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Valentine's Day in NYC includes restaurants, cocktails and tasty treats

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Whether you decide to stay home or go out, Valentine's Day 2014 is the time for NYC lovers to connect. Restaurants are offering special deals including a great night out for NYC singles who want to celebrate their independent status. There are also a variety of unique gourmet goodies and cocktails to romance that special someone without facing the Friday night crowds.

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NYC Restaurants for Couples and Singles

As Ken & Cook wind down from Fashion Week and gear up for Restaurant Week, they are offering a delectable Valentine's Day special for couples. For just $99, couples feast on one appetizer, two main courses, one dessert and one bottle of wine. There is something to please every palate with appetizers such as foie gras and fried oysters as well as a variety of main courses including salmon, filet mignon and chicken breast. Top off this delicious Valentine's Day dinner with crème brulee or warm chocolate cake. The combination of oysters, wine and chocolate are sure to put couples in the mood for love. Make reservations at Ken & Cook in downtown NYC to avoid any disappointment on Valentine's Day.

If you are single and looking to celebrate Valentine's Day your own way, visit THE ANCHOR on the cusp of Soho, Tribeca and West Village. Check out Celebrate Singledom with giveaways such as free Famous Punchbowls to select groups of singles. Sip discounted Signature Cocktails, down a few Murricanes and dance to the beat of DJ Kalkutta. It would also be wise to book a reservation for this fabulous Friday night event.

Mouthwatering Valentine's Day Gifts

While Godiva chocolates and roses are familiar favorites, dare to step outside the box this year with some mouthwatering and unusual Valentine's Day gifts. Try something other than chocolate to tantalize the taste buds of that special someone.

This year, lovers can feed their wild sides with a heart-shaped, furry box holding a 1.25 ounce bag of Jack Link's Original Beef Jerky. The box is available on JackLinks.com through Valentine's Day for $9.99 with free shipping. Meat lovers are sure to sink their teeth into this beefy treat and it's definitely different from a heart-shaped box of candies from the local drug store.

The combination of sweet, salty and crunchy is always a sensual delight. Bring it on with a gift assortment from John Wm. Macy's CheeseSticks. The package includes CheeseSticks, CheeseCrisps and SweetSticks. These are ideal to serve when you are preparing cocktails at home before an evening of passion. There will be plenty left to nosh on when you are hungry after your seductive soiree is over.

Valentine's Day Cocktails

Before dinner, after work or just to celebrate your love, Valentine's Day cocktails bring an intoxicating feel to your evening. Get inspired with 25 percent less calories when you serve one of the four varietals from the SMIRNOFF Sorbet Light line. If you can't escape on a tropical getaway for Valentine's Day, bring a beach feeling to your living room by slipping into a swimsuit and serving luscious pineapple coconut cocktails:

Blank Slate

1.5 oz SMIRNOFF Sorbet Light Pineapple Coconut
2 oz coconut water
Martini Glass
Edible Flower as a romantic garnish

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice (if you want), shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flower and a kiss.

For a peachy drink you can serve quickly, pour SMIRNOFF Peach Bellini in a champagne flute and garnish with raspberries. If your special someone is steering clear of alcohol, serve beet juice. It is known to be a natural aphrodisiac since days of the Roman Empire. Besides, the red color is perfect for Valentine's Day. Try this alcohol-free mix:

Mother Nature's Original Love Potion

3 medium beets
Handful of grapes
Juice from ½ lemon

Juice beets and grapes in a juicer such as the Champion (for easy cleaning), add lemon juice and throw in a few additional grapes if desired. Feed them to your partner wearing a toga in honor of days gone by.

Dare to be different this Valentine's Day. Love in NYC is anything but boring. Show your innovative side and watch the sparks fly all weekend long.

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