Love, Food and Another Great Film

By Michael Lay | Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day!

We've got a wealth of activities taking place in the coming week, not to mention a plethora of events and great dining opportunities associated with the Love Holiday. So let's get down to it.

Valentine's Day Happenings

According to Duck's Aqua Restaurant and Spa, all you need is love! And they are certainly doing their part to help out. Beginning Thursday, Feb. 14 and running through the weekend, Aqua's "All You Need Is Love!" campaign offers lovers a variety of options for making each other feel special. A pre fixe dinner is available each night for $100/couple. Check out the impressive menu here. Need flowers? Aqua has you covered with arrangements provided by Blooms Design Studio!

Or consider a couples spa package! "Love Potion #1" includes a 50-minute Swedish massage accompanied by a wine, cheese and chocolate pairing (one glass of white or red wine per guest or champagne toast). Guys, you can also have flowers waiting for her when you check in. Or, maybe a 3-foot heart-shaped balloon with whimsical tassel is more her style. The price is $210/couple (not including flowers and balloons). The "Love Potion #2" package is a couples pedicure also accompanied by a wine, cheese and chocolate pairing (one glass of white or red wine per guest or champagne toast). The price is $95/couple. Call (252) 261-9709 to book your appointment Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Let them know if you are local!

For more than a decade Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk has offered a special Valentine's Day menu known for its creativity and the special ingredients many of us associate with romance and intimacy. This year the full Valentine's menu will be offered on Thursday, Feb. 14 with an abridged version offered alongside their nightly menu Friday through Sunday. The cost is $55/person or $85/per person with paired wines. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Black Pelican Seafood Company in Kitty Hawk also has an impressive Valentine's Day menu featuring a number of special items ranging from a thinly sliced spice-rubbed beef tenderloin appetizer to entrees such as a Chef's Pasta of shrimp, sea scallops, lobster, artichoke hearts, olives, cremini mushrooms and spinach in a herb saffron broth over linguini, to a Cinnamon Coriander-encrusted French Lamb Rack to Parmesan-encrusted Rockfish. And then there's dessert! How does a Strawberry Grand Marnier Napoleon sound? Mmm. For more information, check their Facebook page

Basnight's Lone Cedar Café on the Nags Head/Manteo Causeway is re-opening Thursday, Feb. 14 at 4:30 p.m. and will be ready help you celebrate Valentine's Day with dinner specials, access to their full menu and a rose for the ladies!

Although held the day after Valentine's Day, the "Sip & Sample" event at Tommy's Market & Wine Emporium may seem like a Valentine to local foodies. On Friday, Feb. 15 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., meet and eat with an amazing group of local specialty food entrepreneurs. From natural and organic to gluten free and vegan, the event offers something for everyone. Highlights include Brynne's granola, Nancy's pasta sauce, Christine's Lemon Lavender Cookies and Crystal's homemade organic ice cream. Tommy's own chocolatier, Kelly, will be on hand dipping treats in gourmet chocolate. Select wines and micro brews will also be available for sampling (ages 21 or older) for an additional charge. Ticket purchase & pre-registration are required. Admission is $15 per person; an additional $8 includes the optional wine/beer tasting; children aged 10 or older must purchase an adult ticket; children aged 9 and younger are admitted free. For additional information, call Lucinda at (252) 489-1167.

Also on Friday is the Valentine's Wine & Food Pairing at Manteo's Front Porch Café from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Grab your Valentine or a friend and come out for an evening of great wine and food! Four different tapas-style plates will be featured, each paired with wine: prosciutto, asiago cheese and apple paired with Adelsheim Pinot Gris; a "Goddess" plate consisting of a hummus trio with pita chips paired with Acrobat Pinot Noir; a Caponata plate paired with Santa Anastasia Nero D'Avola; and a dessert of Parisian Macarons paired with a very special Kermit Lynch Chateau Roumieu-Lacoste Sauterne. Finish the evening with a demitasse of Kill Devil Espresso Quattro. The price is $25/person. Reservations are suggested; call (252) 473-3160 or e-mail {encode="" title=""}. Participants must be 21 or older.

Other Happenings

The woods can be a very different place at night. If you'd like to learn how different, take part in the North Carolina Aquarium's "Night Hike" Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. Participants meet inside the pavilion at the Nature Conservancy's Nags Head Woods Preserve to discuss night animals such as bats and owls, astronomy or other night-related topics for the first half-hour of the class. After the inside portion, head out for a nighttime hike along Nags Head Woods trails. Pre-registration is required. The price is $7/person; $6.30 for NC Aquarium Members. Children 16 and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult. Ages 2 and younger are admitted free. Nags Head Woods Preserve is located at 701 W Ocean Acres Dr. in Kill Devil Hills.

The first meeting of the Young Reader's Book Club on Friday, Feb. 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ducks Cottage Downtown Books in Manteo will feature Lauren Oliver's mind-blowing novel, Before I Fall. Protagonist Samantha Kingston has everything - beauty, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, Feb. 12 should be just another day in her charmed life. But it turns out to be her last. What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? Intrigued? Read the book (available at Downtown Books and recommended for grades 8 through 12) then come join them for an after-school conversation hosted by Hailey Rock. Call (252) 473-1056 for details.

The Outer Banks Parenting Expo, held at the Outer Banks YMCA in Nags Head on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is the ultimate resource for all your parenting needs from pre-pregnancy through pre-school. This free event will feature more than 30 informational booths, speaker break-out sessions (from noon to 3 p.m.), a car seat check by Nags Head Fire Department, door prizes and more! Child Watch will be provided by the YMCA on a first-come, first-served basis from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Looking for a fun way to shake off the winter chill? Don your favorite denim, add a touch of sparkle and come out for The Elizabethan Gardens' "Diamonds and Denim" fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Ortega'z Southwestern Bar and Grill will cook up a savory winter buffet to warm the spirit and fill a hearty appetite. The Michael Clark Band will perform a mix of R&B, Soul, Beach, Country and Funk to keep the dance floor hopping. Contribute to one of the Outer Banks' true gems, savor some great food, bid on items at the silent and live auctions and cut a rug or two with your sweetheart. Tickets are $65/person; contact Nancy Harvey at (252) 473-1554. For more information, call (252) 473-3234 or visit

Last Friday's special blog focused on the upcoming February 13 showing of the documentary Eating Alabama: A Story of Why Food Matters at 7 p.m. at Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills. Eating Alabama is part of the Southern Circuit Film Tour brought to the Outer Banks this year by the Dare County Arts Council. I noted in the article that films of this kind are rare on the Outer Banks. As if to prove me wrong, the Outer Banks Peace and Justice Interfaith Coalition will be showing the award-winning film Freedom Riders on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern in Nags Head. Freedom Riders documents the powerful, harrowing and inspirational story of the more than 400 black and white Americans who risked their lives in 1961 - many suffering brutal beatings and imprisonment - for simply traveling together on buses and trains through the Deep South. The film features testimony from the Riders, state and federal officials and the journalists who witnessed the events first-hand. Variety magazine called the film "a superb piece of filmic journalism."

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway

This week you have a chance to win a two-night stay at the Colonial Inn and a pair of tickets to the Taste of The Beach Wells Fargo BBQ Showdown!

For more information about Colonial Inn, check out their website.

For more information about OBX Taste of the Beach, check out their website.

Last Week's Winner

Congratulations to Karen Sell!!!

You won a $50 gift certificate to Gray's Family Department Store and a $35 gift certificate to Tortugas' Lie!

Outer Banks This Week Giveaway Winner

For more information about Gray's Family Department Store, check out their website.

For more information about Tortugas' Lie, check out their website.

About the Author Michael Lay
Michael Lay is a local graphic designer, artist, photographer and writer. He lives in picturesque downtown Manteo, NC, and is the manservant of two beautiful and willful feline princesses, Sophie and Sassy. You can contact Michael at