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Heart Stoppers
When Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday -- and a Carnival parade Saturday no less, reservations for that week tend to be a pipedream. Nevertheless, the following restaurants contacted me with their Valentine's plans. Don't trip over each other running to the phone. Cobalt's (565-5595) Chef Brack May has devised a four-course prix fixe menu for two to share for $75; the main course is a bone-in ribeye with ancho chile barbecue sauce. Cobalt will also offer a special al la carte menu that night. Dominique Macquet is throwing together five courses called "A Lover's Tropical Adventure" at Dominique's (522-8800). One course, "A Seduction of Conch," involves a bevy of rumored aphrodisiacs: seared Caribbean queen conch, oyster risotto, baby conch and "magical conch noodle." The cost is $65 per person; $55 extra for wine pairings. Each of the six courses composing the Sazerac's (529-4733) "Very Veuve" Valentine's dinner comes with an accompanying Veuve Clicquot Champagne. For example, Veuve Clicquot's Rose Reserve will escort Chef William McIlroy's pan-seared Atlantic salmon with eggplant and roasted red pepper ravioli. The $58 per person cost includes a red rose and live jazz music. Live music is also a draw at the French Quarter Bar in The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (524-1331), where the prix fixe dinner costs $65 per person. Over in the hotel's more upscale venue, Victor's Grill, Chef de Cuisine Matthew Murphy is laying out five courses for $85 per person; $125 with wine pairings. The entire hotel will be decked out in red roses.

Through the Grapevine
Martin Wine Cellar
will accommodate couples wishing to pamper each other at home without messing up their kitchens. Ninety dollars buys a bottle of Martin's house Champagne, plus three gourmet-to-go courses. Dessert is individual chocolate truffle cakes with chocolate-dipped strawberries. Call 896-7380 (Uptown) or 896-7350 (Metairie) by noon on Friday.

Market Watch
Kids are invited to construct oyster shell Valentines for their parents from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Thursday's Crescent City Farmers Market. Then, at 10 a.m. at the Saturday market, chefs from The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans will present a chocolate fountain. The Thursday Market is at 3700 Orleans Ave. (at the American Can Apartments). The Saturday Market is at 700 Magazine St. Call 861-5898, email at or visit

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