Cupid has landed in NYC; and with plenty of romantic, sexy, flirty and fun things to do, it’s easy to feel the impact of his arrows hitting their mark. After all, this is one of the most beloved cities in the world, so it just goes to reason that on this day, love is undoubtedly in the air. With that in mind, indulge in one of these three unique dates, perfect for a couple, a date with a friend, or even a group looking for a bit of Valentine’s Day fun this February 14.
A Day of Love for Two
As the name suggests, this is a classic date, full of white linen table clothes and waiters in tuxedos, mostly. However, the first part of this day involves very little clothing if you choose to stay at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower New York. Here, you can book the special Winter Romance package that includes a bottle of champagne upon arrival, daily breakfast for two at Nougatine or via in-room dining, and a $100 voucher to any treatment at Four-Star The Trump Spa New York. We suggest you book an in-suite couples massage for extra privacy, or choose separate ways to relax with the men’s skin conditioning treatment and the pure polish, or maybe a hot stone massage and one with soothing aromatic oils. Either way, you will melt into each other’s arms after. Plus, it’s a great way to start the day.
Next, don your jewels and best dress, and head to Le Palais des Thés, a high-end Parisian teashop in Soho. The bespoke tea boutique has created a special elixir d’amour called Thé des Amants, a carefully blended Valentine’s Day brew made with black tea, apple, almond, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. You can purchase this to take home, but on February 14, the shop will be offering cups of it gratis to customers who come by. Then, while you are in the neighborhood, with that warming cup of love in your hand, explore the wonder that is Soho, and take a moment to window shop or step into a store or two.
After a slight caffeine boost, it’s time for a bite; and what better place to say “I love you” than at Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Daniel Boulud’s eponymous Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant on the Upper East Side. On both February 14 and 15, for $325 you can sample a special four-course dinner (plus hors d’oeuvres and a special dessert to share), that features delightful dishes such as fresh oysters with champagne velouté, black truffle-stuffed Dover sole, lobster salad and a caramelized puff pastry with bourbon vanilla ice cream. You can always add wine pairings for an extra $175 to make the night even more memorable.
Romance with an Asian Twist
One of the best things about spending time in New York is experiencing its melting pot of cultures through food, art, music, dance, and even just exploring different neighborhoods. For a memorable Valentine’s Day that strays from convention, theme it around the city’s booming Asian culture. First up, have lunch at Café Serai, located in the Rubin Museum of Art, a venue dedicated to the art of the Himalayas, and in the café’s case, their food too. You’ll find a menu with items such as curried roasted salmon and pulled barbecue pork bao. After lunch, wander around the exhibitions including one on Buddhist traditions in Tibet (“Count Your Blessings”) and one featuring Asian sculptures from ancient India (“From India East”).
Once you have filled yourself with art, an intimate, but laid-back Japanese-style afternoon tea at Cha-An Tea House in the East Village is in order. Choose from the long list of quality teas and nibble on hearty pieces of toast laden with tea-smoked salmon or raspberry butter, homemade green tea ice cream and Japanese pickles. Just make sure you don’t fill up too much, the next stop is Takashi, an intimate and popular Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village that will be serving its heart to guests.
OK, not entirely, but the eatery does have a special sizzling beef heart chili that comes with mochi and cheese on top, a unique dish they prepared just for Valentine’s Day. Just make sure to reserve in advance, there aren’t many tables and they book up fast. Finally, finish up your romantic evening with a nightcap at Tastemaker Dushan Zaric’s fun and sexy Macao Trading Co. downtown. This Chinese-influenced restaurant serves extraordinary craft cocktails reminiscent of sultry nights in Macau, and if that doesn’t convince you, the warm, chic Asian décor will.
A Valentine’s Day for Everyone You Adore
Forget traditional hearts, cupids and stuffed animals; celebrate February 14 in the most fun way possible, whether you are with your boyfriend, best friend, parents or wife. For this date, start with a little happy hour at chef April Bloomfield’s The John Dory Oyster Bar and indulge in the caviar service (one ounce at $55 per couple). The spread includes blinis, crème fraîche and capers. Pair that with a lovely glass of bubbly and prepare yourself for the next adventure across the river.
That’s right, now make your way to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where they are hosting Love Hurts, a 1980s-style dance party complete with a live band (White Wedding) doing covers, Brooklyn Brewery beer and a signature Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktail laced with bitters by Brooklyn-based Hella Bitter. Tickets start at $65 for the 6 p.m. VIP entry, or $50 to dance from 7 to 9 p.m. Make sure to dress to the nines and get ready to shake your tail feathers.
After all that moving, you probably have worked up an appetite, which means it’s the ideal time to head to Williamsburg and dine at Extra Fancy. For Valentine’s Day the restaurant is offering large format dinners for two, including a New England clam-and-lobster bake, whole roasted chicken with sage and whole roasted fish with rosemary and thyme. The entreés all come with your choice of sweet potato fries with bacon cream, sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon, apple and pecans, and roasted potatoes with olives and rosemary. Chase that down with a cheeky pink cocktail such as the Boyfriend Material (Caña Brava rum, Cherry Heering, fresh lemon, demerara sugar and lavender) or the Third Base (Perry’s Tot gin, Swedish punch, honey, fresh lemon and white peach purée), and toast to another perfect Valentine’s Day.
Photos Courtesy of Eric Laignel, Takashi, The John Dory Oyster Bar and Macao Trading Company