Where to Land on V-Day
Looking for a place to entertain your valentine? No need to look beyond these hot-blooded spots in Arroyoland.
By Bradley Tuck 02/01/2013
Saint Valentine has a lot to answer for, along with his cohort, Cupid. When we’ve barely recovered from the assaults of the holidays and are feeling our fattest from seasonal gluttony, along comes a fixation on love and romance that forgives not the size of the muffin top peering over our waistbands. Oh, Valentine’s Day. Do we embrace you, ignore you or just grin and bear it? One man’s romance is another man’s Thomas Kincaid painting. So we’ve put together a few suggestions to help you celebrate the season of love with a significant other, a friend or just yourself. Enjoy. We’ll be swallowing our feelings in front of the TV.
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Let’s face it, almost any garden awash with flowers and foliage is going to foster whatever romantic notion you may have lurking within. But the Arboretum is exceptional. The Queen Anne Cottage is a confection of Victorian architecture so beautifully framed by weeping willows, reflected in its lakeside setting, it’s almost too chocolate box. Punctuating the garden landscape are the spectacular trumpet trees. Blooming at the end of January, the peppering of Tabebuia impetiginosa outdoes anything in the landscape as the trees explode with hot pink blossoms until March. Even the resident peacocks look a little drab in comparison.
The L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Call (626) 821-3222 or visit arboretum.org.
Fiore Market Cafe
Ask people to name their idea of a romantic destination and chances are they’ll say Paris or Italy. Well, we’re in Pasadena right now, and maybe you can’t just whizz over to Capri, but you can head to Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena, where you will find the Fiore Market Cafe. Owned by hardcore Italophiles Anne and Bill Disselhorst, Fiore is a tiny café made up of one small room complemented by a lovely outdoor patio. There’s a rose-draped archway, olive trees in old wine barrels and a charming vegetable garden right next to you as you munch on lovely, simple rustic fare. For an afternoon date with the apple of your eye, it’s pretty hard to beat.
The Fiore Market Cafe is located at 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Call (626) 441-2280 or visit fioremarketcafe.com.
A Walk in the Wild
Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year. If you can get the day off and indulge in a glorious escape to the wild, you could do worse than a hike to Hermit Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s not for the infirm, as it involves a good long walk with some changes in elevation. But you’ll be rewarded with shaded glens, babbling brooks and stunning mountain scenery, capped with a gloriously beautiful waterfall. If you’re planning to propose to somebody this might be the place. Just don’t drop the ring. This website has good directions: hikespeak.com/trails/hermit-falls/
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Remember the opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where the gloriously beautiful Audrey Hepburn munches a croissant from a paper bag while pondering the baubles in the window of the legendary jewelry store? Well, if you’re single and feel like a little romance, pop into The Market on Holly, pick up one of their seriously wonderful almond croissants and a coffee to go, and walk over to Tiffany’s on Colorado. Then buy yourself a tiny trinket. Something to remind you, for the rest of the year, how much you love yourself. Because as Oscar Wilde said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Tiffany’s is located at 68 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. The Market on Holly is at 57 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Call (626) 844-8811 or visit themarketonholly.com.
Like some of our most enduring loves — not much to look at on the outside, but lovely on the inside —Eagle Rock’s Café Beaujolais is almost a cartoon of the perfect Parisian bistro. A menu of French classics, like escargots, and a wine list that clatters with château this, domaine that. Chandeliers, candlelight and French waiters who greet les dames with “mademoiselle” all add up to a one-night trip to Paris via the 134.
Café Beaujolais is located at 1712 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles. Call (323) 255-5111.
Norton Simon Museum
In love, it’s important to discover what nestles between the ears of a prospective partner. Intelligence and an appreciation for art is sexy. Pablo Picasso was no looker but he definitely had a way with the ladies, fathering four children with three women, while keeping a succession of mistresses. Whilst we wouldn’t advocate such wanton lasciviousness, we’d certainly encourage a stroll around the Norton Simon with a suitor. It’s small, with an
impeccably curated collection of important art. The Sculpture Garden designed by Nancy Goslee Power is inspired by Monet’s garden at Giverny, and it’s impossible to wander through — hand in hand, of course — without becoming a little breathless over the collection, which includes works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Richard Serra and Dame Barbara Hepworth.
The Norton Simon is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 449-6840 or visit nortonsimon.org.