Table Talk

Table Talk: February 9–15

This week: Last minute treats for Valentine’s Day, how to celebrate at home, and a menu update at The Wheelhouse.

By Megan Dollar

Feb 2021

Coffee Ethic Spiced Date Oat Milk Latte bottled Valentine's
Photo courtesy The Coffee EthicGrab a four-pack of The Coffee Ethic's Spiced Date Oat Milk Lattes to spice up your date this Sunday

Last-Minute Loves

You waited until the last minute to book your reservations or order that perfect gift online. So what? There are still so many ways to spoil your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Here are a couple of the food variety: 

Bon Bon’s Candy House is accepting orders for chocolate-covered strawberries through Friday (or until they sell out). They also have a wide assortment of other sweets and treats in stock if you’re really down to the wire. 

417 Charcuterie also has chocolate-covered strawberries still available for pre-order, as well as many delicious charcuterie treats. 

Hy-Vee’s bakery honestly makes some of the best cupcakes in town, and they’re typically stocked every day. Please, knock yourself out. 

Tea Bar and Bites makes wonderful sweets, as you’re surely aware. They have Valentine’s Cookies up for grabs but, personally, I’d rather receive one of those peanut butter brownies. 

Askinosie Chocolate can be found all around 417-land, from Mama Jean’s Market to hotels and coffee shops. If you weren’t convinced to gift their goods before, they were featured in a Washington Post Valentine’s chocolate round-up this year so their chocolate is famous. 

The Coffee Ethic started mixing and bottling draft lattes during last year’s stay-at-home order, and we absolutely love that they’ve kept the momentum going and gotten even more creative with the project. For Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a Spiced Date oat milk latte—but, pre-order ends Wednesday, so make sure you act fast. 

European Café always has treats-a-plenty, and this year they’ve even brought back their heart-shaped chocolate bon bon (how the French say “candy”) box!

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Home for the Holiday

Staying home for Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re staying in to avoid the cold or doing it to protect your health, there are many ways you can have a wonderful and memorable holiday at home. If you’re of the cooking type (which you obviously are because you’re here) we suggest making your home into a ristorante for the evening. Grab some candles and a checkered tablecloth and choose from one of these wonderful pasta recipes by local chefs: seafood ravioli, pasta carbonara or Nicola’s Pasta. Yes, homemade pasta can be intimidating but, with your sweetheart by your side, you can make anything happen. (If cooking isn’t your thing, there are a number of other ways you can spend your at-home holiday.)

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And They’re Rollin’

The Wheelhouse has updated their menu and, with it, turned many customer favorites into permanent menu items. Here’s what we’re going to order when we dine: The kimchi fries, which come topped with house-made kimchi, jack cheese, chipotle aioli, and cotija cheese; the fish tacos (tilapia) with bean dip, the Thai basil chicken and the ginger sesame salad. They’ve still got some of the old classic favorites too, like cauliflower wings, kimchi fried rice and falafel. This place just keeps getting better and better. 

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What’s Baking

It’s just a little too late to get in on their Valentine’s Day partnership with Cherry Picker, Culture Counter, Prairie Pie and more, but Collective Kitchen doesn’t just bake the goods once a year. This small-batch bakery has been churning out loaves for just under a year now—we can’t believe we haven’t gotten our hands on one yet! The pair of bakers, Ingrid Ruby Chiles and Alex Maurer, produce sourdough loaves from their little “cottage kitchen” in Rountree using some mighty fine ingredients like regionally sourced grains and unenriched flour. Their sourdough goods—a signature French-style Pain au Levian loaf, the multi-grain table loaf and ready-to-bake pizza dough—can be ordered and picked up weekly from their Rountree home bakery.