Sweetheart? Try meat heart. Twin Ports has unconventional ways to celebrate Valentine's Day

Toss an ax, down a cider, get the white table cloth treatment in an otherwise casual dining experience

The Great Lakes Aquarium is hosting an adults-only Valentine's Day event that includes getting up close to a sturgeon. (2018 file / News Tribune)

You’ve done candlelight, you’ve wrapped chocolates, you’ve bubbled the baths and said “I love you” with a song. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovebirds. Here are some ways to break out of the same-old, same-old of romantic dates of yesteryear.

Raspberry Cream Pie from Rustic Inn in Castle Danger. (

Salad bar with sweetie

It is a trend to take casual dining and give it a pop of white table cloth in honor of V-Day. A local take: Whole Foods Co-op is serving, in its hot bar, lake trout in roasted red pepper sauce, wild rice and fresh vegetables. Dessert is a slice of raspberry cream or 5-layer chocolate pie from Rustic Inn . You don’t have to gaze adoringly at your person in the co-op dining space, where there promises to be the aforementioned fancified tables; you can take it to-go and gaze adoringly into your Netflix marathon du jour. No reservations necessary. Starts at 11 a.m. at both Whole Foods Co-op locations.


duluth cider.jpg
Duluth Cider (Facebook)

All the reds

Valentine’s Day might bring to mind a classic red wine — but Duluth Cider is giving it a twist. The local shop is debuting its Raspberry Sour cider, and describes it in the event listing as having a “natural tart sweetness to make your lips somehow pucker and smile at the same time.” Also, they’re turning down the lights and offering up the smooth jazz stylings of Randy Lee. Starts at 8 p.m.

Getty Images

Hearts, schmarts

Maybe this day brings a less-than romantic passion — the kind that can be exorcised only by working your triceps. Blacklist is offering Lovers and Throwers, an event that takes advantage of its ax-throwing stalls. It’s $15 for an hour of chucking the sharp for that satisfying thwack, and you must sign up in advance.

Ring-tailed lemur at the Lake Superior Zoo. (File / News Tribune)

Where love goes wild

Whether you prefer land or saltless sea creatures, both the Great Lakes Aquarium and the Lake Superior Zoo are offering V-Day night dates. The former went heavy on the puns for its event: “Floundering for Valentine’s Day with that special salmon? Your search o-fish-ally ends here.” The adult-only event includes the chance to pet the sturgeon and jellyfish and live music by Camille Marsten. There is a cash bar. Tickets are $12.


The Lake Superior Zoo is offering behind-the-scene tours and the chance to make a heart-shaped meatball for the lions or a toy for the parrots. Event is at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Lake Superior Zoo, $35 per person.

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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