Shake Off Winter's Cold Grip With Valentine's Warmth

By Michael Lay | Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside! And snowing again! Which, I have to admit, is perfectly okay with this former mountain boy. But for those of you lacking a fondness for the frigid, Valentine's Day is just around the corner, bringing with it a wealth of opportunities for Outer Bankers to warm their hearts and tempt their palates.

Aqua Restaurant in Duck is re-opening on February 13, just in time for their chef to plan the next day's Valentine's Day celebration. The feast includes beet soup with crème fraiche, warm brie stuffed with sautéed spinach, roasted garlic puree and sun dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts with focaccia crostini and a mixed greens salad. Three second course entrees (pan-seared salmon, grilled ribeye or braised lamb) and three dessert options. The price is $45/person and includes a champagne toast. Visit the Aqua website for more detailed information regarding the menu.

Kitty Hawk's Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar has made its Valentine's Dinner a decade-long tradition. This year's special menu options include such delicacies as creamy lobster bisque, fried domestic calamari, poached oysters, lamb strip loin fricassee, pecorino-herb crusted local flounder, a crispy pork "trilogy," grilled yellowfin tuna, dry-rubbed Angus New York strip steak and exceptional desserts. The cost is $60/person, $90 if paired with wines. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Trio in Kill Devil Hills is warming things up beginning at 6 p.m. Friday with a humorous and informative evening of pairing wines and beers with reputedly aphrodisiacical foods! The price is $30/person, and space is limited, so please call (252) 261-0277 to make reservations.

Beachside Bistro at the Sea Ranch Resort in Kill Devil Hills has put together a fantastic Valentine's dinner menu that will be offered both on Valentine's Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. When a mixed greens salad includes goat's cheese, cranberries, almonds and cured salmon you know you're in for something good. Other menu items include she-crab bisque, chili-glazed mahi, pepper-seared scallops atop fettucine, roasted chicken, flat iron steak with grilled shrimp, goats cheese risotto and a choice of four delectable desserts. Dinner is $39.95/person, and reservations can be made by calling (252) 441-7126.

At Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern in Nags Head, couples can enjoy a romantic Valentine's dinner together, and ladies receive a beautiful free red rose. Dinner will be served from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Mike Mangum will perform in the tavern from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Pamlico Jack's in Nags Head will also be open for Valentine's Day with the Elizabeth R Rendezvous following on Saturday night.

In Manteo, 1587 is offering its special Valentine's Day dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Visit their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information. Please note, at press time only a few tables were left. Reservations are required, so call 1587 soon at (252) 473-1587 or email {encode="" title=""}.

Down in Rodanthe Good Winds Seafood and Wine Bar is offering a Valentine's Day Special for Two for only $49.95! Enjoy an appetizer, your choice between two entrees and a dessert. Good Winds Merlot and Good Winds Symbius wines will be on special at $15/bottle. Get there before sunset and start your romantic evening with a gorgeous sunset view. Good Winds is located soundside at Milepost 40 in Rodanthe. The restaurant will be open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday evenings for the rest of the off-season. Waves Village's Valentine's Day Special includes a romantic two-night stay in one of their luxurious condos right in the heart of Rodanthe for only $400 during February (and a three-night stay is only $500)! Combine the savings with beautiful sunsets and great vibes and it's the perfect opportunity for a romantic trip to the Outer Banks.


Other Happenings


Manteo's downtown merchants have banded together for a Valentine's Weekend shopping crawl Saturday, Feb 15 with downtown merchants featuring special offers, one-day sales and special giveaways to kick off the upcoming spring season. Participating businesses include Duck's Cottage Downtown Books, My Secret Garden, Sleeping In, The Coffeehouse, John Silver Gallery, Charlotte's, Younique Boutique, 1587 and Tranquil House Inn, The Hungry Pelican and more!

Continuing the good food theme beyond Valentine's Day is the Annual Stripers Bar & Grille Chili Cook-Off to be held Sunday, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Stripers Bar & Grille located in the Shallowbag Bay Club at 1100A South Bay Club Drive in Manteo (the entrance is off Highway 64 between Darryl's Seafood Restaurant and McDonald's). Entry is open to everyone, with the first 18 entries selected to participate. Awards will be given in the following categories: 1st Place Meat, 1st Place Other Meat, 1st Place Vegetarian and 1st Place Home Kitchen. Registration forms are available at Stripers Bar and Grille, and the $20 entry fee includes one Chili Cook-off T-shirt. A portion of all proceeds go to benefit the Outer Banks SPCA. Cash is preferred for entry fees and for event events. Tickets are $20/per adults, $10/kids aged 7-14 with kids aged 6 and younger admitted free!

Go back to the future as Outer Banks Brewing Station's Chef Pok and Chef Tony bring back Southern Night, an old Brew Station favorite, Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m.! The menu changes weekly, but you'll always be guaranteed excellent fried chicken served with mac and cheese, country style green beans and cornbread! This week features items such as pork gumbo, oven-roasted quail stuffed with andouille cornbread stuffing and finished with a sweet potato puree, grilled meatloaf with a porter pan gravy served with mash potatoes and collard greens! For dessert try Tina's Bread Pudding, enhanced with spiced apples and ice cream and finished with a caramel bourbon sauce.

In another instance of foodie déjà vu, the ever popular Sushi Night returns to Tortuga's Lie on the Beach Road in Nags Head on Wednesday nights at 5:30 p.m.

Good Food for a Good Cause

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and support local food banks. Potters and other craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Empty Bowls at Food Bank Guests are invited to stop by First Flight Elementary School in Kill Devil Hills Thursday, Feb. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. for a simple meal of soup, bread and water or tea. To-go orders are available for those who can't stay to eat. In exchange for a $10 cash donation or $10 First Family ticket, guests can take home a beautiful handmade ceramic bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. Additional soup meals are only $3 each. Your small donation can have a profound impact for many suffering from hunger.

Wintry snow and ice will hopefully be a just a memory when Diamonds and Denim, a casually elegant winter fundraising dance for The Elizabethan Gardens, kicks off Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at 108 Budleigh in downtown Manteo. Take those blue jeans upscale with the addition of your favorite sparkles, bangles and baubles, and come out for a fun, adult evening of music, food, door prizes, silent and live auctions. Tickets are $45/person. For more information call (252) 473-3234 or visit The Gardens' website.

The Rendezvous

Local non-profit theater company Elizabeth R & Company holds just one fundraiser a year - The Rendezvous - but what a fundraiser it is! This evening of food and entertainment begins at Pamlico Jack's in Nags Head with the opening of a cash bar at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 7-course dinner, beer, wine and lots of laughter. Beginning at 7 p.m. Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh headline a performance channeling a 1940s USO-style variety show. Guests are encouraged, but not required, to wear costumes from the era. To make reservations, send an e-mail to {encode="" title=""} or call (252) 473-1061. Tickets are $100/person; $1,000/patrons table (includes prime seating for six). To purchase tickets by mail, send check payable to Elizabeth R & Company, P.O. Box 1718, Manteo, NC 27954.

Young artists aged 6 to 12 can find artistic inspiration in the waters and animals of the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island during Ocean Artists Day Camp on Monday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Using seashells, sea glass, paint and a variety of other artists tools and materials, the budding artists of all levels will build a jellyfish, create a snow globe, craft a fish, bead an animal pendant and design a wearable work of art! Participant should wear closed-toe shoes and bring a bag lunch. Pre-registration is required. Admission is $40/child and $36/child for NC Aquarium members.


Outer Banks This Week Giveaway








This week you still have a chance to win a $35 gift certificate to Tortugas Lie & $35 gift certificate to Kinnakeet Clay-Studio Showroom!

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

For more information about Kinnakeet Clay Works 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