Valentine’s Day is a much-needed sweet treat (pun intended) in the middle of winter. It’s a license to break those new year’s resolutions with chocolate, extravagant spending, and,
Don't Delay, It's Valentine's Day!
Dated: February 6 2023
Valentine’s Day is a much-needed sweet treat (pun intended) in the middle of winter. It’s a license to break those new year’s resolutions with chocolate, extravagant spending, and, in some cases, a steamy getaway from the daily grind. Nearly every restaurant in the 417 promotes elaborate menus packed with course after course of romance-inducing cuisine, wine pairings, and a long-stemmed rose for your beloved. However, some spots are bucking the trend with unique experiences that we just had to share. But you’d better get on it, because some of these need your attention well in advance of February 14th. Here are five suggestions to help you this Valentine’s Day one to remember.
The Suite Life at Hammons Field
Nothing says romance like a baseball park in the dead of winter. If you gave us a thousand tries to pick a sexy backdrop for date night, we couldn’t have hit Hammons Field with Cupid’s bow if we’d been standing at home plate. But lo and behold, the ballpark hopes to get you and yours well past first base (sorry, it’s just too obvious) with a suite night to remember.
The home of the Springfield Cardinals is opening its luxury suites on Friday, February 10th, and Saturday, February 11th for a private party complete with food, drink, entertainment, and a stranger in a bird suit.
We can’t make this up.
For $225 a couple, you can reserve a luxury suite with your own personal server, a gourmet three-course dinner, a bottle of Cabernet, Chardonnay, or Rosé, a photo with Louie, a Valentine’s Day gift package filled with surprises, and a romantic movie playing on the center field video board. No hot dogs or nachos here; we’re talking spinach salad with warm brie crostini, chicken francese with angel hair pasta and lemon caper sauce, thyme roasted beef tenderloin, or creamy German spaetzle with wild mushrooms. Dessert is your choice of red velvet cake or crème brûlée cheesecake. If you really need a bag of peanuts, go ahead and ask… the baby birds aim to please.
Book a suite for two or bring a party of six. This is certainly one of the most whimsical date nights we’ve ever heard of, and if you’re a Cardinals fan, it sounds like a home run to us.
Lindsay’s Kitchen is YOUR Kitchen
Our pal Billy Dove, the 417 Foodist, posted something intriguing on social media: a chance to enjoy Valentine’s Day inside Lindsay’s Kitchen. So who is Lindsay, and why is her kitchen so special? We looked into it.
Lindsay Kirtlan started her home-based bakery, Lindsay’s Kitchen, after a 2019 online ordering fiasco. She’d set out to bake her husband a chocolate cake and figured ordering ingredients online would save time. It did save time, but robbed her of storage space when she went to pick up her groceries only to realize she’d ordered 25 lbs. of flour. The one cake barely put a dent in her inventory, so she started dreaming up ways to use up the product. Always one to make a killer chicken pot pie and pan of cinnamon rolls, she made up several and offered them for sale online.
They were a hit and since then she’s expanded her offerings to include cookies, brownies, scones, muffins, mixes, seasonings, and other treats. You may have seen her at Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks, but we can almost guarantee you’ve never seen her kitchen. Until now.
Lindsay is offering a cooking class, small bites, and wines to two lucky couples—or friend pairs—for one unique Valentine’s Day experience. It’s interactive, so you’ll learn how to make her chocolate cake as you nosh and sip. The deal is, you must get your name in the hat NOW. Well, go ahead and finish reading this blog, but immediately after (and pay attention here, this is important!) follow the 417 Foodist and Lindsay’s Kitchen SGF on Facebook, like the Foodist’s original post, share it, and tag a friend you’d like to bring along. Winners will be announced on February 10th. Good luck and bring us some leftovers if you have any.
Galantine’s Selfie Museum at Light Box
We’d be remiss if we failed to offer an event made with gals in mind. For the third year in a row, Light Box on historic Commercial Street is offering a selfie experience that’s as much fun as it is unique. On February 11th & 12th, the event and photo space will be filled with seven whimsical selfie stations where you and your glam gal pals can pose, preen, and post while you sip specialty coffees from Caffeinate with Kate. The first ten to purchase a ticket get a gift bag valued at $50, and you’re invited to bring an outfit change to get the most out of every backdrop during this hour of fun. At only $25 per person, it’s a budget-friendly option with photo memories that will last a lifetime. Kids are welcome and little ones under three are free. Bring an extra $3 to enter a raffle or score five free tickets for one unopened feminine care product or new pair of women’s underwear to be donated to Harmony House. What’s not to love? Everybody wins, and you’ll look great doing it.
Get in the Swing at Big Shots Golf
Who says Valentine’s Day must be celebrated inside? Break out of the norm, and head to north Springfield for an indoor-outdoor evening of fun at Big Shots Golf. This two-level golf venue is great fun when the weather is nice, and we tend to overlook it during the cooler months. But why?
Big Shots has big plans for the most romantic time of the year, and they promise to keep you nice and warm as you drive, chip, and slice those balls from your own cozy, heated bay. We all know the food here is drool-worthy, and there’s a full bar so it’s tempting all year long. Valentine’s weekend, however, promises something special. Enjoy 90 minutes of gameplay, an appetizer, two entrees, and a shareable dessert for $99. Grab a spot for just the two of you or hit up your favorite ride-or-die couples for a delicious, spontaneous group event. This offer is available February 10th – 14th, and you can add a bottle of wine or bubbly to make the evening even more special. Take it slow on the backswing and keep your eye on the ball. Big Shots sounds like a great addition to a fun winter weekend!
Of all the places to dine on Valentine’s Day, a cave probably hasn’t been on the top of your list. But maybe it should be. Here’s a chance to expand your horizons and head underground for a dining experience you won’t soon forget.
Rachel West, a bonafide food forager and founder of Eating the Ozarks, lives to give people one-of-a-kind dining experiences and this one goes below and beyond.
Crystal Cave, just five miles north of I-44 in Springfield, first opened to the public in 1893. The labyrinth of underground rooms holds steady at a year-round temperature of 59 degrees and boasts incredible geological formations like stalagmites, stalactites, and rare helictites. It’s worth a trip just to take the tour, and on Valentine’s Day, you get way more than that… you get a Roaring Twenties-themed picnic.
Your visit starts with a 45-minute cave tour (wear comfortable, cave-friendly shoes) followed by either a seat at the table or a picnic blanket to spread out on in a private nook. You’ll get your own personal picnic basket with speakeasy-themed hand pies, a charcuterie board, hot lobster and wild mushroom chowder, and other noshes, with a surprise dessert featuring the native Missouri PawPaw. Musician Charlie Becker will be on hand for some live entertainment, so you can dine and dream about what it must have been like when this cave was discovered by prehistoric settlers, likely between 8,000 and 1,000 B.C.
This is a lunchtime experience, and we pretty much guarantee that the food will be so much better than whatever the early cave dwellers dined on. And you’ll have your evening free for more Valentine’s Day adventures in the Ozarks. What’s not to love?
Please note, Rachel’s Destination Dinners tend to sell out fast, so don’t delay here. And keep your eye on her website because she offers these experiences regularly, and you never know where she’ll turn up next.
We aren’t kidding when we tell you there are plenty of unique Valentine’s Day offerings here in the Ozarks. From high up in a luxury suite to deep underground in an ancient cave, there’s no excuse for a boring Valentine’s celebration around here. Chocolate and roses are optional, but who needs a heart-shaped box when we have all this fun right in our own backyard? Love big, y’all!
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