Monday, 27 January 2014 10:20

LOVE ISSUE: Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Dates

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Rock Date
Going to a metal show on Valentine's Day is a rock fanatic's dream date. Make those dreams come true at Planet Rock (191 Angell St. SE, Battle Creek), where Michigan-based metal band Violent Vessel performs with Hed PE and Vodoo Theory. Tickets are $15. Get sweaty at the show, then refuel with Sweetwater's Donuts (2807 Capital Ave., Battle Creek). Open 24 hours, this hometown shop is no-frills, except when it comes to doughnuts. Skip the glazed and go for something decadent, like the Resses: a chocolate cake doughnut topped with peanut butter creme and chocolate. Or go for the Heath: white cake doughnut topped with vanilla icing, toffee bits and chocolate drizzle. If that doesn't delight you, there are dozens of other doughnuts to fit your craving.

Young Again Date
No childhood is complete without a little Disney magic. Get nostalgic with Disney Live! Mickey's Music Festival at Miller Auditorium on Feb. 22. A melange of Disney characters is featured, including Mickey (of course, it's his music festival), Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Ariel, Sebastian, Ursula, Jasmine, Alladin, Genie, Woody, Buzz and Jessie. Not only do you get to see your favorite characters in action, but the songs you grew up with get special treatment. Hear swing, reggae, pop and country renditions of Disney's greatest hits. Top off your Disney high with a delivery from Insomnia Cookies (2905 Howard St., Kalamazoo). Choose from cookies (including Jumbo Deluxe cookie choices like Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and S'mores Deluxe), brownies, ice cream, cookie cakes and a cookie ice cream sandwich. Or just order all of the above. Pick them up at the location or have them delivered hot and fresh.

Beer Lover Date
While Grand Rapids holds the Beer City title, Kalamazoo comes in at a close second, with good reason. Obviously, there's Bell's Brewery (355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.), which is ranked seventh in the nation, according to Brewers Association. Get romantic with Bell's hot-item brew, Wedding Ale. Other Kzoo-based breweries include Bilbo's Pizza (3307 Stadium Dr.), with menu items based on J.R.R. Tolkien's characters and Olde Peninsula Brewpub (200 E. Michigan Ave.) , which features mix-n-match options of its mainstay brews, like its Midnight Raspberry, which is a mix of its Midnight Stout and Rockin' Raspberry Wheat. But breweries aren't the only part of Kzoo's beer culture. The city boasts multiple beer bars, including Kalamazoo Beer Exchange (211 E. Water St.), which bases its beer prices on real-time sales, mimicking the stock market. Watch for crashes, where you can grab beer for cheap. There's also Central City Tap House (359 S. Kalamazoo Mall), which features 20 taps and more than 75 bottles of beer.

Foodie Date
For a night out, stick to Food Dance (401 East Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo). Dedicated to using farm-fresh food, as opposed to factory-made food, the restaurant serves up eclectic Americana fare. The restaurant boasts a number a local farm resources, including Blue Dog Greens, Kirklin Farms, Mud Lake Farms and dozens more. For a night in, opt for People's Food Co-Op (507 Harrison St., Kalamazoo), a consumer-owned cooperative where you can pick up fresh, organic and whole foods. For dessert, pick up some chocolates at Confections with Convictions (116 W. Crosstown Parkway Suite 101, Kalamazoo), a business that uses organically grown, fair trade and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Pick up chocolate truffles in eccentric flavors such as Mexican hot chocolate, Michigan tart cherry, Bailey's Irish Cream, curry and more.

DIY Date
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts hosts two crafty classes on Feb. 14. Work Ghost-style on a potter's wheel at the ceramics class, which is BYOB and $65 ($45 for members). If pottery's not your thing, opt for the glassmaking class. Also BYOB, the cost for this class is $70 per couple ($50 members).

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