Auburn restaurants looking forward to Valentine's

Date night menus sure to please
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
-A +A

The most romantic day of the year is on Tuesday, and restaurants throughout Auburn are gearing up to provide lovebirds the perfect date night.

At Latitudes, owners Pete and Pat Enoch offer a four-course meal full of aphrodisiacs, starting with seared scallops and warm crusted brie with fig jam, followed by hearts of palm and blood orange jewels on spring greens with avocado-orange dressing garnishes with spiced pumpkin seeds. Entrée choices are mahi mahi with crab topping, filet mignon, lobster tail with drawn butter or duck Persephone with a pomegranate-walnut sauce.

“We make it a candlelight dinner, and we make all our tables smaller, so it’s very romantic,” said Pat Enochs. “We put lots of flowers out and it changes the whole atmosphere just for that night.”

Part of that romantic atmosphere will be the desserts, designed for patrons to feed to each other. Latitudes will serve cream puffs, tarts with lemon curd, vanilla cookies with a caramel center covered with chocolate and tiramisu by the spoonful. The grand finale is “love tea,” a Damiana herbal tea designed to heighten the senses.

At the Auburn Alehouse, the Valentine’s special is four courses, starting with a citrus salad followed by a thin-crust pizza with pears, gorgonzola cheese and honey. Third-course options are angel-hair pasta with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, artichoke hearts and parmesan cheese, or an 8-ounce sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. For dessert, choose from a mini-apple pie or chocolate lava cake. The meal is served with a choice of a beer or sparkling wine.

Downtown, Monkey Cat owner Jim Bril has a sold-out Valentine’s dinner, where he’ll serve the regular menu along with lobster and filet mignon specials. He said that on the day before Valentine’s Day every year he turns away between 150 and 200 people.

“It’s amazing how many people wait till the last minute on Valentine’s,” Bril said.

He and his wife, Trish, were married on Valentine’s Day 12 years ago, so it’s easy for him to remember. They’re working on the big day, of course, but they’ll celebrate on the 15th.

Bootleggers Old Town Tavern & Grill was recently voted a Most Romantic Restaurant in KCRA’s “A List,” and owner Nell Curran attributes that not only to the food, but also the ambiance.

“People love the fact that we have a wood-burning fireplace, and we’re going to have a pianist playing music,” Curran said.

Bootleggers will serve surf-and-turf with an ahi appetizer, oysters on the half-shell, champagne by the glass, chocolate-dipped strawberries and other decadent treats. Curran said reservations are filling quickly, and that table 18, which has had more proposals happen at it than any other table, is already taken.

Max’s will serve a filet mignon with cognac-and-shiitake mushroom sauce, served with rosemary-roasted potatoes and garlic-soy-sauce green beans. Other choices are stuffed plump chicken or crab-stuffed jumbo prawns, served with a garlic-champagne sauce and Yukon gold butter potatoes. For dessert, choose from three different types of cake.

For those looking for a different flavor, Happy Wok offers a $13.99 Valentine’s dinner of won ton soup, fried prawns, cream cheese puffs, fried rice, prawns, sweet and sour three delight with an almond cookie for dessert.

No matter the menu, eateries are looking forward to serving romantic meals on Tuesday. When asked to name a particularly memorable romantic gesture that happened at Latitudes, Pate Enoch said there have been many over the years, including one man who had an engagement ring delivered to his date along with her dessert. And she’ll never forget the man who stood up and sang a song he’d prepared for his date to the whole restaurant.

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at


Make your reservations

Auburn Alehouse

Where: 289 Washington St., Auburn

Info and reservations: (530) 885-2537,


Bootleggers Old Town Tavern & Grill

Where: 210 Washington St., Auburn

Info and reservations: (530) 889-2229,


Happy Wok

Where: 352 Elm Ave., Auburn

Info and reservations: (530) 823-8899



Where: 130 Maple St. No. 200, Auburn

Info and reservations: (530) 885-9535,



Where: 110 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn

Info and reservations: (530) 888-6100