February might not seem like the most exciting month of the year, but in the world of restaurants, few months can compete with it. Right about now you have the conjunction of Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year--all perfect excuses to eat. If you haven't already made plans to celebrate, here are a few of the more unusual choices around town.
The strangest fare is certainly being offered by Bouzy Rouge in Newport Beach, which plans to cook up an aphrodisiacal dinner. Proprietor Tony Hermann promises to "add zing to Cupid's arrow," with dishes like escargots poached with Pernod in fennel bulbs, roast game hen stuffed with wild rice and onions in pomegranate sauce, grenadines of young bull sauteed in peppered liquamen and sauced with truffle demiglaze, and angel-hair pasta with shellfish, water chestnuts, snowpeas and enoki mushrooms in a sherry-flavored crayfish bisque.
The Bouzy Rouge Cafe, 3110 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (714) 673-3440. Dinner served from 5 - 10 p.m. Valentine's Day dinner for two, food only, $40 - $50 . (Regular dinner menu also available) .
The 11 couples who plan to marry today in the Royal Wedding Chapel on the Queen Mary probably don't need any aphrodisiacs. But if you could use a little romance in your life, two restaurants on board the liner are celebrating Valentine's Day with special menus. At Sir Winston's, dishes such as Romeo's sorbet and a dessert called "Juliette's weakness" accompany a choice of veal medallions or gulf shrimp sauteed in vanilla and champagne sauce. Also offered are music by a strolling violinist, a souvenir photo and a chance to win a weekend for two at the Hotel Queen Mary. At Chelsea, there's a choice of salmon coulibiac with Champagne sauce, aged prime rib of beef with truffles sauce and chateaubriand for two with bearnaise sauce.
The Queen Mary/Spruce Goose Entertainment Complex, southernmost point of the Long Beach Freeway, Long Beach, (213) 435-3511. Sir Winston's : 5:30 - 10 p.m. $29.50 per person. Chelsea : 5 - 11 p.m. $24.50 per person . Something a little less elaborate? The Rose City Diner in Pasadena celebrates "Rosie's First Birthday" today (they opened a year ago). Along with their usual inexpensive fare of favorites from the '50s, there will be an auto show, a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest, roller skating and '50s music supplied by the a cappella group Sizzle.
Rose City Diner, 45 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (818) 793-8282. Open 6:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Brunch or dinner for two, food only, $6-$20 .
If your valentine is on the raucous side, you might consider the Valentine's Day brunch at L.A. Ole! There will be a mariachi band and several inexpensive egg creations such as arroz con chorizo y huevos (Mexican sausage mixed with rice and served with eggs), huevos motulenos (layers of salsa roja with black beans, tortillas and eggs, topped with bacon and fried bananas) and huevos locos (bacon, jalapeno peppers, black olives and chives, in an omelet topped with cheese sauce). Along with complimentary champagne, there will be a buffet of juices, fresh fruits and jalapeno corn bread.
L.A. Ole!, 3760 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 383-6394. Brunch served from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Brunch for two, food only, $13.50 - $15.80 .
Mixing the traditions of Mardi Gras with Valentine's Day, Homer & Edy's Bistro plans a costume party entitled "Ball of Venus." The festivities include music by Norman Bowden and his Dixieland Quads and an exotic Cajun/Creole dinner. After an aperitif and a choice of chicken gumbo or fresh spinach salad, a plat d'Orleans is served with Louisiana-style beef sausage and ribs or red snapper, meuniere sauce with red beans and rice, sweet potato and hush puppies. For dessert, there's hot praline sauce over French vanilla ice cream and a cup of Creole coffee demitasse. Each customer will also receive a little lagniappe in the form of a small gift.
Homer & Edy's Bistro, 2839 S. Robertson Blvd., (213) 559-5102. Valentine's Day dinner, $40 per person. (Regular dinner menu also available) .