The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on! Not prepared? No problem. We’ve gathered our top picks for favorite bakeries, chocolatiers, coffee shops and more in the northern New Jersey area.
Favorite Bakery: Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes
What’s a stuffed cupcake, you ask? Picture a fluffy, cake-exterior literally stuffed with your favorite filling—chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla mousse—topped with thick frosting. Find these miniature cakes of joy at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes in Nutley. Originally sold at the Petite Cafe on Franklin Ave., these baked goods have escalated to national fame and have been featured on the Huffington Post and O Magazine.
Favorite Chocolatier: Godiva & Chocolates With Love
We had to choose two favorites for this category because we take our chocolate very, very seriously. When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of personal taste. If your valentine has a taste for rich flavor and handsome packaging that looks kind of like this:
…then by all means, head straight to Godiva. We love their boutiques in the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, Garden State Plaza in Paramus, Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, and the Short Hills Mall in Short Hills. Any chocolate-loving man, woman or child will be delighted when they receive a pick from their beautifully packaged Valentine’s Day collection.
However, if your girlfriend rolls her eyes at heart-shaped packages, or your husband claims Valentine’s Day is for the birds, consider Chocolates With Love in Ramsey. The family-owned business creates their own chocolate creations. There’s something about hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels and every flavor fudge that name brands just can’t match. Plus, the staff at Chocolates With Love is friendly and patient. Trust us—you won’t leave the store anything less than satisfied.
Favorite Coffee Spots: Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro & The Fine Grind
Looking for a place to hang out with a friend, or an after-dinner cafe to chat with a new date? Try Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro in Caldwell. They offer a variety of coffees and have live entertainment most nights.
The Fine Grind in Little Fall is another ideal casual date spot. We know it’s cold outside, but we recommend the frozen hot chocolate! The coffee bar is also featuring special Valentine’s Day drinks that sound equally tasty.
Favorite American Fare: George and Martha’s American Grille
Picking a favorite restaurant in north Jersey is impossible. There are too many to choose from. However, we just can’t get enough of George and Martha’s in Morristown. The restaurant offers a cool atmosphere—no violin serenades here. Instead, you’ll find a well-stocked bar and an affordable menu. Check out their Valentine’s Day specials.
Favorite Homemade Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Sometimes understated is better. Less is more. A homemade dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, some breadsticks and a bottle of wine is can be more meaningful (and much less stressful!) than waiting an hour to get into your local chain restaurant for half-off appetizers while listening to terrible music. Light a few candles and try this recipe from Martha Stewart.
Favorite Date Idea: Dinner Cruise
Board the Spirit of New Jersey on New York Harbor from Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. Enjoy a night of dancing, sipping champagne, star-gazing while you cruise on the water while New York shines in the distance.
What are your Valentine’s Day plans? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments!