By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 13, 2019 at 9:01 AM

Nearly every restaurant in the city will be rolling out romantic dinner offerings for couples to enjoy on Feb. 14, the ubiquitous day of love. In fact, you can check out a good number of those places in our Valentine’s Day Guide.

But there are plenty of other ways to mark the day, including a number of clever mixers, pairing events, cooking classes and even a therapeutic session for scorned lovers.

Each one provides a fun (and often delicious) way to spend your time, regardless of whether you’re single, coupled or tired of all things love.

Chocolate & cocktails

What: Cocktails paired with Indulgence truffles
: Bittercube Bar & Bazaar, 4828 W. Lisbon Ave.
When: Thursday, Feb. 14 from 5 p.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday Feb. 15-16 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Cost: $12 per pairing

Even if you’ve decided to indulge in Valentine’s Day dinner, you can begin (or end) your evening with a series of sweet pairings at the Bittercube Bar.

That’s thanks to a special Valentine’s Day cocktail menu, which will feature three cocktails paired with inventive truffles from Indulgence Chocolatiers.

Options include:

  • Casanova (orange juice, ginger syrup, brandy, Cappelletti, cayenne, Jamaican No.1 bitters) paired with an Indulgence pomegranate mango chipotle truffle
  • Cupid’s Elixir (Rujero Singani, cranberry, rosemary, chocolate, Bolivar bitters) paired with an Indulgence raspberry Earl Grey truffle
  • Cafe Venus (Heirloom espresso martini liqueur, cacao butter washed Akashi whiskey, de-oaked Sherry, Cherry Bark Vanilla bitters) paired with an Indulgence honey vanilla latte truffle

Prefer to make a very special Valentine’s Day cocktail for your Valentine’s Day meal at home? You can purchase the ingredients for Cupid's Elixir at the adjacent Bittercube Bazaar starting this week. Ingredients include bottled elixir ($12), Rujero Singani ($34) and Bittercube Bolivar bitters ($8 for 1oz bottle). Customers who purchase the entire cocktail kit will get 15% off.

Note: Bittercube Bazaar hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here's to the jerks

What: $5 and half-price specials, music
Where: Jewels Caribbean Restaurant & Bar,  2230 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
When: Feb. 14-16

"We all loved a jerk once in our lives. At Jewels Caribbean, we love three." 
Celebrate the best of the jerks for three days straight at Jewels Caribbean where specials include jerk bloody marys, sweet jerk wings and jerk fish tacos, each just $5 (dine-in only). Make the deal sweeter on Feb. 14-15 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Feb. 16 from 9 p.m. to midnight by divulging to your server or bartender which rail cocktail you "love." From there on out, that cocktail is yours for half-off all night long (an arm band will seal the deal). Arrive on Friday or Saturday and you can enjoy the sweet sounds of DJ Natasha Jewels, who will be spinning reggae, afropop, reggaeton, dancehall and more.

Meet your match

What: A Lock & Key Party 
: Glass + Griddle, 1130 N. 9th St.
When: Feb. 14 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $5 donation for Lock & Key Party; $10 for cookie decorating
[More information]

You just might if you attend the Lock & Key party at Glass + Griddle. Just make a $5 donation to the Steve Cullen Healthy Heart Run & Walk and you’ll be given either a lock or a key. Once you check in at the host stand, it’s up to you to work the room, looking for the key to your lock (or vice versa).

When you meet your match, turn your key and lock in to receive a free MKE Brewing tap beer or tap wine. During the event, there will also be a cookie decorating station available. For $10 you get two large heart-shaped cookies from Country Rose Bakery to decorate, plus a beer in the tap room.

Maybe you’ll find your perfect match. Maybe you won’t. Either way, you’ll have a great time.

For beer-swilling lovers and lovers of beer

What: A beer and tasty food pairing event
: MobCraft Beer, 505 S. 5th St.
When: Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person. Purchase two or more tickets and get $5 off each ticket.
[Purchase tickets]

Enjoy a special night of "Love Bites" at this very special event showcasing MobCraft brews paired with sweet and savory bites created by Chef Abby Kazal-Thresher in collaboration with Hidden Kitchen, Melt Chocolates and Donut Monster.

  • Beer: Frozen Berries wheat ale with cranberries
    Pairings: Fried sweet plantain and pabellon: bananas foster pannacotta w cranberry holiday old ale gelee
  • Beer: Raspberry Existence sour ale
    Pairings: Charred fig with crispy pork skin, goat cheese, and truffle honey; Melt Chocolates chocolate cup with raspberry ganache and raspberry mousse
  • Beer: Bat$h!t Crazy in Love (chocolate and strawberry coffee brown ale)
    Pairings: Stout braised pulled pork slider with pickled strawberry and jalapeno jam; strawberry tiramisu
  • Beer: Grasshopper Milk Stout
    Pairings: Lump crab salad with citrus herb and chocolate vinaigrette; Melt Chocolates Thai lime basil truffle on chocolate basil leaf with chocolate herb cremeux
  • Beer: Liquid Dessert (stout with maple and peanuts)
    Pairings: Duck confit dumpling; maple bacon donut with caramelized white chocolate by Donut Monster
  • Beer: Queen Hazel (bourbon barrel-aged stout with hazelnut and vanilla)
    Pairings: Crostini with fenugreek gouda, chicken liver mousse pickled shallot, mustard seed and cacao nib; hazelnut shortbread with fig walnut mousse

Unloveable Punch

What: An anti-Valentine's Day distillery tour 
: Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St.
When: Feb. 14 at 6 p.m.
Cost: $10, includes a glass of Unlovable Punch
[Purchase tickets]

Ignore the world of lovers and escape to Great Lakes Distillery for a fun anti-Valentine’s Day tour featuring their (almost famous) Unlovable Punch. You’ll also be invited to make your very own conversation heart to put up on the wall. Post a photo of your heart creation with #gldmeh on social media and you could win a bottle of Great Lakes Distillery Spirits.

For wine-loving pairs and lovers of wine

What: Wines paired with cheese or chocolate truffles
: Vino, 219 E. Erie St.
When: Feb. 14 (your choice of times)
Cost: $30 for cheese and wine pairings: $35 for truffle and wine pairings
[Purchase tickets]

Love wine? Get together with your girlfriends, guyfriends or significant other and head to Vino in the Historic Third Ward for a four-wine tasting (two whites, two reds) paired with your choice of cheeses or chocolate truffles.

Note: Once you have purchased tickets on Eventbrite, be sure to give Vino a call at (414) 277-8466 to reserve a specific time for your tasting.

Love on a low simmer

What: A cooking class
: Kettle Range Meat Co., 5501 W. State St.
When: Saturday, Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $100 per person
[Purchase tickets]

Who says you have to celebrate on Valentine’s Day? After all, you could spend some quality time with your lover learning to take things low and slow at Kettle Range Meats Roasting, Braising and Confit class.

This half day workshop will teach you all about the art of slow-braising meats including slow roasted pork, braised beef and poultry confit. The class is a mix of demonstration and hands-on practice trimming, tying and preparing various meat cuts. Sampling and a light lunch are both included. Participants will leave with samples and plenty of recipes.

Ashes of old lovers

What: Scorned lover therapy
: SafeHouse, 779 N. Front St.
When: Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. to midnight
Cost: Free, plus drinks
[Reserve your free ticket]

Have you been burned by the flames of love? Feeling as if you could use some closure? SafeHouse has your number.

Beginning at 9 p.m. on Valentine's Day evening, scorned lovers are encouraged to participate in The Bang & Burn Party featuring a ceremonial burning of something from a former significant other. 

Participating attendees will be entered will be entered in to win a $100 bar tab good for a future visit. Winners must be present to win.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.