Whether you're looking to share a romantic meal with someone special or celebrate with family and friends, restaurants are ready with special menus for Feb. 14. Some restaurants are extending their Valentine's Day menus over the weekend, in case you want to try more than one. There's always room for more love (and dessert!). Here's a shout out and some love to the talented chefs who have created such a beautiful array of culinary offerings that capture the spirit of love and the season. Hurry and make your reservations!
Ray's & Stark Bar
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
On Valentine's Day from 5 to 10 p.m., Executive Chef Kris Morningstar is offering special three and four-course dinners (including dessert) at Ray's at LACMA. Highlights from the menu include: Vegetable Roulade with treviso, spinach, King Richard leeks, duxelle, butternut squash veloute, wild mushrooms and roasted shallots; Big Eye Tuna, sashimi, watermelon radish, caramelized caper powder and teenie mustard greens drizzled with a horseradish vinaigrette; Heart Raviolo, a beet pasta filled with ricotta cheese and egg yolk in a blood orange-brown butter sauce and topped with Sicilian almonds; and Rosewater Soup, a blood orange parfait in rose wine, with a pistachio tuille. (Many of the herbs come straight from the chef's garden, just outside the restaurant.) Arrive early and enjoy wandering through the latest exhibits at LACMA. Don't miss walking under the Levitated Mass.
742 N Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Rock out this Valentine's Day at Susan Feniger's STREET with a four-course 80's Mixed Tape Menu. Guests will choose from a playlist of tasty delights, including Cyndi Lobster, lobster potstickers with Szechuan sauce and Chinese mustard; U2na Tartar, sliced ono sashimi, Asian pear, radish sprout, umeboshi plum sauce; and Soy George, English-style pot pie with roasted vegetables and seared tofu. Be sure to get the Violet Femmes "Why Can't I Get" dessert of lemon hazelnut baklava with candied violet ice cream. Vegan options are included, but the mixed tape is not.
1418 Descanso Drive
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
Take romance to a whole new level at Descanso Gardens, one of Southern California's most stunning botanical displays. Instead of just buying your love a bouquet of flowers, you can walk hand-in-hand through dozens of seasonal floral displays, enjoying a myriad of colors and sweet scents. Admission is FREE on Valentine's Day and a special dinner is being offered at the Boddy House at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Three scrumptious courses include a Warm Mushroom and Herb Salad with baby Lola Rosa and green oak, bacon lardons and truffle honey vinaigrette; a Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon with hon shimiji and mitake mushrooms, pickled cippollini onions, ponzu dashi broth and wakame; and a delightful dessert of Strawberries & Cream, a strawberry pistachio tart, yogurt cream, dehydrated raspberries and rose water meringue in a strawberry consommé with micro basil.
395 Santa Monica Place, Ste 333
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Raw food restaurant, M.A.K.E by Matthew Kenney is giving lovebirds heart-healthy options to celebrate this Valentine's Day. The adventurous epicurean couple will enjoy this unique raw dining experience at M.A.K.E., where renowned, award-winning chef/owner Matthew Kenney highlights the region's abundant local produce, along with more exotic ingredients. The Valentine's Day menu will be available for three days -- Feb. 14 through 16. A delightful Beet Tartar with truffle cream and a pistachio crunch starts off this innovative meal. Next comes Market Spicy Greens with sweet fennel, pomegranate and a white chocolate balsamic. The main event is a beautiful dish of King Oysters with celery root, blood orange and sea beans. Hawaiian Vanilla Gelato with cherries, chocolate and star anise completes this divine culinary experience. Couples can explore the preparation of raw foods further by enrolling in the Matthew Kenney Culinary School for Weekend Intensive classes.
FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place
8490 Melrose Place
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Francophiles can journey to the South of France with Riviera-inspired cuisine at FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place where Executive Chef Pascal Lorange is serving a three course prix-fixe menu of Provençal flavors. To begin with, each diner will receive a complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Starters on the menu include Beef Carpaccio with 18-year balsamic vinegar and ½ Dozen Oysters on the half shell, followed by entrées such as Roasted Rack of Lamb and Organic Seared Salmon. End your meal with a rich and indulgent Valrhona Chocolate Brownie. On your way out, purchase a special gift that says "O LIVE YOU" in a heart-healthy way – a bottle of high-quality, extra virgin olive oil from FIG & OLIVE -- there's more than 30 exclusive varietals.
9575 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Chef Ricardo Zarate's Peruvian cantina, Picca, invites couples to 'picca' or nibble, smile, and be treated to a six-course, prix-fixe menu, which includes one glass of cava. Guests can enjoy signature dishes like Chupe de Concha with fennel and aji amarillo; Maracuya Pisco Sour Shooters; and Pescado Frito with "Cebolla Chino" potato and aji amarillo mushroom sauce. Dessert comes in the form of a decadent Chocolate Souffle with dark chocolate, pisco strawberry reduction, and vanilla ice cream. Wine pairings are also available.
Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant
321 North Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
In honor of cupid's holiday, Executive Chef Giselle Wellman is presenting a five-course menu at Petrossian. Menu highlights include their signature dish Egg Royale, featuring a 90-year-old house caviar, soft scrambled egg, and vodka whipped cream; Prime Tenderloin with bone marrow butter, sweet onion jam, Weiser Farm rosemary potatoes, and beef jus; and Chocolate Pot au Creme with hazelnut, sea salt, caramel, and toffee.
Stop by their specialty foods boutique and take home some caviar, chocolate, and champagne. Try the new Caviar Powder or Caviarcream that captures the luxurious taste of caviar in a subtle manner. Be sweet and your honey will love the new liquid gold aphrodisiac from Australia, Gold Leaf Honey. Shimmering flecks of edible 23-carat gold leaf were added to the honey, which comes in a tall, slim and graceful bottle.
The Strand House
117 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Capture the romance at South Bay's leading culinary destination, The Strand House. This Valentine's Day, Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky and celebrated Creative Consulting Chef Neal Fraser, present a five-course, prix-fixe menu, highlighting their Modern Heirloom cuisine and the freshest seasonal ingredients from farmers' markets. With the panoramic Pacific Ocean views setting the scene, begin with a rose champagne toast before diving into the menu. Highlights include Ricotta Cheese Panna Cotta with roasted heirloom beets, upland cress and a black truffle vinaigrette; Nantucket Bay Scallops with orecchiette nero, chanterelle, broccoli de cicco and bread crumbs; and a New Zealand John Dory with fennel puree, braised endive and blood orange nage. For dessert, try the refreshingly tart and sweet Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake with cranberry coulis, white chocolate and lavender. For more romance, head downstairs to the Strand Bar for specialty cocktails and music.
9433 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Macrobiotic eatery, M Café has created a special "Taste the Love" dessert menu for guilt-free indulgence this Valentine's Day. Through Feb. 15, you'll find sweet confections to share with your sweetheart with no refined sugar, dairy, or eggs. On the menu are the following: Heart-shaped Strawberry Shortcake for Two, Chocolate Petit Fours, Heart-shaped Chocolate Chip Cookies, Linzer Heart Cookies, Valentine's Day Strawberry Cupcakes and Strawberry Kanten. M Café will also be offering their regular menu to balance out your sweet tooth with signature dishes such as Bi Bim Bop or the Macro Burger.
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
For those without dietary restrictions, nothing quite captures the season of love more than sweet treats from Magnolia Bakery. This year their swoon-worthy repertoire of Valentine's Day treats includes: Sweet Sayings Cupcakes, a sinfully rich devil's food cupcake, topped with chocolate ganache and a sweet saying on top; Magnolia's famous Red Velvet Cupcakes made with red cocoa and topped with a whipped vanilla icing; Chocolate Whoopie Cookies, pale pink vanilla buttercream sandwiched between two rich chocolate wafer cookies; and The Love Note Box, six utterly charming classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream that spell out L-O-V-E. Now it's up to you to spell out your love in whichever way you choose.
Liz Laing is a writer, web designer and photographer who lives in Los Angeles. Her latest projects may be followed on Liz Laing.
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