Think Outside The Box: Your Valentine’s Day Guide to Unique Gifts for Your S.O.

Valentine’s Day is three days away, and if you still need to get a gift for someone special in your life, it’s crunch time. Sure, Amazon is already a major go-to when it comes to last-minute gifts (hello, Prime!), but why not try pointing Cupid’s bow in a different direction this year. Besides, Amazon is great and all, but they did give us the snub on HQ2, just sayin’.

Thanks to Hallmark and Russell Stover, we’ve been programmed to think, “roses and chocolate,” but maybe we’ve been overlooking some other important pairings, like ice cream, doughnuts, Slim Jims, and chicken wings.

Exactly. Without further adieu, I present to you a list of local goodies and a few date night ideas from around the 518 that would make Jules Winnifred and the Bad MF of your life proud.

Not Just an Udder Valentine’s Day Bouquet

2BD - Valentine's Day_Dutch UdderIf you want to play well with udders this Valentine’s Day, consider sending love straight to your Valentine’s thighs with a pint of delicious ice cream.

It’s a match made in heaven Rensselaer County, as Troy-based ice cream shop Dutch Udder is teaming up with The Flower Girl, a flower shop blooming just across the Hudson River in Watervliet, because nothing says, “You make my heart melt,” like ice cream and flowers!

The Special they created includes a bouquet of pink tulips and a pint of either Vanila Bean or Chocolate Covered Strawberry ice cream. Technically, you can add a pint of ice cream to any flower arrangement, but pink tulips are so choice because two lips are better than one!

Show your Valentine they are like no udder and place an order from The Flower Girl here!

Get in My (Cider) Belly!

2BD - Valentine's Day_Cider Belly 1

The apple cider donut shop of Albany’s eye is looking out for you this Valentine’s Day! Seeing how Cider Belly creates doughnuts to pair with Nine Pin Cider and spirits from Albany Distilling Co., it’s no surprise they also pair pretty well with beautiful flowers, so Cider Belly is blooming with Olive and June to make sure your Valentine has something else to enjoy after they inhale those doughnuts! Take a peek at what they’re offering:

The Sensual Six is, “a Box of Pure Bliss.”
This Box contains an assortment of six  scrumptious doughnuts: Triple Chocolate Belly, Blueberry Whiskey Belly (a collab with Albany Distilling), a Hard Raspberry Reserve Belly (a collab with Nine Pin), a Strawberry Bubbly (think champagne), a Black Tulip, and a Red Velvet. $12

The Cutie-Patutie might be for the Valentine who’s watching their waistline: two donuts fit snugly in a small pink or windowed box tied with ribbon.

The Schmoopy – this is the Mother Load, guys. One dozen specialty doughnuts in a gift wrapped box. Doughnuts include: Holy Moly Chocolate Cannoli, Scarlett’s Rendezvous, Blueberry Whiskey, Naughty or Nice – a Chocolate PeanutButter Whip, Strawberry Bubbly, the Sugar Daddy, Ol’Albany, Heart Throb, Lovely Lemon, Black Tulip, the D’OhNut, and Bourbon Bacon and Rye. $28

Cider Belly doughnuts are always dressed up, but all boxes can be gift wrapped for $2.00.

**Pre-order before midnight Sunday, 2/11, and add a Mini Bouquet ($9) from Olive and June!

Ain’t No Thang Like a Chicken Wing

2BD - Valentine's Day_Chicken Wing bouquet 1

Our sweetheart’s palate has been programmed to crave sweets and chocolate, but did you ever stop to think that maybe they’re craving a burger instead? Or how about meats on sticks? To quote Mary from, “There’s Something About Mary,”

“You know I don’t think they have enough meats on a stick. No, seriously, I mean you think about it. They have plenty of sweets right? They have lollipops, they have fudgesicles, they have popsicles, but they don’t have any other meat on sticks, right?”

Well, well, well… that’s about to change because my friends at Crave Burger told me they’re wingin’ it this year, fulfilling a special request for a special customer who’s giving her Valentine a bouquet of chicken wings. (Read: not available for you to order.)

The picture doesn’t represent the official finished product, obviously, but I’m sure it’s where they’re pulling some inspiration for this mother clucker, and hopefully they’ll file this recipe under, “Let’s Do This Again.” (Sorry guys, this isn’t actually available for purchase by the masses… this year.)

Hey, Crave, here’s an idea: why don’t you let us send a burger (or chicken wing bouquet!) to our Valentine next year, because I know Cupid is craving this delivery!

Beef Up Your Bouquet

2BD - Valentine's Day_Slim Jim BouquetIs it even possible to snap into a Slim Jim? Why don’t you ask your Valentine. Take a look at what a friend from work is doing for her boyfriend. A Bouquet of Slim Jims isn’t a jerky gift, or one that’s going to break the bank, but a creative and fun way to let your lover know you care when you meat up on Valentine’s Day.

Yes Way, Rosé!

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A poem for you, *ahem* :

“Roses are red, Violets are fine, Fetch me a glass, cuz it’s time for some wine.”

Okay, hear me out: why give real roses when you can make your own bouquet of rosé wine. Swing by Empire Wine, Albany’s mega store, to pick up a few bottles of rosé, but not just any rosé. Nah, what distinguishes this bottle from all the others isn’t necessarily what’s on the inside, but what’s on the bottom – it’s in full bloom! Whether you ball out and get a case bouquet or settle on a single stem, I guarantee your Valentine won’t be whining over these flowers! Someone might want to tell Poison that not every rose has its thorn.

Sealed With a Hiss

If you want to show your someone special how much you care, how about naming a cockroach in their honor? For $15, you can give a name to one of the Bronx Zoo‘s giant Madagascar hissing roaches. Now that says, love. “Flowers wilt, chocolates melt, and candlelight fades, but roaches are forever.” Nothing lasts longer than a roach so it could be sent as a symbolic gesture about how long your love will last or exactly the opposite. You could always name one in honor of an ex, too. Give a gift to remember, and one that will surely make your Valentine scream.

Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart

If gift-giving isn’t your thing, why not shuffle over to Troy’s newest hot spot, Franklin Alley Social Club, and challenge your S.O. to a game of shuffleboard, bocce, or a Valentine’s Day-themed trivia night. If you haven’t been to this subterranean tropical oasis, then Valentine’s Day might be the perfect night to heat things up with few craft cocktails, a meticulously curated draft beer list, and a little healthy competition (Loser pays for the Uber!)

2BD - Valentine's Day_Franklin Alley

If things get a little too heated, then just try to remember Muhammed Ali’s words, “In a competition of love we’ll all share in the victory, no matter who comes in first.”



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Author: Katie

Daring and cheerful. An adventure waiting to happen. Mountain lover, explorer, storyteller, Oxford comma-enthusiast, hard cider aficionado.

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