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Celebrating Valentine’s Day (Or Not) in the Midwest

Valentine’s Day Events 2013

Valentine’s Day is a holiday for the hospitality industry, with the goal of luring lovers for a romantic dinner or evening getaway.

You can embrace the holiday, or you can defy it. In the region where I live, you can do both.

If you don’t have a lover and prefer to join others in this situation, go to Paddy’s O’Neill’s Pub in The Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota, for the Anti-Valentine’s Day Party. You’ll enjoy happy hour all night long — half off drinks and wings until closing — as you lament the holiday.

Paddy's O'Neill's Pub, Rapid City, South DakotaOf course, if you have a Valentine and are eager to celebrate, The Hotel Alex Johnson is offering a special dinner menu at its top-floor restaurant Vertex from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16. You can opt to savor the five-course menu, which has beef Wellington with asiago breaded shrimp as its centerpiece, with the chef’s wine pairing.

For a memorable gastronomical experience, dine in the newly appointed HoDo Restaurant (Four Diamond) in the Hotel Donaldson in Fargo, North Dakota. The seven-course prix fixe menu can be paired with wine courses if you like.

You’ll start with vanilla parsnip bisque, then choose between a blood orange salad or the cured star thrower lamb heart salad with fennel and arugula. Next comes fried oysters or duck and toast. Perfectly fitting for the holiday, the apple red hot sorbet cleanses your palate for what comes next: your choice of Wagyu beef, beet-lacquered salmon or spicy breaded Berkshire pork.

The Hotel Alex Johnson, South DakotaAlthough it’s all sumptuous and enticing, it’s the dessert that I would long for (and you get two of them). After a luscious Zingerman’s Lincoln Log panna cotta, chocolate lovers (and who isn’t?) can swoon over chocolate chipotle cake or fruit lovers can indulge in almond cheesecake with raspberry mousse.

You might also check out lodgings in some fittingly named cities, including Valentine, Nebraska; Embarrass, Minnesota; and Loveland, Colorado.

Wherever you plan your Valentine weekend celebration, AAA-Approved hotels and restaurants look forward to hosting you.