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Try something new with your Valentine

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Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Valentine traditions mean a bouquet of roses, dinner at a favorite restaurant, a box of chocolates.

We love them all, but sometimes it's fun to do something a little out of the ordinary.

Here are a few non-traditional ways to celebrate Valentine's Day — and still be a romantic at heart.

Kiss the cook

Couples can excite the appetite for romance — and food — with a cooking class.

Gaynor's School of Cooking on the South Side will host a couple's night featuring a love-theme menu. It includes spicy tomato soup with heart-shape croutons; ham, leek and cider pie with spicy apple and walnut chutney; mustard sweet-potato crush; baby field greens with tomato-basil vinaigrette; and molten lava cake. Class runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14 to 16 and costs $145 per couple. Spaces are going fast. Details: 412-325-2703 or

Crate Kitchen Ware and Cooking School in Scott will host classes for couples, too. They have two sold-out sessions of “Cooking With a Partner: Valentine's Day” on Feb. 13 and 17. Those who got lucky enough to reserve a spot will prepare and enjoy beet and pear napoleons with fresh ginger vinaigrette; homemade pasta with blush-cream crab sauce; flat iron steak with peppercorns and thyme; roasted vegetables; and raspberry gelato with chocolate garnish. Cost is $140 per couple.

Another class called “Aphrodisiacs,” featuring an exploration Greek mythology and the science behind libido-boosting food, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 15. Participants will prepare oysters on a half shell with champagne and shallot vinaigrette; figs with goat cheese, arugula and peppered honey; chile poached salmon with asparagus and bearnaise sauce; and Chambord ganache with an almond crust and Chantilly cream. Cost is $50 per person. Details: 412-341-5700 or

By the light of the silvery moon

Besides being romantic, a walk under a full moon is practical. The lunar light will keep your path illuminated. That sort of awareness is emphasized by the folks at L.L. Bean in promoting its free Full Moon Valentine's Hike at 6 p.m. Feb. 14. Trekkers will meet at the Pie Traynor Field in North Park and head out on a three- to four-mile hike on the trails surrounding it. The hike is open to anyone 18 and older, as well as leashed, people-friendly, vaccinated dogs. Sturdy hiking boots, water, a walking stick and eye protection are advised. Details: 888-552-5571 or

Ice, ice, baby!

They make it look so easy, those young Winter Olympians. Gliding effortlessly across the ice like a midnight dusting of snow, landing a one-foot double Salchow like it's no big thing.

That could be you and your ice-skating partner. The Schenley Park Skating Rink is hosting a special night of outdoor skating “Valentine's on Ice” at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. Tickets are $4 per couple, which includes skating, indoor ballroom-dancing lessons, souvenir photos, massages and hot beverages. The first 300 couples will receive a rose from Alex's Flowers in Oakland, and treats from Betsey Ann Chocolates. Oh, there will also be a “Go for the Heart” puck-shooting contest. This is Pittsburgh, after all. Details: 412-422-6523 or visit

North Park and South Park skate rinks will hold Valentine skates, too, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14. Admission is buy-one-get-one free. Each couple will receive a carnation, while supplies last. Details: 412-833-1499 for South Park rink; 724-935-1780 for North Park rink

Jump! For your love!

You and your sweetheart can burn off those chocolate calories at Sky Zone Leetsdale, an indoor trampoline park that is offering special deals for Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. During the open jump session, held from 3 to 9 p.m., the first 50 customers will get a fresh rose. Every customer on Valentine's Day also will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win free jump passes. Prices range from $12 for 30 minutes to $22 for 120 minutes. Details: 724-251-6100

Wherefore art thou?

Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad playing a pair of doomed young lovers sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day at the movies. It's David Leveaux's gritty, but sensitive, contemporary production of Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet.” Bloom is the bad-boy biker Romeo who falls for the innocent Juliet.

The Broadway production, recorded at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in November, can be seen at several movie theaters on Feb. 13, 14 and 16, including Cinemark 17 Pittsburgh Mills, Frazer; Carmike Wynnsong 12, Delmont; Carmike 15, Greensburg; Chartiers Valley Stadium 18, Bridgeville.


Cupid's Undie Run

Cupid's Undie Run is the world's largest organized underwear run, serving as a national fundraiser to benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation. The event combines a pre-race party, an approximate 1-mile undie run and a return to the party. Since 2010, the annual Cupid's Undie Run has donated nearly $2 million to the foundation. The first run was held in Washington, D.C. The inaugural Pittsburgh run is Feb. 15 starting near Buckhead Saloon in Station Square.

Runners in 27 cities across the United States and three cities in Australia will participate this year. Most entrants strip off their clothes to run dressed in everything from a T-shirt and boxer shorts to footy pajamas. Some even go cupid's route and don angel wings. Thongs and pasties are not permitted.

Participants must be 21 to enter. Runners can fundraise as individuals or teams. The event starts at noon with the run at 2 p.m. followed by a post party. Cost is $50 (use the code pittfriends to receive $10 off). Details:

Love and forgiveness

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has a new exhibit called “XOXO: An Exhibit About Love and Forgiveness,” which attempts to inspire reflection and conversation about those exact subjects. You create a token out of a loving thought, or take an angry thought and crank it through a paper shredder.

Zany Umbrella Circus will perform at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 15 through March 2 with a new show about gift-giving called “The Gift.”

Feb. 15 and 16, there's a workshop for writing love letters — the old-fashion, nondigital kind, with postcards, stamp and a manual typewriter. Guest artist Dalia Shevin will host from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days.

Admission is $13; $12 for ages 2 to 18 and senior citizens; free for those younger than 2. Details: 412-322-5058 or

Love bites

Anyone looking to put an undead spin on Valentine's Day can head to the Double Wide Grille, South Side, between 5 and 10 p.m. Feb. 14, for a House of the Dead zombie-theme dinner and mixer. The restaurant will serve its regular menu and feature special zombie-theme dishes. Undead drink specials will be served at the bar and scary movies will be shown on Double Wide Grille's big “scream” televisions.

Attendees are encouraged to come in their best costume. A winner will walk with a $100 prize. Single zombies are encouraged to shuffle into the Zombie Lounge from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations required. Details: 412-390-1111 or



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