CHICAGO, Thursday, January 31, 2013. The story behind Valentine's Day isn't a pretty one, if it is true. According to legend Valentine's Day was named after St. Valentine, a.k.a. Valentinus, who lived in Rome during the third century. It seems, Valentinus was thrown into jail for aiding Christian martyrs, released after a year but later was beaten to death with clubs, stoned and beheaded on February 14, 270 A.D. The night before his death he wrote a letter to the woman he loved, the blind daughter of his former jailer, signing it "From Your Valentine." A unique story for sure. Along with the story, we offer some unique, outside-the-heart-shaped-box ideas for you and your Valentine...wherever you may "be headed".
1. The Wild Lives of Wildlife.
Go ape at the Animal Attractions Breakfast at Lincoln Park Zoo. The event offers the inside scoop on the risqué side of animal courtship – not to mention exclusive before-hours access to Regenstein Center for African Apes. Adults aged 18 and older can break bread alongside gorilla babies Patty and Nayembi and enjoy seasonal fresh fruits, yogurt parfaits with granola toppings, baked waffles, breakfast burritos and crisp applewood smoked bacon. Saturday, February 9, from 9:30 to 11a.m. Tickets are $75 ($65 for Lincoln Park Zoo members) at www.lpzoo.org or by calling 312 742 2000. Registration closes on February 6.
2. Wine Lovers Soiree for Singles.
Alpana Singh will be sharing her most romantic wine picks, paired with passed appetizers from Executive Chef Christian Gosselin at her recently opened, The Boarding House. The event will be hosted in The Cellar, the restaurant's subterranean lounge - complete with soft lighting, sex appeal, and sips of the world's oldest love potion. February 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. A cash bar will follow the event. Tickets to the Singles Wine Lovers Soiree are $40 per person and available at TicketLeap.com. 720 N. Wells.
3. The Slurping Turtle's PJ Party.
You don't even have to get out of your pajamas for the first annual Valentine's Day Pajama Party Brunch at Slurping Turtle on Sunday, February 17. Diners donning PJ's will not only enjoy complimentary mini-puffs dipped in decadent chocolate, but also receive gift certificates valued at 50% of their total bill for their next visit. Participating guests will not be alone - Slurping Turtle's managers will be sporting robes and the employees will be working the floor in PJ's. Slurping Turtle, 116 W. Hubbard St. Reservations: 312 464 0466.
4. On Your Toes for Romance.
The Joffrey Ballet opens its steamy hot winter program, “American Legends,” running February 13 – 24 for 10 performances. The show includes romantic duets by Twyla Tharp, glamorous costumes by Oscar de la Renta, playful choreography by Jerome Robbins, a work of magic and sensuality by Gerald Arpino, and a contemporary Chicago premiere by Stanton Welch.
5. A Big Heart for Your Valentine in Highland Park.
Downtown Highland Park will be showcasing an 8-foot tall art heart created by Kelly Gillum and inspired by the Beatles' "LOVE" Cirque du Soleil. So if you want to "Hold Her Hand" head to the North Shore to check out this fun piece of art and stop by one of Highland Park's more than 30 restaurants from casual to fancy. Can't make it on VD, no worries, the "Heart Art" will be up for the entire month of February.
6. Lonely in Aurora.
Mr. Lonely, Bobby Vinton, makes a rare Chicago-area Valentine's Day appearance with two live concerts exclusively at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. Show times are 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, 2013. Tickets: $49-$64.
7. A Chocolate Lovers Delight in Geneva.
After recently completing the World’s Longest Candy Cane at 51 feet on December 8, Chef Alain Roby is reaching new heights at his All Chocolate Kitchen, 33 S. Third St in Geneva, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, with a 20-foot enchanted chocolate tree in the middle of the store, made with 1,200 lbs of chocolate. The All Chocolate Kitchen is also offering a delicious Dessert & Coffee package for two, which includes raspberry crème brulee with a sugar rose for $14.99. Reservations are available by calling 630 232 2395.
8. For the Romantic at Heart.
Voted Chicago’s most romantic restaurant, Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage Ave, sets hearts on fire with its eight day Valentine’s Festival including Double Anniversary Discount on Monday, February 11th, where couples will receive a double discount on their food purchases with proof of total years married. A Valentine tradition for many this Chicago restaurant has been around for nearly 50 years.
9. Syd Straw's Heartwreck Show.
Vocalist, singer-songwriter and guitarist Syd Straw has enjoyed a cult following in the 1980s when she was a member of the Golden Palominos. Her unique blend of folk-rock and blues-rock has found a home with Adult Album Alternative radio stations and their audiences around the country. Straw will perform her annual Valentine’s Day concert, the Heartwreck Show – in Chicago's West Loop at 1200 W. Randolph, in the historic urban Fulton Market district. Tickets: 312 733 WINE (9463) or visit City Winery. Thursday, Feb. 14, 8p.m. ($30/25/20).
10. The Opposites Attract Dinner...or Love at First Bite.
Does your significant other like the heat on and you like it cold, like white wine while you go for red, like savory and you sweet, or do they like seafood and you meat? Local Chicago, the recently opened Gold Coast eatery from the restaurateurs behind the award-winning Chicago Cut Steakhouse, knows opposites attract and will be paying homage to them with a special Valentine Opposites Menu on February 14. 198 E. Delaware Pl.
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