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Posted at 4:31 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Not your usual Valentine's deals

By Justin Rude

red velvetRed Velvet Cupcakery brings the love this Valentine's day. (Marcus Yam/TWP)

You can't swing around a bag of chalky candy hearts this time of year without smacking an overpriced prix-fixe tasting menu for two. It seems like a waste of space to list the overabundant $75, $125 and $199 "deals," so it's lucky there are a few plucky places offering something a little different this Valentine's Day.

Local mini-chain Z-Burger is offering heart-shaped burgers, veggie burgers and turkey burgers at its Tenleytown location Feb. 13 and 14. Best of all, they're free. All you need to do is bring a date, order a regular burger and share a kiss at the register, and the heart-shaped burger is yours free.

If you want to skip the savory courses and go right for the good stuff, Red Velvet Cupcakery is there with a special cupcake for the holiday. In addition to the bakery's three muffin flavors and 12 cupcake varieties, a chocolate cupcake filled with braised cherries and topped with white-chocolate buttercream will be available Feb. 11-17.

Estadio is eschewing the tasting menu and offering its regular a la carte menu all night on the 14th. Unlike regular nights, however, the restaurant will accept reservations throughout the evening, and female patrons will receive a complimentary glass of cava with dinner.

On Friday, Zola Wine & Kitchen will be hosting a romantic Whoopie Pie Eating Contest from 5 to 8 p.m. First-place prize is a free cooking class for two and a bottle of a sommelier selected wine. Second- and third-place prizes will also be awarded, along with a raffle prize for dinner for two at Zola.

Kellari Taverna is encouraging diners to pop the question on Valentine's Day. The first five couples to do so will receive free dinners on subsequent Valentine's Days or wedding anniversaries for life. They will also get a free bottle of champagne with dinner, which costs $75 a person.

Finally, if the Hallmark holiday leaves you feeling a little cold, Bar Pilar has a deal for you. It will be hosting an anti-Valentine's Day party highlighted by a signature cocktail, "The Bitter End," made with whiskey, amaro, ginger liqueur and lime juice. The libation, served alongside some special sour desserts, will set you back $10.

By Justin Rude  | February 7, 2011; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants, Valentine's Day 2011  
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