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A Food-Centric Valentine's Day Gift Guide For The Pandemic Era

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Valentine's Day is coming! (Photo illustration by Giuliana Mayo/LAist)
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It's been a year. Living in isolation (or spending way too much time around others), wearing nothing but soft clothes, binge-watching Ted Lasso (just us? cool...) and stress-baking. As we head toward a sad milestone -- our first Valentine's Day in COVID-19 quarantine -- we're trying to figure out, like everyone else, how do we celebrate love under lockdown? Vaccines!

Failing that, there's food.

From heart-shaped pizzas and boozy chocolate bombs to DIY cocktail kits and lavish spreads, we've got something for anyone who's searching for cupid amid the coronavirus. So amp up the romance for your sweetie -- or spend a delicious day on your own and celebrate this manufactured Hallmark holiday with some of L.A.'s tastiest treats.

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California Donuts and Ring Pops sweet Valentine's Day collaboration. (Courtesy of Amanda Lao)

SWEETS

California Donuts x Ring Pop

California Donuts, a family owned shop that has been around since 1982, teamed up with Ring Pop to make Valentine-themed donuts with heart-shaped rings in the middle. If only roller rinks were open so you'd have somewhere to show off your edible jewelry once you've eaten your donut.

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Vegan by Victoria's heart shaped conchas. (Courtesy of Vegan by Victoria's)
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Vegan by Victoria's

Popular Santa Ana spot Vegan by Victoria's makes all kinds of deliciousness including pan dulce, tres leches and flan. Sadly their V-day offering of breakable chocolate hearts filled with chocolate-covered goodies has already sold out -- apparently, there was a run on white chocolate -- but their chocolate-dipped strawberries and heart-shaped conchas are still available.

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Some of the Valentine's Day cupcakes on offer at Lark Cake Shop. (Courtesy of Lark Cake Shop)

Lark

With locations in Silver Lake and Pasadena, family-owned and operated Lark has been serving up gorgeous yet unfussy baked goods since 2007. For Valentine's Day 2021, they're making cupcakes and heart-shaped cakes in a variety of flavors for preorder. They'll also have a more limited selection on the day of, so plan accordingly. Available for pickup or delivery.

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The 16-piece chocolate tasting box from ChocoVivo. (Courtesy of ChocoVivo)

ChocoVivo

Since 2009, ChocoVivo has been making chocolate inspired by the traditional Aztec and Mayan methods, hand-grinding whole bean chocolate with minimal processing to maximize the chocolate's intensity. Grab a hot chocolate sampler or a 16-piece "Experience the Journey" tasting box.

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John Kelly's solid ruby chocolate hearts. (Courtesy of John Kelly Chocolates)

John Kelly

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John and Kelly, two gentlemen with a fudge recipe and a dream, made a mid-career change in 2004 that brought their seriously rich treats to West Hollywood -- and the world. On their site, you'll find gift boxes in varying sizes as well as a ruby chocolate heart set that's all kinds of pretty. You can also find their chocolates at retailers around town.

MEALS

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Aprons and Nik Sharma's cookbook, Flavor Equation, make up a Valentine's Day gift set from BlueCut. (Courtesy of BlueCut)

BlueCut x Nick Sharma

If you and your sweetheart want to cook together, apron manufacturer BlueCut and James Beard-nominated cookbook author Nik Sharma have teamed up to offer a DIY Valentine's Day package. It comes with an autographed copy of Sharma's new book, The Flavor Equation, two linen BlueCut aprons, a custom meal plan, suggested wine pairings, an aromatherapy cooking hack and a Spotify playlist to set the mood.

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Some of the options for Bardonna's "breakfast in bed" Valentine's package. (Courtesy of Bardonna)

Bardonna

For those who can spend a cozy morning lounging about, consider ordering "breakfast in bed" from Bardonna's Santa Monica location. The package includes a choice of any two entrees, any two beverages and a chocolate heart filled with candy (and the option to sneak in a custom message when requested 72 hours in advance). Call or order in person.

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Evan Kleinman's contribution to this year's Valentine's Day dinner for Miry's List: beet gnocchi. (Courtesy of Miry's List)

Miry's List

For the fourth year in a row, Miry's List offers a New Arrival Valentine's Day Dinner, this time in picnic form, to help benefit Syrian refugees who are resettling in Southern California. Get a delicious six-course dinner featuring beet gnocchi by Evan Kleinman, Syrian classics made by chefs Maaysa & Abdul Kanjo, desserts by Roxana Jullapat of Friends & Family and a bottle of champagne from One Hope Wine. You'll be giving to a good cause at the same time. Available for delivery or pickup.

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The red crusted heart shaped pizza from Paper Pizza Company. (Courtesy of Paper Pizza Company)

SAY IT WITH PIZZA

Because we believe in all things heart-shaped, here are a few ways to show your love in melted cheese + bread form. (We've also got this handy pizzapedia, organized by regional pizza style.)

  • Abbott's Pizza - This westside pizzeria offers heart-shaped pies year round. Now that you know, why would you ever order "normal" pizza again?
  • Paper Pizza Co. - In Downey, Paper Pizza has both a heart-shaped pizza and a heart-shaped charcuterie board on the menu for Valentine's Day.
  • The Heights Deli and Bottle Shop - Located in Lincoln Heights, The Heights Deli is offering heart-shaped pizza for Valentine's Day by phone order. Throw in a bottle of lambrusco and you're set.
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Amass' limited edition "Impeachment" peach flavored vodka. (Courtesy of Amass)

BOOZE

Amass

What began as a joke on social media after Donald Trump's (first) impeachment has become a limited-edition vodka from L.A.-based distiller Amass. This peach-flavored vodka, called Impeachment, comes in a pink bottle and features "touches of rose, ginger and red currant." A portion of all sales goes to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.

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Tacos Tu Madre's boozy hot chocolate bomb. (Courtesy of Tacos Tu Madre)

Tacos Tu Madre

If you love hot chocolate and adult beverages, Tacos Tu Madre's West Hollywood location has you covered with their boozy hot chocolate bombs. Each chocolate heart is filled with hot cocoa, mini-marshmallows and comes with an injector filled with Rumchata or Bailey's (you decide). Order your sweet treat in person or over the phone.

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Some of BreakUp Bar's Anti-Valentine's Day cocktail offerings, not in their to-go containers. (Courtesy of Evan Charest)

BreakUp Bar

If you're over Valentine's Day, Severance Wine Bar is doing its annual BreakUp Bar: Anti Valentine's Day pop-up through February 14. They're offering sweets, charcuterie and cocktails. Whichever package you choose (the "Wasted Two Years of My Life" looks tempting), you'll find something to soothe your shattered heart. While you're waiting to pick up your package at their to-go window, watch classic breakup movies projected inside.

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