Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

romance

Tips to keep employers mindful of office romances

Mona M. Stone, of counsel, works in the Phoenix office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Mona M. Stone, of counsel, works in the Phoenix office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Love is in the air, and sometimes those amorous feelings lead to claims of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. As Valentine’s Day approaches, employers should be mindful about office romances in light of some interesting statistics:

• More than 20 percent of married couples met at work, yet nearly half of those employees reported that they did not know if their company had a policy on office romances.
• According to a recent survey, 59 percent of employees admitted that they have been involved in an office romance.
• An additional 64 percent answered that they would be willing to do so if the opportunity arose.
• This same survey reported that 75 percent of employers do not have a policy regarding workplace relationships.
AshleyMadison.com (a dating site for married people looking to cheat – yikes!) reports that 46 percent percent of men and 37 percent of women have had an affair with a co-worker. Among these cheaters, 72 percent of women and 59 percent of men say that they had their first encounter with the affair partner at a company holiday party … which means now is the time for employers to pay attention!
• A different 2013 survey indicates that 92 percent of employees feel they should not have to report their office romance to Human Resources.
• That same survey shows that nearly 85 percent of surveyed workers believe work colleagues should be allowed to have sex and 90 percent admitted being (or having been) attracted to a co-worker.

It’s Only Love, What’s the Harm?

While consensual office relationships are more commonplace than in the past, they can trigger business and legal headaches for employers when the relationship fizzles or is no longer consensual. Moreover, fellow employees may feel resentful, jealous, uncomfortable, or intimidated (especially in relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate), leading to complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

Importantly, claims may be brought not only by the individuals in the relationship, but even by third parties. Complaints of “paramour favoritism” are on the rise and are being filed by employees who allege they are overlooked due to preferential treatment towards a co-worker who is engaged in a romantic relationship with the boss.  While courts differ on whether such claims are meritorious, turning a blind eye to such relationships may result in business interruption and liability.

In 2011, for example, the EEOC reported that 11,364 charges of sexual harassment were filed, and 16.3 percent of those were filed by men. The EEOC recovered more than $52 million in damages for sexual harassment claims in 2011. Employers might not be able to prevent love in the office, but they can take action to mitigate potential liability. An important initial measure is to draft a good policy depending on your company’s size, structure, business goals, and culture.  If you implement an office dating policy, you must enforce it uniformly and take appropriate and equal action for violations of the policy.

What Does Company Policy Say?

Now is a good time for employers to update or create a policy governing dating among workers.  While some policies prohibit romantic relationships altogether, many employers recognize that employees will date each other regardless of policy. In fact, they might “sneak around” to avoid violating the policy, which could create even more tension if the relationship is discovered or known only to a select few.  In addition, strict no-dating policies may be difficult to implement and enforce, as they may not clearly define the conduct that is forbidden (e.g., does the policy prohibit socializing, dating, romantic relationships, or something else?).

Some policies interdict dating among management and staff, while others specify that there is to be no fraternization with outside third parties to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of impropriety.  Still, other organizations mandate that employees who date one another voluntarily inform the company about their relationship.

In such cases, the notification policies direct employees to report their dating relationships to Human Resources, the EEO officer, or a member of management, and they ask employees to sign a written consent regarding the romantic relationship. While this type of policy may seem intrusive, these documents are drafted to protect employers from unwanted complaints of future sexual harassment or retaliation.

When asking employees to sign consents, you should again advise them about the company’s sexual harassment policy and remind them about ramifications of policy violations. Document that the employees entered into the relationship voluntarily, were counseled and – if/when the relationship ends – include a memo in their respective personnel records that the relationship ended, and the employees were reminded about the company’s sexual harassment policy.  You should require the dating parties to make certain written representations to shield the company from future claims:

• The individuals have entered the relationship voluntarily and the relationship is consensual.
• The employees will not engage in any conduct that makes others uncomfortable, intimidated, or creates a hostile work environment for other employees, guests, or third parties.
• The employees do not and will not make any decisions that could impact each other’s terms and conditions of employment.
• The employees will act professionally toward each other at all times, even after the relationship has ended.
• The relationship will not cause unnecessary workplace disruptions or distractions or otherwise adversely impact productivity.
• The employees will not retaliate against each other if/when the relationship ends.

Tips for Employers

Employers should prepare and implement a clear policy regarding office relationships or update an existing one, and be sure to disseminate it and obtain employees’ acknowledgements. The policy should address to extent to which office relationships are permissible, and, if appropriate, require employees to promptly disclose the existence (or termination) of a romantic or sexual relationship to a designated member of Human Resources, EEO officer or management.  When the employees involved are in a supervisor/subordinate relationship, disclosure is especially critical so that the employer may effectively address the impact of the relationship (e.g., evaluating if it is necessary to change job duties or reassign the employee(s)).

If harassment occurs despite an employer’s best efforts to prevent and stop it, you will have a strong defense if you can demonstrate that you have done the following:

• Implement and enforce a sexual harassment and office romance policy that provides a clear reporting channel and prohibits retaliation for good faith complaints.
• Train new and existing employees on the sexual harassment policy and document the training.
• Train managers on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to handle complaints.
• Train employees to report inappropriate behavior.
• If a relationship develops between a manager and his/her subordinate, transfer one of them, if possible, to eliminate a direct reporting relationship.
• Promptly and thoroughly investigate complaints.
• Take appropriate corrective action to address prior incidents of sexual harassment.

Regardless of the type of policy your company adopts, be sure to customize it to the needs and actual practices of your business. Train employees and managers on expectations governing office romances. A well-drafted and uniformly enforced fraternization (or non-fraternization) policy will not prevent workplace relationships altogether, but it can protect you if you encounter office romances.
Mona M. Stone, of counsel, works in the Phoenix office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Nataliia Kelsheva

Sedona makes an idyllic getaway for couples

Romance is woven into the very fabric of Sedona. At the turn of the century, the first postmaster, T.C. Schnebly, struggled to come up with an appropriate name for the young community along the banks of Oak Creek. Finally, he did the most natural thing of all––he named it after his beautiful wife, Sedona. Now it’s impossible to think of it ever being called anything else. With its otherworldly beauty, Sedona is the ideal place for a romantic getaway, whether for a weekend holiday or planning for the perfect wedding day.

Many flock to the fairytale wonderland of Sedona, attracted by its crimson buttes, windswept spires, dramatic canyons and the shimmering waters of the Verde River. Nestled in the quaint city is a secret gem that many covet for his and her picture-perfect day, and as it turns out, it’s surprisingly easy when you have a picture-perfect location.

Bridal magazines consistently place Sedona in the top 10 destinations in the country and world for location and scenery. In addition to national acclaim, Sedona is home to dozens of lauded wedding planners and event managers ready to assist with arrangements to create memories that last a lifetime. With all the pieces in place and all the support you need, couples can experience a stress-free day, whether it’s coordinating a honeymoon, organizing the ceremony or even just planning a romantic anniversary.

Imagine exchanging vows atop a high mesa, tucked away in a hidden canyon; honeymooning on the banks of a silver stream or beside a favorite formation bathed in the lush glow of sunset; or perhaps proposing to that special someone aboard a hot air balloon or helicopter. In Sedona, the possibilities are as endless as the star-studded skies.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and love, the city wants to make sure that the perfect day goes off without a hitch, with help from some of the most romantic spots in town. Here are just a few of the charming and bespoke options available to visitors seeking romance in the red rocks.

Butterfly Garden Inn

The Butterfly Garden Inn was established in 1945 as Don Hoel’s Cabins. Today, its bed-and-breakfast establishment is a local treasure, spanning 27 acres in the lush Oak Creek Canyon. Visitors will find romance between the forest pine trees, where couples can cozy up to each other in charming cabins.

Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge

Garland’s Lodge had its beginnings in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when most of Oak Creek Canyon was established as homestead land. Today, the premises still offer bed-and-breakfast style accommodations, with quaint scenery amidst the flowing river.

Canyon Wren Cabins

With cabins designed for intimacy and dedicated to couple’s enjoyment, Canyon Wren Cabins offers four different cabins for those looking to adventure to the Oak Creek Canyon woods. The property prides itself on its concept of “cabins for two,” so intimacy and romance is guaranteed with each visit.

Briar Patch Inn

The cottages, furnished with Southwestern charm and Native American decor, are designed for comfort in a casual atmosphere. Fireplaces, patios, and privacy lure couples to relax and enjoy the moment or take advantage of amenities such as massages in the comfort of their own cottage or in the creek-side gazebo.

123RF.com, Leonello Calvetti

The Dish: Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Instead of splurging on a cliché box of chocolates that you get every year, mix things up with homemade, healthy treats. These options are healthier than the typical heart shaped box of chocolates. It will also show that special someone you took the time to craft these deserts just for them.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

These treats are a little cliché, but they are extremely easy to make.

What you’ll need:

2 Dozen Strawberries

1-12 ounce package of dark chocolate chips

Wax paper.

What to do:

Melt the chocolate. The easiest way to do this is microwave the chips in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for a minute and add additional time until the chips are melted, but be careful to not burn the chocolate.

Once you’ve melted your chocolate, begin dipping your strawberries one by one and laying them out on wax paper. Leave them out to harden or pop them in the refrigerator to quicken up the process. If you want to get fancy, you can drizzle white chocolate over your dipped strawberries to add a little creativity to them.

Refrigerate before serving.

If you have chocolate left over or strawberries are not your thing, you can dip just about anything in the chocolate―pretzels, marshmallows, or any other fruit you have lying about. Get creative. Chocolate goes well with pretty much anything.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Pudding is a treat that goes great with anything or is fantastic in its self. This recipe utilizes avocados, which have a variety of health benefits. Avocados are high in vitamins and contain more potassium than bananas.

What you’ll need:

2 large avocados (peeled, pitted and cubed)

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pinch ground cinnamon

What to do:

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Chocolate Stuffed Raspberries

If you don’t want to touch any appliances in the kitchen, this recipe is not messy at all.

What you’ll need:

Raspberries

Chocolate chips (your choice)

What to do:

Stuff one chocolate chip into the top of each raspberry. You can choose how many raspberries you’d like to make.

Chocolate Trifle

This option is low in calories and fat. It’ll make both your heart and your sweetheart happy.

What you’ll need:

1 package brownie mix

1 (1 ounce) package fat-free sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix

1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 ounce) container fat-free Cool Whip

1 (12 ounce) container fat-free Cool Whip

1/2 cup water

1 chocolate candy bar

What to do:

Prepare brownie mix as box instructs. Use a smaller pan, such as a 9×9 pan instead of an 13×9 pan, to give your brownies more depth. After the brownies cool, cut them into 1-inch squares. In a large bowl, mix pudding mix, condensed milk, and water. Mix until smooth then add in the 8 oz. container of Cool Whip.

In either a glass serving dish or individual glasses, repeatedly layer with brownie, pudding mix, and Cool Whip. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

"Napoli." Photo credit: Alexander Iziliaev

5 things to do this weekend: Feb. 9-16, 2015

1. “Napoli” premieres in US

Ballet Arizona will be the first American ballet company to present “Napoli.” This performance tells the love story of the poor fisherman Gennaro and his beloved Teresina. Teresina is swept away in a great storm. Sea nymphs rescue her, but Gennaro is nowhere to be found. Their love must overcome obstacles in a dark vs. light story. This classic Danish ballet is perfect for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Symphony Hall, 75 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, February 12-15, $45+

2. Cooking at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, come to the Scottsdale Civic Center Library to learn how to cook a meal just for the special day of romance. Chef Jon-Paul Hutchins, Lead instructor of the LeCordon Bleau College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, leads the cooking demonstration. He will teach a variety of dishes that you can cook at home for that special someone. The cooking lesson begins at 6:30.

Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, February 11, Free

3. VNSA Book Sale

The 59thAnnual Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) Book Sale happens this weekend.  The annual book sale benefits VNSA charities. All books are marked at discounted prices. The book sale offers books for all tastes―children’s, biography, textbooks, classics, and many more. On Sunday, all books, except for rare and unusual books, are half off. Admission to the event is free, but the fairgrounds charge parking. Shoppers should bring their own bags or small wheel around carts as VNSA is going green and will not have bags.

Exhibit Hall at Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, February 14-15, Free

Phoenix Comicon Brings In Over 23,000 Attendees, Photo: Jonathan, LightningOctopus.com

Photo: Jonathan, LightningOctopus.com

4. Amazing Arizona ComicCon

Over 150 exhibitors are expected to be present at this year’s Amazing Arizona ComicCon. Friday will feature special Friday the 13thprogramming. There will be a costume contest on Saturday. The event will also feature special guests such as Kevin Eastman, the creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and artists from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, February 13-15, $25-$35, $60 for a weekend pass

5. Coyotes, Sharks, and Rangers, oh my!

The Arizona Coyotes will face off against the San Jose Sharks and the New York Rangers this weekend. The Sharks were last here in January and managed to take a 3-2 win over the Coyotes. As for the Rangers, the Coyotes’ have yet to face off against the New York team. The puck drops at 7 p.m.  both nights at the arena.

Gila River Arena, 9400 W. Maryland Ave., Glendale, February 13-14, $35+

 

Nataliia Kelsheva

Nataliia Kelsheva

BONUS: Do you still need to find a place to take that special someone to dinner this weekend? Check out our two-part series on Valentine’s Day Deals in Arizona.

Part 1

Part 2

2015’s Best and Worst Cities for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and Americans planning to spend a record $18.9 billion on related expenses such as candy, flowers and a special night out, the leading personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015’s Best and Worst Cities for Valentine’s Day.

 

To give celebrants a sense of the Day of Hearts deal they’re getting compared with the rest of the country, WalletHub examined 100 of the most populated cities across 15 key metrics. The data set includes such measures as restaurant meal costs, the number of attractions and the number of florists per capita.

 

Best Cities for Valentine’s Day Worst Cities for Valentine’s Day
1 San Francisco, CA 91 Hialeah, FL
2 Seattle, WA 92 Newark, NJ
3 Orlando, FL 93 Cleveland, OH
4 San Diego, CA 94 Garland, TX
5 San Jose, CA 95 San Bernardino, CA
6 Irvine, CA 96 Winston-Salem, NC
7 Portland, OR 97 Toledo, OH
8 Scottsdale, AZ 98 North Las Vegas, NV
9 Plano, TX 99 Laredo, TX
10 Fremont, CA 100 Detroit, MI

 

Key Stats

  • The cost of a restaurant meal for two* is four times higher in Miami than in Plano, Texas.
  • The average price per movie ticket*is four times higher in Detroit than in Fremont, Calif.
  • The average wine price*is six times higher in Cleveland than in Fremont, Calif.
  • The number of jewelry stores per capitais 37 times higher in Miami than in North Las Vegas, Nev.
  • The number of florists per capitais 21 times higher in Miami than in North Las Vegas, Nev.
  • The number of chocolate shops per capitais 26 times higher in San Francisco than in Oklahoma City.
  • The number of specialty stores per capitais 12 times higher in Orlando, Fla., than in Garland, Texas.

*Note: All costs used in the study were adjusted by the median household income for each city.

 

 

To read the full report and to see where your ranks, please visit:

http://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-cities-for-valentines-day/10056/

foodbank

Dutch Bros. Coffee serving one can at a time

This Valentine’s Day, 240 Dutch Bros. Coffee locations will be collecting nonperishable food for community food banks.

Each Valentine’s Day, Dutch Bros. Coffee participates in Dutch Luv Day. Franchisees come along side their community and band together to collect food for their local food banks. All Dutch Bros. locations will collect donated nonperishable food items. Last year, the company donated 233,401 pounds of food, and hopes to donate even more this year.

Dutch Bros. locations in Arizona will be serving as a drop site for cash donations and canned goods. One dollar of every drink sold will benefit the United Food Bank, and for each dollar Dutch Bros. Arizona donates, 5 meals will be provided. “Our goal is to raise enough money to pay for 100,000 meals,” said Josh Hayes, Dutch Bros. Phoenix Regional Manager.

The week prior to Dutch Luv Day, Dutch Bros. Arizona Broistas will be volunteering at United Food Bank

“Dutch Bros. serves as a platform to give back to the community,” said Dutch Bros. Coffee Co-Founder Travis Boersma. “We’re blessed with an opportunity to band together with nearby communities and spread the “Luv” by providing canned goods for local food banks.”

All Dutch Bros. locations are locally owned and operated allowing franchisees each year to choose the local organizations important to them, which can benefit from the canned goods collected.

“Dutch Bros. Arizona is phenomenal,” said Melissa Forrester, United Food Bank’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “We’re so excited to have their help; they truly inspire me!”

Nataliia Kelsheva

Arizona Valentine’s Day Deals – Part Two

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. Looking for a restaurant to celebrate or a span and hotel deal to make the night extra special? Here’s a list of restaurants and hotels to do just that. Reservations are recommended. (This is part two of a series.)

 

Scottsdale:

Dish from the Herb Box

Dish from the Herb Box

The Herb Box:

The Herb Box features savory twists on tried-and-true cuisine and fresh, seasonal ingredients that unify regional flavors. For Valentine’s dinner, The Herb Box will be serving a five-course, plus cocktail “Honey and Date” prix fixe menu featuring local ingredients. The dinner is $89 per couple. The meal begins with a Spicy Shrimp, Corn, Leek, and Sweet Potato Chowder, with Corto olive oil and honey-fennel roasted pepitas. The next course is a shard Petite Brioche Fromage with Seahive sea salt and honey cheddar, capicola, gouda bechemel, honeycup dijon, with a salade rouge of radicchio, red oak, red onion, avocado, golden raisins, and Sphinx Farm dates. The intermezzo is a Champagne-Grapefruit Sorbet with date syrup. For an entree, choose from a Date-Balsamic Roasted Free Range Chicken with Maya Farm baby turnips, petit carrots, and watermelon radish, or Grilled Spring Garlic Lamb Lollipops with warm butter beans, feta, fresh mint and sumac-honey vinaigrette. Finish the meal with a Sweet Honey Date Cake, served with a blackberry swirl goat cheese ice cream, bourbon sugared pecan pieces, honey “dust”, and blackberries, topped with a drizzle of honey-bourbon syrup. Included with the dinner is a My Darling Lemon-Thyme cocktail featuring Singh Farms Honeycomb. There are two locations of The Herb Box: Southbridge in Old Town – 7134 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, Ariz., 85251. DC Ranch on Market Street – 20707 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz., 85255. For more information, email www.theherbbox.com.

Short ribs and mashed potatoes at Paul Martin's American Grill. Photo by Shavon Rose

Short ribs and mashed potatoes at Paul Martin’s American Grill. Photo by Shavon Rose

Paul Martin’s American Grill: 

Indulge in a romantic dinner during Valentine’s weekend at Paul Martin’s American Grill. From February 12-16, Paul Martin’s will be serving a variety of appetizer, entree and dessert specials. Begin the meal with a shared appetizer of a half a pound of Chilled Alaskan King Crab Legs ($25), served with house cocktail sauce and lemon. For a main course, choose from a variety of options, including the Herb Rubbed All Natural Filet Mignon ($45) with mashed potatoes, Bloomsdale spinach, and garlic confit, or Seared Ahi Tuna ($28), accompanied by bok choy salad with watermelon radishes, snow peas and sesame-ginger vinaigrette. For the seafood lover, try the full pound of Alaskan King Crab Legs ($48), served with crispy red potatoes, drawn butter and lemon. Grab two spoons and finish the meal with a Campfire Sundae ($9), featuring vanilla ice cream, warm fudge, smoked almonds, and toasted housemade marshmallow fluff. Paul Martin’s American Grill is located at 6186 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz., 85253. For more information, visit www.paulmartinsamericangrill.com.

RA Sushi

RA Sushi

RA Sushi in North Scottsdale and Ahwatukee Hosting Valentine’s Themed Painting Parties:

From Rodin to Klimt, artists have used love as their muse, and now RA Sushi invites couples to celebrate love by bringing out their inner artist at a painting party on February 15. Pinot’s Palette and Uptown Art will set-up at RA Sushi for a fun afternoon of painting, sushi, sake, and romance! On February 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Kierland location in North Scottsdale, Pinot’s Palette will teach aspiring artists how to paint the chosen artwork, Mandarin Sunset. The Kierland Commons RA Sushi is at 7012 E. Greenway Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ  85254. For the Kierland class, the cost $39 and includes a 16×20 canvas, painting supplies and step-by-step instructions. Register at http://www.pinotspalette.com/paradisevalley or call 480-696-7220. On February 15 from noon to 2 p.m., Uptown Art will inspire with the themed painting, Love is in the Air, during an al fresco class on the patio at RA Sushi in Ahwatukee. The Ahwatukee location is at 4921 E. Ray Rd., Phoenix, Ariz., 85044. The Ahwatukee class cost is $25 and includes a 16×20 canvas, painting supplies and step-by-step instructions. Register at www.uptownart.com/chandler or call 480-813-8059. Besides making beautiful art, guests can enjoy RA Sushi’s new Sunday offering made for two: Sushi for 2 for $25. Choose four food items from a select menu, plus edamame for just $25. A wide variety of rolls from the Tootsy Maki to Crunchy Shrimp Tempura to Spicy Tuna are available, as are appetizers like Pineapple Cheese Wontons and Chicken Yakitori.

RA Sushi has five Valley locations in Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Old Town Scottsdale and North Scottsdale.

Ahwatukee: 4921 E. Ray Road; Phoenix, 85044

Dana Park in Mesa: 1652 S. Val Vista Drive; Mesa, 85204

Tempe: 411 S. Mill Ave.; Tempe, 85281

Kierland Commons: 7012 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale, 85254

Old Town Scottsdale: 3815 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 85251

Orange Sky

Orange Sky

Orange Sky Restaurant at Talking Stick Resort

Head to the 15th floor from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. and devour items from the Orange Sky chefs’ special menu. The floor-to-ceiling windows and elegant décor will make ideal backdrop to declare your love.

Wandering Horse Buffet at Talking Stick Resort

Try the Valentine’s Day Brunch menu at the international buffet. Kicking off at 9 a.m., the special fare will be offered for six hours straights and will include marinated prime rib, herb and butter basted turkey, roasted ham, honey peppercorn slab bacon, roasted garlic and chile dusted pork ribs, grilled sirloin steaks, king crab legs lobster claws and an assortment of Chef Peggy’s pastries. Adults $28.95; children $18

But that’s not all! The restaurant is also offering a dinner menu from 4:30-10 p.m. It will include roasted garlic and herb crusted New York strip loin, honey basil marinated salmon, spinach Gorgonzola ravioli, bacon wrapped beef tenderloin and so much more. Adults $44.95; children $19.95

Arizona Room Patio Grill at Casino Arizona

In addition to its regular menu, Arizona Room Patio Grill is offering a Valentine’s Day dinner special that will make all hearts swoon. Grilled shrimp will serve as the scrumptious appetizer while a beef filet will take center stage as the main course. The dish will include a jalapeno bacon wrapped filet topped with lump crabmeat, black cherry mole and glazed baby carrots.

The dinner special, which will also feature a sweet dessert, will be available from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Prix fixe $21

Pink Pony

Parada del Sol falls on Valentine’s Day this year. Pink Pony is opening at 7 a.m. for people who want to watch the parade pass by while sipping on a cocktail. Full lunch menu is also available from 7a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spa at the Village

On Valentine’s Day weekend (Friday, February 14 to Sunday, February 16), The Spa at The Village, located within each Village Health Club & Spa®, is offering the Valley’s most pampering packages that will last through the whole month of February.

  • Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffle Escape ($94, 60 minutes): This featured body treatment for February includes a whipped honey and sea salt exfoliation with a warm dark-chocolate full body-softening mask. The mask cocoons you in warmth to allow the antioxidant rich CoQ10 enzymes to penetrate and soften the skin. A light peppery caramel lotion is also used in a re-hydrating massage that will take you away.
  • Pink Grapefruit Vitality Treatment with Dermaplane ($125): This amazing February Spa Bar Facial includes a complimentary “pout-o-matic lip treatment from Bliss for fabulips.” Eminence Organic Pink Grapefruit Vitality Treatment is a vitamin-rich burst of pink grapefruit that revitalizes skin and brings life and vitality to the skin. It will make your skin immediately hydrated, lifted and toned with the high anti-oxidant richness of the treatment. The Dermaplane is performed for maximum exfoliation; lip treatment is a mini microderm for the lips with a plumping mask and hydration. Enjoy 20% off the purchase of an Eminence Lip Trio product when you receive this service!
  • The Bundle Up Package (any 2 services: $240, any 3 services: $310): This soothing bundle up package will have you pampered and beautified, with a complimentary breakfast or lunch entrée and your choice of soft drink or glass of wine. Choose from any two or three services including: 60-minute facial, 60-minute massage, Seasonal Body Treatment, Haircut/Style. Village Signature Manicure and Pedicure.
  • Even better, each Spa will be offering complimentary sparkling wine, long stemmed rose and chocolate covered strawberries for all spa guests on 2/14 – 2/16. Plus, purchase a Valentine gift card anytime from 2/01 – 2/14 for a one-hour spa treatment and receive a complimentary box of Godiva Chocolates.

Locations include: 

Scottsdale: 7477 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. OR 18501 North Thompson Peak Pkwy.

Phoenix: 4444 East Camelback Rd.

Roaring Fork Valentine’s Day Specials

The concept at Roaring Fork is simple, an appreciation for the Old West and the spirit of bold American cuisine. A proud member of the Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles restaurant portfolio, the cuisine at Roaring Fork is made to create flavors that crackle with a rugged edge. Freshness and flavor are at the core of every dish served. Guests can select from lamb, chicken, beef, pork and fresh fish entrees all perfectly prepared by wood fire rotisserie, open flame grill or wood oven roasting.

Location: 4800 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Westin Paloma

Westin Paloma

Tucson:

This year, the iconic Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa invites couples to fall in love again over a table – dining or massage – for two while dancing the weekend away.

Serving up 70-degree weather and picturesque views of the pools overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains, AZuL Restaurant offers up a decadent four- or seven-course menu for Valentine’s Day. Executive Chef Russell Michel showcases a wide range of love-inspired cuisine including a scallop ceviche verde, slow baked organic salmon, natural beef tenderloin, roasted lobster, or stuffed poblano chile. Satisfy a sweet tooth with vanilla guava cheesecake or dulcey chocolate tart. Five-course menu: $74/person and Seven-course menu: $95/person. Go all out with wine pairings for $89/person and $125/person. On Sunday, take advantage of AZuL brunch with endless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s on top of the carving + omelet station, fresh seafood options along with breakfast, lunch and dessert staples.

Along with delectable menus, the iconic 250-acre resort will feature live entertainment for the entire lovers’ weekend. Sway to Tony Frank Jazz Trio playing from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 13. On the day of love, saxophonist Neamen Lyles will perform in AZuL Lounge from 6 – 10 p.m. On Sunday, experience a live Las Vegas style piano and vocal performance by Daniel “Sly” man Slipetsky and Sheryl “Sassy Sheryl” Ann McKinley in conjunction with Meetup.com.

Spoil that special someone at The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa with a slew of weekend specials ranging from Lovely Duo (Swedish Massages, champagne, chocolate strawberries in outdoor cabanas for $300) or Romantic Evening (one Red Door Signature Facial, shampoo and blow dry, plus a glass of champagne for $176.50). Enhance the experience with a surprise room delivery turn down featuring bottle of sparkling rose with chocolate dipped strawberries and scattered rose petals for $50.

For reservations visit westinlapalomaresort.com/blog/valentines-weekend/

 

Glendale:

The Shout House:  

A fun option for couples looking for a entertaining night out on Valentine’s Day, head to the Chocolate Wasted Party at The Shout House! For dinner, order a variety of dishes meant for sharing, such as the BBQ Pork Short Ribs, featuring a half a rack of ribs with a housemade rub in a slow cooked BBQ sauce, served with coleslaw, or the Chokes and Hummus Plate, served with artichoke hearts, garlic citrus hummus, kettle chips and a balsamic drizzle. Set the mood with a signature cocktail, such as the Sex on the Piano, a mix of Stoli peach vodka, Razzmatazz, melon liquor, cranberry and pineapple juice, or the Pear-A-Dise City with Absolut pear vodka, malibu rum, frangelico, pineapple juice, and ginger ale, topped with a champagne float. For dessert, indulge in all things chocolate, such as $5 Chocolate Martinis, $4 Chocolate Cake Shots, and $3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries.The Valley’s only dueling piano bar, at The Shout House musicians play classic rock ‘n’ roll hits to today’s popular music. An adult-oriented, 21-and-over, non-stop, audience request driven show, the performers involve the audience in sing-alongs, roasts and on-stage interaction. The party will be from from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations can be made beginning at 7 p.m. and pianos will start at 7:30 p.m.

The Shout House is located in the Westgate Entertainment District at 6770 Sunrise Blvd, Ste. 207, Glendale, Ariz. For more information, visit www.theshouthouse/az.

 

Phoenix:

Sierra Bonita Grill:

On Valentine’s Day, enjoy a romantic brunch or dinner at Sierra Bonita Grill. For brunch, enjoy southwestern-inspired cuisine, including the Monte Cristo ($13) with Cure 81 ham, oven roasted turkey, scrambled eggs, bacon and manchego cheese between two egg battered pieces of sourdough bread, served with oven roasted root vegetables. The Cowboy Hash ($12) is roasted root vegetables tossed with Schrieners linguisa sausage and chorizo, topped with fried eggs, salsa verde and salsa fresca. For dinner, the evening’s specials include Smoked Prime Rib ($33), served with green chile mashed potatoes, horseradish sour cream and beef au jus. The fresh catch of the evening will be Pan Seared Crab Crusted Shrimp and Scallops ($35), served with tomato fettucini pasta tossed with spinach and cherry tomatoes, and topped with a white wine chile cream sauce. Pair dinner with a special cocktail created for the evening. The Hibiscus Margarita ($10) features hibiscus infused blanco tequila, Cointreau, St. Germain, fresh lime juice, agave and is garnished with an edible flower.

Sierra Bonita Grill is located at 6933 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014. For reservations, call 602-264-0700 or visit www.sierrabonitagrill.com

Villa Capella at the Royal Palms

Villa Capella at the Royal Palms

Valentine’s Day at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, T.Cook’s Valentine’s Day Special Menus

Available year-round, but particularly popular on Valentine’s Day, the resort turns up the passion with Romantication, which are customized, romantic experiences. These can range from couples massages and rose-petal turndowns to love notes and private dining in an intimate Via Cappello, a tucked-away, candlelit “lover’s corners” throughout the grounds. Royal Palms even has a Director of Romance on-staff to arrange customized romantic experiences with an unprecedented level of personal attention and one-of-a-kind activities such as private plane rides and mountaintop proposals.

A few of the most popular Romantication stay packages include:

Do Not Disturb Package – Priced from $669 per night

One night luxurious accommodations.

Candlelit dinner for two from the featured Valentine’s Day in-room dining menu complete with a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

Champagne and rose petal turndown.

Valid February 1 – February 28.

Royal Romance Package – Priced from $639 per night

One night of luxurious accommodations.

Dinner for two at the T. Cook’s Restaurant.

Rose petal turndown set up in your guestroom.

Romantic in-room welcome amenity.

Resort Fee included within package rate.

Royal Experience Package – Priced from $688 per night

Two-night of luxury accommodations.

$100 T. Cook’s dining credit.

Two 50-minute Alvadora Spa treatments of your choice.

T. Cook’s, the renowned restaurant at Royal Palms, is offering an ultra-luxe prix-fixe menu the day before Valentine’s Day, for those who want to avoid the crowds, and on Valentine’s Day from Executive Chef Paul McCabe. Awarded “Best Romantic Restaurant” by Phoenix Magazine and The Arizona Republic, guests can enjoy a selection of starters, entrees and desserts. The specialty menu features a selection of options with a few highlights including Oysters Rockefeller, Lobster Bisque, Pink Grouper with Dungeness Crab, Colorado Lamb Loin and White Chocolate Mousse. Perigord black truffles can be added to any entrée for $26. Reservations are available for Friday, Feb. 13 (menu starting at $105++) and Saturday, Feb. 14 (menu starting at $125++).

Nested at the bottom of Camelback Mountain, Royal Palms combines the gracious sophistication of a Mediterranean villa with the intimacy and privacy of a secluded retreat, not found anywhere else in Arizona. The lush landscape and orange groves, exceptional personalized touches throughout the property and inviting rooms make this the ideal location to spend Valentine’s Day.

One lucky guest has an opportunity to win a one-night stay on Valentine’s Day night and dinner for two at T. Cook’s along with a rose-petal turndown. Contestants can enter-to-win by sharing their personal Royal Palms romance stories on the Royal Palms blog or on social media using the hashtag #myroyalpalmsromance. The contest begins Monday, 1/26/15 and runs through 2/8/15. The winner will be announced on 2/9/15. http://www.royalpalmshotel.com/resort-blog

To book a stay for Valentine’s Day visit www.royalpalmshotel.com. For T. Cook’s dinner reservations, visit www.tcooksphoenix.com.

Hotel Palomar guest room

Hotel Palomar guest room

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix Valentine’s Package Special

“Rated Paloma-R” Valentine’s Day Package – Starting at $289/night

Package includes:

Beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations

A dozen mood-enhancing raw oysters and two craft cocktails at LUSTRE Rooftop Garden

LUSTRE Rooftop Garden has dyed the 3rd floor pool pink to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the Pink Rooftop Pool will be open to guests for a late night swim

A racy in-room intimacy kit

Morning coffee and tea service in the living room

Hosted wine reception in the living room

Complimentary access to Gold’s Gym Elite

For more information, visit http://www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

Location: 2 E. Jefferson St. 

blue hound 3

Blue Hound

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails Specials

Guests can expect thoughtful dishes from Executive Chef Sean Currid that are sure to ignite the passion this Valentine’s Day.

“His and Hers” Valentine’s Day at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

4-course prix-fixe menu

Saturday, Feb. 14 from 5:30pm to 11:30pm

$80++ PER PERSON

Cocktails available from Head Barkeep Stephanie Teslar, starting at $10

Menu options include:

Bacon Wrapped Oysters – Brioche, lemon and chive

Chilled Dungeness Crab – Celerian mousse, fennel, gaufrette and caviar

Local Arugula Salad – Beets, fennel, blood orange, pickled shallots and feta

Sunchoke Soup – Crispy shallots, extra virgin olive oil and parsley puree

Pork Belly and Scallop – Tomato Jam, turnip, truffle and veal jus

Petite Filet and Short Rib – organic mushrooms, parsnips and sauce perigoux

Petite Sweets – Macaroons, chocolate strawberries and blackberry and cabernet gelato

To make a reservation, visit http://www.bluehoundkitchen.com

Location: 2 E. Jefferson St.

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

Spa Pampering from the Pointe Hilton Locations

Tocaloma Spa at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

From toffee and buttered rum to sweet cream, chocolate and wine, Tocaloma Spa at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix is offering great deals on decadently sweet spa packages just in time for Valentine’s Day. The intimate spa located at the mountainside Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is whipping up the following the spa deals that are as sweet as they are sinful and available during the month of February:

Wine & Chocolate Facial – 50 minutes, $100 (reg. $125). A fully customized facial featuring exfoliation, firming wine serum featuring Texas winery grapes, a warmed chocolate masque featuring live carrot cells, cocoa and coconut oil, and ultra-hydrating facial milk.

Love My Butter Rum Body – 50 minutes, $92 (reg. $115). Made of a Werther’s caramel dreams, the treatment features a brown sugar, butterscotch and dark rum fine body scrub and warmed sweet cream body milk.

Sweet Cream Pedi Dream – 50 minutes, $120 per couple (reg. $144). Couples can escape to a private pedicure room for a warmed whirlpool foot soak, butter rum scrub, leg and foot massage, warmed sweet cream milk moisturizer with a toe polish for the ladies and a shine for the gentlemen. Served with a complimentary glass of wine and chocolate covered strawberries.

Cupid’s Couples Escape –  50 minutes, $100 (reg. $210). Couples that are guests of the resort can enjoy a relaxing couples massage with rose petal turndown in the comfort of their own suite, complete with a split of red wine and chocolate covered strawberries.

Spa guests can also enjoy same-day access to the resort’s Falls Water Village, which features two expansive pools, waterslide, cabanas, poolside bar and grill and more. In addition to Tocaloma Spa, the all-suite mountainside resort nestled in the granite bluffs of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve offers eight pools, a Troon golf experience, awarding-winning dining at Different Pointe of View, and dramatic city views found throughout the resort grounds.

To reserve spa packages, visit www.pointehiltontapatiocliffs.com.

Location: 11111 N. 7th St.

Tocasierra Spa at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort

Featuring sweet treats and services to make you glow for your sweetheart, Tocasierra Spa at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort is offering four special spa services during the month of February:

Couples Massage – 80 minutes, $225

Couples can enjoy 50 minutes of Swedish massages complete with a hot oil scalp treatment and a chocolate foot masque in the spa’s luxurious couples room. Afterwards, toast to your love with a complimentary glass of champagne.

Cupid’s Cupcake Pedicure – 50 minutes, $50

A sweet treat for your feet begins with a relaxing and soothing foot soak, followed by a sweet cream exfoliating scrub, and finished with a gentle foot massage.

Berries and Bliss Body treatment – 50 minutes, $85

Enjoy finding your inner bliss with a warm butter bruleé milk towel wrap to soften and soothe the skin, followed by a sweet cream scrub to exfoliate and smooth, ending with a strawberry smash cream gentle massage.

Brightening Facial – 50 minutes, $90

Show your inner and outer glow for your sweetheart with this facial designed to diminish dark spots and even out tone and texture.

Spa guests at Tocasierra Spa & Salon can enjoy all-day use of the spa’s 10,000 square feet of amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center, daily fitness classes, steam and sauna facilities and a private lap pool and whirlpool. For spa reservations, call  602-906-3820.

Location: 7677 N. 16th St.

Papa Murphy's Heart Baker pizza

Papa Murphy’s Heart Baker pizza

Papa Murphy’s HeartBaker Pizza

Share the love this Valentine’s Day with the entire family around a Papa Murphy’s HeartBaker® Pizza. This valentine favorite is freshness you will fall in love with. This traditional offering is available for a limited time at all Phoenix Metro locations, February 2nd through February 14th for $8. The HeartBaker Pizza starts with Papa Murphy’s fresh, scratch-made dough in the shape of a heart which is then topped with traditional red sauce, generous portions of 100 percent whole milk mozzarella cheese and premium pepperoni slices. The HeartBaker should be taken home, baked at 425 degrees and served fresh out of the oven in 12 – 18 minutes and shared with the ones you love.

There are currently more than 45 locations in the Phoenix metro area, with more slated to open in 2015. Visit www.papamurphys.com for locations, phone numbers and hours of operation.

New Dating Survey: Most Popular Valentine’s Day Gifts Per State

Getting someone the perfect Valentine’s gift can be a challenge, and it seems many men are going to miss the mark. Scores of women are bound to be disappointed with the presents they receive this Valentine’s Day, according to a survey conducted by date-auction website, WhatsYourPrice.com.

WhatsYourPrice.com surveyed members to find the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts in each state. Results of the survey reveal an 86 percent expectation gap in the United States. This calculation is based on the disparity between what women wish to receive and what men are actually gifting.

An infographic with complete results of the survey can be viewed here: https://dwytm1vo3v31f.cloudfront.net/img/wyp-valentine-infographic-2015.jpg.

According to more than 100,000 respondents, flowers are men’s overwhelming favorite gift to give across most states, ages, and income levels. However, flowers were hugely unpopular among women, who said they most desired jewelry.

“Although flowers are a traditional gift, they are much too predictable on Valentine’s Day,” said Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of WhatsYourPrice.com. “Women appreciate an element of surprise, and by giving this kind of gift, men risk appearing unthoughtful and unimaginative.”

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Royal Palms

There is no better place to celebrate this Valentine’s Day than at Royal Palms Resort and Spa, A Destination Hotel, and T. Cook’s, acclaimed as one of the most romantic resorts and restaurants in the country.Available year-round, but particularly popular on Valentine’s Day, the resort turns up the passion with romantication, which are customized, romantic experiences. These can range from couples massages and rose-petal turndowns to love notes and private dining in an intimate Via Cappello, a tucked-away, candlelit “lover’s corners” throughout the grounds. Royal Palms even has a Director of Romance on-staff to arrange customized romantic experiences with an unprecedented level of personal attention and one-of-a-kind activities such as private plane rides and mountaintop proposals.

A few of the most popular Romantication stay packages include:
123RF.com, Joshua Resnick

123RF.com, Joshua Resnick

Do Not Disturb Package – Priced from $669 per night
One night luxurious accommodations.
Candlelit dinner for two from the featured Valentine’s Day in-room dining menu complete with a special Valentine’s Day dessert.
Champagne and rose petal turndown.
Valid February 1 – February 28.

Royal Romance Package – Priced from $639 per night
One night of luxurious accommodations.
Dinner for two at the T. Cook’s Restaurant.
Rose petal turndown set up in your guestroom.
Romantic in-room welcome amenity.
Resort Fee included within package rate.175009623

Royal Experience Package – Priced from $688 per night
Two-night of luxury accommodations.
$100 T. Cook’s dining credit.
Two 50-minute Alvadora Spa treatments of your choice.

T. Cook’s, the renowned restaurant at Royal Palms, is offering an ultra-luxe prix-fixe menu the day before Valentine’s Day, for those who want to avoid the crowds, and on Valentine’s Day from Executive Chef Paul McCabe. Awarded “Best Romantic Restaurant” by Phoenix Magazine and The Arizona Republic, guests can enjoy a selection of starters, entrees and desserts. The specialty menu features a selection of options with a few highlights including Oysters Rockefeller, Lobster Bisque, Pink Grouper with Dungeness Crab, Colorado Lamb Loin and White Chocolate Mousse. Perigord black truffles can be added to any entrée for $26. Reservations are available for Friday, Feb. 13 (menu starting at $105++) and Saturday, Feb. 14 (menu starting at $125++).

Nested at the bottom of Camelback Mountain, Royal Palms combines the gracious sophistication of a Mediterranean villa with the intimacy and privacy of a secluded retreat, not found anywhere else in Arizona. The lush landscape and orange groves, exceptional personalized touches throughout the property and inviting rooms make this the ideal location to spend Valentine’s Day.

One lucky guest has an opportunity to win a one-night stay on Valentine’s Day night and dinner for two at T. Cook’s along with a rose-petal turndown. Contestants can enter-to-win by sharing their personal Royal Palms romance stories on the Royal Palms blog or on social media using the hashtag #myroyalpalmsromance. The contest begins Monday, 1/26/15 and runs through 2/8/15. The winner will be announced on 2/9/15.http://www.royalpalmshotel.com/resort-blog

To book a stay for Valentine’s Day and to see additional resort packages, call 602-840-3610 or visit www.royalpalmshotel.com. For T. Cook’s dinner reservations, call 602-808-0766 or visitwww.tcooksphoenix.com.

123rf, Andriy Popov

10 Valley restaurants’ special menus on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. Looking for a restaurant to celebrate? Here’s a list of 10 Valley restaurants to do such the thing. Reservations are recommended. (This is part one of a two-part series.)

Scottsdale

“Pair of bubbles”  Valentine’s Day at TAGGIA 2015

Taggia at FireSky Resort & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel, 4925 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-424-6095, $85 per couple++

Chef Massimo de Francesca offers the following menu:

Tartine / Canapés: A platter of avocado, with queso fresco and truffle; Gamberi: Shrimp cocktail with spicy tomato cocktail sauce / gf; Asparagi: Prosciutto wrapped asparagus with lemon aioli / gf

Antipasto/Appetizer: Carpaccio: Thinly sliced beef carpaccio, cilantro crema, crispy capers, parmesan, arugula and lemon / gf; Insalata di Mozzarella: A salad of marinated fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, basil, olive oil and saba  / gf

Secondo/Entrée: Manzo: Grilled New York striploin “fiorentina”, rosemary-garlic potatoes, heirloom, carrots, Broccolini, Barolo demi glace / gf; Risotto: Langoustines, scallops, lobster, crab, tomato, basil / gf

Dolce/Dessert: S’Mondu: a play on the classic s’mores and fondue. Toasted marshmallows, graham cookies, strawberries, sliced pear and warm nutella sauce

Valentine’s Day 2015 at Rusconi’s American Kitchen

Rusconi’s American Kitchen, 10637 N Tatum Blvd. Ste 101, Phoenix, 480-483-0009, $55 per person+

Executive Chef and Proprietor Michael Rusconi offers:

First course (Choice of one): Baby greens with apple-pears: Amish blue cheese, spiced almonds and pomegranate; the “kitchen” caesar salad with cotija cheese; creamy garlic dressing, roasted corn relish, smoked bacon, and basil pesto; Lobster bisque: Cilantro crema and american caviar; Grilled vegetable risotto: Parmesan cheese and sherry jus; Guajillo seared ahi tuna: Chilled quinoa salad with mushrooms, tomato, olives and pesto; Pan roasted gulf shrimp: Creamy grits, cured tomato, and roasted corn

Main course (Choice of one); Grilled natural breast of chicken; Creamy white corn polenta, French beans and baby Portobello mushrooms; Granny smith apple glazed pork tenderloin: Butternut squash spaetzle, wilted organic spinach and port wine jus; Smoked tomato crusted rack of lamb: Fingerling potatoes, fennel, and black olives; Pan roasted sea bass: Cauliflower potato puree, small green beans, and herbed butter sauce; Pecan wood-grilled beef tenderloin filet: Spaghetti squash, wilted spinach, goat cheese gnocchi, and pomegranate syrup

Dessert (Choice of one): Grilled Anjou pear beignets for two: Hazelnut chocolate and blackberry sauces; Duo of crème brulée: Dark chocolate and vanilla bean; Passion fruit budino: Tropical fruit and strawberry jus

Local Bistro, 20581 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, (480) 302-6050, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Andrea Volpi features the following menu:

Starters (choice of): Capesante: Seared giant scallops, lobster roe- foie gras mousse, truffle oil; Carpaccio Palmetto: Shaved beef, watercress, hearts of palm, pioppini, picked mustard seeds, salsa verde and Grana crisps; Mushroom Bisque: Vegetarian cream of wild mushrooms soup, black truffle shaving, truffle oil

Salad (choice of): Spring mix, tri-color quinoa, carrots, tomato, red onion, yellow peppers, shitake, roasted poblano vinaigrette; Arugula, strawberries, toasted Marcona almonds, goat cheese, lemon oil dressing; Heirloom tomato, Gorgonzola, anchovies, fried onions, lemon-basil, warm cherry vinaigrette

Main course (choice of): Lobster in Nero: Black ravioli stuffed with lobster and wild mushroom, lobster-crab jus; Lamb chop Lollipops: Lamb chop, mint aioli, garlic French fries, red beat puree; Sea bream alla Plancha: Crispy seared sea bream, citrus beurre blanc; Eggplant Parma: Eggplant paper, mozzarella di buffala, velvet tomato sauce, grana padano

Dessert (choice of): Amaretto coffee bomb love cake; Zuppa Inglese; Champagne zabaglione with wild berries, Saba

Central Bistro, 3160 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 480-646-8560, Centralbistroaz.com, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Chris Mayo’s menu includes the following:

First course (choice of): Winter squash soup, duck confit, cider-soaked currents; Caramelized sea scallops, cauliflower puree, fennel, apples, grapes, cured lemon; Warm asparagus salad, crème fraiche, salmon caviar, and pistachio vinaigrette

Optional course: $20 supplement: Ricotta gnocchi, butter-poached lobster, parmesan fonduta

Main course (choice of): Wood grilled filet of beef, sunchoke creamed spinach, potato pave, and red wine-truffle jus; Pan roasted sea bass, artichokes, braised leeks, and warm mushroom vinaigrette; Crispy skinned duck breast, farro, root vegetables, citrus

Dessert (choice of): Lavender honey poached pear, candied hazelnuts, champagne; Black Forrest cake, cherries, grand mariner; Raspberry cake, coconut, basil, white chocolate

Each couple who dines at Central Bistro and Local Bistro will receive one voucher for Kendra Scott jewelry*. For anyone who is looking for a more vibrant atmosphere or is currently unattached or in a “complicated” arrangement, SumoMaya is celebrating all relationship statuses. At SumoMaya, each individual in the party who makes a reservation will receive a Kendra Scott voucher.

*Rayne necklace, Danielle earrings or Elle earrings, while supplies last in-store. Only one voucher can be redeemed per person at Kendra Scott.

SumoMaya, 6560 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, (480) 397-9520, sumomaya.com, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Matt Zdeb will feature:

First course choice of: Strawberry and Cucumber Gazpacho: Olive oil and Marcona almond; Lobster Ceviche: Grilled lemon and truffle; Fluke Crudo: Yuzu vinaigrette and candied kumquats; Bacon wrapped dates: Chorizo, queso Cotija, caramelized onion foie gras sauce

Second course choice of: Oyster trio: Thai basil mignonette, yuzo kosho with black salt and daikon puree, uni with citrus ponzu; Baked Crab and seared Waygu Beef roll: Lobster sauce; Chicken Mole with Crispy sweet plantains: Vegetarian “tofu mole” upon request; Filet wrapped asparagus: Sizzling on a hot rock with soy caramel

Something extra… $44 supplement: Seared Japanese Waygu beef (3oz) with a red miso glaze and citrus ponzu

Third course choice of: Wood Grilled filet of beef: Sautéed asparagus, soy-mirin reduction (add seared foie gras  $15 supplement); Dou of grilled duck breast and pork belly: Roasted apples and cauliflower-truffle puree; Soba Noodle vegetable stir fry: Green tea soba noodles and tamarind yuzu glaze; Grilled Chilean Seabass: Tatsoi, miso-truffle sauce

Dessert choice of: Mexican Chocolate Mousse: Chocolate mole, tamarind caramel, churro; Tres Leches Cake: Sweet vanilla milk reduction, toasted marshmallow fluff; Sake poached pear: Coconut sorbet, orange rosewater, sweet and salty marcona almond

 

Los Sombreros Scottsdale, 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, 14795 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-994-1799, lossombreros.com, $75 per couple 

Tasting menu includes:

(all portioned in smaller, tasting sizes)

Corn Chowder Soup

Two Crispy Hibiscus Taquitos

Fig and Panela Cheese Salad, with greens in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Crab & Mango Salad with honey lime vinaigrette

Snapper with Esquites

Trout with Almonds in Lemon Butter with Capers

Corn Cake Soufle with Mole Sauce

Pechuga Rellena, grilled chicken breast, stuffed with goat cheese and huitalacoche in a chipotle tomato sauce

Pork Chop with Tamarind Mole

Pilconcillo Ice Cream or Damiana Flan

Pink Pony Scottsdale, 3831 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-945-6697, Prices vary

In addition to the regular menu, the Pink Pony Scottsdale will be serving a special Valentine’s menu that includes:

Bubbles: Henriot Champagne, half bottle ($25)

Crab Cakes & Greens: Blue Crab cakes, poached pears, arugula, tarragon vinaigrette ($12)

Scallops: Day boat scallops, carrot and ginger broth, braised greens, fried ginger ($14)

Devils on Horseback: Bacon wrapped date, marcona almonds, scallions, Iitoi onion & ginger vinaigrette ($9)

Lobster & Veal: Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Veal Ravioli, Chive oil

Lobster Butter Broth (AQ)

Niman Ranch Pork “Osso Buco”: Cassoulet, bacon, leeks, natural jus, citrus gremolata ($25)

Something Sweet: Red Velvet Cake, Mascarpone, Midnight Ganache ($9)

Complimentary Truffles For The Table: Rosemary, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnuts

Bistro du Lac, 8320 North Hayden Road, Suite D-101, Scottsdale, 480-203-2075, bistrodulacaz.com, $65 per person

Appetizer (choose one): Wild Mushroom Bisque: with Tellagio filled profiterole, truffle essence and mushroom chips; Salade De Magret De Canard Fume: Salad of baby greens, with smoked duck, baby gem lettuces, shallot vinaigrette tomato and smoked pine nuts

Entrée (choose one): Grilled Atlantic Salmon:Red pepper beurre blanc, pancetta pomme puree, arrowleaf spinach roasted tomatoes on the vine; Filet De Beouf Aux Morilles: haricot verts with lardons, wild mushroom-spinach crepe cabernet-mushroom broderlaise, sunnyside quail egg

Dessert (choose one): Cannele De Bordeaux: With vanilla bean gelato, myers rum sabayon; Chocolate-Gianduja Crunch Cake:Red raspberry couli, praline ice cream, chocolate honeycomb

East Valley Restaurants

Umami, 21 E. 6 Street, Tempe, 480-625-4565, umamitempe.com, $40+ per couple

Includes:

Two customized ramen bowls

1 bottle of sake

Desert Bento Box with strawberries, bananas, pound cake and marshmallows for dipping in melted chocolate

Perfect Pear Bistro, 9845 South Priest Drive, Tempe,  & 1241 East Chandler Boulevard, Ahwatukee, perfectpearbistro.com

Bottomless Mimosa Valentine Brunch $44.99++ per couple

Choice of 2 Frittatas served with Fresh Fruit and Sweet Potato Tots

Mimosa options include Fresh Orange Juice, Pear or Pomegranate.

Complete menu available online

Social Box Neighborhood Eatery, 1371 N. Alma School Road, Chandler, 480-899-6735, Socialboxeateries.com, $75 per couple

Includes:

Shared bruschetta appetizer

Simple salad per person

Choice of Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Loin OR Herb Dijon Crusted Escolar, per person

Shared Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Ice Cream

1 glass of red or white wine or non-alcoholic beverage per person

image009

Bake the sweetest gift this Valentine’s Day

Learn how to make delectable, chocolaty desserts for the sweetest holiday of the year, including Truffle Tarts, Italian Chocolate Bread Pudding and more! Bring your sweetheart or bring a group of pals – it’ll be a time to share the love (of chocolate!).
On Friday, February 13, come to Luci’s Healthy Marketplace and learn the art of making Valentine’s Day Desserts from Chef James Monaci. The class begins at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 8:30 p.m.
All classes come with wine and cost just $49.99 a person. Make your reservations by visiting www.lucishealthymarketplace.com/cooking-classes.
Luci’s Healthy Marketplace is a unique café that boasts a full menu, coffees and drinks. People can shop for healthy items to make nutritious meals in the marketplace. Located on the corner of Bethany and 16th Street, this neighborhood spot is a staple in central Phoenix.
Visit www.lucishealthymarketplace.com for more about the locally owned business.
sedona-sunrise

Enjoy ‘Love On The Rocks’ At Hilton Sedona

Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is delivering the ultimate in romance amidst the stunning red rocks of Sedona just in time for Valentine’s Day with the “Love On The Rocks” package.
Loaded with all you need for romance, the “Love On The Rocks” package is priced from $329 per night and includes two-nights in a newly renovated king suite, $150 credit for use at the resort’s eforea: Spa at Hilton,  breakfast for two each morning, a bottle of wine or sparkling cider delivered at check-in, and bouquet of fresh flowers. Just for Valentine’s Day weekend travelers, guests booking the package over the dates of February 13-15, 2015 will enjoy a special Valentine’s Day amenity.
For a truly local spa experience, travelers can opt to apply their credit towards the spa’s signature Full Circle Message, a 90-minute service inspired by the metaphysical properties of Sedona. The experience includes aromatherapy, meditation to discover intuition, massage, energy balancing and visualization, and is delivered by one of the spa’s therapists that are certified to practice “energy medicine.”
Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation delivering redesigned guest rooms and an entirely new lobby experience focused on relaxation, rejuvenation and new spaces to socialize and stay connected. Bringing the essence of Sedona through the doors of the resort, guest rooms have been refinished and redesigned with locally-inspired elements and materials selected to create a sense of haven and reflection. The experience continues into the lobby, offering a respite from the moment you enter the resort with a soothing color palette of earth tones and artwork, furnishings and finishes that reflect the natural elements of Sedona.
Named “the most beautiful place on earth” by USA Today Weekend, Sedona is nestled among a geological wonderland just 90 minutes north of Phoenix where vivid red rock formations jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a mesmerizing setting. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres that provide instant access to a plethora of outdoor adventures, recreational activities ranging from hiking and biking to jeep tours and more. Sedona continues to be recognized as a place of healing and spiritual renewal with vortex energy centers, has a vibrant art scene and is an emerging wine destination with nearby vineyards and tasting rooms.
Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is located along Sedona’s Red Rock Scenic byway, delivering breathtaking views of red rock landscapes. With 219 guest rooms, resort amenities include three heated pools, an expansive 25,000 square-foot spa, fitness and wellness facility and an adjacent 18-hole golf course.
The “Love On The Rocks Package” is available with rates from $329 per night with a two-night stay required. For more information about Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa and to book the “Love On The Rocks” package, visit http://www.hiltonsedonaresort.com/hsr/specials or call +1 928 284 6900.
Lonely Valentine Day, WEB

How to Be Your Own Valentine

With everyone trying to get ready for Valentine’s Day this weekend, it can be hard to feel happy as a single person. But don’t worry, there are plenty of singles activities and ways to avoid of feeling down on the overly romantic holiday.

First and foremost, own your singleness! It’s okay that you haven’t found that special someone or that you never want to. Everyone has to go through their own process and find what works for them. It is better to be single, confident and happy than stuck in an unhappy relationship. Think about all the great things about yourself and how you are a whole, confident person on your own.

Remember that you are not alone! There are plenty of single people out there looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day. Round up your single friends, go on a website or go to a bar to find other single people who are happy to be single on Valentine’s Day. Whether it is time to moan about the corporate nature of Valentine’s Day or make fun of all of your sickeningly in-love friends or revel in your single attitude, find others who share your feelings and bond over the occasion.

If you are really feeling down in the dumps about being single, try making a pro/con list (focus more on the pros). Think about all the great things about being single (I promise there are lots!). Focus on things you can’t do, or do as often, as a couple like hanging out with your friends, watching whatever you want on TV, making a mess and leaving it for days, taking up the entire bed or blasting the radio to your favorite song. You never have to compromise as a single, but can do whatever you want!

If you need some activities to keep you busy, but you don’t want to meet other singles there are still plenty of things to do. Pick your favorite actor and have a movie marathon. Read that book you have been meaning to finish. Get in a long workout. Go to a spa and pamper yourself. Do anything but wallow and feel sorry for yourself.

The last suggestion is to treat yourself on Valentine’s Day. Show yourself some love because you deserve it after all. Instead of spending money on a date and gifts for someone else, buy yourself some chocolates and flowers, a nice massage, a mani/pedi or a night on the town with some single friends.

You don’t have to wait for someone else to treat you nice and make you happy. This Valentine’s Day feel happy about yourself and your place in life. Own your singleness!

Drunk in Love, WEB

Drunk In Love: Valentine's Day Cocktails

Are you still looking for that romantic Valentine’s Day date idea? Maybe a classy, romantic night on the town? A steakhouse with a special Valentine’s Day cocktail is the perfect choice. Both J&G Steakhouse and Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse have come up with some deliciously romantic cocktails for the occasion.

J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician created the Fraise Sauvage cocktail. This drink is delectably pink and refreshing on the lips. It is not sugary sweet but has a bit of tartness to keep you interested and wanting more. On the other hand, Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse’s cocktail, Sweet Love, is the epitome of a chocolate-covered strawberry. With a chocolate liqueur and strawberry puree you will never have tasted anything so perfect. It is even garnished with a chocolate-covered strawberry.

Make these yourself with the following recipes or go out on the town for a lovely Valentine’s Day date!

J&G- Fraise Sauvage PhotoFraise Sauvage at J&G Steakhouse – $15

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ oz Plymouth Gin
  • ½ oz Strawberry vanilla puree
  • ¾ oz Lemon juice
  • ¼ oz Simple syrup
  • 2 oz Prosecco

Directions:

  • Pour all ingredients except sparkling wine into a mixing glass
  • Add large, cold ice
  • Shake vigorously
  • Pour sparkling wine into a Martini glass
  • Top the sparkling wine with shaken mixture
  • Garnish with half a strawberry on the rim

DSC_0382 (1)Sweet Love – $12 regular menu, $7 happy hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces chocolate liqueur
  • 1 ounce Malibu rum
  • 1 ounce strawberry puree
  • ½ ounce Vanilla vodka
  • ½ ounce crème de cacao

Directions:

  • In a shaker tin with ice, add all ingredients and shake vigorously
  • Pour into a chilled sugar rimmed martini glass
  • Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry and whipped cream in the center
linzer heart collage

Pomegranate Linzer Hearts

If there’s ever a good time to be a little hokey, I say Valentine’s Day is it.  Instead of getting your sweetheart the usual heart-shaped box of just-okay chocolates and a teddy bear holding roses why not surprise them with something homemade.

When I want something delicious and just a little bit hokey I make Linzer cookies. These delicious little sandwich cookies are typically made with almond flour and filled with raspberry jam. I’m changing it up with a jar of organic pomegranate jam I found at the store. Pomegranates will add an unexpected tang and as an aphrodisiac they’re perfect for this holiday. Cut into heart shapes these cookies are the perfect way to say “I love you.”

If cookies aren’t your think we’ve covered plenty of other recipes that would make for great V-Day gifts. Maybe those truffles you’ve been dying to try or make your own marshmallows flavored with rose water and dipped in chocolate. Check out these recipes and more from The Dish.

 

Linzer Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 tsp dark rum

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

about 1/2 cup seedless jam such as raspberry, strawberry, or pomegranate. Nutella or dulce de leche can be substituted as well

1 Tbs. water or lemon juice

powdered sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

A 2″ heart cookie cutter and a 1/2″ heart cookie cutter

 

In a bowl, mix flour, almonds and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well blended. Beat in rum, vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until just blended. Knead with your hands if necessary.

Divide dough in half. Place each half between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten dough into a disk; roll dough, occasionally lifting paper on both sides for easier rolling, until 1/8″ thick. Chill dough in paper until very firm, at least 2 hours. Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with 1 dough disk at a time, remove top sheet of paper and, using 2″ heart cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to baking sheets, placing 1/2″ apart; chill. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, chilling, and cutting until dough is used.

Using 1/2″ heart cookie cutter, cut out a star from the center of half the cookies. Working in batches, bake cookies until light golden brown, dry, and just firm to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. (Cookies will firm up as they cool.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Bring jam and 1 teaspoon water or lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan; let cool slightly.

Arrange whole cookies flat side up. Spoon 1 teaspoon cooled jam in the center of each, dabbing slightly to spread. Arrange cookies with cutouts flat side down on a wire rack; dust with powdered sugar. Set atop whole cookies, lining up points and allowing jam to push up slightly through center.

Cookeis can be assembled 8 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

 

 

20140129_122111

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2014

Valentine’s Day — you either love it, hate it or (sometimes) forget it. If you have a special someone (yourself included!) to celebrate this glorious holiday, take a quick stroll through the Scottsdale Quarter. With the help of the Stephanie Ingersoll, who knows the Quarter better than even the most dedicated shopper, Scottsdale Living has compiled a gift guide to the most excessively romantic day of the year.

look one There’s nothing more romantic than a sensual fragrance. If you’ve been dating a long time and your S.O. Knows every word to Seal’s “A Kiss From a Rose,” there’s a good chance this gift will go over well.
Try: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Gift Trio, $144.25 or Gucci Guilty Pour Homme Gift Set, $90 from Sephora.
look two Does the Sun have nothing on the warm fuzzies you get when you look at your honey? Help buffer that beautiful shine with these products.
Try: GLAMGLOW Clearing Treatment, $69-$88 or CLARISONIC Mia2 Hollywood Lights Collection, $150 from Sephora.
look three At the heart of a budding relationship is laughter and good times. Plus, you know the saying — the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. These appetite-satisfying gifts are great for a guy (and gal) whose eyes are bigger than their stomach.
Try: Edible bra and panty, $9.99; an XL beer glass that holds four brews, $14; box of chocolates or giant candy bars, $7 to $19.99, from It’s Sugar.
look three Show your better half how well you know them with a gift that aligns with their passions.
Try: Marilyn Monroe gear — $13 to $39.99, from It’s Sugar.
look three Is your beloved a classic? Don’t be afraid to take the classic route of gifting jewelry! For trendy items, Kendra Scott has both of you covered with cufflinks for him and gorgeous jewelry sets for her.
Try: Emerson, Daniel or Loren cufflinks, $44 to $75; Stevie necklace, Marissa earrings or an Erika cuff bracelet, $150, $125, $160, from Kendra Scott Jewelry.
look three If your lady has high-end taste, you may want to check out the LUXE Collection’s offerings.
Try: Baquette Caged Tennis Bracelet in Black Tourmaline, $450; Stone Nest Pendant Necklace in Black Tourmaline, $250; Pave Oval Stud Earrings in Black Tourmaline $195, from LUXE Collection.

Massage Envy Introduces New Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy

Whether it’s your job, the daily grind or an intense workout that causes your feet to feel worn out, the best way to find relief is to give your feet some serious tender, love and care. Beginning today your toes will thank you with the launch of the new Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy, available at any of Valley’s 28 Massage Envy clinics. Ideal for reducing daily stress or the pain and discomfort caused by dry callused skin, a Sugar Foot Scrub treatment can be added to any massage session for only $10 ($15 for guests) as part of Massage Envy Enhanced Therapies menu.

Massage Envy’s partner, Bon Vital, helped formulate the sugar foot scrub exclusively for Massage Envy customers that combine fortified sugar with jojoba, olive and safflower oils, and lavender essential oil. Massage Envy’s specially designed formula contains extra fine sugar granules and less oil than a typical sugar foot scrub, allowing for easier absorption into the skin. The scrub cleans and exfoliates, removes dead skin cells, and soothes the surface of the skin while stimulating lymph flow and increasing circulation. Following the sugar scrub, a whipped Bon Vital Body Butter, which is blended with cocoa butter, Shea butter, beeswax and lavender oil, is also applied to add a hydrating protective layer to the freshly scrubbed skin.

“Our new Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy is perfect to treat tired feet,” said Steve Cook, Massage Envy regional developer for Arizona and Las Vegas. “The winter weather can take a major toll on our feet, but the Sugar Foot Scrub will be sure to smooth away rough spots and drench dry skin to create the ultimate therapeutic massage experience.”

In addition to this new service, all Valley Massage Envy clinics are offering special Valentine’s Day deals for members and guests through Feb. 14. Gift cards for massages and facials make a perfect present for your loved one and Massage Envy is offering specials with the purchase of $50, $75 and $100 gift cards. When you purchase a $50 gift card, you will receive a certificate for a free enhanced therapy, when you purchase a $75 gift card, you will receive a complimentary half-hour upgrade and with the purchase of a $100 gift card, you will receive a free one-hour massage session.

With a membership at Massage Envy, customers can choose from a variety of monthly massage and spa treatments including Swedish, Trigger Point, Deep Tissue, Sports, Prenatal and Geriatric. As part of the revamped Enhanced Therapies menu that includes AromaTherapy, Deep Muscle Therapy and Hot Stone Envy™, the new Sugar Foot Scrub will allow members and guests to further customize and boost their wellness experience. The proven benefits of routine massage include improved circulation, joint flexibility and posture, relief from pain and swelling caused by arthritis, reduced blood pressure, fatigue, migraine pain and stress, as well as improved sleep, concentration and overall sense of well-being.

Additionally, Massage Envy Spa offers facials designed by Dr. Murad, the leader in skincare science. With a monthly membership, customers can choose from four different Murad® Healthy Skin facials including Environmental Shield®Vitamin C, Clarifying Enzyme Acne, Anti-Aging and Sensitive Skin.

Massage Envy clinics are open late, seven days a week. For Massage Envy locations or to schedule an appointment, call 602-992-ENVY (3689) or visit massageenvy.com.

Massage Envy Introduces New Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy

Whether it’s your job, the daily grind or an intense workout that causes your feet to feel worn out, the best way to find relief is to give your feet some serious tender, love and care. Beginning today your toes will thank you with the launch of the new Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy, available at any of Valley’s 28 Massage Envy clinics. Ideal for reducing daily stress or the pain and discomfort caused by dry callused skin, a Sugar Foot Scrub treatment can be added to any massage session for only $10 ($15 for guests) as part of Massage Envy Enhanced Therapies menu.

Massage Envy’s partner, Bon Vital, helped formulate the sugar foot scrub exclusively for Massage Envy customers that combine fortified sugar with jojoba, olive and safflower oils, and lavender essential oil. Massage Envy’s specially designed formula contains extra fine sugar granules and less oil than a typical sugar foot scrub, allowing for easier absorption into the skin. The scrub cleans and exfoliates, removes dead skin cells, and soothes the surface of the skin while stimulating lymph flow and increasing circulation. Following the sugar scrub, a whipped Bon Vital Body Butter, which is blended with cocoa butter, Shea butter, beeswax and lavender oil, is also applied to add a hydrating protective layer to the freshly scrubbed skin.

“Our new Sugar Foot Scrub Therapy is perfect to treat tired feet,” said Steve Cook, Massage Envy regional developer for Arizona and Las Vegas. “The winter weather can take a major toll on our feet, but the Sugar Foot Scrub will be sure to smooth away rough spots and drench dry skin to create the ultimate therapeutic massage experience.”

In addition to this new service, all Valley Massage Envy clinics are offering special Valentine’s Day deals for members and guests through Feb. 14. Gift cards for massages and facials make a perfect present for your loved one and Massage Envy is offering specials with the purchase of $50, $75 and $100 gift cards. When you purchase a $50 gift card, you will receive a certificate for a free enhanced therapy, when you purchase a $75 gift card, you will receive a complimentary half-hour upgrade and with the purchase of a $100 gift card, you will receive a free one-hour massage session.

With a membership at Massage Envy, customers can choose from a variety of monthly massage and spa treatments including Swedish, Trigger Point, Deep Tissue, Sports, Prenatal and Geriatric. As part of the revamped Enhanced Therapies menu that includes AromaTherapy, Deep Muscle Therapy and Hot Stone Envy™, the new Sugar Foot Scrub will allow members and guests to further customize and boost their wellness experience. The proven benefits of routine massage include improved circulation, joint flexibility and posture, relief from pain and swelling caused by arthritis, reduced blood pressure, fatigue, migraine pain and stress, as well as improved sleep, concentration and overall sense of well-being.

Additionally, Massage Envy Spa offers facials designed by Dr. Murad, the leader in skincare science. With a monthly membership, customers can choose from four different Murad® Healthy Skin facials including Environmental Shield®Vitamin C, Clarifying Enzyme Acne, Anti-Aging and Sensitive Skin.

Massage Envy clinics are open late, seven days a week. For Massage Envy locations or to schedule an appointment, call 602-992-ENVY (3689) or visit massageenvy.com.

strawberries

Do Something Different for Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day rolls around again, many couples will find themselves in the same old flowers-and-dinner routine.

There are many places around the Valley that offer something a little different this year, whether for first dates or long-married couples. Here are some to think about:

1. Romance in the Garden: On Feb. 16, the Desert Botanical Garden is hosting a candlelit outdoor concert by Chris Burton Jácome Flamenco Ensemble. Dinner, wine flights and bottles of champagne are available. Can’t celebrate on Thursday? Take Saturday to hear sexy music under the stars with a glass of wine.

Ullman Terrace, 6-9 p.m. Dinner tickets must be purchased ahead. 480-481-8188

2. Chocolate Affaire: From Feb. 8-10, experience downtown Glendale’s festival of chocolate, wine and romance. Watch chocolatiers making their specialties and sample treats like chocolate-covered bacon. Bring the kids for crafts and rock-climbing, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the historic district.

Starts Friday at 5 p.m. Park in garages at 59th Ave & Glenn Dr.

3. Citrine Natural Beauty Bar: Fragrances definitely play a big part in everyone’s Valentine’s Day. Melissa at Citrine will take time to blend you a customized fragrance from the purest organic essential oils. Ingredients like Somalian Frankincense and Egyptian Jasmine are aphrodisiacs, or try a blend that matches your astrological sign.

At UNION Biltmore. 602-955-2354. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

4. Picasso at the Lapin Agile: Written by Steve Martin, this play is being performed by the Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale. Think Einstein and Picasso at a Paris café in 1904, add Steve Martin’s intelligent humor, a special cameo and great acting, and you have an idea of what to expect.

7:30 p.m. Thurs-Sat through Feb. 23. Tickets $20. Brelby.com. 6839 N. 58th Ave.

5. The Spouse Whisperer: If you’re looking for laughs, head over to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino to hear Mark Cordes’ tongue-in-cheek, sharp-witted humor about marriage and middle age. This hysterical look at couples’ life is a great change of pace for Valentine’s Day.

Ovations LIVE! Showroom, 7:15 p.m. Tickets $15. 877-840-0457

6. Roka Akor: While prix-fixe menus are a staple of many V-Day dinners, this one stands out. Items like wild boar bacon, lobster tartare and mushroom tempura will be served in three seatings: 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Voted one of the top ten sushi restaurants in the U.S., Roka Akor is an excellent date spot as well as a culinary destination. This menu will be served through the 16th if you can’t make it Thursday.

$98 per person. 7299 N. Scottsdale Rd. 480-306-8800

7. The Bassics of Love: On the 14th, the ASU Kerr Cultural Center is featuring Chunyang Wang, who studied at Julliard and played in the New York Asian Symphony Orchestra. Wang will perform timeless classics from Rachmaninov, Mozart and Piazzolla on double bass and piano.

7:30 p.m. Tickets from $10.50: vip.me/AAMOdCWkHBM. 6110 N. Scottsdale Rd.

 

strawberries

Do Something Different for Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day rolls around again, many couples will find themselves in the same old flowers-and-dinner routine.

There are many places around the Valley that offer something a little different this year, whether for first dates or long-married couples. Here are some to think about:

1. Romance in the Garden: On Feb. 16, the Desert Botanical Garden is hosting a candlelit outdoor concert by Chris Burton Jácome Flamenco Ensemble. Dinner, wine flights and bottles of champagne are available. Can’t celebrate on Thursday? Take Saturday to hear sexy music under the stars with a glass of wine.

Ullman Terrace, 6-9 p.m. Dinner tickets must be purchased ahead. 480-481-8188

2. Chocolate Affaire: From Feb. 8-10, experience downtown Glendale’s festival of chocolate, wine and romance. Watch chocolatiers making their specialties and sample treats like chocolate-covered bacon. Bring the kids for crafts and rock-climbing, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the historic district.

Starts Friday at 5 p.m. Park in garages at 59th Ave & Glenn Dr.

3. Citrine Natural Beauty Bar: Fragrances definitely play a big part in everyone’s Valentine’s Day. Melissa at Citrine will take time to blend you a customized fragrance from the purest organic essential oils. Ingredients like Somalian Frankincense and Egyptian Jasmine are aphrodisiacs, or try a blend that matches your astrological sign.

At UNION Biltmore. 602-955-2354. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

4. Picasso at the Lapin Agile: Written by Steve Martin, this play is being performed by the Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale. Think Einstein and Picasso at a Paris café in 1904, add Steve Martin’s intelligent humor, a special cameo and great acting, and you have an idea of what to expect.

7:30 p.m. Thurs-Sat through Feb. 23. Tickets $20. Brelby.com. 6839 N. 58th Ave.

5. The Spouse Whisperer: If you’re looking for laughs, head over to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino to hear Mark Cordes’ tongue-in-cheek, sharp-witted humor about marriage and middle age. This hysterical look at couples’ life is a great change of pace for Valentine’s Day.

Ovations LIVE! Showroom, 7:15 p.m. Tickets $15. 877-840-0457

6. Roka Akor: While prix-fixe menus are a staple of many V-Day dinners, this one stands out. Items like wild boar bacon, lobster tartare and mushroom tempura will be served in three seatings: 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Voted one of the top ten sushi restaurants in the U.S., Roka Akor is an excellent date spot as well as a culinary destination. This menu will be served through the 16th if you can’t make it Thursday.

$98 per person. 7299 N. Scottsdale Rd. 480-306-8800

7. The Bassics of Love: On the 14th, the ASU Kerr Cultural Center is featuring Chunyang Wang, who studied at Julliard and played in the New York Asian Symphony Orchestra. Wang will perform timeless classics from Rachmaninov, Mozart and Piazzolla on double bass and piano.

7:30 p.m. Tickets from $10.50: vip.me/AAMOdCWkHBM. 6110 N. Scottsdale Rd.

8. Vampire’s Wedding: If you’re in the Tucson area and looking for a laugh, head to Tucson Dinner Theatre on the 14th. “Murder at The Vampire’s Wedding” is a 3-act interactive show at Arizona’s oldest dinner theatre. A 3-course meal and champagne toast will be served, and the ladies will receive a ‘Keepstake’ rose.

2744 E. Broadway Blvd. 520-624-0172. Tickets $42. Show starts at 7 p.m.

9. Orange Sky: If you prefer something a little more traditional, Orange Sky at Talking Stick is offering an excellent $70 prix-fixe on the 14th. What makes Orange Sky different is the romantic, award-winning view of the Valley at dusk. The wine room is stunning and a sommelier can help you choose the best bottle.

9800 E. Indian Bend Rd. Reservations: http://www.talkingstickresort.com/orange-sky.aspx

Dress code enforced: see site for details.

Resorts Spice Things Up For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if you’re like most men you’re currently thinking, “What am I going to do this year?”

While the normal ideas — eat at the same restaurant where you had your first date/proposed/etc., cook her a special meal at home, rose petals on the bed — are always a good way to go, it says a lot when you go out of your way to impress your Valentine.

Whether you’re going somewhere neither of you have ever been before or doing an activity neither of you have ever done before, that extra effort oftentimes means the world. For those who are still at a loss, here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day:

STAYCATION

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, it’s a bit hard to get time off work and head out of town; so in this case, a staycation is your best bet. Whether it’s Harrah’s Ak-Chin or one of the many other resorts throughout the Valley, there are plenty of options and packages that resorts are offering, specifically for Valentine’s Day.

For guests who are romantic at heart, Harrah’s Ak-Chin will be offering a Valentine’s Day package, including a guest’s choice of room accommodations and breakfast in bed for two ($50 in-room service food/beverage credit) per stay — with package rates starting at $129 per night and available with the offer code PLOVE.

In addition to packages such as this, many times guests can go the extra mile by asking for champagne and strawberries to be sent up to the room, have rose petals on the bed upon arrival, or any other surprises you have up your sleeve for that special someone.

WINE & DINE

When you’re eating in every night, there’s no better time than Valentine’s Day for a romantic dinner for two. Restaurants Valley-wide are offering special prix fixe menus for the evening, in addition to a set menu of dinner for two, such as the menu available at Harrah’s Range Steakhouse. The restaurant’s Surf & Turf for Two is $100 per couple and includes the following:

Course One:
Potato Encrusted Kumamoto Oysters and Classic Mignonette
Course Two:
Baby Roasted Beet and Field Green Salad with Horseradish Citrus Vinaigrette
Course Three:
Grilled Frenched Bone-in Rib eye with Garlic Butter Sautéed Shrimp
Course Four:
Raspberry Mousse

Two things to remember: 1) Dinner always goes better with drinks (be it your favorite wine or popping some bubbly in celebration of the occasion), and 2) always make a reservation, as this is one of the busiest nights of the year. To make a reservation at Harrah’s Range Steakhouse call (480) 802-5000.

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY

When all else fails, head to the dance floor. While many men may see this as a last resort, your Valentine would be extremely impressed when asked to have the next dance. Maybe a lesson or two would be in order beforehand, but well worth it when it becomes the highlight of your Valentine’s night.

Be it jazz trio, a pianist or the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley who will be holding a free performance at Harrah’s at 8 p.m., these smooth sounds will ultimately lead to even smoother night out.

For more information on Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort call (480) 802-5000 or visit harrahsakchin.com.
Valentine's Day Events 2012

Valentine's Day Events 2012

Not sure what to do this Valentine’s Day? Here’s a list of Valentine’s day ideas with restaurants and events that are sure to make your date unforgettable.

Table for Two at Different Pointe of View

Valentine's Day Events 2012Why settle this Valentine’s Day for a traditional indoor restaurant when you can have breathtaking views and exceptional cuisine at Different Pointe of View? Enjoy a five-course meal with your choice from four delicious entrée options: Cedar River Grilled Filet Mignon, Pan-seared Pacific Cobia, Citrus-scented Olive Oil Poached Main Lobster, or Seared Muscovy Duck Breast. For dessert, Different Pointe of View is offering a choice between Chocolate Temptation and traditional Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee.

Call (602) 866-6350 for reservations.
5 p.m. seating: $99
5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. seating: $110
Wine pairings are an additional $40 per person

Different Pointe of View at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort
11111 N. 7th St., Phoenix
(602) 866-6350
differentpointeofview.com

Pamper Yourself with Rich Treatments of Wine, Roses and Romance

Treat yourself (and your sweetheart) this Valentine’s day with one of the following decadent choices offered by Jurlique Spa at FireSky Resort:

Valentine's Day Events 2012

The Tuscan Wine Therapy Body Treatment — a wine-drenched Italian decadence, featuring a mix of Mediterranean olive oil, crushed grape seeds, blackberry fibers and red wine, it’s available for $125 per person for 60 minutes, including gratuity (regularly $150).

The Rose Harmony Duo pairs a rose-petal soak with a rejuvenating massage, leaving your skin sweet-smelling and petal soft thanks to Jurlique’s signature rose petal body oil. This 90 minute treatment is available for $180 and includes gratuity (regularly $216).

The Sweetheart Chocolate Facial & Lip Scrub marries enticing aromas, hold-and-cold sensations and a relaxing facial massage with the bliss of a milk-and-chocolate antioxidant mask. Available for $135, this 60 minute package includes a peptide-firming System or RAW Man Kit (regularly $194 – $204).

Kimpton’s FireSky Resort and Jurlique Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
(480) 945-7666
fireskyresort.com

Romance in the Desert at El Chorro

Valentine's Day Events 2012This Valentine’s day El Chorro restaurant will feature a menu filled with romantic options. A few of these include: Hearts of Romaine with Lobster Vinaigrette or Roasted Valentine Pepper Bisque with crispy red beets, a Lovebird Duo of pan-roasted chicken breast and leg confit with herb crust; a Center Cut Filet with Sweet(heart) Potato Gratin and Chilean Sea Bass with Wild-for-you Mushroom Ravioli.

For dessert, Chocolate Hearts features a dark chocolate cake served with white chocolate mousse and milk chocolate ganache. All these delicious creations are by Executive Chef Charles Kassels and will be served in charming historic surroundings with spectacular mountain views. A special menu of wine pairings will also be available.

El Chorro
5550 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
(480) 948-5170
elchorro.com

Keyboard Conversations With Jeffrey Siegel: “From Heart to Art — The Romantic Music of Franz Liszt”

For the musically inclined, pianist Jeffrey Siegel will be performing romantic compositions by Franz Liszt, including “Liebesträume.” The performance will include a state of the art video display that allows the audience to see the pianist’s hands moving across the keyboard from any seat in the theater. Jeffrey Siegel will converse about each composition after performing it, while offering insight about the composer’s life.

Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket price range: $29 – $39

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts 
7380 E. Second St. Scottsdale
(480) 499-8587
scottsdaleperformingarts.org

The Glendale Chocolate Affaire

Valentine's Day Events 2012This annual event in the historic part of Downtown Glendale celebrates chocolate and romance. With more than 30 chocolate specialty vendors, there is no shortage of this delicious treat. The event will occur at Murphy Park and admission is free.

Friday February 3, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday February 4, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday February 5,  from noon to 5 p.m.

City of Glendale
(623) 930-2299
glendaleaz.com

Exotic Art Show –  Exotic Phantasmagorical Spectacular

The Exotic Phantasmagorical Spectacular Exotic Art Show will take place on Friday, February 10. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and performances will begin at 8 p.m. This exhibit will showcase sensual, personal, provocative, and audacious art from over 60 artists. The Exotic Phantasmagorical Spectacular Exotic Art Show is the longest running exhibit of erotic and art in the country, so prepare for boundaries to be crossed and the line between performance and spectator to be blurred. Advance tickets highly recommended.

Friday, February 10. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and performances will begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets $20 in advance ~ $25 door
Must be over 21 to attend

Alwun House Gallery and Garden Stage
1204 East Roosevelt Phoenix
(602) 253-7887
alwunhouse.org

District American Kitchen and Wine Bar’s Valentine’s Day Special

Valentine's Day Events 2012A delectable dinner, romantic music and a complimentary rose are all included in District American Kitchen and Wine Bar’s Valentine’s Day special. This three-course feast is filled with delicious options like the Truffled Ricotta Stuffed Rigatoni, Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster, and for dessert, Chocolate Molten Cake with Strawberry Ganache. If you can’t attend on the 14th, don’t worry; their Valentine’s Day menu will be available from Saturday, February 11th through the 14th.

Call (602) 817-5400 for reservations
$49 per person
Wine pairings are an additional $30 per person

District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
320 N. 3rd Street
(602) 817-5400
districtrestaurant.com

The Saguaro Hosts the I Heart AZ Party

On Saturday, February 11 The Saguaro is hosting an I Heart AZ Party in celebration of both Valentine’s Day and Arizona’s 100th birthday. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Tony Martinez band will be featured, along with wine tasting, a pop-up shop, locally-grown hors d’oeuvres, and a charity kissing booth. The Saguaro’s art exhibitions will have a special show by 3 Car Pile Up, then from 7-10 p.m. the party will continue with music by DJ Melo.

$10 before 7 p.m.
Free after 7 p.m

The Saguaro is also offering special offers this Valentine’s Day:

Dinner and a Movie (Pool View rooms at $351+tax)

  • Distrito Tasting Menu for Two
  • An in-room movie credit
  • Breakfast in bed

A Suite for You and Your Sweetie (Suites at $1,011)

  • Overnight Suite Accommodations
  • In-room couples massage
  • Private Poolside Cabana Dinner with Distrito Valentine’s day Tasting menu & a bottle of champagne
  • Breakfast in bed
The Saguaro
4000 N Drinkwater Boulevard
(480) 308-1100
thesaguaro.com