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Twenty Ways to Please Your Lover on Valentine's Day

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*17 - Alden Hotel (February 14) Chef Sam Beier has created a lust-worthy Valentine's Day menu featuring Sunchoke Veloute, Roasted Lobster Salad, Shrimp-Crusted Flounder, Cane Sugar Cured Duck Breast, Petite Filet with Favas and Lobster Ravioli, and Caramelized Halibut, among others. The meal includes dessert and champagne. $95 per person. Reservations, 832-200-8800.

Anvil Bar & Refuge - "Dark and Bitter Valentine's Day" (February 14) For those still looking for that special someone, the hype surrounding February 14 can get a bit nauseating. Luckily there's places like Anvil, offering "an entertaining tongue-in-cheek take on this over-amped holiday for lovers, with a humorous play on Anvil's well-known passion for dark and bitter beer and spirits." The women of Anvil have created a special treat for singles and lovers alike, with comically named drinks ("Manhatin'," "I've Met Someone," "The Rebound," "I'll Text You") and sweets to enjoy them with. Reservations not required.

Backstreet Café (February 11-14) It's easy to feel smitten when surrounded by the lovely al fresco patios, cozy fireplaces and intimate tables of Backstreet Café. From February 11-14 Chef Hugo Ortega (see Hugo's below) will be offering a special 3-course Valentine's Menu including an appetizer, entrée, and dessert options against a backdrop of live jazz by Bob Chadwick. $59 per person. Reservations 713-521-2239.

Bistro Alex - "Celebration of Love" (February 14) Chef Alex Brennan-Martin's West side concept is offering a Valentine's Day lineup guaranteed to make you swoon, complete with your own expertly selected bottle of red or white wine. Highlights include Boudinblanc-Stuffed Empanadas, Turtle Soup, Shrimp and Grits 'Cheesecake,' Black Angus Beef Bourguignon, Deck Oven Roasted Chicken, Veggie Bucco and Strawberry 'Coquito.' $120 per couple. Reservations 713-827-3545.

Brasserie Max & Julie, Café Rabelais (February 13-14) Nothing says romance like cozy surroundings and fine French cuisine. Woo your petit amour with a six-course degustation and matching wine flight at Brasserie Max and Julie ($48 per person or $73 with wine flight, reservations 713-524-0070) or escape to gay Paris inside the loop with a special five-course menu from Café Rabelais. Three seatings: 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday evenings. $48 per person. Reservations, 713-520-8841.

Brennan's of Houston (February 10 and February 14) Shake up your love, or celebrate your passion for cocktails, at Brennan's "Courtyard Bar None" Cocktail Party on February 10. Second in a series of monthly cocktail events, next Thursday's affair will include tastings and take-home recipes for Ginger Pear Cocktails, Passion Fruit Cosmopolitans, and Chocolate Kiss Martinis - all for $15 per person. On Monday, February 14, the restaurant offers a Creole take on love with a special menu featuring a choice of starter, entrée, and dessert. $75 per person. Reservations, 713-522-9711.

Broken Spoke Café - "From Brussels with Love" (February 14) Hot Belgian romance is on the menu at this little Washington Avenue eatery. The themed dinner kicks off with a choice of Asparagus Cream Soup or Scallops in Crawfish Sauce to start, an entrée option of Filet De Charlai Aux Trois Sauce (Filet Mignon with three sauces) or Magret de Canard a l'Orande (Duck with Orange Sauce), topped off with White and Dark Chocolate Mousse. $45 per person. Reservations 713-863-7029.

Caffe Bello (February 13-14) If you haven't already been to Tony Vallone's newest location in Montrose, Valentine's Day is the perfect occasion to visit. Enjoy a 3-course Sunday brunch on February 13 ($25 per person), or a special prix-fixe Valentine's Day menu of February 14. $38 per person. Reservations 713-520-5599.

Café Chino (February 14) Seduce your sweetheart with a special a la Carte three-course Valentine's Day dinner from Café Chino. Choose from soup or appetizer, entrée and dessert. Entrée options include Almond Crusted Chicken Tender, Teriyake Grilled Salmon, Poached Chilean Sea Bass, Grilled Lollipop Lamb Grilled Kobe Beef, or Wok-Fried Lobster in Ginger, Scallions and Sherry Wine Sauce. $21 - $32 per person. Reservations, 713-524-4433.

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen (February 14) Give her what she really wants for Valentine's Day. Crabs. Order off the regular menu or a special Valentine's Day menu with oysters as an appetizer option (oh baby, lets get it on), meat (topped with crab), fish, crab, crab or more crab as an entrée, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. $49 per person. Reservations,k 713-807-8889.

Houston Arboretum - "Tapas on the Trail" (February 12) Avoid the restaurant crowds and escape to "Houston's premier venue for natural beauty." Enjoy gourmet food and wine pairings spread about the scenic Willow Oak Trail. Your walk on the wild side comes to climax at the Meadow Deck with desserts by Chef Dan Budd, (more) wine, Starbucks coffees and a live owl (what?). Members $75 per person / non-members $95 per person. Must register here before February 11.

Houston Zoo - "Beastly Brunch" (February 13) Are you wild for an animal lover? Flock, an organization comprised of young professionals ages 21 and up, presents an afternoon of food, music, cocktails, and animal interaction at the zoo. $25 advance / $40 door. Free for members of Flock. Click here to purchase tickets.

Hugo's (February 14) Chef Hugo Ortega says, "Feliz dia de San Valentin" with a special three course menu al estilo Mexicana. A few highlights include Piernas de Codorniz (quail drumsticks with tomatillo sauce), Varitas de Camarón (skewered shrimp with guajillo peanut mole), Costillas de Borrego (rack of lamb served with black bean and goat cheese tamal and stewed greens), and Cola de Langosta (lobster tail bathed in smoky mojo de ajo and served with refritos, arroz blanco and fresh flour tortillas). $59 per person. Reservations, 713-524-7744.

Khun Kay Thai Café (Roll in the Hay February 4-14) The Montrose are Thai restaurant wants you to come in for a Roll in the Hay - on Valentine's Day and the ten days leading up to it. According to chef Kay Soodjai, "You won't get tired of it." Get your minds out of the gutter, people. The "hay" Chef Kay is referring to is crispy fried Chinese noodles surrounding fresh shrimp, wrapped around tender chicken breasts. Served in "a rich and tasty peanut sauce". $8.95 for three. Reservations not required.

Mockingbird Bistro and Wine Bar (February 14) Chef John Sheely is offering a 3-course pre fixe menu created with lovebirds in mind. Entrée options include Potato-crusted Pacific Sea Bass and Louisiana bowfish caviar, Pan-roasted Jumbo Diver Scallops with passion fruit/champagne emulsion, Muscovy Duck Breast with Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Filet of Angus Beef and Key West Prawns, and Dijon-crusted Colorado Lamb Rack. $65 per person / $95 with Sommelier's Wine Pairing. Reservations, 713-533-0200.

Natural Pawz - Valentine's Weekend Bake Sale If only we could be so lucky as to find a partner that loved us half as much as our dog does. Celebrate your four-legged pals by purchasing sweets from renowned pastry chef (and dog owner) Rebecca Masson. NOTE: The treats are for people - the money goes to the dogs. All proceeds benefit Lucky Dog Rescue. Order online at www.luckyrescue.org, by email at fluffbakebar@gmail.com. Orders will be available for pickup at Natural Pawz in the Heights. Click here to see the goods.

Phoenicia Deli - "Capp-Smooch-ino" (Now through February 14) Show your coffee date where your heart is with a Berries and Cream Cappuccino from Phoenicia. Each sweet, velvety concoction comes complete with a kiss of lavender, a heart, and heart-shaped shortbread cookies, made fresh daily. $3.50 - $3.95 ea.

Prince's Hamburgers (February 11 - February 14) Transport the one you love back to the simpler, more innocent era of carhops, bobby socks, and soda fountains with a Valentine's Day Dinner for Two. Choose from Prince's Seafood Special or Shrimp and Steak Dinner - served with a loaded baked potato, salad, drink, and dessert. Then head off to the drive-in for some necking. $29 per person. Reservations not required.

Ristorante Cavour - Hotel Granduca (February 12 and February 14) This Valentine's Day experience the grandeur and charm of Old World Italy at Ristorante Cavour. Chef Renato DePirro has fashioned a five-course prix fix menu that features Kusshi Oyster with Prosecco Foam and Caviar, Main Lobster Salad with Bitter Greens and Passion Fruit Dressing, Baked Risotto with Stinging Nettles, Crescenza Cheese, Prawns and Strawberries, Porcini Crusted Veal Tenderloin with Chocolate Sauce and Eggplant Caponata, and Chocolate Mousse with Champagne Sauce and Strawberries Compote (Now that's amore!). $69 per person; add $45 per person for wine pairings. Reservations 713-418-1104.

Sushi King (February 11-14) Sushi is great date fodder. Beautiful and fun to share, it's not so heavy as to impede any post-dinner activities. From February 11 - Valentine's Day Sushi King invites you to indulge in a four-course menu made especially for lovers, complete with drink. $95 per couple. Reservations 713-528-8998.

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