By Kathy Hanrahan, Out and About editor
This Valentine’s Day will definitely be a bit different for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditionally it’s a very busy night for in-person dining at restaurants and other in-person events. While many restaurants have reopened for in-person dining, there are less people allowed in the dining rooms so reservations are definitely a must! And remember that take-out is always an option!
Since most of us have been staying home a lot, a night or two in a nice local hotel is also a great idea for a stay-cation getaway.
Here’s a list of some of our ideas for Valentine’s day fun and gifts:
Rocky Top Catering’s Virtual Valentine’s Cooking Classes – Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home on Feb. 13 or 14 with these cooking classes. Owner and Chef Dean Ogan will feature live step-by-step instruction on preparing dinner and cocktails. There are several options from $50 to $200 plus tax. A portion of sales will benefit the Lucy Daniels Center, a nonprofit organization that serves as the largest provider of mental health services in the Triangle for children up to age 11. WRAL’s Ken Smith will be the celebrity chef for the class on Feb. 13!
Vita Vite wine baskets or art – This is a perfect idea to turn your favorite date night into a take-home basket. Vita Vite will personalize a collection of items like including wine, champagne, cheese and Charcuterie plates to-go, a cheeseboard and cutlery set, a wine-themed candle, wine tumblers, cocktail recipe books and more. Single items are also available for purchase. Since Vita Vite also has some great local art, you could also give that someone special a one-of-a-kind piece of art. You can get a quick look at a few pieces online. You can visit in person to craft your basket or see the art available, or call (919) 322-0649 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Champagne And Caviar at The Umstead – On Feb. 11, there will be a luxurious Champagne and Caviar tasting event hosted by resort sommeliers Troy Revell and Hannah Barton. The event is limited to 36 seats and costs $350 inclusive of tax and service charge. Get tickets through by calling 919-447-4050.
Wine and Design – With locations across the Triangle, there are many studios to choose from if you want to do an in-person class. There are also some great virtual classes as well. Also be sure to check out their Mix and Sip interactive bartending experiences provided by On My Way Bartending.
Vitis House Wine School – Classes are located at The Loading Dock in Raleigh and hosted by chef Doreen Colondres. There are a few fun classes in February for Valentine’s Day, including a Romantic Reds class that explores the unique Italian grape varieties used to produce “romantic wines.” See a list of all classes on the Vitis House website.
Just go to NoFo – Located at 2014 Fairview Road in Raleigh, this WRAL Voters’ Choice Award winner for best gifts has a chocolate case filled with local treats. Plus you can get jewelry, stuffed animals and even perfume. They have pop-up and vintage Valentine’s Day cards and some great coffee options too, including one featuring Pappy’s barrel-aged bourbon.
Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown – For $309 plus tax, you can enjoy a night in a Studio suite and a three-course dinner with a bottle of wine. Plus when you arrive in your room there will be sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries. The deal is available Feb. 12-14.
The Umstead Hotel in Cary – Room add-ons include chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. And while you’re there, the award-winning restaurant at the hotel, Herons, is hosting a Valentine’s Day Dinner for $155 per person.
The Durham – This package includes a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for you in your room and brunch served to your room with a mimosa or Bloody Mary the next morning. Dinner can be added on (in your room or you can dine on the roof). They are serving a three-course tasting menu for $55 on the roof and $60 in your room. Prices do not include beverage, tax, or gratuity.
Unscripted Durham – This hotel is offering a few different packages. The Igloo Valentine’s Day Package includes 15 percent off of an overnight stay, a complimentary bottle of champagne upon arrival as well as an igloo dining experience for up to 10 guests. The Bull City Love Package includes an overnight stay plus a bottle of sparking wine, chocolate-dipped strawberries and rose petals with your room. The restaurant there is also offering a special Valentine’s Day menu Feb. 12-14.
21c Museum Hotel Durham – This hotel has a romance package that includes a one night stay at the hotel, a three-course tasting menu for two at Counting House restaurant, a special dessert delivery and late 3 p.m. check out. The package is available Wednesday through Saturday through Feb. 28.
Renaissance Raleigh North Hills – The couples getaway package includes a one-night stay, breakfast for two, chocolates and champagne upon arrival.
The Carolina Inn – This hotel is offering a romance package including full breakfast for two daily, champagne and strawberries and a late check out.
Washington Duke Inn – Bed and Breakfast packages and golf packages are available.
Siena Hotel – Head to Chapel Hill for a stay at this beautiful hotel. There are packages that include chocolate covered strawberries, champagne and breakfast in bed. Plus, one package has a $100 dining credit at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Il Palio.
Mandolin – This Raleigh restaurant has a pre-fixe menu for dine-in and a meal kit, which will come with a cooking video from Chef Sean Fowler. He’s also offering a curated Wine Lover’s case of wines and bouquets of roses.
La Farm Bakery – Special Valentine’s Day items will include heart-shaped macarons, Strawberry Sweetbreads, Linzer Challah and Chocolate Cranberry Bread.
Kipos Greek Taverna – There will be a $60 in house menu and $55 take-out menu that includes a locally sourced bouquet of flowers from Folie à Deux Studio & Events in Carrboro.
Angus Barn – This Raleigh restaurant is offering a take and bake Valentine’s Day dinner that includes Chateaubriand (Aged Beef Tenderloin) for two with Red Wine Jus, a full Rack of Angus Barn Pork Ribs, roasted root vegetables (carrots, potatoes and onions), fresh baked rolls, cheese, crackers and a decadent Chocolate Lava Cake Duo for dessert. The price is $100 and you can add a bottle of Angus Barn Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay for $28.
Seasons 52 – This Raleigh restaurant is offering a dinner for two for $99 that includes Kona-Crusted Filet Mignon, salad, sides and two complimentary Mini Indulgences. Add a wine pairing for $10.
Capital Grille – Enjoy a three-course dinner for two at home this Valentine’s Day featuring Filet Mignon and Poached Lobster Tails, two sides with starters and dessert to share for $175. Pick-up can be Feb. 13 or 14.
Unscripted Durham – This hotel has a special Valentine’s Day menu available from Feb. 12-14. It includes crab-stuffed grouper and strip steak. Plus, they have those Igloos you can dine-inside of on their patio.