Where to Take Your Sweetheart in San Diego

Tomorrow is the day that the world pukes up red and pink and milar tackiness. It's the day that you will want to avoid walking through the greeting card aisle because it's full of guys sweating and panicking, staring at all the cards that don't fit what they really want to say, which is: "This is my obligatory card to you so that you will not be mad at me and scowl over the table as we dine on our overpriced meal. I'd rather be watching football this Monday night except that, well, football season is over, so maybe just a beer would be nice. And also... enjoy the red and pink flowers that I just got gouged on. And the chocolates that you probably won't share with me. Love, Your Valentine's Day Sucker Sweetheart"

So romantic.

Tomorrow is also the day that you can have a fun, enjoyable evening with the people you care about without any stress over getting the perfect gift or saying the perfect words or feeling out of place in a restaurant where you can't pronounce the names of the menu items.

If you're in San Diego, here are my suggestions for more relaxed Valentine's Day dining:

R GANG EATERY

I just had lunch at this place for the first time last week. Not only did I finally get to meet Aron of He Said, She Said, but I was also lucky enough to be introduced to former Top Chef Contestant and owner of this very fun eatery, Rich Sweeney. I had such a great time and can't wait to go there again soon!

R-Gang Eatery is offering  these fabulously fun four-course dinner choices for Valentine's Day:

Apps

  • Oyster 3-Way: Smoked, Buttermilk Fried, and Classic on the Half Shell
  • Angel Hair Pasta with Fennel Pesto
  • Cherry Glazed Lamb Lollipops

Soup/Salad

  • Orange + Rocket (Wild Arugula) Salad with Spiced Orange Vinaigrette
  • Curry Sweet Potato and Apple Soup with Creme Fraiche
  • Grilled Mushroom Salad with 3 Cheese Dressing

Entrees

  • Cheek-to-Cheek: Braised Beef Cheeks and Halibut Cheeks
  • Stuffed Cornish Game Hen with Sauteed Ramps
  • Pan Roasted Monkfish with Lobster-Quinoa Risotto

Trio of Dessert

  • Red Velvet Whoopie Pie with Cream Cheese Mousse
  • S'mores Fondue
  • Apple Pie Panna Cotta

$44.95 per Person

You can call for reservations at 619-677-2845 or book on-line at RGangEatery.com

SMASHBURGER

The Hamburger Joint revival is in full swing across the country, and so many great places have opened up all around San Diego. One of the companies that has made its mark on our fine city is Smashburger. With locations throughout the county, it's not too hard to get your smash on.

For Valentine's Day, Smashburger locations are offering sweethearts some entertaining opportunities to go with their meals:

La Jolla – For culture seekers, Smashburger and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla will be offering the perfect pairing of art on the walls and between toasted artisan buns.  On Monday, February 14, 2011, the first 25 people to dine at Smashburger La Jolla and mention code “ARTSMASH,” will receive complimentary admission to MCASD La Jolla. Likewise, the first 25 people to visit MCASD La Jolla and mention code “ARTSMASH,” will receive a complimentary Smashburger at the La Jolla location. Within two blocks of one another, a date at Smashburger and the Museum will provide the ultimate in culture and romance.

Del Mar – Outdoor aficionados can experience a Smashburger picnic at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserveby taking two meals to go. On Monday, February 14, 2011, the first 25 people to dine at Smashburger Del Mar and mention code “HIKESMASH,” will receive a complimentary Smashburger. Package it up and head out to score some exercise and a beautiful sunset.

Mission Valley – Traditionalists can enjoy the quintessential dinner and a movie by pairing Smashburger with UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemasin Hazard Center.  On Monday, February 14, 2011, the first 25 people to dine at Smashburger Mission Valley and mention code “ULTRASMASH,” will receive a complimentary ticket* to any UltraStar Cinemas location. Likewise, the first 50 people to purchase a 3D or DBOX movie ticket at UltraStar Mission Valley and mention code “ULTRASMASH,” will receive a complimentary Smashburger at the Mission Valley location. *general pass restrictions apply

All Valentine’s Day, in-store giveaways will kick-off at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 14, 2011 and will be available while supplies last, on a first come, first serve basis. Guest must mention code words to redeem prize.

For updates on the “Share the Burger Love” campaign, follow Smashburger San Diego on Twitter.

RUBY'S ON THE PIER

Not to ignore the North County peeps who want to avoid driving past the merge, I've got a sweet suggestion that's right in my hometown of Oceanside. Blending the fun food and casual atmosphere of a 40s diner and the beauty and romance of the Pacific Ocean, Ruby's on the Pier is a great spot for couples and families alike. I'd suggest timing it around a nice stroll on the pier at sunset, which should be 5:32pm on this Valentine's Day.

Wherever you go and whoever you're with, have a very sweet Valentine's Day!

Peace, Love, and Sugar