MON AMOUR — Ferndale's Josephine Creperie and Bistro has a special five-course prix fixe menu for this Valentine's Day. The meal comes with a choice of 11 entrées, four starters and six desserts. At 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; seatings Wednesday through Sunday; call for reservations 248-399-1366.
NICE LEGS — At Ann Arbor's Vinology, a special four-course prix fixe menu with multiple selections will feature ingredients from local farms. Diners may choose wine pairing options from Vinology's sommelier, or select from the extensive wine list. Runs 5-11 p.m. on Feb. 14, at 110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; $50 per person plus drinks, tax and tip; for reservations call 734-222-9841.
BABYCAKES — If you're on a budget, you can always get your sweetheart something from Ferndale's Pinwheel Bakery. Stop in to pick up bumpy cakes for two, cupcakes for two, heart-frosted cookies and other desserts — but remember: They're only open until 4 p.m. on the big day! At 220 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-398-8018.
EAT THE PAGE
Who could resist a chocolate brownie macadamia nut waffle with Bellini peaches for breakfast? Barbara Passino's Chocolate for Breakfast (Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection, $40) might turn some morning bacon-and-eggs lovers into breakfast chocoholics. With mouthwatering chocolate breakfast recipes (and savory treats too), it's all exquisitely photographed by Marc Hoberman, whose images will tempt any romantic. Wine pairings are suggested, but the "hot chocolate for grown-ups" would sway most.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Celebrate Michigan's frigid winter and the summer cherry harvest with a dark glassful of Bell's seasonal cherry stout. It's a creamy, rich beer that merges the cocoa and soft roasted-malt flavors of quality stout ale with bright, tart cherry. With only mild hop bitterness on the finish, this combination drinks wonderfully paired with a robust chocolate dessert. And with a hearty alcohol content of 7 percent, a couple bottles ought to keep you as warm as your favorite fleece sweater. Bell's Cherry Stout is only available between November and March.
Soggy salads suck. The best solution is a salad spinner. The best one that we've found is made by OXO, the company that makes "tools you hold on to," originally geared toward people with arthritis, who found conventional grips difficult. It's understandably the most popular of all 450 OXO products because it works so effortlessly and efficiently. Soak the greens briefly in cold water. Drain and place the washed greens in the slotted basket. Put the lid on, and push the plunger which spins the contents, removing most of the moisture.