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by Matt Simpson Siegel |

Get the F(ood) out of Town!

You’re broke and have Valentine’s Day coming up. Why bother clustering around a tiny table at a semi-ritzy joint packed with other greeting card-buying idiosyncratic sycophants when you could cut a few bucks and woo each other by making dinner at home? Stop. Are you Dutch? Everyone has had that “Aw, a meal made for me at home. I know! I’ll just overreact with improper mushy sentiment until we both have post-dessert dessert.” Don’t be another cliché and make another meal at home reminding your significant other of the first time someone else did that for them. Instead, do what the newly infatuated do and head out for someplace you’ve never been. It might actually be fun.

and watch Nobody’s Darlin’. Indulge in this all- girl bluegrass rockabilly band as you dine at the slickest dinner music venue in West Michigan. Hands down, SotE is the epitome of local and organic ingredient-laden food (everything is made onsite except the cheese) while providing ample musical entertainment and a fine brew. I highly recommend the Handmade Pappardelle featuring the house chicken sausage with Michigan but- ternut squash, ricotta cheese and sage. For the vegetarian, savor the Three Cheese Cavatappi of Michigan cheddar, Romano and Provolone (with an evil option to add smoked chicken or the house bacon). Dear God, the house bacon… so good you’ll eat the Fried Brussels because it comes with the house bacon.


You might not think of a strip mall as a romantic getaway, yet ZEYTIN RESTAURANT (400 Ada Dr.SE) of Ada proves you can’t judge a restaurant by its façade. Sitting inside Zeytin, you will no longer be biased against strip mall eateries as proper date destinations while you and yours mock the long line of bickering frigid couples waiting outside of Vitale’s just a stone’s throw away. Zeytin is a Turkish wonder hiding out on the fringe of Grand Rapids with tasty exotic dishes for the uncultured; too be blunt, sometimes nothing says, “I really like you,” like a plate of lamb and fresh out-of-season vegetables. The Kofte (meatballs) are grilled and seasoned ground lamb, parsley and onions, which will warm any ireful heart in this February sludge of a season. For a meaty mix –which Americanized Asia Minor delicacies seem to flourish with – the Adena mixes the lamb with beef and red bell peppers and spicy paprika. For the gluttonous, the Zeytin Special has a bit of everything: grilled chicken shish kebab, gyro, lamb, kofte and adana. For you Dutchies, any two seafood entrees and a bottle of Babcock Chardonnay 2005 will not only provide a leaner meal but a leaner bill ($52).

I like the fact that C. F. PRIME CHOPHOUSE AND WINE BAR (948 W. Norton, Muskegon) has a menu euphemizing the hors d’oevres into Foreplay. Cutting to the chase: this classy wine bar offers exquisite meat cuts and vintage wines


ave you been to SALT OF THE EARTH (114 E. Main St.)? What are you doing on Sunday, Feb. 20? I thought so. Go to Fennville for SotE’s Winter House Concert Series

Salt of the Earth


with an ambience comprised of 42 percent resplendence and 58 percent elegance — for one second the light glare caught my eye and I thought I stepped into a Manhattan club from 1952. You will feel like a somebody here, especially if you dress the part. If you are used to shoddy service at upscale spots, put those feelings aside and finally have a pampered meal. Eventually, after Foreplay you’ll lust over C. F. Prime’s Signature Sauces: Cognac Infused Wild Mushroom Cream, Gorgonzola Fondue, Horseradish Cream, Rosemary Scented Au Jus, and even Mom’s Rosemary Gravy. Blow your dough on a load of sauce and then pick your meat — ranging from Salmon to Filet Mignon. While your sweetheart is looking elsewhere, have a ménage a trois with sweet potatoes mashed with maple-walnut butter and you’ll be spent for the better right before the peripheral of her eyes.

See our new

dining section on page 59!

So you have a date that you feel may put a little something-something out at the end of the night? Kids are not an issue? Can you both sleep in? Valentine’s is on a Monday. The calendar year restarted so you both should have what feels like an infinite amount of sick days (or, have the day off like the un- or underem- ployed). Screw the pets — they’ll understand, and you’re renting so the stain won’t matter. Take your be-lusted to the innocently named WINTER INN (100 N. Lafayette St., Greenville). Kick

back, relax and know you are lucky because you’ll be getting luckier later after you’re done tonguing and nipping at a nice set of chicken breasts rolled in flour and sautéed with whiskey and walnuts. After warming the oven light on the one you like at the moment with your overzealously coy and jocular humor, casually rent a room for the night for dessert. Remember: neither of you will have to scramble to make breakfast in the morning. Room service! n


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