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Feel the Love: Valentine’s Day

Tue Feb 3, 2009

Trying to find a wedding venue has been like trying to decide what to eat for dinner when you’re too tired to cook and too hungry to decide. When the only coherent thoughts you have are about what you don’t want. I don’t want a hotel wedding. I don’t want to get married on the beach. And I definitely don’t want to get married at a ranch in the middle of a suburban industrial park with cars whizzing by on the freeway in the background. Yes the Victorian house on the property is beautiful. No, it’s not interesting enough for me to forget about the Self-Storage and the tile showroom I passed driving up to it.

I’m not as bitter about wedding planning as I was in my first post about the subject. I’m actually starting to enjoy it, thanks to my wedding planner, Emily, who has taken over all the research responsibilities. Now I can click on the myriad links she sends me leisurely. I can rule places out with a glance, and I don’t have to worry about hurting my mother’s feelings. And I can sit in my pajamas all day and flip through the stacks of wedding magazines my friend Suzy so thoughtfully lent me. None of this makes finding a location for both the ceremony and the reception that suits our budget any easier, however; it’s just less stressful.

But with most of my free time devoted to the business of getting married, and Neal hunkered down at his desk, working into the wee hours every night trying to finish a side project he took on months ago, I haven’t thought much about romance.

I’ve long had an aversion to Valentine’s Day. It was one of the few days that being single bothered me when I was, and it always felt cliché and unromantic when I wasn’t. But last year I fell off the anti-Valentine’s wagon lock, stock and chocolate-covered barrel. And this year I’m grateful that it’s coming up, if only that it’ll shake me out of my future-oriented daze and get me to pay some well-deserved attention to the man I love. While I’m working diligently to whip a mental recipe to make Neal melt like a box of Russell Stovers left in the sun, here are a couple of click-and-go treats from my quiver.


Recchiuti Confections
If your lover likes chocolate, these elegant, rich, subtly infused delights are a no-brainer. Using top-quality chocolate from Valrhona, El Rey, Scharffenberger and E. Guittard, Michael Recchiuti’s collection of sweets are like the cacao version of Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should Have Come Over”—they will bring you to your knees. My favorite was easily the Sur de Lago—extra bitter chocolate ganache resting on a Sur de Lago chocolate disk with crushed Sur de Lago nibs all covered in bittersweet chocolate. While decadent enough to make you want to tear your clothes off, it wasn’t too sweet and it had the most textural contrast of all the Recchiuti chocolates that I tried. The San Francisco chocolatier has special Valentine’s selections, but nearly anything from this house of chocolate would work. If you’re really looking to impress (or can’t decide), try one of Recchiuti’s Chocolate Clubs and fill the next three, six or 12 months with chocolaty bliss. Order online or check out their store at the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco.

Carmela Ice Cream
If you’re current relationship is hot and steamy, the last thing you’ll want to do is overheat before Valentine’s is over. Carmela Ice Cream’s cool, creamy confections will also quickly put the thaw on any anti-Valentine’s sentiments. Jessica has whipped up a Valentine’s assortment that includes a reprise of the ever-popular Rose Petal ice cream, which has a hint of rosewater and flecks of organic red roses. The sampler also includes Lavender Honey, made with organic lavender from Silver Lake Farms and local honey, Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean, which is exotic and earthy, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Cacao Nib, Spiced Strawberry Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet and Aztec Chocolate, a blend that includes Ceylon cinnamon, whole Madagascar vanilla beans and spicy Ancho and Chipotle chile peppers—the perfect way to reintroduce the heat after these frozen desserts. You can order Carmela’s ice creams online by February 9th or pick them up from one of the area farmers’ markets: Culver City, Silver Lake, South Pasadena or Hollywood.

Sugarbird Sweets

Sugarbird Sweets
Bring out the little kid in your sweetheart with handmade marshmallows and rosewater Rice Krispie treats from Sugarbird Sweets. Using gourmet fruit purees and fresh herbs from the garden or the farmers’ market, Kei takes the marshmallow to a whole new level. The strawberry heart marshmallows are intense, but to me the perfect Valentine’s flavor is passion fruit, which has a lovely tropical tang to it. Kei left her job working pastry at David Meyer’s Sona and now reserves her handiwork for these confections, currently available at the Carmela booth at the farmers’ market and from her Etsy site.

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6 Responses to “Feel the Love: Valentine’s Day”

  1. molly Says:

    love your suggestions for valentine’s day. i share your former aversion to v-day, but maybe buying a nice little sweet for stephen will snap me out of it.

  2. Food Woolf Says:

    Here’s to secretly (or not so secretly) celebrating Valentines day for the romance of it (not the commerce)! I have the same aversion to the holiday, but have recently started thinking that MAYBE I would feel much better about celebrating love and romance this year a week after Valentine’s day (my 5 year anniversary with my man)!

  3. Carrie Says:

    Leah! I found you by chance on Twitter, didn’t know you were there. Regarding Valentine’s Day, it’s always been a Hallmark holiday for me, maybe because I was single more often than not on that particular day. When I discovered that parents are giving their kids gifts and vice versa…. well, I decided to make a bit of a joke out of it. This year, I asked for a light for my BBQ grill so I can stop burning my dinner!

    Regarding your wedding, you will find something wonderful, no doubt. It sounds like you’re resisting cliche locations. I have a few thoughts if you’re interested 🙂

  4. Hélène Says:

    Just found you on Twitter and will follow you. My wedding was planned in a day since I only had 40 guests and we got married by the pool of an hotel. After we went to a Greek Restaurant for Dinner. I still have beautiful memories, 20 yrs later.

    For Valentine I like to make a beautiful Dinner at home. Don’t know what I will be making yet. And I love to receive handmande Chocolates. I should start giving hints to my husband.

    Hope you’ll have a great wedding. Can’t wait to read more about it.

  5. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Working in the service industry for so many years definitely made us have an aversion to Valentines Day. We worked every V-day and after serving the masses, it became the day of cliche appreciation for one another.
    Our motto is, “every day is Valentine’s day”. That in itself is cliche but hey, we’re celebrating every day. 365 days of love is better than one! 😉

    Hope you find the venue that makes you the happiest. You both deserve the best.

  6. Charlie Says:

    hello I am new to this ,But found this very useful. I will come back regularly.

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