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Daily Journal
     February 4, 2020      #53-35 KDJ

Best Bites: Dine with your Valentine 

By Tinker Parker
Special to the Daily Journal

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” — A. A. Milne

This quote has always struck a chord with me. I think the older we become, we tend to realize how meaningful relationships are to us. I think back to the days when we made Valentine’s mailboxes and exchanged cards hoping that a special someone whom we had a crush on would put one in there for us.

“Be Mine,” it read. Years pass and soon, we find the love of our life.

Today, I look at the other end of the couch and see my Valentine sitting there with a blanket and a cat in his lap watching golf with his eyes closed. That’s all I’ll ever need or want. I look back at remanence about each Valentine’s Day we spent together and how important this day is to both of us. How will you spend your Valentine’s Day?

Here are some exceptional local restaurants to take your sweetheart for dinner:

Enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by chefs Nick and Lindsay at The Longbranch Restaurant in L’Erable where they have a fabulous menu for their guests. Not only do they have a fantastic appetizer selection, but each dinner begins with a trip to their salad bar — all freshly prepared and fabulous. Not only the salad bar but a choice of homemade soup.

For dinner, there will be champagne chicken, which is a chicken breast topped with a creamy champagne sauce served over wild mushrooms and pea risotto. Or one of my favorites is their surf and turf entrée with an 8-ounce, fire-grilled filet mignon and lobster tail with drawn butter and creamed spinach.

If you haven’t had one of their steaks, you’re missing out on one of the best steaks I’ve had.

Lobster lovers get ready. They’ll have a luscious lobster ravioli with fresh asparagus and roasted red peppers in a lobster cream sauce and topped with shaved asiago, parmesan, and Romano cheese.

End the evening with a decadent dessert like the chocolate-covered strawberry cake with chocolate ganache and white chocolate drizzle or a slice of caramel Rolo cheesecake.

Please make your reservations early because they do fill quickly.

The Longbranch is at 2713 N. 1500E Road, Clifton. Phone 815-694-9748.

Off The Vine, Momence, is having a special event this year — dinner and a comedy show.

Begin the evening with a delicious Valentine’s Dinner at 5:30 p.m. that includes chicken, quarter slab of ribs, and a twice-baked potato, and vegetable. Dinner is $20 per person.

Following dinner will be a Valentine’s Day comedy showcase by Exit Stage Left Productions hosted by Bert Young. Four comedians will be featured.

Young is a Chicago veteran who has performed throughout the Midwest. Marcus Davis Hendricks will also star. He has headlined in Chicago and is featured this month at the Underdogs of Comedy showcase at the Laugh Factory. Ronnie Ray, a comedian, has toured nationally and has performed at every Chicago comedy club. Finally, Mike Mountain is a rising star and a two-time finalist for the World Series of Comedy.

There will be two shows, one at 7 p.m., the other 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. This show is for adults 21 years of age and older because of the content.

Off The Vine is located at 121 E. Washington St., Momence. For more information, call 815-472-6590.

Anthony’s Pizzeria and Family Restaurant and Pub’s owner Brit Fogle said he has something extraordinary planned for the day.

Their entrée includes a slab of ribs with a choice of potato, dinner salad, and vegetable for $ 14.95. The dinner is a dine-in only event.

Anthony’s is at 63 N. Main St., Manteno. Call 815-468-3484.

Enjoy a romantic evening at The Bennett-Curtis House, Grant Park, for dinner. They have two dinner packages: The “Sweethearts” Dinner Package or order from a special dinner menu with a selection of house favorites.

There will be plenty of specialty drinks available.

For reservations, call 815-465-2288.

Another option is staying home — build a fire, put on your pajamas, cuddle up on the couch with a piping hot pizza from Sammy’s Pizza. Nothing is better on a cold night than a fresh-baked pizza. Delizioso.

My husband, Dave, and I are Sammy’s special fans — beautiful vegetables and sausage; it’s so good. Or, try the barbecue chicken pizza with chicken, caramelized red onions, and both mozzarella and cheddar.

There is also Tough Guy, Taco, and Bacon Cheeseburger pizza. The menu is diverse, so you can also order sandwiches, dinners, appetizers or salads.

Sammy’s has five locations:

Kankakee – 690 North Fifth Ave., call 815-937-9293

Bourbonnais – 12 Heritage Plaza, call 815-936-1111

Momence – 119 W. Washington St., call 815-450-6106

Peotone – 422 Governors Highway, call 708-258-0800

Manteno – 30 W. Second St., call 815-468-6900

Whether at home or in a restaurant, make it a special day to remember.

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