Go beyond candy and flowers


With Valentine’s Day on a Monday this year, many couples are making more creative plans to celebrate. Restaurants are offering weekend-long deals, and many are offering special incentives like gift cards for Feb. 14 diners to entice people to dine out on a Monday. To get an idea of availability, visit and peruse the offerings. Here are some of our favorite options, ranging from the traditional to the eccentric.

Slow hands

Spa Gregorie’s is offering the chance to develop your massage technique repertoire for $15 per couple. Learn in class, then take your knowledge home. The class, from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10, is hosted by the spa’s Newport Beach location, 200 Newport Center Drive No. 100. To make a reservation, call (949) 644-6672 or e-mail

Put on a funny face


For a lighthearted evening, consider attending a comedy murder mystery dinner show at 7:30 p.m. Valentine’s Day at the Wyndham Hotel, 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa. This year’s show is set during the prohibition era of 1933, at Ruby West’s illegal speakeasy. The PG-13 show is $75 plus meal tax for early bids, and includes a choice of entrée and dessert if ordered in advance; there also will be a bar (open at 7 p.m.), costume contest, prizes and a free bottle of champagne for every four seats booked together. Advance reservations are highly recommended; walk-ins will be accepted if there is room. Call (949) 509-9889 or visit

Think pink

Remember giving and receiving candygrams in high school? If the person on your mind is a froyo fanatic, relive your glory days from Feb. 11 to 14 with Pinkberry’s hand-delivered Swirly Gram gifties, complete with heart-shaped balloons.

Choose from Swirly Spree, a gift-wrapped Pinkberry gift card from any amount, or the $10 Cupid’s Swirl and larger $20 Take Me Home yogurt delivery options, which come in three flavors: original, paired with toasted almonds, strawberries or dark chocolate crisps; blood orange, paired with blood orange pieces or waffle cookie; and chocolate, paired with brownie bites, raspberries or shaved milk chocolate.

Order online at or at local stores, including those at Fashion Island, 941 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, or 7811 Edinger Ave. Suite 116, Huntington Beach.

Simply stated

Stop by Golden West College Theater’s production of A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Love Letters” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, 11 and 12, or 2 p.m. Feb 13, at 15744 Golden West Street, Huntington Beach, to get a glimpse into the lives of two soulmates through the letters they exchanged over the course of several decades.

Two actors read the letters aloud. Each performance is directed and acted by a different student or faculty director and duo of actors.

Tickets are $7 general admission or $5 for students and seniors.

Where opposites attract

There’s something for everybody in Rustica’s Valentine’s five-course tasting menu, which will be available Feb. 11 to 14 for $55 per guest, with optional wine pairings at $40 per guest. Choose from course selections like “Hot or Cold” — hot poached coastal oyster in white wine, or cold Cambridge House smoked salmon — or “Dry or Wet” — a dry 6-ounce petite filet or wet beer-braised Kobe short ribs.

For more information and reservations, call (949) 706-8282 or visit

A night to remember

For a local escape, try the Balboa Bay Club & Resort’s Valentine’s Romance Package, starting at $295 per night. The package includes accommodations, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, a $50 resort credit, breakfast in your guest room or in the First Cabin Restaurant, and complimentary valet parking.

If you just want to dine in the restaurant, a three-course prix fixe menu will be available the evening of Feb. 11, 12 and 13 for $59 per person, and a five-course prix fixe menu will be available for $75 per person the night of Feb. 14.

For more information or reservations, call the restaurant at (949) 630-4145 or the resort at (949) 645-5000, or visit

Future dreams

If you can’t escape for Valentine’s Day weekend but want to present an upcoming plan, consider this special offer from By using promotion code BBVDAY at checkout when you make a gift card purchase of $300 or more, you’ll receive a free $50 gift card, $50 off a future online reservation, and a free Godiva truffle assortment with heart charm.

The offer ends Feb. 14, and the gift card is valid at more than 4,000 bed & breakfasts and inns throughout the United States and Canada, with no expiration or blackout dates. You can even upload your own photo to be printed on the gift card, to present to your intended.

Oh, fudge!

Five Crowns, 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, is appealing to area sweet tooths with its four-day Valentine’s weekend celebration, Friday through Monday.

Two people will enjoy a three-course, prix fixe dinner plus a jar of the restaurant’s famous C.C. Brown’s Fudge for $99 per couple, including tax and tip. Menu options include starters like sherry-laced lobster bisque, entrées like a slow-roasted standing rib roast, and a chocolate sweetheart cake dessert.

For more information and reservations, call (949) 760-0331 or visit

Relive the magic

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 455 Newport Center Drive in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, is offering its $25 Valentine Card good toward a future visit when you enjoy a meal during the four-day Valentine’s Day weekend. Office mates will enjoy the stellar “5 for $6 till 7” weekday bar menu, which now includes Guinness in addition to lots of other bites and beverages.

On a diet? Consider the new 99-calorie Tickled Pink cocktail, with Belvedere vodka and Prosecco wine.

Cheap and cheerful

For a beautiful meal on a budget, consider Mimi’s Café’s three-course Valentine’s menu, served from Feb. 10 to 16, where dinner for two is $25.99. Start with a spinach and artichoke dip to share, or each guest can choose from a list of soups and salads.

Dinner entrées include citrus glazed mahi mahi; artichoke asiago chicken spaghettini; beef Bourguignon; or Santa Fe shrimp and chicken fettuccine. Desserts to share include warm chocolate croissant bread pudding with chocolate and whiskey sauces; key lime cheesecake bars; or a triple chocolate brownie.

The closest restaurant is at 1835 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa. Visit

Something sultry

For a memorable gift-buying experience, bring your sweetie or come alone to La Perla’s Veuve Clicquot Valentine’s Day Shopping Event from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 10. Select a gift or two from the incredible Italian lingerie house while sipping a glass of equally incredible champagne, and receive a bottle of La Perla’s new body cream, J’aime, with purchase.

To reserve a spot or for more information, call (714) 754-7500.

A gourmand’s paradise

For a lovely five-course option on Valentine’s Day, head down to 1464 S. Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach to try French 75’s $95 five-course menu, which includes an amuse-bouche of roasted heirloom beets with Humboldt Fog goat cheese, hazelnut powder and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

After that, you take the helm to select from a huge variety of course options like a first course of freshly shucked Kumamoto oysters, an entrée of Maine lobster Thermidor; and desserts like a Callebaut chocolate soufflé.

Very few openings remain for Feb. 14 at this ultra-romantic restaurant, so book quickly. Visit