On a clear day, Adel Luzuriaga can see all the way to Catalina
from her hilltop property at the end of North Brand Boulevard.
It’s a spot she holds close to her heart, a place where she can
catch a sunset, share a picnic lunch or star gaze with that special
“It’s very romantic,” Luzuriaga, a Glendale Realtor, said this
week. “It’s like being in your own little world.”
As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Leader sought out the most
romantic places and activities in Burbank, Glendale and the
People’s tastes, like their relationships, vary from couple to
couple. But one thing’s for sure: The Castaway Restaurant and
Catering Center on Harvard Road in Burbank, and Taylor’s Steakhouse
on Foothill Boulevard in La Canada Flintridge, received high marks
for romantic atmosphere.
The Castaway, nestled away in the Verdugo Mountains, offers a
scenic view of the San Fernando Valley, and features a singing waiter
and photographer to capture birthdays, anniversaries and other
“I just like the whole atmosphere,” said Joey Valle, a 25-year-old
computer technician from Eagle Rock. “It’s a nice little secluded
Joining Valle for dinner Wednesday night was Elvia Corrales, a Cal
State Northridge student celebrating her 22nd birthday.
“It’s definitely very romantic,” Corrales said between sips of her
wine. “He has good taste.”
To which Valle replied: “I think she’s a very special person,
which is why I brought her here. She’s no average Joe.”
If you haven’t made reservations for Feb. 14, don’t bother. The
place has been sold out for nearly two weeks, according to manager
‘RED MEAT AND POTATOES’
When her husband wants to take her “some place romantic,” Montrose
native Lori Flagg -- a self-described “red meat and potatoes kind of
girl” -- opts for Taylor’s at 901 Foothill Blvd.
“It’s got comfortable booths and linen table cloths and the
lighting is subdued, which means I always look good,” Flagg joked.
“We really like to have a nice, quiet dinner where the service is
good and you feel like you’re being treated special.”
Taylor’s is also a favorite of La Canada Flintridge Councilwoman
Deborah Orlik, who prefers the intimate lighting and old-fashioned
booths “so you can sit close to someone.”
Burbank Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Bowers swears
by Arnie Morton’s of Chicago at 3400 W. Olive Ave. in Burbank.
“The prime rib is to die for, and the crab cakes melt in your
mouth,” said Bowers, who is married to Burbank Police Capt. Gordon
But it’s the chocolate souffle for two that Bowers finds romantic.
“Chocolate is kind of a romantic thing, and this is just a
fabulous concoction,” she said.
Bowers’ idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day in Burbank would include
a picnic at Stough Canyon Nature Center, followed by dinner at Arnie
Morton’s and an after-dinner drink at The Castaway.
A romantic day for Dottie and Rob Sharkey of Glendale would
include a hike at Deukmejian Wilderness Park in La Crescenta,
followed by a picnic next to a stream.
“It’s romantic because we’re alone in the forest,” Dottie Sharkey
said. “It’s something we can do together.”
Brand Park at 1601 W. Mountain St. features a Victorian gazebo and
Japanese Tea Garden, and is a popular place for couples to take
engagement and wedding photos.
“It’s really pretty and very romantic,” said Monique Herrera, a
community services coordinator with the city of Glendale who books
the park for photo shoots.
“It is definitely the most popular park in Glendale.”
For Councilman Dave Weaver, who proposed to wife Linda in Griffith
Park in 1967, Valentine’s Day has always been a family affair.
But this year, for the first time since their grown children were
born, Dave and Linda are on their own.
In addition to dinner at Tam O’ Shanter in Los Feliz, Weaver is
planning to buy his wife tropical flowers.
“To the women, it means a lot to give them something in addition
to taking them out to dinner,” Weaver said. “I could care less if she
gives me anything.”
SPENDING IN THE NAME OF CUPID
According to a new survey by the National Retail Federation, the
average man is planning to spend $125.96 on Valentine’s Day. Women,
the survey found, plan to spend $38.22.
More than 80% of Americans will give their spouse or significant
other a greeting card, and 58.7% of couples surveyed will celebrate
with an evening out. In other gift categories, 65.3% of men plan to
send flowers, 32.3% will give candy and 21.1% plan to surprise their
loved one with jewelry, the most coveted Valentine’s Day gift of all.
Glendale school board President Chuck Sambar is going one step
further. Sambar and his new bride, Lois, will spend Valentine’s Day
in the Virgin Islands.
“We wanted to go some place warm, beautiful and serene,” Sambar
said this week. “We both love the water, so we’ll do some diving.”
Sambar considers himself a romantic, and enjoys showering the
woman he loves with flowers, candy and champagne.
“There is much beauty and grace in being romantic,” he said. “To
me, every day is Valentine’s Day. It’s beautiful to be alive, to be
loved and to be wanted.”
The Sambars aren’t the only couple who will be out of the country
on Valentine’s Day.
Orlik and her boyfriend of two years are planning a trip to Baja,
Mexico, where rest, relaxation and romance are in order.
For those with expensive tastes, there are plenty of helicopters,
planes and limousines to charter.
Short trips are popular this year, especially since Feb. 14 falls
on a Friday and the following Monday is the President’s Day holiday.
“The resorts and the hotels use romance as a marketing tool to
draw folks in,” said Rhonda Holguin, general manager of Montrose
The travel agency sold out a three-day cruise to Mexico, as well
as a romantic rendezvous at the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in
Pasadena that includes champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries,
breakfast in bed and a butler-drawn bath.
Weekend getaways to Las Vegas and several Santa Barbara
bed-and-breakfast inns are still available, Holguin said.
TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE
Bowers is among those interviewed who forbids gifts on Valentine’s
Day and her wedding anniversary.
“We have such a wonderful marriage, and a gift to me seems
superfluous,” she said. “Every day together to me is a gift.”
But that doesn’t keep her husband from giving her roses anyway,
“He’s very romantic,” she said. “You wouldn’t think it, but he’s
Orlik is another who frowns on the commercial nature of
“Romance doesn’t have anything to do with stuff you buy,” she said
this week. “Romance has to do with having a conversation with someone
and looking into their eyes. You can’t buy that.”
Others, though, believe that gifts make the day memorable.
Leslyn Ray, manager of Giggles Nightclub on Brand Boulevard and
past president of the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn., claims to be
a “huge romantic,” and loves giving gifts to close friends and her
boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.
“I enjoy flowers, candy and fine wine, but I like to go even
further and surprise that special someone with a short trip to San
Francisco or Las Vegas,” Ray said. “Does it get any more romantic
Flagg’s husband, Charles, hates to dance, but that didn’t stop him
from surprising his wife with ballroom dance lessons three years ago.
“He’d rather have a hot ice pick stuck in his ear, but he did it
for me,” she said. “It was the sweetest thing my husband ever did for
Ah, true love.