Few holidays create controversy or send people to their various "I don't observe it" camps like Valentine's Day. (New Year's Eve? You're a close second.)
But the Day of Hearts stirs up a lot of unnecessary drama, wethinks. After all, a pair of lovebirds or friends or a mom and kid or a girl and her dog or anybody and anybody getting together to celebrate their friendship has to be a good thing.
If you want to do it up, however, that is a fine possibility as well. And there are lots of levels of "doing it up" 'round Southern California. Here are a few that have caught our own heart-filled eyes:
Coupa Café: This Beverly Hills eatery will serve up a holiday-ready Venezuelan menu on Feb. 14. Polvorosa de Pollo -- chicken pie with lots of goodies -- and tres leches are two treats.
One Pico Tasting Menu: Feb. 14 and the beach don't go hand-in-gloved hand in many places, owing to the date. But in LA? Oh yeah, we got this. Shutters at the Beach's own One Pico will have a Valentine's tasting menu, complete with Vosges truffles. Fancy chocolate? It's a must.
Terranea Resort: The Palos Verdes destination is offering a Thursday Night Date Night to parents throughout February. The kid part? They have it good -- while their parents go eat in a resort restaurant, the tots hang out at the Tide Pool Kids Club (a complimentary deal with this offer). The resort has a few other romantic to-dos in the mix, too.
Dominick's: A swanky martini for two, complete with lemon twist, cipollini onions, or a handful of other garnishes, is the liquid Valentine's offering at the longtime West Hollywood hang. You and you sweetie are totally going onions, right? You better.
Mohawk Bend: The atmospheric tavern has a multi-course Cheap Date menu that's pretty dang cheap, in holiday terms -- $30 per person. But if you feel like you're not impressing your date enough, you can add on "Big Spender" beer flight for fifteen bucks.
W Hotel Stay: An in-town stay is quite often le ultimate sign of a serious Valentine's Day treated seriously. A certain Westwood destination has some posh doings in their holiday deal. There's jewelry involved, too -- something one doesn't often see in a hotel package. Oof. (Good oof.)
The Langham Hotel: A grande dame among hotels, with all the finery and such? A stay at this Pasadena palace just says Valentine's with all the trimmings to us. The regal hotel has few packages on through February -- "rose petal turndown" were three words on the packages page -- if you want to go super all-out. And why shouldn't you? Love, grand, et cetera.
Mimi's Café: The French-inspired chain is going prix fixe for the special day. Really prix fixe -- dinner for two is $26.99, and there are three courses. Budget-nice and beef bourgignon-tasty to boot.