|Courtesy of Lukshon|
Those who want to kick off Valentine's Day a day early can do it at The Cellar in Fullerton, where reservations begin tonight at 5:30 PM for a four-courser (broken into courses titled "First Date," "Engagement," "Nuptials" and "Honeymoon") that'll include options like venison carpaccio with caramelized shallots and a duck duo with buttered risotto ($79 per person, served with a long stem red rose; 714-525-5682).
It's Valentine's Day! If you haven't made reservations yet, we suggest frantically calling one of 25 recommended spots - we're sure you'll find something.
In Japan, a certified sake expert is known as a nihonshugaku-koshi. And should that be a title you'd like to put on your business card, a certified sake expert course begins tonight at The Wine House. Every Wednesday for four weeks there will be a 6:30-9 PM tutorial each night, with lectures on sake history, production, styles, regionality, labels, storing, serving and culture, taught by sake master Toshio Ueno ($745 plus all-you-can-drink; 2311 Cotner Ave.; 310-479-3731; visit www.winehouse.com for information).
Did you forget Valentine's Day? Are you permanently in the dog house? The Valentine's Day celebration continues through tonight at Sang Yoon's Lukshon, with a four-courser that includes Shanghai matzoh ball soup, and Hawaiian butterfish with pickled watermelon relish ($40 for two; $80 for two with a wine pairing, which may be essential if you've had to put it off this long; 310-202-6808).
Nick + Stef's executive chef Megan Logan continues her ongoing series of Meat 101 classes tonight with a lecture and tasting of "Lamb: U.S. versus New Zealand," with a tasting of racks of lamb (with wines to match) from Sonoma, Colorado and Down Under (8-9 PM; $60 per person; 213-680-0330).
The Mardi Gras celebration begins tonight (through Tuesday, February 21) at Dominick's where N'Awlins native Brandon Boudet is serving an à la carte menu of gumbo ($5), muffaletta ($8), roast beef po'boy ($6), jambalaya ($6), crayfish pie $5), eggplant pirogue $8), beignets ($4), bread pudding ($5) and mini king cakes ($4) from 6 PM till closing. Let the good times roll (310-652-2335).
Now that the Hotel Bel-Air is open again, it's time to stroll over the bridge and past the swans for one of the hotel's most beloved rituals - Sunday brunch on the outdoor patio, with Wolfgang Puck replacing the old kitchen with dishes like Maryland blue crab cakes with a basil pesto aïoli, tortilla soup with crispy duck confit, a soft French-style omelette with chanterelle mushrooms, and a corned beef hash cake "Benedict" - and don't forget the Ramos Fizz.