Four Local Valentine's Day Alternatives

If you haven't booked something by now, you're screwed. At least, that's what most people think. If you believe there needs to be roses and grand gestures of champagne and caviar on Thursday, you're wrong. Unless your someone special is that high maintenance, and then it's a Catch-22. Instead of the usual suspects, we're branching out for some nontraditional options. Call it creative or other colorful words in your vocabulary. It sure beats standing around on the 14th with nothing.

4. Instead of a box of chocolates, a dozen chocolate-covered bacon hearts from the Sticky Pig

These days, life is like a box of anything made with Sriracha or bacon. For the latter, our resident vixen Tara Simon has moved from her spot in Orange. For some bacon-lovin', mosey to Old Town Tustin for some sweet and savory confections. She can be found inside Buttermilk Sky, located at 544 El Camino Real.

3. Instead of dinner on Valentine's, save it for the week after at the Hobbit

Some significant others will complain they don't need a holiday to profess their love for someone (said no one. Ever). If that's the case, or you're simply too busy on a holiday weekend, wait. Save dinner for the week after. The potential for less hurried waitstaff and relaxing meals is much higher. A birdie told us that the Hobbit Restaurant in Orange will concoct a special six-course menu Feb. 20 and 21. Or go somewhere more low-key and be just as content. We all know restaurants jack up the price for that one night.


2. For your Valentine at work, instead of a cheesy e-card, buy a cup of coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

We can't resist a good deal. Ideal for that favorite co-worker, buy their preferred caffeine fix. A hot, steamy mocha, or a cool, whipped Ice-Blended? We don't want to know, but you already do. This CB&TL treat is good all day Thursday at participating retail locations. (It cannot be combined with any other offers. Your free drink must be of equal or lesser value. Ralphs, airport or Hawaii spots won't be participating.)

1. Instead of watching sappy movies and eating ice cream, organize high tea at the Queen's Bakery

Take a cue from the movie by the same name and organize a Valentine's Day soiree. It's like a lonely hearts' club, but with the option of hooking up. Gather friends for a “Queen of Hearts” celebration at the Queen's Bakery in Costa Mesa. With a minimum of 10 people, your grown-up tea party includes cake pops, strawberry mousse, salads and appetizers. Time flies when you're sitting around and bitching about friends in relationships. The bakery is located at 2950 Grace Lane, Costa Mesa, (714) 540-9500;

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