Now here’s a shocker for you: Some people don’t like Valentine’s Day. Consider this gentleman, who says: “Will someone please tell me if there is a holiday fraught with more emotional landmines than Valentine’s Day? Because as far as I can tell, this little Cupid fellow is downright twisted. And the fact is: Desperately trying to sidestep his whole romance-thing with that ‘Whew, I sure am glad that our relationship has grown past a silly holiday’ won’t cut it. Trust me.”

Those are the words of Kevin Callaghan, the chef-owner of Acme (110 E. Main St., Carrboro, 929-ACME,, in a recent e-mail to customers. He sends these notes weekly, and they’re always full of humor and pointed observation, as well as news about what’s cooking at Acme. I really enjoy his writing, and I recommend signing up to receive his newsletter via the Acme Web site.

He ends this particular note advising readers to go out to dinnerat Acme, of course. That sounds great: He’s serving pan-seared scallops and braised lamb shanks, among other lovely dishes.

“You don’t have to wrap a thing,” he writes. “And we promise not to walk up to the table and say, ‘A bottle of our finest champagne? Or is this not a caring and serious relationship?’ Not us. No way. We feel your pain.”

I’m going to expand on his overall theme by saying: Forget the romantic pressure, kids! Just have fun with any loved ones, and eat well.

And what’s more fun than wine and chocolate? (Nothing. Nothing at all.) Chatham Hill Winery (3800 Gateway Centre Blvd., #310, Cary/Morrisville, 380-7135, is honoring this match made in heaven. They’ll host tastings of their dry red wines paired with chocolate from The Chocolate Lab ( at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m. Cost is $25 per person; reservations required. Also, the winery is open for tastings, tours and looped viewings of the films Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate. Cost is $5 per person; no reservations needed.

I always think cupcakes are fun, so I’m thrilled to report that Bliss has arrived in downtown Chapel Hill, in 3Cups’ former spot in The Courtyard (431 W. Franklin St., 636-3090, Bliss serves many flavors of yummy cupcakes, including a daily vegan option. It also serves coffee, breakfast pastries and free Wi-Fi from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Also, A Cupcake Bar (816-2905,, a custom-order cupcake bakery, will deliver four chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and chocolate XOXO decorations for $12 plus tax and delivery.

And if I haven’t managed to convert the V-day grumps, well, here’s something for them too. Hi-5 (510 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, 834-4335, is hosting its fourth annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Party beginning at 6 p.m. on the dreaded day. Hi-5 promises a $5 dinner menu and drink specials, plus black balloons, dead roses and an “anti-ballad suicide karaoke contest” until 2 a.m. Reservations are highly recommended.

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