So you appreciate chef Fred Eliot's advice and hold firm to the classic curmudgeon's code, "Why do you need to go out with your loved one on valentine's day? A made up holiday? Celebrate your better half any other time of the year!" Now it's time to make good on that gripe. Portland, America's new "coziest city," has plenty to offer, and so does the rest of the state. Keep the flame alive with another month of Valentine's Day adjacent activities that are way more romantic than prix fixe.
1) 11th Annual Moosehead Lake Region Chocolate Festival
When: Sunday, February 15, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Masonic Temple, Greenville
What: The entry fee gets you twelve tickets to choose from over 30 different local chocolate treats. Share each bite with your sweetie and you can gleefully taste through nearly all of them.
2) Fat Tuesday Cabaret
When: Tuesday, February 17, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: Cathedral of the Immaculate, Portland
What: Going to the chapel, and you're...about to witness "a jaw-dropping show" and "eye-popping musical variety" from the likes of Bus Stop Atheist and Cheverus High School Chevies? Just when you thought your jaws couldn't drop any lower, there'll be a three-course dinner provided by Maria's Ristorante.
3) Symphony & Spirits
When: Tuesday, February 17, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Portland Hunt + Alpine Club then Merrill Auditorium, Portland
What: Woo your beloved with a Beethoven-inspired drink created by Andrew Volk followed by the Portland Symphony Orchestra's world-premiere of Becoming Beethoven. Add your name to the waiting list for the inaugural event or stay tuned for round two of this harmonious new partnership.
4) Crush(ed): in and un love stories
When: Friday, February 27, 7 p.m.
Where: Tandem Coffee + Bakery, Portland
What: Black coffee for your black heart, baked goods for your sweetheart. Plus a foursome of "great dudes telling true stories around heartbreak and heart-make." Sounds sensual.
5) Butcher Demo
When: Sunday, March 8
Where: MEat, Kittery
What: MEat's first butcher demo on February 15 is already sold out (and may get snowed out), so call now to reserve tickets for the next, when you and your bloody valentine can learn to break down half a locally-raised pig. You might end up wearing a heart on your sleeve.
6) Restaurant Week Signature Event
When: Sunday, March 8, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Prime Mercedes-Benz Dealership, Scarborough
What: You and your date will sample your way through pairings provided by teams of chefs and bartenders from around the state. Reigning Camden champ 40 Paper will try to fend off contenders like Lewiston's Fuel, Cape Elizabeth's The Good Table, and Portland's TIQA. Learn from some of the best in the state what a strong partnership can accomplish.
7) Ebb and Flow / Rising Tide Beer Dinner
When: Thursday, March 12, 6 p.m.
Where: Ebb and Flow, Portland
What: Is seafood good for your sex life? How about beer, for that matter? Aphrodisiac or not, the combination of locally-made craft beer and the Mediterranean stylings of one of Portland's new hot spots is alluring. Like you and your honey, some things are just meant to be together.