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Valentine's Day on the Far North Side: Dance, Liquor and Dessert Buffet

By Benjamin Woodard | February 13, 2014 6:31am
 Boogie the night away at Heartland Cafe's "Barn Dance" or stay in with a bottle from Independent Spirits.
Boogie the night away at Heartland Cafe's "Barn Dance" or stay in with a bottle from Independent Spirits.
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Top-left: Flickr/mikenan1 Bottom-left: Facebook/Heartland Cafe Right: Flickr/kazandrew2

FAR NORTH SIDE — If you want to warm your lover's heart this Valentine's Day, despite the bone-chilling Chicago cold, the Far North Side is the place to be.

We rounded up five Valentine's Day ideas for residents of Rogers Park and Edgewater — from fine wine and liquor to the Heartland Cafe's "Barn Dance."

Got a better neighborhood date planned? Follow us on Twitter and tell us about your #hotdateinthehood.

For the couple looking to warm their souls — or just a stiff drink: Independent Spirits, Inc., at 5947-49 North Broadway, is full of hard-to-find specialty liquors and wines perfect for the special day. Owner Scott Crestodina plans to taste a trio of wines 5-7 p.m. Friday. He also recommends lovebirds picks up a bottle of Mirto, a myrtle berry liquor from Sardinia, that drinks like a port and is "big and dark and a little bit sweet." It sells for $35 a bottle.

For the duo looking to add one more to the fold: Felines & Canines, a no-kill cat and dog shelter at 6379 N. Paulina St., rescues animals in need of a home. What's a better day than Valentine's Day to share the love with a furry friend? Two pups — Flapjack and pit bull Willow,  who were found abandoned in South Side alleys this winter — have found new homes. But pups Posey and Ferris are newcomers. "Who's up for the best Valentine's Day ever by taking this pair home?" the shelter posted on its Facebook page.

For the more traditional celebrators: Edgewater's Uncommon Ground, at 1401 W. Devon Ave., is taking reservations for a special Valentine's Day three-course dinner, starting at $45 per person. For the first course, diners have a choice among a beet tartare, honey-mascarpone stuffed dates (wrapped in duck prosciutto), and a shrimp cake. The entree choices include a petit filet, Lake Superior whitefish, rack of lamb and a roasted eggplant. Dessert options include a warm brownie tart for two, red velvet cake parfait and a passion fruit creme brulee. For an extra $10 per person, you can sit in the music room and experience the work of jazz pianist Ken Shiokawa. Call 773-465-9801 to make a reservation.

For those last-minute flowers: The neighborhood's very own flower shop, Rogers Park Florist, offers a Valentine's Day lineup of bouquets, starting at $41.95. Its best seller, the "Be My Love Bouquet with Red Roses," goes for $59.95. The florist, at 1415 W. Morse Ave., might be perfectly located right off the "L" for that last-minute gift.

For the adventurous couple looking to dance the night away: You and your love could be dancing squares, pairs and lines, with live music by Mudflapps, this Friday at the Heartland Cafe's all-ages "Barn Dance." Professional dancer Jo Mortland will be giving lessons and calling dances from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Live music is scheduled until midnight. Oh, and there will be an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet featuring chocolate-dipped fruits, vegan chocolate cake, carrot cake and more to more than satisfy the sweet tooth. Admission is $12 in advance and $15 at the door, at 7000 N. Glenwood Ave.