Los Angeles Times

Sweet deals

Don't hand your significant other the same old box of Russell Stover candies. Really, are gooey-filled chocolates romantic? We think not. Instead, open your heart (and in some cases, your wallet) and plan a Valentine's Day worth remembering. From steamy hotel packages to mouth-watering menus, we've found the hottest deals in town. And since V-Day falls on a Monday, we've added some weekend deals, too.

Sadie Hawkins romance
It's custom in Japan for women give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day (this doesn't work in America because everyone knows the broad will snatch back the candies and eat them herself). However, tradition triumphs at Lincoln Park's Tsuki, where ladies are given a box of Japanese chocolates (subtler and less sweet than ours) to present to their dates. In addition, two prix-fixe menus are offered; six-courses for $100 (per couple) and seven-courses for $150 (per couple). Both menus come with a bottle of wine. Courses include hamachi carpaccio (yellowtail slices topped with ceviche sauce) and Japanese honey chicken with wild rice. Available Feb. 13-14. Reservations recommended.

Have a heart-to-heart
No funds for a fancy dinner? Do dessert instead--it's just as romantic and there's no risk of smiling with spinach stuck in your teeth. We suggest heading to Grotto on State for executive chef Abraham Aguirre's Due Cuore (two hearts): puff pastry hearts layered with white and dark chocolate mousse and fresh mixed berries, topped with whipped cream and raspberry sauce ($6.95). Served Feb. 11-14. Also, keep in mind that this Italian steakhouse is doling out complimentary champagne splits to those ordering entrees on Feb.13-14. Reservations recommended.

Be a frugal gourmet
The best deal in town could be at Sweets & Savories: $29 for a four-course meal plus dark chocolate cognac truffles. Yep, this adorable cafe is serving a special prix-fixe menu from Feb. 11-14. On it, you'll find roasted sweet potato bisque, tournedos of beef tenderloin with truffled demiglace alongside cremini mushroom and zinfandel risotto, and much more. On V-Day, expect to hear a recording of Barry White crooning en Francais (you read that right). Reservations recommended.

Love stinks
If you despise storybook romance scenarios ("Our eyes met, our glasses clinked." Gag!), may we suggest staying home this V-Day? Spare yourself the sight of goggle-eyed couples and, while you're at it, an overdrawn bank account. Here's the plan: Order the "Cheesy Romance" tray ($29.99) from Pastoral, Lakeview's Euro-style cheese and sundries shop. On the tray (actually, the lid of a cheese crate), lays a heart-shaped French chevre, zippy sheep's milk Zamarano and creamy Jasper Hill Farm cow's milk cheese; plus, gourmet crackers, red pepper jelly, chocolate-dipped strawberries, fig cakes and candied walnuts. Grab a bottle of wine when you pick up your tray and voila!--you're set for a night de nibbling. Suggested: 2002 Malvira Brachetto D'Aqui (lightly sparkling wine with fruit and rose undertones, $21.59). Order at least one day in advance.

Love shack, baby!
Three words: breakfast in bed. It's a sure thing. Couples, consider this package offered by the Fairmont Hotel (everyone else, if you're trying to convince a near stranger to sleep with you, this is the route). For $189 you get a king size room, breakfast in bed and a bed turndown with a Kama Sutra twist: On your bed you'll find a chocolate bowl filled with chocolate ganache, plus fruit and paintbrushes (paint the fruit … or each other) and a Kama Sutra kit. The kit includes a feather toy, honey dust, pleasure balm and other desire-tickling tools. After all that, do you really care what's on the breakfast menu (don't worry, you won't be disappointed)?

Sip into something comfortable
We know what you're thinking, "Tea on Valentine's Day? Why not clip on some earrings and fox trot over to Grandma's house while we're at it." Trust us: This ain't Granny's tea. Unique So Chique's special V-Day three-tier service (Feb. 12-13 only) is a great option for couples who like to nibble rather than nosh (sly wink). Tier one: scones in three flavors (could be apricot-orange, could be lemon-rosemary); tier two: pastries and sweets, including peppermint and rose essence flavored toffee, made on-site; Tier three: finger sandwiches (Roma tomato, avocado, etc.) spread with rosemary-chive mayo. The service comes with a pot of tea of your choice and will run anywhere from $49.95-$54.95, depending on tea type. Reservations required.

Do you French on the first date?
Somehow, you screwed up. Looking to get back in your sweetie's good graces? A candlelight dinner at French-Vietnamese hot spot Le Lan is the perfect way to say, "Forgive me. I'm a jackass." On V-Day only, a five-course prix-fixe menu ($70 per person) will be available, boasting entree choices such as organic coconut chicken, lemongrass scented grilled bass and Asian spiced beef tenderloin. In addition, everyone will receive a complimentary box of hand-made French Valrhona chocolates. Reservations recommended.

Jessica Volpe is a metromix special contributor.

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