New, Now, Next: Valentine’s Day Edition 2023
Paris en Rose debuts at Del Mar Plaza, Cardellino and Omni La Costa Resort & Spa offer romantic experiences, and Lavender & Olive presents a new wedding venue in Ramona
What could be sweeter than pastries, buttery croissants, and fresh baguettes from Paris en Rose, a French bakery now open on the ocean-view deck at Del Mar Plaza? This is owner-baker Annie Benaroch’s second location; the first is Parisienne Gourmandises, located inside La Jolla’s Floral Palette. Pastries include chocolate royale, éclairs Parisiens, lemon meringue tarts, pistachio bombs, and more. Benaroch also imports sweets from France including marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), Maxim’s de Paris chocolates, and petits sablés, small shortbread cookies to dip in your café. Mais oui! Andrea Naversen
Couples looking for Valentine’s Day double-date options will find multiple levels of amore at Cardellino. After two years as an all-day eatery, Trust Restaurant Group’s Mission Hills spot has been transformed into an Italian chophouse complete with an elaborate Tuscan Experience ($375 for two to four diners) allowing chef-owner Brad Wise to share dishes he’s particularly fond of at that moment. Doled out family-style over four courses, these experiential meals kick off with taste bud awakeners like a warm sourdough boule and prosciutto di San Danielle sliced bible page-thin, followed by antipasti ranging from ahi crudo with salty, citrusy tonnato and crispy noodles or lamb lollipops sporting salsa verde and coal-fired smolder. That deep, dark essence is a highlight of Cardellino’s steaks, including a 38-ounce bistecca Fiorentina delivered carved on the bone with one of several homey yet elevated pastas (rigatoni with Calabrian chili-spiced vodka sauce) and contorni such as Escondido-sourced Tuscan beans and cacio e pepe with Burgundy black truffle. Tiramisu cheesecake and affogato are anything but sweet nothings thanks to espresso elements (gelato and pour-over, respectively) and fitting endnotes to a romantic dinner or a Gal-entine’s night out, in which case house cocktails or the optional wine pairing are absolute musts! Brandon Hernández
This month, book Omni La Costa Resort & Spa’s Massage Experience for Two, which includes a breath ritual of lotus and rose essential oils, and a gentle spine massage with a kansa wand, a tool with a long history in Ayurvedic tradition. Relax with a full body massage using essential oils that include earthy vetiver, soothing sandalwood, and sensuous ylang ylang.
But, who says Valentine’s is just for couples? The resort has teamed up with the health and wellness experts at Best Life-ing for a guided weekend retreat from February 17-18 to help singles feel renewed and inspired. Check in on Friday afternoon for a therapeutic weekend of healing workshops, healthy meals, yoga, and much more. Check out on Sunday feeling like a new you! Andrea Naversen
The proposal is sealed. And then? The wedding planning, of course! Enter Lavender & Olive, a wedding and event venue located in the picturesque hills of Ramona. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Robin and Carolyn Hoffos, Lavender & Olive includes a ranch house complete with a bridal suite and an adjacent building for the groom, a 16,000-square-foot patio for up to 225 guests, a tree-lined patio terrace, and a vintage horse trailer converted into a bar. Of note, the Hoffoses recently launched “Petite Productions,” offering couples the wedding of their dreams without all the excess. “We created Petite Productions to make the magic of our venue available to all couples, regardless of time or financial constraints,” says Carolyn. To book a Petite Production, couples select a ceremony time and can stay for just their service, or the whole day. Following the wedding ceremony in a stately grove site with an officiant and photographer supplied, the wedding party and their eight guests move to the beautiful outdoor reception area to celebrate among other happy couples and their families. Each party receives their own table for ten with champagne for toasting and the option to pre-order additional drinks as well as food, and the reception area boasts a DJ and a photographer. “Memories live forever, and we want to help couples make the best ones,” adds Carolyn. Mia Park