Moms

Five delectable Valentine's Day treats from area restaurants

You have your hearts, your flowers, your red satin lingerie. But there's nothing more romantic on Valentine's Day than the two of you -- sequestered on a cozy banquette, pinkies entwined -- sharing a decadent dessert.

When you have before you a mile-high wedge of cheesecake, a dreamy ice cream sundae-for-two or a ramekin of voluptuous caramel sauce, who needs an entree?

But sharing dessert with your loved one is about more than wanton hedonism: It can also serve as a valuable tip-off to your basic compatibility.

Consider this: Could you, a confirmed choco-holic, forge a meaningful relationship with someone whose favorite dessert consists of a humdrum scoop of vanilla ice cream? Can you find lasting love with a partner who -- gasp -- doesn't like desserts at all? Or worse: Can you coexist with a loved one who doesn't realize that "sharing" means you rightfully deserve the cherry on top of every sundae?

Valentine's Day is the time to find out. To help, we've selected five of the most romantic desserts in town. Seize your spoons and let the sharing begin.

Red velvet cake

Where: Grace, 777 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3388; www.gracefortworth.com

Hours: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5-9:30 p.m. Valentine's Day

How much: $9

No ordinary red velvet cake this, it contains a secret ingredient from chef Blaine Staniford: beets, cooked until soft and mashed into the batter. They give the cake not just its deep crimson color but a texture so dense and moist, it's like pudding. Blood-red, magnificently intense and capped with a thick mantle of rich cream cheese icing, this cake puts an arrow through your heart. Owner Adam Jones named Grace after his wife; it doesn't get much more romantic than that.

Napoleon cheesecake with macerated strawberries

Where: Copeland's of New Orleans, 1400 Plaza Drive, Southlake, 817-305-2199; www.copelandsofneworleans.com

Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Valentine's Day

How much: $6.99

In spite of its diminutive namesake, this is a mighty, mighty cheesecake. New Orleans-based Copeland's sandwiches its original cheesecake between two planks of moist pudding cake, then drizzles macerated strawberry sauce over it and adds tufts of whipped cream. The cake is set on a pool of velvety-smooth crème anglaise sauce. "What a strange effect you have on my heart," Napoleon wrote to his bride, Josephine. We'll settle for his dessert.

Valentine's Day sundae

Where: Ice Cream Place, 1957 W. Southlake Blvd., No. 150, Southlake, 817-749-0888

Hours: 2-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Valentine's Day

How much: $4.75

Owner Jerry Connell imports his superb ice cream from an award-winning creamery in Florida. With 14 percent butterfat and an assortment of novel flavors like purple daze -- black raspberry ice cream with dark-chocolate-raspberry cups -- this is ice cream you will truly love. His Valentine's Day sundae features chocolate-raspberry-truffle ice cream, hot fudge, shaved almonds and whipped cream, along with a sprinkling of fresh raspberries and, on top, a sweet little red candy heart. Might want to order two.

Do-it-yourself s'mores

Where: Tillman's, 2933 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-850-9255; www.tillmansroadhouse.com Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5:30-11 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 5:30-11 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 5:30-11 p.m. Valentine's Day

How much: $14

Tillman's specializes in shareable desserts, but its s'mores take the cake. It presents you with all the tools to make perfect s'mores -- or else burn the restaurant down. A burning Sterno, plus house-made marshmallows in three flavors (mmm, mocha), graham crackers and sheets of chocolate come ready to melt. If you've ever secretly wanted to sing "Come on, baby, light my fire" to your lover without a hint of irony, here is your chance.

Churros with chocolate and cajeta sauce

Where: Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana, 3405 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-850-9996

Hours: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Valentine's Day

How much: $9

Lanny Lancarte and his made-to-order churros helped pioneer the red-hot foodie trend known as "dessert doughnuts." His warm, bite-size cakes offer a contrast that's bewitching. The firm crunchy shell, dusted with sugar and cinnamon, encases a melt-in-your-mouth cake that's light as a feather. For dipping, choose your weapon: sinful chocolate sauce as dark as fudge, or golden cajeta, caramelly and seductive. Or order both and share. That, after all, is the point.

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