Valentine's Day: Eat, drink, love 

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Sharing food with the one you love has long been a symbol of both intimacy and sensuality. No better time than Valentine's Day to participate in the age-old tradition by taking that special guy or gal in your life out for a romantic dinner just for two. Here are ten choices for combining food and love, some available every day but all perfect for Valentine's Day. Most places will be packed, so call for reservations where possible.

Cooking by Candlelight
Perhaps the tastiest of all the options, downtown Indy's Conrad Hotel offers "Cooking by Candlelight" on Sunday. Couples have the opportunity to spend the evening with Executive Chef Michelle in the executive kitchen preparing a meal of aphrodisiac foods meant to stimulate the senses. Wine, candlelight, roses and other atmospheric enhancements abound. Sunday, Feb. 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m. $160 per couple, 21+, reservations required. Special rates available for couples who want to head to their room after dinner and stay the night, $109. 50 W. Washington St., 317-524-2574.

Jazz Kitchen
Recess might be booked, but head a few blocks north on College to Jazz Kitchen on Monday for a equally romantic, if not jazzier, Midtown Valentine's Day. The food is always good here, particularly the New Orleans-inspired specialties, as are the drinks! For the big love-fest on the 14th, jazz guitarist Bill Lancton performs throughout the evening and promises a reinvention of sultry jazz classics, bossas and ballads to create a romantic vibe, as does vocalist Cynthia Layne who performs at 7 p.m. Reservations and $15 pre-paid tickets are required. 5377 N. College Ave., 317-253-4900.

Goose the Market
We fall in love nearly every time we go to Goose, but that's usually over the gelato. Imagine what we'll do for Valentine's Day now that the wonderful Chris and Mollie Ely have put together a special Wine & Chocolate tasting that has us all aflutter already. A heavy hors d'oeuvres menu with chocolate in every offering will be paired with more than a dozen wines available for sampling. $8, tickets at the door. Friday, Feb. 11, 5-7 pm. 2503 N. Delaware St. 317-924-4944

Pres. Benjamin Harrison Home
For the most romantic of you, there is no better Valentine's dinner than the annual Victorian Valentine celebration at the museum home of Pres. Benjamin Harrison. Step back to 1880 with candlelight, wine, poetry and a five-course meal. The home is a wonderful preservation of turn-of-the-century life in Indianapolis, and this special dinner is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the romance of that era. Saturday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m.; reservations required. $150 per couple. 1230 N. Delaware St., 317-631-1888.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Enjoy a romantic brunch buffet by Nourish Cafe in the Deer Zink Events Pavilion with some of the most breathtaking winter views in town. The special menu includes mouth-watering options like banana & white chocolate stuffed French toast with ginger vanilla syrup & beets, chocolate braised Fischer Farms beef shortribs, Indiana vodka, house-cured salmon with Collins Lake Michigan whitefish caviar, plus Key Lime Tartlettes. Champagne, Mimosas and Bloody Marys available on a cash basis. Follow brunch with a docent-led or self-guided tour of the galleries. Sunday, Feb. 13, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; reservations required. $35 adults; $16 children ages 4-10. 4000 W. Michigan Rd., 317-923-1331.

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Mama Carolla's
Every year we ask NUVO readers to name the most romantic restaurant in the city in our Best of Indy poll, and every year they overwhelmingly respond with this Broad Ripple favorite. A family restaurant, if the family lives in a beautiful old-world house and hails from Italy, the ambiance of Mama's is as delicious and satisfying as the traditional menu. Think Lady and the Tramp, and then order the spaghetti and look longingly into your date's eyes. That's amore. Call to find out what the crowd/wait time situation is for the next week or so — it's going to be a very, very popular date night destination. 1031 E. 54th St., 317-259-9412.

Pizzology
Remember how broken-hearted you were when L'explorateur closed and you thought you'd never see your beloved Chef Neal Brown again? Well, he's back and better than ever with the most delicious pizza you have probably ever tasted. Neopolitan craft pizza made from local, artisanal ingredients. What's not to love about that? Find out why Pizzology was named Best New Restaurant in Indy by NUVO readers in 2010 and visit for yourself. Reservations are not typically required, but you should call before going with your sweetie for the next week or so, just in case there's no seating available. 13190 Hazel Dell Pkwy., Carmel, 317-844-2195.

R Bistro
With a new menu every week of the year, Chef Regina M. Mehallick can rightly boast one of the largest menus in the city. That's because she only uses fresh, seasonal ingredients direct from the growers, including local urban microfarmers. No matter what the time of year, this James Beard Award semi-finalist knows how to prepare some of the most delicious dishes you're likely to find anywhere else in the city. The intimate Mass Ave. makes it a perfect place for Valentine's dining. Call for reservations. 888 Massachusetts Ave., 317-423-0312.

White Castle
Yes, White Castle. Make reservations and then make a Valentine's memory you won't likely forget. For one night only, sliders are served by candlelight and by wait staff. We suggest the Sweetheart Meal Deal that comprises of either the #1 or #10 Sack Meal, a collapsible vase and digital photo. We know several couples who swear this was the best date night imaginable, at least one of which is still married! Try it for yourself. Eight locations in the Indianapolis area will offering the Valentine's Day special. Call 317-269-4590 before 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, for reservations.

Yats
We feel the love every time we go to Yats, and so should you. NUVO readers name it the Best of Indy in so many categories each year that it's hard to know where to begin a recommendation. The city's best Cajun/creole menu, daily and delicious vegetarian options, a full belly for around five bucks and convenient Mass Ave. and Midtown locations are just the gravy. The heart of Yats, and the key to its success, are due to owner Joe V. and his amazing team. Bring your girl or guy here on Valentine's Day and we guarantee you'll feel the love as well. 659 Massachusetts Ave.; 5363 N. College Ave., 317-253-8817.


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