Straight from the Heart

Hey folks, Feb. 14th is just around the corner. As luck would have it, so is the answer to your last-minute rush to treat your sweetheart on this day when love is in the air and everywhere else. Just follow us to Market Square, where your best intentions will hit the bull's eye when Cupid shoots his arrow this Valentine's Day. First of all, let's think about a romantic dinner. Here's where your options are four Square, with a quartet of dining options that run the range from classic, homestyle Italian dishes and feisty, spicy Mexican meals to traditional American surf and turf with a twist and a heaping helping of New Orleans style dining with a Creole accent.

If you're looking to spice up your romance a bit, then head to higher ground for a special "two-fer" dinner at Las Velas.  Once you're seated in this cozy cantina, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the Square from Las Velas' second-floor perch. As you soak in the sights below, choose any two entrees from the regular menu, plus one shared appetizer and dessert and two house drinks. We think that the prices for this package we'll have you saying "Ole." Save the date and a window seat today by calling 412-251-0031.

Just below Las Velas, you'll feel like you left your heart in the old time Burgh. Step into a revival of the classic American tavern with a menu big on burgers and wholesome "Born in the U.S.A." comfort foods at Diamond Market Bar & Grill, . For all those hungry hearts out there, the chef will serve a three-course dinner: 1. a choice of salads, 2. roasted mushroom risotto or grilled petite filet and shrimp entrees,  and  3. flourless chocolate cake or lemon sorbet for a sweet finish. Paired with craft beers, you can treat your date to all this for $29.95 per person.  Make your reservations now by calling 412-325-2000.

They might just be playing a Cajun love song at NOLA, where the V-Day menu will feature a prix fixe menu simmering with more choices than there are ingredients in a steaming pot of gumbo. Of course, a hearty jambalaya with sea scallops, wild shrimp, andouille sausage and rice will get most hearts racing. On the other hand the Cajun pork chop with tasso lyonnais potatoes and braised collard greens seems as though it was born on the bayou. For a taste of Crescent City cuisine — and a Mardi Gras sneak peak — call NOLA at 412-417-9100.

Love Italian style is always the main course at La Cucina Flegrea, where owner and chef Anna Felova adds a little "amore" to every meal. To win your hearts over this Valentine's Day, she will prepare a five-course feast of her favorite southern Italian specialties such as pan-seared veal with prosciutto and mozzarella or filet of halibut with asparagus. And because it's true that good things come to those who wait, Anna will certainly leave your love struck with her amazing heart-shaped chocolate cake dessert. Before you enjoy a post-dinner stroll around the Square and other parts of Downtown,  why not order a glass of house red to keep two hearts beating as one. For a taste of Anna's Italia, call 412-521-2082.

Hold on. We're not finished yet. Dinner's just the start. To really treat your Valentine, there's got to be a gift or two for that special someone. Now, we know for certain that your sweetheart will enjoy a bit of pampering at Denham & Co. The styling experts at this intimate salon above the Nicholas Coffee Company are ready to give the love of your life a new 'do or freshen up a classic coif. And to make it easy, they'll even put together a gift bag that's sure to please.

Finally, show her you have a heart of gold with a bauble or two from the Square's chicest boutique. Yes, we're talking about Serendipity, where you'll find the latest in women's accessories. Dangly heart-shaped earrings are a must. But you can warm her heart and feet with a pair of Betsey Johnson fuzzy slippers. And if you can't quite decide which gift is best, the friendly staff is always at hand to help.

We can't forget the men! In this age of enlightenment the gifts go both ways.  Stop in to Heinz Healy's for something he can't resist... We mean, something other than you.

And, oh yeah, that little sweet heart at the top is one of the tasty Valentine's Day treats baked fresh at Prantl's. We know you'll love it. And so will your Valentine.

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