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Margherita heart-shaped pizza
The Margherita pizza is heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day at La Morra in Los Angeles.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Eat your feelings on Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped tacos, pizza and cake

You know what they say: Don’t say it with flowers, say it with food — and if they don’t actually say it, we’re saying it now.

Whether you’re celebrating with a group, hunting for a gift that will find your date’s heart via their stomach or simply looking to eat your feelings on this Hallmark holiday, Los Angeles is home to a bouquet of options, including a bouquet of freshly baked heart-shaped conchas. Certainly there are romantic restaurants galore, but if a heart-shaped box of tacos or a heart-shaped pizza on the couch is more your speed, this is your guide to some of L.A.’s best Valentine’s Day and otherwise-festive treats and sweets, no matter the occasion.

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Four heart-shaped chocolate mini cakes with sweet messages such as "BFF" on them
(Cake Monkey Bakery)

Cake Monkey

Fairfax Bakery $$
Never send a traditional conversation heart to do the job if there’s the option of cake. In addition to its usual selection of pies, layer cakes, cookies, triple-chocolate loaves and pastries, Cake Monkey Bakery is offering a series of Valentine’s-themed sweets. The individual-size chocolate-and-raspberry “cakewiches” come decorated with frosted messages such as “I’m Yours,” “BFF,” “Marry Me!” or “XOXO,” while “heart grams” include a box of two with a note card. Variety boxes include the cakewiches, strawberry-and-Nutella “pop hearts,” shortbread cookies and more. Heart-topped confetti cakes come in a mini size or a larger version — if you feel like sharing.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Chocolate mochi dumplings at Din Tai Fung on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Din Tai Fung

Glendale Chinese $$
How could dumplings get any better? Just add chocolate. The Taiwanese dim sum specialists at Din Tai Fung have come up with a dessert take on their xiao long bao: soup dumplings filled not with the signature pork and broth but instead with rich, gooey chocolate truffle. That dumpling wrapper? It’s mochi, still bearing the restaurant chain’s signature 18 dumpling folds. These gooey, chewy, decadent morsels are always available across Din Tai Fung’s locations — including Glendale, Arcadia, Century City, Torrance and Costa Mesa — but they feel especially festive on Valentine’s Day.
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Heart-shaped Neapolitan pizza on a cutting board, a glass of red wine and a glass of rose from La Pizza & La Pasta.
(Eataly Los Angeles)


Century City Italian $$
If you’re in the mood for amore this month, find love-themed Italian treats all through Eataly, especially at the restaurants. At La Pizza y La Pasta, one of the restaurants in the gourmet grocer’s food hall, find heart-shaped pizzas to-go or for dine-in Feb. 8-18, while all restaurants on site will offer a “Lettera d’Amore” dessert Feb. 10-14: This flourless chocolate cake with apricot gêlée includes a customizable edible letter.
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El Moro churros being prepared at Mercado Gonzalez Northgate Market
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

El Moro Churrería

Costa Mesa Mexican Desserts $
Grab a sweet heart for your sweetheart — or for yourself — from Mexico City’s famed El Moro Churrería, which recently debuted its first U.S. location. The outpost, found in Costa Mesa’s Northgate Gonzalez Market, is continuing the tradition of the 1935-founded churro shop with hand-formed churros served piping hot. On Feb. 14 and throughout the rest of the month, find them in large, heart-shaped varieties dusted with pink sugar and served with white chocolate dipping sauce. There’s also a special fresas con crema milkshake, which, just saying, might also be delicious for churro dipping.
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A photograph of the Evil Cooks taco box for Valentines Day.
(Alejandro Delgado / Evil Cooks)

Evil Cooks

El Sereno Modern Mexican $
Forget a box of chocolates and consider a Valentine’s Day box of tacos from Evil Cooks. The pop-up — recently a James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist — is noted for its wild dessert tacos and a trompo spinning black al pastor or pulpo. But for Valentine’s Day, it’s serving 10 savory tacos that are artfully arranged in large red heart-shaped boxes on Feb. 9, 11 and 14. Each set includes your choice of filling, such as carnitas or veggie green chorizo — though if you’re celebrating a black-hearted Valentine’s Day, the pitch-black pork, asada or vegetables stained with a delectable burnt-chile paste is the clear choice.

A smaller heart box packed with your choice of two dessert tacos also is available, with flan or churro cheesecake. There are preorders for these boxes, but limited walk-up boxes also will be on hand. Find Evil Cooks’ heart-shaped taco pop-up Feb. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Feb. 14 from noon to 5 p.m. at 2461 N. Eastern Ave., Los Angeles; and Feb. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. at Smorgasburg (777 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles).
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A bouquet of conchas among baby's breath


Pasadena Mexican $
Don’t say it with flowers. Say it with a bouquet of heart-shaped conchas. The De La Torre family’s taqueria Guisados is offering the special on Feb. 14, which features freshly baked conchas peeking through flowers. They’re all wrapped up and available in three sizes: four, six or eight conchas ($12-$22). Natalie De La Torre is hand-arranging each bouquet and requests orders be placed by Feb. 11; pickup is available at the Pasadena location only.
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A plate with six chocolate-dipped strawberries
(Taneshia Warren / Huckleberry Cafe)

Huckleberry Café

Santa Monica American Bakery $
The Rustic Canyon Family’s all-day bakery and cafe has a whole host of preorder specials for Valentine’s Day — not to mention its usual cake full of sweets for walk-in orders. Pastry chef-partner Laurel Almerinda is leading the team through a menu of themed goods such as chocolate-covered Harry’s Berries strawberries, which can also come served with a side of crème fraîche whipped cream; customizable conversation heart cookies; a chocolate fondue kit for two, complete with flourless chocolate cupcakes, Harry’s Berries strawberries and cinnamon kouign-amann; larger-format tarts and cakes; mimosa kits; and a picnic basket for two. Specials should be ordered 48 hours in advance, and are available for pickup and delivery Feb. 10-14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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Heart-shaped pepperoni pizza
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

La Morra

Pizza $$
A good pizza can be life-affirming. A heart-shaped pizza you can give to a loved one or therapeutically tear in half on Valentine’s Day? That’s a sign of the times. La Morra is a mobile pizza operation that produces freshly and locally made frozen pizzas found throughout some of L.A.’s best retail shops. In advance of Valentine’s Day — and on the day of — you can head to multiple locations for heart-shaped versions of the wood-fired Margherita and pepperoni pizzas, available in freshly made or frozen varieties. Order them online now or find them frozen online for local delivery and at shops such as Joan’s on Third and Wine and Eggs; fresh at Canyon Coffee in Echo Park on Feb. 8 (rescheduled from Feb. 7, due to rain) from 5 to 9 p.m.; and at Eagle Rock’s Capri Club on Feb. 14 from 4 to 10 p.m. for a special Valentine’s Day kitchen takeover where they’ll be serving a full menu — which, of course, includes heart-shaped pizzas and sweets like tiramisu.
Heart-shaped ravioli on a round white dish
(Pasta Sisters)

Pasta Sisters

Culver City Italian $$
This family-owned Italian restaurant and pasta shop serves gorgeous fresh pasta year-round, often made from family recipes — some of which are more than a century old. Pasta Sisters’ signature ravioli is getting two heart-shaped spins this month: At the Culver City restaurant, opt for a black truffle variety that’s filled with ricotta cheese and served in butter sauce, topped with shaved black truffle on Valentine’s Day only, while both Culver City and the more casual Arlington Heights outpost will offer both spinach and ricotta ravioli for dine-in, takeout and delivery with choice of either butter-and-sage or cherry tomatoes-and-basil sauce. Hoping to impress someone with a home-cooked meal? The spinach and ricotta ravioli also are available uncooked and in a portion for two, complete with instructions.
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Three white-frosted small cakes decorated with hearts and sweet messages


Bakery $$
SusieCakes, with locations in downtown, Brentwood, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Costa Mesa, Mid-City, Pasadena, Studio City and beyond, is whipping up plenty of colorful options for the holiday, including new 4-inch mini versions of the bakery’s classic “sweetheart cakes” decorated with customizable Valentine’s messages and pink and red hearts. For those who prefer cupcakes, the dozen mini cupcakes decorated to look like roses could do the trick, which traditionalists might opt for classic heart-shaped sugar cookies. Find them online or in stores now.
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A photograph from Valerie Confections for Valentine's Day Gifts.
(Valerie Confections)

Valerie Confections

Glendale Chocolate shop Bakery $$
Artful sweets are always the name of the game at Valerie Confections, so of course one of the sweetest holidays is where Valerie Gordon and her husband and business partner, Stan Weightman Jr., really shine. Their roster this year includes a veritable bounty of chocolates and gift sets available in their Glendale flagship and online. Look for three-variety chocolate sets that include milk ganache chocolates with caramel, bittersweet chocolate with almond toffee, and dark chocolate ganache topped with 23-karat edible gold; bittersweet chocolate bars with crushed rose petals and dehydrated raspberries; and even a relaxation tea set with chocolate, handmade cups, two teas and votive candles.
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