When it comes to Valentine's Day, those who don't get it are not going to get it
Valentine's Day is hard upon us, and I have some last-minute advice for those of you who are, shall we say, organizationally challenged? Dinner reservations are all but out of the question by now, because everywhere from Jeffrey's to the Dorsett 221 Family Restaurant is already booked solid, so dinner out will include a seriously long wait for a table most places. Our two Eat, Drink, Watch Movies screenings of Woman on Top sold out days ago, so that's out. At this point, you'll probably have to resort to gift items, and it's very important to be careful in your choices. No household appliances or practical items. Acceptable gifts are the following: jewelry, candy, flowers, jewelry, luxurious foods, sweets and pastries, wine and champagne, stuffed animals, romantic outings, lingerie, and/or jewelry. I can't help you with many of those selections, but I do have some invaluable information about where to get heart-shaped foods at this dangerously late date. Choose wisely, because it's a well-known fact that when it comes to Valentine's Day, those who don't get it are not going to get it. Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza (2401 Lake Austin Blvd., 478-6600; 3500 Guadalupe, 302-5200; 8012 Mesa, 349-2126) once again offers their famous heart-shaped stuffed pizzas with all the signature fillings. They've added a special extra package that includes two side salads, a heart-shaped brownie, and a half bottle of champagne for $15. It's all available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery. Call now!... Sweetish Hill (1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347) has the most extensive selection of heart-shaped baked goods we found in town everything from cakes, shortcakes, and tortes to tarts and cheesecakes. They've got decorated cupcakes, heart and lip-shaped cookies, plus bags of gingersnap or linzer hearts... Over at Texas French Bread (3213 Red River, 478-8794; 2900 Rio Grande, 499-0544; 1722 S. Congress, 440-1122), they'll have hundreds of the marvelous Hyde Park Fudge Cakes in heart shapes, as well as plenty of decorated shortbread cookies... Quack's 43rd Street Bakery (411 E. 43rd, 453-3399) will have heart-shaped linzer and shortbread cookies in addition to their Ganache Cake and cheesecakes in a variety of sizes and price ranges... At Russell's Bakery & Coffee Bar (3339 Hancock, 419-7877) they're featuring three cakes in heart shapes, including a flourless, gluten-free chocolate delight. Their most popular item this year is jeweled hearts, shortbread cookies decorated with bright red sugar jewels... The exquisite hand-painted hearts from Penny's Pastries will be for sale in all the regular retail outlets... The gentlemen confectioners at the newly relocated Dr. Chocolate Inc. (1715 W. 35th, 454-0555) have a marvelous selection of treats for your chocoholic sweetheart hearts, lips, truffles, dipped fruits, voluptuous ice creams, chocolate-covered popcorn, anything and everything... Your favorite local liquor store or wine shop is likely to have special prices and/or packaging on champagnes this week. Grape Vine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900) has gift baskets in two price ranges, the more expensive of the two with champagne, two flutes, chocolates, and chocolate-covered berries for about $60... Rouse your sweet baboo from slumber on Saturday morning with the promise of a true heart extravaganza and then hustle on out to the HeartFest at the Westlake Farmers Market (4100 Westbank, 280-1976) from 10am-1pm. There will be heart-healthy fresh local produce, naturally raised meats, artisan cheeses, condiments, and a variety of breads, pastries, and sweets. Chef Keem's spicy chocolate Sweet Venus Delights will be on sale as well as a distinctive new line of chocolate dessert pestos from J.P. Hayes of Sgt. Pepper's. The Oaxacan Chocolate Pesto, White Chocolate Coconut Pesto, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pesto would make great spreads for bread, cookies, or crackers, and who knows, warmed gently in the microwave, they might even work as edible body paint!
Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter
If you want to submit a recipe, send it to email@example.com