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Wine, Food & Fine Restaurants for Valentine’s Day

Last week we introduced our readers and viewers to “The Most Romantic Wine in the World,” a lovely sparkling wine, the Rosa Regale from Banfi in Italy. We recommended it for what is my special celebratory holiday, Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Although this is not a legal holiday, it is more a celebration of our humanity and love for one another. 

Originally it was a Christian feast day honoring sainthood for early martyrs persecuted under the Roman Empire. One of them, later known as St. Valentine of Rome, signed his final farewell letters “Your Valentine.”

It became associated with romantic love in the days of Chaucer of England in the 14th century. In 18th century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love with flowers and sending greeting cards with heart shaped icons, doves and cupids. The oldest surviving valentine poem is from the 18th century and goes like this: “The rose is red, the violet’s blue. The honey’s sweet and so are you. Thou art my love and I am thine. I drew thee to my Valentine. The lot was cast and then I drew, and fortune said it should be you.”

You can’t make this up. It came from Wikipedia labeled “Valentine’s Day.”

My in-bin is overflowing with restaurants whose hospitality is overflowing with menu items for the heart so make your choice and bring your hearty appetites to the restaurant of your choice. All dinners are on Valentine’s Day Feb. 14.

Wine Bytes

  • 20/Twenty in Carlsbad has California costal cuisine with a three course Valentine’s dinner with several choices within the courses for $75 per couple. Call (760) 827-2500 for an RSVP.
  • Bask in romance at Kitchen 1540 in L’Auberge Del Mar from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Executive chef Nathan Lingle has created a special four-course menu with many options, all paired with perfect optional wines. Mains include choice of Rib Eye, Duck Breast, Scallops and Poached Lobster Tail. RSVP at (858) 793-6460.
  • Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery in Temecula will host a four-course wine dinner at this hill-top location from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Entrée choices include Angus Beef Filet Mignon or Chilean Sea Bass both with paired wines. Cost is $119 each, $99 for wine club members. RSVP at (951) 8231, ext. 4.
  • Café Champagne at Thornton Winery in Temecula has a special menu for $82 per person from 5 to 9 p.m. This three-course menu has choice of Entrée including Lobster Ravioli, Filet Mignon, Wild Salmon or Mediterranean Chicken Roulade. Call for an RSVP at (951) 699-0099.
  • Firenze in Encinitas has created a three-course special menu for $75 each. Pick one of five “Principale” choices including halibut, risotto, chicken, pork chop, Ribeye or Lasagna Firenze. Call (760) 944-9000.
  • Il Fornaio in Del Mar has an Italian-style Valentine’s dinner from the region of Umbria, the home of St. Valentine. Enjoy a selection of dishes including Cuore di Ravioli with heart shaped butternut squash. Another choice will be Risotto Umbro with carnaroli rice, Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms. RSVP at (858) 755-8876.
  • PAON Wine Bar is hosting a Rose’ Champagne wine dinner with champagnes from Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon. Cost is $200, with wine club members reduced to $150. Go to for an RSVP and look for the PAON Valentine’s Day wine dinner.
  • In honor of Valentine’s Day all the Cohn Restaurants in San Diego County has special prix fixe menus. Spotlight dishes at The Prado’s roasted sea bass, Vintana’s Triple Chocolate Seduction and Coasterra’s Grilled Rack of Lamb. Call the local restaurant near you.
  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse on San Diego’s waterfront has its Surf n Turf feature. It’s an 8-ounce Filet Mignon, topped with butter poached lobster tail, sea scallops and asparagus. RSVP at (619) 272-5060.

Other Wine Bytes

  • Meritage Wine Market has a seminar on the “Ultimate Trio,” wine, cheese and chocolate, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15. Cost is $59 and includes six wines, a premium selection of cheeses and chocolates. Tips will be given to help you understand that certain types of chocolates and cheese will go best with other types of wine. RSVP at (760) 479-2500.
  • Vintana Wine & Dine in Escondido is presenting a Markham wine dinner with four courses and wine pairings from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 8. Cost is $79 per person, with a specially created menu from Executive Chef Deborah Scott. Main course is New Zealand grass-fed lamb chops. RSVP at (760) 745-7777.
  • North County Wine Company in San Marcos has a Molly Dooker wine tasting event Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, and Feb. 14 their famous Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Wine Pairings.  Call (760) 653-9032 for times.