12 Ways To Make Sure Your Valentine’s Day Is Brilliant

What To Do, Gift, And Eat This

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year giving you the whole weekend to celebrate. However, you do not need to officially celebrate Valentine’s Day to enjoy any of these ideas, Chinese Lunar New Year events are included as well. Have fun!

Do

Visit the solarise: a sea of all colors exhibit at the Garfield Conservatory to experience various art installations and the “amazing relationships between two remarkable forces of nature – light and plants!”  Free and open daily 9:00am – 5pm.

Image via Chicagoist.com

Image via Chicagoist.com

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show begins on February 13th. Surround your senses with fragrant blooms and vivid colors with over 10,000 orchids.

Celebrate the Year of the Monkey on Sunday, February 14th a the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade. Have dim sum at one of the many restaurants in Chinatown then head to the parade at 1pm.

Also part of the Chinese New Year, Art Institute Chicago Gallery Talk given in Mandarin February 13, 2016 from 12pm – 1pm, included in museum admission.

Late night laughs at Second City’s Fool Me Twice, Déjà Vu. The 11pm showing is still available on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th, Feb 14 is sold out.

Gift

Etsy has a great list of Editors’ Picks for him, her, kids and even pets. I’m loving the Romantic Cocoa and Mallows gift set.

Image via CitrusAtelier Etsy.com

Image via CitrusAtelier Etsy.com

For the travel lovers the scratch map is the perfect gift. Have fun scraping off the places you’ve visited and get inspired for future destinations.

Image via Scratchmap.org

Image via Scratchmap.org

Fields & Forest Grooming Set that includes beard balm for the facial hair inclined person in your life.

Eat

Image via RM Champagne Salon

Image via RM Champagne Salon

The Chicago Tribune compiled a list of 120 restaurants with information on prix fixe menus and Valentine’s Day specials.

An ultra romantic Parisian-chic spot is RM Champagne Salon, they also deliver macaroons V-Day weekend.

Show your love with a homemade meal – you can never go wrong with breakfast in bed. Here are 5 Valentine’s Day pancake recipes.

Dinner more your speed? Try this lemon gnocchi for two menu.

 

Experience a Bombay Café at Dishoom|Shoreditch, London

Dishoom Tented Patio Shoreditch London

Modeled after the Irani cafés in Bombay, Dishoom is full of tiled floors, brick, bentwood style chairs, old-timey photographs and delivers great Indian and Irani flavors in a bustling atmosphere.

Need to Know:

  • Get here before 6:30pm to avoid a long line, sorry, queue
  • Reservations available for 6 or more
  • Tented patio is a bit mellower, inside dining room is lively and basement is absolutely buzzing with the extra activity, sounds and smells the kitchen provides.
  • Make sure you check out the cocktail list – Hunterwali’s Julep is tasty
  • Near the Shoreditch High Street Station
  • 8am – 11pm – Good for dates and groups

Let’s eat!

Dinner Dishoom Shoreditch

Dinner Dishoom Shoreditch

  • Pau Phaji – Bowl of mashed vegetables with hot buttered pau bun, Chowpatty Beach style. “No food is more Bombay.”
  • Chicken Ruby – “A good and proper curry redolent with spice and flavour. Tender chicken in a rich silky ‘makhani’ sauce, best mopped up with a Roomali Roti.”
  • Garlic Naan with coriander sprinkle.
  • Spicy Lamb Chops had good flavor but were a bit too charred, so many other options I’d skip this one.

I will be back to try their breakfast. If this picture doesn’t do it for you, the promise of bottomless Chai should.

Image via Dishoom.com

Image via Dishoom.com

The restaurant:

Need Weekend Brunch Plans? The Winchester – Ukrainian Village, Chicago

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Elephant Family in Serengeti National Park – Tanzania

Family of Elephants Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Throwback Thursday to 2006 when I was on a safari in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The guide parked the jeep a bit away from the elephants and they keep coming toward us and went about their business as if we weren’t there.

It was an incredible feeling to be so close to these beautiful creatures, to hear them, smell them and watch them communicate with their trunks – quite extraordinary to see this family of elephants in their natural habitat. The elephant calves were having the time of their lives and it was so much fun to watch them play.

They continued on and the moment was over but remains one of my favorite memories.

Walking the Cultural Trail on Brick Lane – East End, London

Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other Great Eastern Street London

Named for the brick kilns brought by the Flemish in the 1500s, Brick Lane has a wealth of history brought by the many Russian, French, Muslim, Jewish and Bengali immigrants throughout the years.

Maps of 20 historic sites are provided on Brick Lane and online for you to plan your time. With only two hours to spend I concentrated on the street art and whatever popped up along the way.

Brick Lane London | AliciaTastesLife.com

Brick Lane London | AliciaTastesLife.com

Graffiti

‘Drinking problems’ on the Truman Brewery Gates. Brick Lane, London

‘Drinking problems’ on the Truman Brewery Gates. Brick Lane, London

There are many street art tours available but setting out on your own and discovering the art on and off Brick Lane is Continue reading

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“Make Yourself Happy” – Dark Sugars in East End, London

Dark Sugars Chocolates Bacon St. East End Truffles Watermark

Dark Sugars on Brick Lane is one of the coolest chocolate shops around. The sweet aromas hit your nose before you reach the door where you will find beautifully displayed truffles with flavors like flambéed cognac, ginger & honey and gin & lime, lots of samples and great West African music.