VALENTINE'S, WITH A SIDE OF SAVORY/SOUR: It's the quizzical look that dawns on somebody's face when the person they're speaking to reveals they're not into chocolate that is, perhaps, the most comical of looks. Certainly everybody adores chocolate? Needs it? Dreams of it? Certainly? But that isn't the case. We're not all into cocoa beans and sugar and caramel and such, though we'll gladly eat the sprinkling of sea salt that has become a savory staple in finer boxes of chocolates. But Valentine's Day isn't built around the person that would rather have something savory over something sweet -- or bubbly. Chocolates and a particular libation that's full of tiny air pockets tend to reign on February 14, as gifts, as surprises in hotel rooms, and as the visual shorthand for the holiday we see in many advertisements.
THE BRANNAN COTTAGE INN... in Calistoga is offering a bit of quirky -- and culinary-nice -- counterprogramming for Valentine's Day 2015, though, via its Olive My Valentine package. Yes, you get a cozy room at the constructed-in-1860 inn, and all of the charms of a historic (but "newly re-imagined") getaway, but here's the twist: Your local, in-room treat is a Calistoga Olive Oil Company EVOO and Balsamic gift set. Ohhh, no chocolate in sight! Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.
OH, AND NO BUBBLY, EITHER: There is a gratis beer tasting if you buy dinner for two at The Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery. So, olive oil and beer? Could this be the next big Valentine's duo? Well... chocolate and Champagne may be here to stay, though we do like seeing destinations walk a more offbeat path come the love holiday.
AND YES, THIS IS CALISTOGA... so "side-by-side mud or mineral treatments" at the Baths at Roman Spa are available during the package's duration, Mondays through Thursdays (and you'll need to reserve those in advance). In fact, best look at the asterisks and available February dates and such while plotting what will likely be your first Valentine's getaway that is more about savory tastes and foamy brews than those traditional sweet nibbles and sips. Nicely (and quirkily) played, Brannan Cottage Inn.