For the first of the year’s Hallmark holidays celebrating commercialism under the

For the first of the year’s Hallmark holidays celebrating commercialism under the guise of true love (or wanton lust), options to wine and dine the object of your (hopefully wanted) affection:

For those of you who have saved for months, or who can just plain afford it, El Gaucho is celebrating V-Day twice on both Friday the 13th (who wants to take a chance on that day?) and Saturday the 14th. The subterranean Pampas Room will play host to “Love Is in the Air—a Valentine Cabaret.” Order some meat on a sword and flambe your bananas while you watch a live burlesque. There’s one show on Friday (8:30 p.m.) and two on Saturday (5:30 & 9:30) with prix fixe menu prices ranging from $115 to $185 per person. 728-1337,

For a more low-key, romantic event, try Volunteer Park Cafe for a five-course meal prepared by chef Ericka Burke. For $95 ($130 with wine pairings) you’ll get hamachi crudo, shrimp bisque, duck breast, lamb ragout, and a dark-chocolate torte for dessert. Take a stroll in the park afterward. Reservations are required. 328-3155,

If you want to dine in Norman-style, then head to Bell + Whete for a four-course meal that features Hawaiian big-eye tuna and wagyu beef zabuton. Finish with chocolate mousse accompanied by brown butter, nougat, and banana. All for the low price of only $55 per person! The menu is available both Friday and Saturday. 538-0180,

For something different, try Shanik in SLU where $50 (plus $30 for wine) gets you a selection of dishes including jackfruit in black-cardamom and cumin curry, beef short ribs, grilled lamb popsicles, or saag paneer with Punjabi daal. Who doesn’t need more jackfruit in their lives? 486-6884,

Maria Hines offers a trio of options: Sicilian cuisine at Agrodolce in Fremont (547-9707, agrodol with a four-course meal featuring dishes such as burrata Pugliese, poached spot prawns, and Theo Chocolate budino for $65 per person. At Ballard’s Golden Beetle (706-2977,, sample plates like Moroccan spiced roasted cauliflower and beef-cheek tagine for $55 per person. Wallingford’s Tilth (633-0801, will serve organic treats including rabbit rillette, and smoked heirloom-bean cassoulet.

For something completely original: Blue Ribbon Cooking School is offering a couple’s class. Make your own five-course meal—and pay $155 per person for the privilege! Cognac poached-fig salad and flaming filet mignon are on the menu. 328-2442,