Del Frisco’s Grille
Del Frisco’s Grille in Pasadena has rounded up the very best of its dinner menu for a special Valentine’s Day version for lovebirds to enjoy. To start, they are offering their cheesesteak egg rolls ($15), made with sweet and spicy chili sauce and honey, ahi tacos ($18), and artichoke beignets ($15), made with fontina, parmesan and sweet basil dressing, amongst other delicacies. The Grille Salad ($9) made the list alongside their sweet corn bisque ($9), although a celebration calls for steak and that’s just what Del Frisco’s is best known for. Their entrees feature their bone-in filet ($59), filet mignon ($41), as well as a prime beef short rib stroganoff ($33) served with pappardelle noodles, sour cream and tobacco onions. Steak and pasta — need I say more? On the curated menu are two Valentine’s Day signatures only available on Feb. 14: Forty-five day dry-aged prime strip ($68), and broiled twin lobster tails with miso butter ($68). Del Frisco’s sides and six beloved desserts round out the menu, showing us that sometimes, even on special occasions, more is more.
For those who want a complete package for dinner and even a surprise to take home, Fleming’s can’t be beat. Located on the corner of Marengo Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, the steakhouse is serving a special three-course prix fixe menu for $75 from Feb. 7-14. This includes a caviar amuse-bouche and a choice of mushroom bisque or beet salad made with red onion, pistachios, Campari tomatoes, goat cheese, and a honey-lime vinaigrette to start. The main course is filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms, paired with a choice of colossal shrimp or North Atlantic lobster tail for an additional $20. Every course on the menu can be paired with suggested wine pairings listed, and a white chocolate bread pudding tops the meal off. Celebrating big? Don’t have time to shop? Fleming’s is also offering a “Wine, Dine, and Sparkle” package which includes a three-course menu for two, a bottle of champagne, and a gift from a luxury Fifth Avenue jeweler, selected by the couple. This sparkly package ranges from $350 to $1,000.
The Oak and Vine
If a quiet, lavish dinner isn’t your cup of tea, The Oak and Vine has a solution: the perfect cocktail and live music for a cozy date night. Located across the street from The Americana in Glendale, this bar and kitchen hits all the marks for an intimate, yet fun night. A build your own cheese and charcuterie board (what dreams are made of), delicious shared plates like grilled peppers stuffed with prosciutto and provolone ($8), grilled chicken sausage with Dijon aioli ($10), traditional mac and cheese with gouda ($12), and a smoked salmon crostini ($10). Oak and Vine also offers a small but mighty menu of entrees featuring salads ($12-$14), sandwiches ($12-$14), and pizzas ($10-$16). The cocktails all look amazing, but I’d recommend the Playa Rosa ($12) made with mezcal, chareu, grapefruit sherbet and lemon or the Breakfast of Champions ($13), made with Maker’s Mark and infused with maple and cinnamon, macadamia nut liqueur and walnut bitters. Above all else, the best part about Oak and Vine is their happy hour every day from 5-8 p.m. offering of more than 10 different food options, with live music upstairs. It’s the ideal environment for Valentine’s Day, or any date night for that matter.
Perhaps you and your partner prefer night life, or maybe you’re celebrating with friends and avoiding the romantic love fest that is Valentine’s Day. Either way, The Mixx is the perfect spot for a night out. With comfortable seats and tables to dine, as well as a large, beautifully lit bar, there’s room for everyone to feel welcome. They have live music several nights out of the week, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Singer Marv Robinson will be performing, and the The Mixx is featuring a special four-course dinner with a champagne toast and a rose stem for all the ladies for $65 a person. One thing is guaranteed at The Mixx, and that is their guests will have a good time.
A hidden gem I discovered recently is Pinocchio’s Pizza on North Lake Avenue in Pasadena. While not a bar or cocktail lounge, it’s a great place for couples to dine without breaking the bank. The Italian restaurant is lined with large, low booths in the center of the room closest to the bar area and offers happy hour every day from 3-6 p.m., and then all night in the bar from 6 p.m. to close. It’s almost too good to be true. Food on the happy hour menu is all under $7 and serves a 10-inch cheese pizza ($6.50), bruschetta ($5), and bacon mac and cheese ($6.50), to name a few. Beer is $4 off all pitchers. They serve $4 house red and white wines, and a $5 margarita and $4 sangria. For the main course, Pinocchio’s offers over 10 different unique pizza flavors, in personal, small, medium and large sizes. The Mexicali ($11.99-$20.99) is a colorful assortment of grilled chicken, corn, tomatoes, onions, bacon, avocado, topped with chipotle sauce and cilantro. My personal favorite dish is the chicken spinach lasagna ($11.49) made with a white sauce, and of course, layers and layers of pasta.
Edwin Mills by Equator
Alas, while Valentine’s Day dinners are all the rage and love-struck men and women do what they can to nab last-minute reservations, not everyone can or even want to celebrate for dinner. I, for one, am all for breakfast, especially if that means avoiding some of the large crowds and reservation hoopla by postponing the celebrations for the weekend. Edwin Mills by Equator is the perfect hideaway on Mills Place, close to Colorado Boulevard. While Edwin Mills does have amazing food, the overall experience at their weekend brunch is unparalleled. They offer bottomless mimosas for $15, or for $18 guests can try their unique flavors like pomegranate strawberry, strawberry lemonade, apple and lychee. Their menu offers a wide range of options for everyone including their take on steak and eggs ($16), buttermilk pancakes ($11), and shakshuka eggs ($13) baked in a spicy tomato sauce with feta cheese and sourdough. An old school breakfast plate ($11) and braised short rib chilaquiles ($15) all satisfy anyone’s cravings for a celebratory, boozy brunch.
For another amazing breakfast experience, look no further than Colette in Sierra Madre, off of Michillinda Avenue. The quaint breakfast eatery sold me on photos alone, like every other active Yelp user, and it also happens to be an ideal location for a casual Valentine’s brunch. They have a large outdoor patio and, with the obscene amount of rain we’ve experienced by Southern California’s standards, that is where you’ll find me basking in the sun next weekend. Colette boasts an egg omelette with hash browns and choice of ingredients ($14), and egg Benedict ($13), veggie Benedict ($15), bacon and egg sandwich ($13), and, of course, avocado toast ($14) served with poached eggs, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, on rye. Salads, sandwiches and burgers can also be ordered on their brunch menu, and they serve espresso and Americanos ($3), cappuccinos and lattes ($4), and drop coffee ($2).
Del Frisco’s Grille
55 S. Lake Ave. Ste 150, Pasadena
179 E. Colorado Blvd,, Pasadena
The Oak and Vine
117 E. Harvard St., Glendale
443 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
1449 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena
Edwin Mills by Equator
Mill Place, Pasadena
975 N. Michillinda Ave., Pasadena