.Isn’t life sweet? Valentine’s always makes me think about sweets, chocolate, candy, hearts, and even lingerie. But with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to start planning that romantic night with your special someone. If V-Day includes a romantic night with the one you love it better be good. Luckily, San Diego is full of incredible places to enjoy. Throughout that boring dinner date, do something different, sexy, or maybe dessert. And you will be crushing it with your crush.
Herb & Wood/Herb & Sea
Indulge in life’s sweet moments with Puffer Malarkey Collective, the restaurant group behind some of San Diego’s most successful and widely acclaimed restaurants, Herb & Wood, Herb & Sea and Animae. Using flavors inspired by seasonality that evoke a sense of nostalgia. The group’s Executive Pastry Chef, Laura Warren, leads a distinctive dessert program for each of the restaurants. Herb & Wood’s dessert menu highlights unique and refined dishes with a rustic and Mediterranean influence. Like the Blueberry Soufflé with fresh blueberry compote, lemon curd, mascarpone whip, lavender honey ice cream and Baklava with pistachio, walnut, almonds, apricot orange blossom sorbet.
At Herb & Sea Chef Laura’s creations include the beloved Butterscotch Budino, butterscotch pudding topped with a layer of salted caramel, a dollop of lavender cream, served with almond flour cookies, and the Ironsmith Coffee Semifreddo born of a partnership with neighboring Ironsmith Coffee Roasters. Herb & Sea showcases its deep love for all things coffee with the indulgent dessert, a frozen mousse infused with Ironsmith Coffee and topped with hazelnut praline, chocolate crumble and meringue. Elevated yet approachable and delicately handcrafted, the group’s elaborate dessert programs are sure to have guests savoring every bite.
Opening the doors to Italy by way of La Jolla, Marisi’s dessert program is equally as spectacular as their handmade pasta, woodfired dishes and meticulous beverage program customary to Italy. Simultaneously rich in taste and light in texture, the Milk Chocolate features Valrhona jivara namelaka, benedictine chantilly and black currant, emphasizing a nostalgic sweetness in every bite.
The silky Coffee & Cream with mascarpone panna cotta, devil’s food ganache, bavarian cream and coffee streusel is perfect for sharing and sure to transport guests to a cobblestone street outside of a cafe in Italy, and the Meyer Lemon with meyer lemon curd, salted pistachio, chamomile cream and farmers market fruit is the perfect accompaniment to Apollonia’s Limoncello, created over a 6-month process by suspending sorrento lemons above Everclear before being brought to proof with water and sugar. In addition to the dessert offerings, patrons are invited to conclude their Marisi experience with macchiatos, cappuccinos and lattes made from their customary coffee blend, or indulge in a selection of handpicked sweet wines.
Valentina, Leucadia’s favorite European-inspired bistro and wine bar located on the 101, transports guests to an enchanting night in Europe with cocktails, bubbles and specialty desserts. Complete with ocean breezes and twinkle lights, Valentina’s dessert offerings include Passionfruit Panna Cotta made with raspberries and butter cookie, Vanilla Creme Brulee, Basque Cake made with pastry cream, amarena cherries and vanilla ice cream and House Churros. Valentina’s expansive list of natural wines and bubbles from producers ranging from the mountains of Napa Valley to the rolling hills of Rhône are to be paired perfectly with any of the desserts offered on the menu. Open 11am to 9pm Monday-Thursday and 11am to 10pm on weekends, guests are encouraged to enjoy the lively atmosphere while indulging in these specialty dessert offerings with wine and bubbles.
Munchies Food Club
Opening mid-October, Munchies Food Club is Pacific Beach’s newest outdoor food court and neighborhood hang out spot dreamed up by the creative team behind Good Time Design hospitality group. The first concept to enter the space, Lucky’s at the Beach, a sister to Downtown’s beloved Lucky’s Lunch Counter, is offering a guilty pleasure usually only found at the fair: Deep Fried Oreos. Hot and fresh out of the fryer, it’s only right that the oreos are served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce. Open 7 days a week starting at 9am, and staying open until 3am on Friday and Saturday, Lucky’s Deep Fried Oreos will satisfy the sweet munchies no matter the hour.
Le Parfait Paris
Get lost in a Parisian dream with sweet treats from San Diego-born patisserie and bakery Le Parfait Paris, located in Gaslamp, Liberty Station, Del Mar, Coronado and Anaheim. Guests can indulge in award-winning desserts made with only the finest quality ingredients including Banana Toffee, a perfectly baked banana bread with caramel tender ganache, mascarpone mousse, cacao nibs, chantilly vanilla and banana confit and the Le Framboisier made with berry puree, vanilla bean pastry cream and fresh raspberries. One can almost never leave Le Parfait without a box of the quintessential french dessert, Macarons, with flavors including caramel sea salt, lavender honey, Sicilian pistachio, passion fruit mango and roasted hazelnut. The bakery also offers unique birthday cakes including the Parfait Signature, Banana Toffee Cake, Lemon & Yuzu Soft & Torched Meringue Tart, Tarte Aux Fruits and MilleFeuilles. Open daily, Le Parfait takes guests on a journey with the sweetest French flavors.
San Diego’s favorite beachside amusement park, Belmont Park, is taking everyone on a roller coaster ride of iconic flavors with its classic amusement park dessert offerings. After taking a ride on The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, stop by Sweet Shoppe to indulge in Double-Scoop Ice Cream Cones, Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas, Ice Cream Sandwiches and Caramel Apples. If an adrenaline rush from riding The Giant Dipper wasn’t enough, guests can order the Monster Waffle Bowl for the ultimate sugar rush.
Create a mountain of ice cream in a freshly baked waffle cone with flavors including chocolate, birthday cake, strawberry cheesecake, and butter pecan and top it all off with sprinkles and hot fudge. For those hot afternoons at the park, visitors can head to the Dole Soft Serve Cart for a creamy pineapple frozen treat, Beach Treats for Shaved Ice (blue raspberry, cherry and piña colada) or Dippin’ Dots for a refreshing burst of flavor. End the day with jumbo cotton candy and a funnel cake to complete the sweetest day at Belmont Park!
Taste the sweet sensations of Italy at Nonna + Zucchero, located in the heart of downtown’s bustling Little Italy. After enjoying authentic Italian cuisine from Nonna wash down the pasta with dessert from their sweet shop component, Zucchero, where taste buds are transported to the streets of Florence with fresh, homemade Gelato and highly acclaimed, chef-crafted Cannolis, filled with a rich and fluffy cream and topped with powdered sugar. In true Italian style, guests can grab an Apple Turnover filled with the flavors of fall, or a chocolatey, coffee infused Tiramisu to pair with an espresso. For the cheesecake lovers. Zucchero offers a Blueberry Cheesecake highlighting the harmonious blend of the richness of cheesecake and the fruitiness of fresh berries. Open until 9:30pm on weekdays and 11pm on Saturday and Sunday. Nonna + Zucchero is sure to deliver a sugar-infused Italian experience perfect for sweet tooth.
Image by Olena Shvets