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Celebrating Valentine's Day on the Jersey Shore is for lovers

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One of the most popular dining out days in the year is Valentine’s Day, which is just two weeks away. So it is time to start thinking about plans for your romantic evening. To spark an idea for planning that special date, here are a few suggestions about what is happening on the Jersey Shore

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At Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, Executive Chef Pat Trama’s has created a special menu, in addition to the regular menu. Valentine’s dinner menu will be available Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, and for dinner on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16. Some features of the Valentine’s Day Lovers’ Menu include: Colossal Maine Crabmeat with Tuscan Oscietra Caviar, Gnocchi alla Romano, American Red Snapper with Saffron Risotto, Red Pearl Onion, Sicilian Pistachio Gremolata and Colorado Rack of Lamb with Red Endive Parmesan, Cipollini Onion Marmalata and Salsa Verde. For a romantic grand finale, Chef Trama presents a Dark Chocolate Fonduta with Stem Strawberries and Gold Leaf Lady Fingers.

Ama offers seasonally inspired Tuscan specialties using only the highest quality ingredients, which are paired with a hand-picked wine list featuring estate wines primarily from Italian boutique wineries. Ama Ristorante, at the Driftwood Cabana Club, 1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright, is open for dinner at 5 p.m. Tuesday – Friday; 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; closed Monday. For reservations, call 732.530.9760.

“Love is in the air” at the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson. On Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, enjoy spectacular views of the Navesink River and a special chef-inspired à la carte menu and a prix fixe menu. Executive Chef Bobby Belt has created a bountiful à la carte menu with a wide variety of Salt Creek Grille starters, entrées and desserts. Chef Belt’s “Love is in the air” prix fixe menu is $125 per couple exclusive of tax and gratuity and includes a glass of Domaine St. Michelle Brut for two, soup or salad, a shared appetizer, a choice of entrée, a shared dessert and a bottle of selected wine. Selections on the menu include: Tomato Basil or Lobster Bisque; Shrimp & Artichoke Oreganato, Wild Mushroom Ravioli or Avocado Salsa; Spiced Ribeye, Crab-Encrusted Grouper, Wood-Fired Chicken Breast or Squash Ravioli; Flourless Chocolate Cake, New York-Style Cheesecake or Butterscotch Pot de Crème. The Prix Fixe menu, as well as the regular menu, is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m.; bar opens at 4 p.m. Salt Creek Grille, 4 Bingham Road, Rumson. For reservations, call 732-933-9272.

Start your Valentine’s Day early in a romantic setting at David Burke Fromagerie with a Valentine-inspired lunch where you might be tempted to try Lamb Agnolotti or a Chateaubriand for two. Some highlights of Fromagerie’s Valentine’s Day dinner include: Parfait of Tuna & Salmon Tartares or Pretzel-Crusted Crab Cakes; Roasted Elk “Diane,” Surf & Turf or Braised Short Rib & Cavatelli; 5 Chocolate Espresso Terrine, Red Velvet Layer Cake and David Burke Signature Cheesecake Lollipops for two. The three-course prix fixe dinner is served from 5-11 p.m. and is $75 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Avenue Restaurant’s special Valentine’s Day menu created by Executive Chef Dominique Filoni starts with an Amuse Bouche of Mini Steak Tartare and American Caviar. A few of the delicious offerings on the special menu include: Appetizers of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Foie Gras Terrine; Entrées of Skuna Bay Salmon with Cannellini Beans, Spinach and Cippolini Onions; Branzino with Mashed Fingerling Potatoes, Niçoise Olive Tapenade and Shaved Fennel Salad, and Veal Chop with Kale, Exotic Mushrooms and Fingerling Potatoes, and a Chocolate Lovers Sampler for dessert. The three-course prix fixe menu is $42 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are suggested; call 732-759-2900. Avenue Restaurant in Pier Village, 23 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch.

Laurita is for Lovers and is offering a Valentine’s Day dinner on both Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15 starting at 6:30 p.m. The four-course menu includes: Insalata Caprese, Lobster Bisque; entrée choices of Tenderloin of Beef Chateaubriand with Duchess Potatoes, Fresh Vegetable, Bordelaise Sauce or Pistachio-Herb Crusted Fresh Salmon Fillet and Vanilla Bean Sauce, and Laurita Chocolate Wine Lava Cake for Two with Tahitian Vanilla Whipped Cream and Tropical Coulis. While enjoying your dinner, listen to the sounds of live romantic background music.The four-course dinner, which includes a long-stemmed rose for the lady, is $55 per person plus 15% gratuity and 7% tax.

Space is limited; for reservations, call 732.542.5050 or email Laurita@BranchesCatering.com. Laurita Winery is also offering a Valentine overnight package at the inn. For information, call 609.752.0303. Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt.

If you are planning ahead and want to enjoy the wine trails of New Jersey, you may want to embark on the Wine and Chocolate Wine Trail on February 8 & 9 or on February 15 & 16 from 12 noon-5 p.m. In true Valentine's Day spirit, New Jersey wineries statewide will be offering wine tastings and chocolate samplings showcasing their award-winning wines. From the Skylands in Northern Sussex County to the tip of Cape May, six different wine trails await you. Visit Garden State Wine Growers Association to access maps to the trails and to learn what special event each winery has to offer.

The Wine and Chocolate Weekends at Alba Vineyard will feature: Country Picnic and DiSh Catering with samples of their food specialties to pair with Alba wines; Master Chocolatier, Diane Pinder, owner of Donna & Company, offering samples of her unique artisan chocolates to pair with Alba's dessert wines, and Fourchette with samplings of artisan cheeses from around the world. The tasting experience is $20.00 per person (21 and older), which includes samples of Alba's award-winning wines, chocolates, food pairings, cellar tours, and an etched Alba wine glass. Reservations are not required. Alba Vineyard is located at 269 Route 627, Village of Finesville, Milford.

Should your option be to have a romantic dinner at home or at a friend’s house, you may want to bring a Valentine’s gift of chocolates and/or flowers. Sickles Market has delicious choices for you: Dark and Milk Chocolate Thins with Caramel and Sea Salt, Cherry Chocolate Heart Cookies, French Chocolate Truffles and Valentine Chocolate gift boxes, as well as gorgeous floral selections from Virginia and Holland tulips to the ever-romantic long-stemmed roses. There is a 15 percent discount offered on flower orders placed by February 7 for delivery only from February 13-16. To order, call 732.741.9563. Sickles Market, 1 Harrison Avenue, Little Silver.

Other options for celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one are:
Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park, is offering Aphrodisiacs all day featuring sexy cocktails, romantic dishes and fun music. Live music includes Maracas at 7 p.m.; Heart Aflutter at 9 p.m.
The Downtown, Red Bank, will be decorated in black and serve its regular menu with an Anti-Valentine’s Day theme and Anti-Vday cocktail specials. Brian Kirk and the Jerks will perform.
At The Cheese Cave, Red Bank, guests are invited to bring their own bottle of wine and “Meet Your Mate” for a $5 Friday Cheese tasting
Bistro Rylo, Ocean, will serve a five-course prix fixe menu for $60 per person.

Have an enchanting and happy Valentine’s Day!

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