Valentine’s Day Balloons (credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)
Peninsula-based shoppers in a hurry to find something nice for Valentine’s Day won’t need to go too far. The best independent retailers are always happy to hear a few details about the recipient in order to assist in choosing something that feels just right. Or, you can mark the occasion by choosing an experience as a gift. For something personalized, think beyond traditional red to express yourself. You could consult the birthstone gem chart of your heart’s desire or consider the pink-tinged purple Radiant Orchid 18-3224, Pantone’s official 2014 color of the year, for a spray of early spring flowers. Whatever you choose, these spots can help.
131 Industrial Road, Suite 4
Belmont, CA 94002
If you’re super busy, feel certain that a trained eye could arrange a better bouquet than you and love the idea of delivery, why not complete your order online with La Lavande? The owner, Nasrin, is a passionate Paris-trained pro with 15 years of experience in the Bay Area. Deliveries from Los Gatos to San Francisco will be accompanied by your message, so begin composing your best 120 characters straight away. Leave 48 hours minimum for Valentine’s Day orders which have a minimum of $75. There’s no retail location, but an impressive list of corporate clients who embrace virtual flower shopping includes Apple, Oracle, Yahoo and Microsoft.
604 Main St.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Of course, we’ve all heard that one of the very best ways to reach the heart is through the stomach. If your loved one is an aspiring chef, lucky you! The perfect gift, or gift certificate, will come from this well-established cookery cocoon of top performance brands for cutlery, cookware, bakeware, appliances and books. Alternatively, consider a certificate for a cooking class for two that you can enjoy together in the coming weeks.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
1 Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Peninsula residents don’t need reminding that The Ritz-Carlton is in their backyard. A destination spa and golf coastal hotel and the San Francisco Bay Area’s only oceanfront resort, it’s a winner for putting on the ritz to impress. Set atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50 miles of pristine California coastline, views are savored as the fireplace crackles, flights of wine are poured and a special Valentine’s Eve dinner is served. Weekend guests can enjoy a relaxing, romantic getaway enhanced by a soothing spa session or a round of invigorating golf.
60 31st Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403
With nearly one dozen jewelry and watch stores at the mall, plus the jewelry counters at Macy’s and Nordstrom, there’s bound to be something just right. February’s amethyst birthstone is a perfect reflection of Radiant Orchid, 2014′s signature color. Best of all for late shoppers and procrastinators, the mall is open until 9 p.m. six nights a week, so you can park in a hurry and debate your purchase after work. No car? Arrive by SamTrans or CalTrain at the Hillsdale Station right across the street.
105 Rockaway Beach Ave.
Pacifica, CA 94044
Zagat readers call it “a million dollar view” and Open Table users call it “romantic.” So, why not surprise someone special by booking a cozy booth beside the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean? Reserve ahead, then anticipate cracking open some fresh seasonal shellfish and a bottle of California wine to make it a memorable occasion. A dessert pavé duet of chocolate and cherry crème fraiche mousse, graham cracker pistachio crust with vanilla powder might be called for. Consider brunch so you can savor the view.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.