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Get your Valentine’s Day bliss on a college student’s budget

Illustration by Emma Cason-Pratt

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, couples scramble to find plans to prove their ardent love for their ‘sugar bears.’ And what is the main ingredient in the recipe for love? Location, location, location- and it doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag. If you are as clueless as most, fear not! There are many unique events and locations in our vibrant city to set the perfect mood for your romantic comedy moment.

For sweeties who have three-digit figures in their bank account, you may want to consider expanding your fine dining horizons at a chic restaurant, such as Casa Tua. Hidden amid classic hedges and illuminated by colored glass lanterns, the patio at Casa Tua is one of the most romantic dining spots on Miami Beach.

Famous for being one of the oldest homes in the area, its country club décor mixed with beautiful patrons makes the ambiance enough of an aphrodisiac. Though the Italian food is a little pricey, the nouveaux recipes will satisfy your appetite and your mind. If you go, make sure to try the St. Honore cake, the restaurant’s perfected take on a hundred-year-old French recipe.

If you’re willing to travel a substantial distance to make the night unforgettable, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa offers a dining experience that captures the quintessential romantic dinner. Serving gourmet recipes of French and Cuban influence, the restaurant provides guests with private dining on the shore of the beach or on the dock. Consider traveling to the Keys in the morning and visiting historic locations together, then finishing up the night with this private dinner. The service also offers to prepare delicious picnic baskets for a romantic ‘daycation’ in the Florida Keys.

But if you’re not interested in dinner or daycations, there is always the extra-romantic Valentine’s Day Concert at Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Located in the center of Coral Gables, Fairchild is a romantic eco-vacation on any day, with its 33-acre terrain of rare plants and glass sculptures. To spice things up, the site is hosting a concert by singer-songwriter Jon Secada. You can also have dinner from a selection of gourmet picnic baskets for two at an average of $35. The show begins at 7 p.m. for the pretty price of $75 per ticket.

There are also many less expensive options for those who have recently acquired a special someone – and considering most of us are on a college student budget. For a charming dinner located five minutes away from campus, consider Café Pastis. The small French bistro, with authentic French service and quirky décor, will leave you feeling like you’re in a scene from “Amelie.” Spawn of a Marseille-originated restaurant, the maison’s menu sports traditional French meals at a delicious price. Though all the menu items are heavenly, don’t leave without trying the homemade desserts.

If your sweetie prefers culture to cuisine, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival may be an affordable dream date, costing only $10 per person. Running Feb. 13-15, the historic Grove arts festival is a perfect romantic getaway from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for lovers who enjoy fine art, live music and ethnic food. Showcasing 330 international contemporary artists, the festival is a great place to walk and talk and discover new things about one another.

And if music is the sure way to impress your significant other, you can treat them to the classy 11th Annual “Moonlight and Music” Valentine’s Day Concert at Deering Estate. Few things are more romantic than a concert in a historic home. For only $20 a person, international vocalist Johnny Rodgers will perform his jazz ballads under the stars. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to the event. Sit back, relax and enjoy quality time with your loved one. That’s what Valentine’s Day is about, isn’t it?

Nicolette Roque may be contacted at nroque@themiamihurricane.com

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IF YOU GO BOX:

Splurge a little…

Casa Tua Restaurant, 1700 James Avenue, Miami Beach, entrees from $25

Dining Room at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, 28500 Overseas Highway, Little Torch Key, entrees from $50

– Fairchild Tropical Gardens Valentines Day Concert, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami, concert begins at 7 p.m., tickets $60 for members, $75 for nonmembers

Save a lot…

Café Pastis, 7310 Southwest 57 Avenue, South Miami, entrees from $15

– Coconut Grove Arts Festival, runs along McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive, hours 10 a.m- 6 p.m., admission $10

– Deering Estate’s 11th  Annual “Moonlight and Music” Valentines Day Concert, 16701 SW 72 Avenue, Miami, concert begins at 7 p.m., tickets $20

February 10, 2010

Reporters

Nicolette Roque

Assistant News Editor


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