Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cookies for sale at Flour Bakery + Cafes. (Photo: Julia Levine)

Every holiday is the same: A time to focus on the things you should be focusing on throughout the year. Your dad, mom, assistant, significant other, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington.

Valentine’s Day, though, is at the forefront of a subset that brings bad feeling to whoever lacks whatever’s being celebrated, like Christmas when you’re a Jehovah’s Witness or Father’s Day when your mom raised you alone. We share a love for not working (celebrated on Labor Day, the first Monday in September) and an appreciation of arbors (for Arbor Day, April 26), but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, we can’t share partners. Can we? We’d better not.

America is an aspirational country, though, where armies of increasingly poor people race to defend the right of plutocrats to bequeath multibillion-dollar estates to their children more or less tax free. We embrace Valentine’s Day the same way: Because by Feb. 14 we might have a date or, if we’re in a relationship, a perfect night.

Also, we usually get chocolate out of it, even if we have to wait until the holiday is over and the liquidation sales are posted at CVS.

We have Valentine’s performances and events, and counter programming for those declaring their independence from the holiday by going out on the holiday but not, like, going out on the holiday; packed restaurants and specially themed foods; and even holiday classes.

Tatte sells Valentine’s Day gifts in its bakeries. (Photo: Julia Levine)

But this is all putting a Valentine’s Day brand on things that exist anyway, adding a focus to a club, theater, candy or restaurant that are always there, just without so much pink and red. In a way, so is any “UnValentine’s Day” event, since there are always people with broken hearts. They’re just forced to focus more on it because of the holiday.

Here are some of the things you can do to acknowledge that love is in the air and tasting menus are in the restaurants, whoever you’re celebrating with (or not).

Even though Valentine’s falls on a Wednesday this year, opportunities abound for good meals, wine tastings and movies. We’ve put together a collection of ways to feel the love.

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Eat out:

In Inman Square, Puritan & Co. is offering a five-course tasting menu, with options such as squash risotto and lemon vanilla posset, for $95 per person. 1166 Cambridge St., Inman Square Cambridge

You can indulge in a different five-course-dinner-for-$95-per-person at East Cambridge’s Geppetto, where the menu leans more Italian, with shrimp scampi and strawberry and persimmon pavlova on offer. 100 N. First St., North Point, Cambridge

If you’re more of a three-course person, head to Harvest, where a three-course prix fixe is on offer for $90 per person with an optional wine pairing available for $50. If you’re more of a celebrate-in-sweatpants person, you can grab a half-dozen box of Harvest’s homemade bon bons – with flavors such as strawberry lychee white chocolate and espresso caramel crunch – to go for $25. 44 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge

Between 5 and 9 p.m., Henrietta’s Table, also in Harvard Square, serves Valentine’s Day specials such as baked stuffed lobster and aged rib-eye in addition to its regular farm-to-table dinner menu. 1 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge

At the Smoke Shop BBQ, with locations in Harvard Square, Kendall Square and Assembly Row, you can go to a whisky tasting dinner. Each location features whiskeys from different distilleries; the food menu includes barbecue favorites such as big beef rib, pulled barbecue chicken and pimento mac and cheese. Tickets are $150 per couple, tax and gratuity included, and dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Various location

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Take a class:

Learn how to pair wine, cheese and chocolate at Formaggio Kitchen in its Valentine’s Day class “The Perfect Pairing” from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 each. 358 Huron Ave., Huron Village, Cambridge

At Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square, you can sign up for a tasting focused on one of northern Italy’s famous fizzy wines: Lambrusco. For $25 each, enjoy it with a selection of cheeses, meats and snacks from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. 81 Holland St., Davis Square, Somerville

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Go to the ball or see a romantic classic:

Attend the Cyberpunk Sweetheart’s Ball at the Crystal Ballroom with DJ Sir Richard Wentworth, the kickoff event for the Boston SciFi Film Festival. Tickets are $20. 55 Davis Square, Somerville

The Brattle Theatre, in Harvard Square, is back with its annual showing of “Casablanca” plus a special showing of “The Princess Bride.” The 7 p.m. Valentine’s Day “Casablanca” show is sold out, but there’s a 4 p.m. run that day that’s available, as is “The Princess Bride” at 10 p.m. For those looking to stretch the celebrations, “Casablanca” plays also at 4 p.m. Tuesday and 4 and 7 p.m. Thursday. “The Princess Bride” plays at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Tuesday and 10 p.m. Thursday. 40 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge

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Deliver the goods:

Tatte sells special Valentine’s Day desserts such as chocolate tahini heart cookies, Linzer heart cookies and heart mocha mousse, in addition to its regular desserts, available for online order. Various locations

From Flour, you can order cookies that look like conversation hearts in boxes of eight – opting for the Nice Sweetheart Cookie Box with sayings such as “kiss kiss” and “love you” or the X-Rated Naughty Sweetheart Cookie Box with NSFW sayings, which are a secret until they arrive. Various locations