Retail Therapy: Yogurt Day freebies; free SAT practice session

Brain free(ze): Local frozen yogurt chains are honoring National Frozen Yogurt Day on Thursday with a variety of freebie promotions. Enjoy for free 6 ounces of Menchie's frozen yogurt and toppings when you "Like" Menchie's on Facebook and print the coupon that appears. Area Menchie's locations include 21109 Newport Coast Drive, Suite 21111, Newport Beach; 15333 Culver Drive, Suite 360, Irvine; and 19694 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach. Information: If you want to double-dip, "Like" your local Pinkberry location on Facebook and show your "Like" in the store from 3 to 7 p.m. to enjoy a free small yogurt with toppings. Local stores include Fashion Island, 941 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach; and The District, 2883 Park Ave., Tustin. Information:

Easy A: High school students planning to take the SAT are invited to a free practice test at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the central branch of the Newport Beach Public Library, 1000 Avocado Ave. Plan to spend about four hours at the session; results will be emailed within two weeks. Advance registration is required at

Cupid's bounty: Fear not, fair lovers. We've compiled options for Valentine's Day that range from bargain to luxe, whatever your intended's predilections.

For the home chef: Join chef Andrew Gruel of Huntington Beach's popular Slapfish Restaurant for a $20-per-person chance to learn his seafood recipes and understand seasonable and sustainable cuisine. Meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Newport Beach Public Library's central branch, 1000 Avocado Ave. Register at

For the orchid-obsessed: Stop by the Westminster Mall from Friday through Sunday to see the Newport Harbor Orchid Society's 13th annual orchid expo, "Orchid Paradise." Enjoy thousands of orchids, some rare, from more than 20 nurseries, as well as displays by local hobbyists, in the largest winter orchid show in Southern California. Repotting workshops are slated for 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A $5 fee includes supplies and an orchid to take home. Information:

For the Thin Mint fanatic: Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is bringing back its popular Girl Scout Thin Mint Shake fundraiser from Feb. 17 to March 27, with $1 of each sale benefiting a local Girl Scout troop. Valentine's Day specials will also be offered from Feb. 14 to 17, including Sparkling Strawberry Sangria; shrimp and blue crab ravioli; Dijon mint-crusted rack of lamb; and a homemade strawberry cheesecake jar. The closest location is 13290 Jamboree Road, Irvine. For more locations, visit

For the would-be dancer: Family Dance Studios, 2980 McClintock Way, Unit C, Costa Mesa, offers 45-minute private social dance lessons for singles or couples for $25. The price is available at all times and is not tied to a promotional deal. Information: (949) 734-0437 or

For the red slipper lover: Purchase Feb. 14 tickets for Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz" at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and stop by Leatherby's Café Rouge beforehand for a $60 three-course meal from 5 to 6:45 p.m. (or a $90 nine-course chef's tasting menu at 9 p.m.). The three-course menu includes butternut squash risotto and diver scallop; steak and lobster Hollandaise, with truffle mashed potatoes and baby carrots; and a strawberries and cream dessert. The nine-course menu includes oysters, caviar, Kobe rib-eye cap, prime beef short rib and more. Information: (714) 729-7640 or

For the foodie: Charlie Palmer's six-course, $115-per-person prix-fixe dinner will be served from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 14. It includes an oyster amuse bouche; Alaskan king crab salad; black truffle brandade; roasted eggplant ravioli; cocoa-dusted rack of lamb with Beluga lentils, caramelized baby vegetables and morel mushrooms; and rhubarb custard for two. A wine pairing is available for $55 per person. Information: (714) 352-2525 or

For the beach bum: The Deck, 627 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Laguna Beach, will host a three-course, a-la-carte menu from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 14, with live music by Jon Salazar. Reserve a Beachside Bubbly table in the front row with a sparkling wine or champagne purchase from the list at $45 or more. Each couple dining during the event will receive a box of sweets and a takeaway for a future visit. Information: (949) 494-6700 or

For the Francophile: Join Marché Moderne for a French-inspired "La Saint-Valentin 2014" four-course menu at $85 per person, including a truffle and Peekytoe crab meat remoulade amuse bouche; first-course options like pork belly, Shigoku oysters, artichoke salad, crudo yuzu and Nigori sake gelee, and diver scallop; main course choices like duck confit, prime New York steak and lobster potage; and a choice of orange blossom cake or chocolate soufflé. Information: (714) 434-7900.

For the AmEx: The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 Pelican Hill Road S., Newport Coast, is offering a variety of romantic getaway options, from a Chardonnay body butter massage and bath for two with sips and nibbles ($425 per couple Mondays through Thursdays, or $515 Fridays through Sundays); a $175-per-person culinary academy series on Thursday evenings with wine pairings, including a Feb. 13 "Dinner of the Senses" small-plate experience to be eaten with no utensils; the Feb. 20 "California Tasting Table" session, featuring winter meats and California wines; and the "Family of Foodies" class Feb. 27, with family friendly experiences. If you want the Dinner of the Senses to be served to you rather than taught, enjoy the seven-course meal on Feb. 14 in a private poolside cabana for $170 per person, or $210 per person with wine pairings. The resort also offers special themed menus Feb. 14 and 15 at its three restaurants. Information: (800) 820-6800 or

Have a hot sale tip, or know about a new local business that you think deserves a little attention? Contact CANDICE BAKER at

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