Let’s be honest: February is rough in these parts. December’s winter wonderland has lost its sparkle, and the season feels interminable. But chin up, because there is a fun holiday this month, and it’s Valentine’s Day. We realize that not everyone is slinging Cupid’s arrows, but when you consider it from the food angle, it’s a delightful time. So, go ahead, indulge in the tastiest pink and red foods around.
Almost 70 years old, this classic eatery evokes the golden years of the neighborhood malt shop and soda-counter date—could anything be sweeter than sharing a milkshake with two straws? Get your Norman Rockwell on at the Cobblestone Café, and order the prettily pink strawberry malt. It’s done in the old-fashioned way, mixed on demand with an old-school milkshake machine. Malt is made from germinated cereal grains—you know it when you taste it—and a scoop of malted milk powder adds a unique, nutty tang. $4..95.
RED LENTIL SOUP
Black Sea Restaurant
It’s called mercimek—that’s red lentil soup to you and me. The Turkish classic is a brick-red hue, and in its native country, it’s often eaten at breakfast and is a favorite fast-breaker during the season of Ramadan. Black Sea’s version is simple: a blend of red lentils, carrot and onion, spiced with dried crushed mint, vivid red paprika and a kick of black pepper. It warms both heart and tummy, and is best accompanied by fantasies of azure Turkish seas. $3.95.
Rudy’s Redeye Grill
There’s nothing like a cocktail to boost amorous feelings; belly up to the bar at Rudy’s and get a pom fizz, a garnet-hued libation made with Freixenet Brut sparkling wine topped with Stirrings pomegranate liqueur. $8.
Sweets are for the sweet, of course! And what better than the crimson jewel of a berry that is raspberry? Grandma’s makes pies like no other, which is no surprise considering that they’ve been open and cranking out heart-melting pies since 1978. Get one of these ruby-red beauties to go and share it with many sweeties: there’s enough to go around for a gang. A scoop of vanilla ice cream makes it even prettier and just a bit tastier. $9.39 for an 8-inch pie.
FARMER STEAK SALAD
One of Mother Nature’s reddest creations is the beet—as red as blood, and it stains accordingly. A recent renewed interest in rustic foods, notably root vegetables, has brought it into the spotlight. One of our favorite ways to eat beets is caramelized under high heat. The farmer steak salad at Ingredients features roasted beets alongside another deep-red food, grilled hanger steak. This dish is not only rubicund, but also extraordinarily healthy with the addition of the South American super-grain quinoa, dark-green arugula, vitamin C-rich citrus segments, goat cheese, candied walnuts, heirloom carrots and kicky Champagne walnut vinaigrette. $17.
CHEESE RAVIOLI WITH ROSÉ SAUCE
Italians might have cornered the market on red food because so much of it is tomato-based. There are pink foods, too, like the luscious marinara rosé sauce. It’s a cream-enriched version of the popular red sauce, and the alchemy of tart tomato and sweet cream is astounding. Roma’s most romantic pink dish features eight fat cheese ravioli, each one a valentine-like package in itself, as well as an excellent catchall for the exquisite sauce. This is a serious plate-licker, so you’ll want to eat it with someone who won’t mind a wee show of abandon. $14.