The menfolk’s idea of romance

Beer and chocolate means everybody’s happy

Truffle-making at the Chuao Chocolatier Joy Factory
  • Truffle-making at the Chuao Chocolatier Joy Factory

The gals and I want to stretch Valentine’s out this year. We may even let our husbands come along.

Oceanside Parks Department presents a Ferris Wheel at the beach February 10 and 11 from 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. Treat yourself and your sweet baby to spectacular views of the coastline, just $5 per person. Or ride in style in a horse and carriage near the wheel, noon–5 p.m., same days, same price. Afterward, we could maybe get our feet under us and into the mix at the Oceanside Museum of Art’s (760-435-3720) Tango at the Museum event on February 10. (Sing along with Miss Jackson: “Now it seems your dancing feet are always on my couch…”) Gather at 6 p.m. in the museum lobby for an hour of wine and snacks, then ease into an hour of dance instruction — following in the instructor’s footsteps as he walks you through. The instructor takes it up to full speed for a demonstration, and then it’s dance, dance, dance, (or practice, anyway) until 9 p.m. (The instructor will stay on the scene in case of any missteps.) Nicer dress and smooth-bottom shoes recommended. Price is $30 for visitors, $25 for museum members.

Horse-and-carriage rides in Oceanside

Horse-and-carriage rides in Oceanside

That’s Saturday. Sunday afternoon, we’ll journey south to Ocean Beach for Kilowatt Brewing’s (619-255-9775) beer-and-chocolate pairing from 1–3 p.m. (This is the menfolk’s idea of romance: beer and chocolate means everybody’s happy.) They’ll be serving Andrea’s Truffles paired with their small-batch beers. For $18 you get four, four-ounce pours and four truffles. (Buy tickets in advance.)

So much for the weekend. On to the Tuesday pre-game. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but chocolate is cheaper. The Chuao Chocolatier Joy Factory in Carlsbad (760-476-0197) is offering $60 guided tours on Feburary 13 and 14 at 5 p.m. The tour’s theme is truffles and will involve both history and hands-on lessons in truffle rolling. (You can eat what you make or take it home, along with your complimentary rose and signature chocolate bar.) Due to health regulations, attendees must wear flat, closed-toe shoes, but that’s okay — the heels can wait until Wednesday.

And so we come to the holiday proper. Keeping with the chocolate theme, the girls and I will enroll in the Chocoholic Class at Sur La Table in Carlsbad (760-635-1316) on February 14 from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. For $75 a person, we’ll get hands-on training in the baking, filling, and rolling of cakes, plus gelato. In particular: chocolate hazelnut cake rolls, white chocolate gelato with a pistachio and cream swirl, and flourless chocolate almond cake.

I have limits when it comes to chocolate. My friends, maybe not. So they’re arguing for Valentine’s Day dinner at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant in La Jolla (858-638-1700), or maybe the Gaslamp. Because chocolate. The set menu price ($86.95 or $79.95, depending on entrée) includes a champagne toast and a gift bag, but more importantly, it includes some portion of the 400,000 pounds of chocolate that will get melted that day nationwide. Menu is five courses of fondue, as well as a snow crab starter and a salad, maybe spinach with strawberries and pecans in a lemon-poppyseed dressing. Entrées include surf ’n’ turf or pasta options, and we finish with three types of chocolate fondue, melty goodness like milk chocolate swirled with Frangelico or dark chocolate laced with passionfruit.

Myself, I’m leaning toward the Valentine’s Day Romantic Tour and Garden Picnic at the San Diego Museum of Art (619-232-7931). It’s a love-themed tour of the museum’s more romantic artworks, held after-hours on February 14. (Tours run every 30 minutes, starting at 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.) Afterward, we can strike a pose of our own by reclining in the S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden and dipping into a gourmet picnic basket for two. Start with cheese and crackers (and wine!), move on to a variety of sandwiches (hummus and roasted veggie with sunflower seeds and greens, roast beef and provolone with roasted peppers, etc.), and finish with gourmet cookies. Cost is $125 per couple, $110 if you’re museum members.

And to finish? David Patrone adds modern panache to jazz standards at the Abbey on Fifth (619-686-8700), February 14th from 8–10 p.m. Tickets run $65–$95 and include bottomless champagne, sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres, and desserts — all at our own private table.

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