your undies in the middle of February isn’t your thing, the Pacer’s Running Store is kicking off the Pacers Events 2010 Race Series with the inaugural Love the Run You’re With 5k race on the 14.

8) Skip dinner and opt for brain food instead
Since Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, you may want to start with brunch. The Corcoran Gallery of Arts allows you to escape to France with a French-themed menu inspired by the works in the exhibition Turner to Cézanne. From there, you can head to the Kennedy Center for the 1:30pm performance of the Mariinsky Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty or the 3pm representation of Shear Madness (less romantic, but more guy friendly!).  Also celebrating France is the National Gallery of Arts . After seeing the exhibition From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, enjoy the “Taste of Amour” preconcert special in Garden Café Français: a single red rose and a Michel Richard signature mousse au chocolat for two, served with fresh strawberries and Bouvet Brut sparkling wine (two glasses, $30; full 750-ml bottle, $49). The Ritz Chamber Players concert will start at 6:30pm in the West Garden Court. Finally, the Newseum is also inviting you and the co-anchor of your life (*le cheese*) to indulge in your passion for news with an enticing buy one get one free deal Feb. 8-14. In addition to visiting DC’s most interactive museum, you can also record your love message at the “Be A TV Reporter” station and get a free download to share with family and friends. And if you think an autographed copy of “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime” is just the gift your Valentine dreams of, you’re in luck, authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin will be around at 2:30pm on the 13th to talk about their book.

9) Find that special (purring) someone

I personally adopted my furry baby Chloe from the Washington Animal Rescue League almost two years ago and the shelter currently has dozens of felines available for adoption. On February 14th, between 2-5pm, the Washington Animal Rescue Leagueis hosting Catapalooza, a special cat adoption celebration with complimentary mimosas and cake, and no adoption fee on all kitties. Once you’ve seen the beautiful (renovated) space where the cats live, you may feel a little guilty bringing one back to your small condo with no water fountain or playground 😉

Still can’t figure out what to do for V-day? Luckily for you, Dr. Ruth was just sworn in as honorary secretary of the D.C.’s Department of Love and Relationships. Along with a corny “stimulus plan for love and relationships”, the Date Night D.C. website has a nifty little tool called create a date where event the least imaginative person can design a special night for every budget!
February 10th opening reception at PS’7 on Thursday, February 11 ($50) February 12
as well as film night at the Ronald Reagan Building featuring Bottle Shock ($20)

2 thoughts on “Joyeuse Saint Valentin!

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