Fun Ideas For The Holiday That Celebrates Romance

Make Your Valentine's Day Reservations!

Cafe Mumford’s, the restaurant located at the mecca known as Mumford’s Culinary Center, 33 Apple Street in Tinton Falls, is opening reservations for its Valentine’s Tasting Dinner.

The dinner, to be presented on two dates this year—Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10—is cooked by the award-winning chefs who run the culinary center: Debbie and Chris Mumford. Reservations can be made between the hours of 5 and 8:30 pm, with each seating lasting about two hours. The cost of the multi-course dinner is $68 per person, not including tax or tip.

Here’s the menu, which is based on produce grown right there on the Mumford’s farmette at the culinary center and many ingredients sourced locally:

Appetizer: Artichoke hearts Française or creamy goat cheese and basil polenta with wild mushrooms

Salad: February’s salad of winter escarole and baby spinach, with char-grilled vegetables, Israeli couscous, toasted almonds and tossed with a spiced yogurt dressing

Fish: Crispy seared codfish loin on whipped parsnips, with melted leeks and with roasted red pepper oil or Maine lobster salad on a house-made roll

Entrée: Jalapeno-mojo marinated free bird chicken thighs in soft, flour tortilla, with seasoned green cabbage, grilled red onion, roasted poblanos with blood-orange and corn salsa or Roaming Acres Farm braised Berkshire pork over rustic potato hash

Dessert: Vanilla macaron with cannoli cream and pistachios, or a tasting plate of salted shortbread chocolate chunk cookie, with a peanut-butter chocolate brownie and a chocolate-raspberry dome

Doesn’t this menu put you in the mood for love?

Don’t tarry; the Mumford’s special dinners always sell out. Reservations require a credit card number and can be made by calling 732-747-7646.

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Most restaurants set tables for two in honor of Valentine’s Day, which this year falls on a Wednesday. But February 14 isn’t the only day folks will be celebrating: The weekend before and the weekend after Valentine’s Day are deemed fine as your own personal designated day for romance—if you choose to go out.

And if you do, here are some options statewide:

* At Crystal Springs Resort, based at 1 Wild Turkey Way in Hamburg, there are a variety of menus at a variety of the resort’s venues.

The Grand Cascades Lodge or Minerals Resort & Spa will host at Restaurant Latour, the Springs Bistro or the Crystal Tavern. Read about the various Valentine’s Day packages at crystalgolfresort.com. Highlight: At Latour, chef Martyna Krowicka will offer a five-course menu for $115 per person, not including tax and tip; wine pairings are an additional $55 per person. Or, there is a seven-course chef’s tasting at $145 per person, with a charge of $65 for wines. To reserve, call 855-977-6473.

* At Piccola Italia, 837 West Park Avenue in Ocean Township, a special menu will be served both Tuesday, February 13 and Wednesday, February 14. While the food’s the same both nights, the prices are different: On the 13th, you’ll pay $69 per person, not including tax and tip, while on the 14th, the per-person tab is $98—though you get a glass of bubbly and a rose on Valentine’s Day proper. The menu is extensive, including such foods as foie gras and crab, short ribs and escargot. Reserve by calling 732-493-3090.

* At the Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel, 25 Jackson Street in Cape May, a four-course dinner will be served on Valentine’s Day at $85 per person. To reserve, call 609-884-5700.

* At Beach Plum Farm, 140 Stevens Street in Cape May, two days of dinners will celebrate Valentine’s Day: Saturday, February 10 and Wednesday, February 14. A four-course dinner will be offered at $175 per couple, not including tax and tip. Diners are limited to 28 couples and reservations required. To reserve, call 609-602-0128 or visit beachplumfarmcapemay.com.

* At Girasole, 3108 Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, a three-course Italian-Mediterranean-inspired dinner priced at $36 per person will be served on Valentine’s Day. To reserve, call 609-345-5554 or visit mygirasole.com.

* Cargot Brasserie, 98 University Place in Princeton, is offering a three-course menu on Valentine’s Day at $55 per person, not including tax and tip. The French-accented menu includes bistro classics—and a souffle for two. To reserve, call 609-772-4934.

* Ani Ramen, the beloved ramen restaurants with branches in both Montclair (401 Bloomfield Avenue; BYO; 973-744-3960) and Jersey City (218 Newark Avenue; alcohol served; 201-408-9811), invites not only couples, but singles and families to the table on Valentine’s Day. A communal table will be set for drop-ins. Call the numbers noted for more information.

* A mixology class for two will be offered at Dinky Bar & Kitchen, 94 University Place in Princeton, from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, February 14. This couples’ class is priced at $160 and guests will be served both drinks and small plates. Pre-registration, with valid ID, is required by e-mailing [email protected]. For additional information, call 609-423-2188.

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