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HOLIDAY DINING : Don't Eat Your Heart Out, Just Take Your Sweetheart Out to Eat

February 11, 1993|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH | Beverly Bush Smith is a free-lance writer and contributor to OC Live!

Restaurateurs love lovers--who make Valentine's Day one of the biggest dine-out nights of the year. And this year, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, creating a whole bunch of choices: brunch, dinner, maybe even a Friday or Saturday evening celebration. Here are a few possibilities:

The YWCA of North Orange County is hosting a Valentine Chocolate Festival on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fullerton Museum Center, corner of Wilshire and Pomona avenues. The festival will include designer and homemade chocolates for tasting and purchase, plus gourmet coffees and displays of Valentine place settings and floral designs. Tickets are $10 and include tastings. Call (714) 871-4488.

The new Sfuzzi in Costa Mesa will create a personalized Valentine dessert--a heart-shaped three-chocolate strada served with vanilla bean cream and decorated with your own message (these obviously have to be ordered in advance, so call (714) 548-9500). They'll further work the Valentine theme with heart-shaped pizzas and "heart beet" garnishes. Saturday and Sunday at 1870 Harbor Blvd. (second level, Triangle Square).

Along the same lines, the Il Fornaio restaurants through Sunday will be baking and serving heart-shaped Amor di Polenta , a traditional dessert of sweetened cornmeal with almonds and maraschino liquors; heart-shaped biscotti and torta di Alassio , a dense chocolate cake with hazelnuts and honey. Il Fornaio's Un Poco di Tutto is at 18051 Von Karman Ave. in Irvine. (714) 261-2202. Il Fornaio Cucina Expressa is at 650 Anton Blvd. in Costa Mesa. (714) 668-0880.

There'll be heart-shaped scones, marzipan and Trifle Lorraine (with chocolate, raspberries and fudge) and Victorian candies--all served on tables set with lace, antique china and arrangements of roses--at the McCharles House Tea Room in Tustin this week, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday and on Sunday when tea is served at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m. $20 per person. 335 South C St. (714) 731-4063.

A "Suite Heart Feast" at Windows in the Newport Beach Marriott Suites will feature a platter for two of roast prime rib, swordfish with herbed butter and sauteed shrimp Scampi over linguine Provencale. For dessert, there'll be dark chocolate mousse on fresh raspberry coulis. Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at $39.50 per couple. 500 Bayview Circle. (714) 854-4500.

Sunday specials at the Royal Thai restaurants will include "The King & I" (grilled halibut and a giant tiger prawn with sweet and sour sauce and coconut chili sauce, $18.95) and Phy-Ket seafood curry ($16.95). Look for a special dessert here as well. 1750 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (714) 494-THAI; 4001 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, (714) 645-THAI.

A classical guitarist will entertain during a Valentine's tea on Friday and again during Valentine's dinner on Sunday at Gustaf Anders in Santa Ana. The tea, between 3 and 4 p.m., will include canapes, petite sandwiches and desserts for $15. At the dinner, from 5:30 to 10 p.m., specials will include a lobster entree, a surprise dessert (involving chocolate) and a take-home rose. 1651 Sunflower Ave., South Coast Plaza Village. (714) 668-1737.

Roses also will be given to the women on Sunday at Caliente in Irvine (1910 Main St., (714) 975-1220); on Saturday and Sunday at Le Meridien in Newport Beach, where there also will be free hors d'oeuvres (4500 MacArthur Blvd., (714) 476-2001); on Saturday and Sunday at Trattoria Spiga in Costa Mesa, where there will also be a strolling guitarist and violinist and a free champagne cocktail per person (3333 Bear St., in the Crystal Court mall, (714) 540-3365); and on Sunday at the new National Sports Grill & Bar in Buena Park, where diners can also watch NBA games and other sporting events on 44 TV sets or play pool (10 a.m. till midnight at 5978 Orangethorpe, off Valley View. (714) 523-1229).

After dinner at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach on Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m., women can take their pick between a rose or some chocolate (361 Cliff Drive, (714) 497-5434).

There'll be take-home flowers at the Original Cattleman's Wharf in Anaheim on Sunday when dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. There'll be a Sunday buffet champagne brunch, too, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (no take-home flowers at brunch, though). 1160 W. Ball Road (714) 535-1622.

With all its private corners and alcoves, JW's in the Anaheim Marriott has got to be one of O.C.'s most romantic restaurants. There will be a complimentary bottle of champagne per couple for dinners served Sunday at 6 or 10:30 p.m. 700 W. Convention Way, Anaheim. (714) 750-0900.

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