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Valentine’s Day ideas bloom in LA

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By Bennett Horne

The hours are counting down to Valentine’s Day, which means couples may spend the next day or two frantically scrambling to come up with the perfect way to celebrate the romantic day.

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Here’s one suggestion: jousting. Or how about singing amorous songs? Or maybe even a good, old poetry competition?

That’s evidently how the special day started out. According to “Debate of the Romance of the Rose,” by David F. Hult, the earliest description of Feb. 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love.

The charter, allegedly issued by Charles VI of France at Mantes-la-Jolie in 1400, describes lavish festivities to be attended by several members of the royal court. Those festivities included a feast, amorous songs, poetry competitions, jousting and dancing.

Sprinkled amidst the festivities was a process in which the attending ladies would hear and rule on disputes from lovers.

This may not be advisable. Perhaps keeping the day’s celebrations in the happy, feel-good theme would be best.
But details of the first celebration get a little sketchy at that point. Evidently there are no other records of the court’s existence, and none of those named in the charter were present at Mantes except Charles’ queen, Isabeau of Bavaria.

Truth be told, the account said the queen may well have imagined it all while waiting out a plague, which, by the way, doesn’t clear one to feign sickness in order to get out of making Valentine’s Day 2018 just as outstanding as Court of Love 1400.

So for those who can’t joust or string together two lines of rhyme, here are a few ideas.

Flowers are always nice. So is pizza. Combine the two and the result could be a night of epic proportions.

“Roses are traditional. That’s the No. 1 flower for Valentine’s Day,” said Gillian Sutton of Flowers by Gillian in the Hilltop Shopping Center. “But all flowers are fun. They say you care. They’re fresh and clean and put a smile on most everyone’s face.”

And next door to Sutton’s shop is Papa Murphy’s Pizza, where customers can pick up a special take-home-and-bake pizza for the special day.

“You can do one-stop local shopping by stopping at the Hilltop Shopping Center,” said Sutton. “Buy flowers at Flowers by Gillian, then go next door to Papa Murphy’s to get one of their heart-shaped pizzas. So in one easy stop you could get dinner and flowers on your way home.”

For those who enjoy eating out on Valentine’s Day there are plenty of restaurants offering special menus that night.

Cottonwood On The Greens is offering a choice of entrees between herb-roasted premium Cornish hen, roasted whole trout or a seafood delight of lobster tail, crab legs, scallops and shrimp.

The Pig and Fig Café is featuring a five-plate Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner with everything from baby endive to thyme-poached shrimp, port-braised beef short ribs, lavender-infused goat cheese and a flourless chocolate torte, as well as wine selections that complement each plate.

The Valentine’s Day menu at Pajarito Brewpub and Grill features a Catch of the Day of crab-crusted ruby trout with velvet corn sauce and almond rice, artichoke, sundried tomato and fennel with an entrée of slow roasted prime rib with horseradish cream, mashed potatoes and green beans.

And Pasta Paradiso’s Valentine’s Day menu features items such as grilled lamb rack, stuffed quail and rose salmon.
While eating a nice meal may be a form of pampering for some, for others it may be a trip to the spa.

There are Valentine’s Day options for those, as well.

Hilltop Spa is offering a one-hour massage or facial for $80 and a one-hour manicure or pedicure for $40. Both are paired with a gift of gourmet chocolates and a bottle of champagne.

Divine Tranquility Massage is offering a 60-90-minute massage, a 24k gold facial mask or under eye mask and bath bombs and for men a candy and shower kit.

The massage can be paired with a Himalayan salt lamp.

While this is not a comprehensive list of Valentine’s Day offerings in the area, it may provide better options for those who aren’t into dancing and singing amorous songs.