Happy February, foodies. The month ahead features plenty of food and drink to-dos to fill up on in the Quad-City area. Area eateries are certainly getting into the Valentine's Day spirit. Happenings include a now sold-out Galentine's Day brunch at Me and Billy, a Marilyn Monroe-themed dinner at the Figge Art Museum and more events listed below. Later this month, look out for restaurant specials and deals associated with Quad-Cities Restaurant Week, set for Feb. 26-March 4. Meanwhile, here are seven foodie things to do this month around the Quad-Cities.
1. Kick off Mardi Gras with the Cajun Cook-Off
Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the sixth annual Cajun Cook-Off, set for 5-8 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport. Several Quad-City area chefs from places such as the Faithful Pilot, Zeke's Island Cafe and the Davenport Country Club will prepare Cajun-inspired dishes in the lobby of the museum for guests to sample. Participants are then invited to vote for their favorite. All proceeds benefit major exhibitions and education outreach programs at the Figge. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. For more info, visit figgeartmuseum.org.
2. Support HAVlife at the Martini Shake-Off
At the Martini Shake Off, patrons can sample martinis from 22 participating establishments, including RAW, Duck City Bistro and Blue Cat Brew Pub, while supporting a great cause: HAVlife Quad-Cities. The Martini Shake-Off, which also features plenty of appetizers, live music by Soul Storm and hip-hop violinist, Svet, as well as a silent auction, is set for 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Tickets, $60, are available at quadcities.havlife.org.
3. Sample local craft beer
At Brewed Live!, more than 30 local, regional and national breweries will offer samples on Saturday at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. There will also be an education how-to session on how to brew beer. An early access pass costs $45 and gets you in at noon. For general admission, tickets costs $35 and doors open at 1 p.m.
4. Go on a Cocoa Crawl in LeClaire
Forget pub crawls. Visit a string of eateries and businesses in LeClaire for its Cocoa Crawl this weekend. Stop by places such as Antique Archaeology and Crane & Pelican Café and you'll find chocolate treats and Valentine's Day-themed specials. The Shameless Chocoholic, for example, will offer a limited- edition Hot Cocoa Truffle and Wild River Winery will offer hot chocolate wine samples. The Cocoa Crawl is set for 2-5 p.m. Saturday. For more info, go to visitleclaire.com.
5. Celebrate with your sweetheart
Greatest Grains is throwing its fifth annual Sweetheart's Dinner, featuring a candlelit four-course dinner for two accompanied by live music, on Saturday at the Hilltop Campus Village Event Center, 1602 N. Harrison St., Davenport. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and the dinner costs $75 per couple. Bring your own beer or wine. For more info, visit facebook.com/GreatestGrains.
6. Don't forget Singles Awareness Day
Baked Beer and Bread Company is going a different route for its Valentine's Day celebrations. The brewery/bakery/restaurant in the East Village of Davenport has planned festivities for next Wednesday, Feb. 14, with the theme of "Let's All Eat Our Feelings." The 14-hour long event, announced via Facebook, features an "It's Not Me, It's You," happy hour and treats such as edible cookie dough, "Love Sucks"-adorned heart cookies and booze-infused cupcakes. The event, set for 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Baked, is open to everyone, whether you're celebrating Valentine's, Galentine's or Singles Awareness Day, according to the establishment's owners.
7. Decorate anti-Valentine's cookies
Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie hosted a Valentine's Day-themed cookie decorating class earlier this month. For those who are feeling less than excited about the holiday, the downtown Davenport bakery is also holding an anti-Valentine's Day cookie decorating class starting at 2 p.m. Sunday. During the class, bakery owner Tiphanie Cannon will take participants through the process of decorating an array of cookies. The class costs $50 per participant. For tickets, visit facebook.com/OhSoSweetByTiphanie.