In the pursuit of love


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

Editor's note: In these tough economic times, we are all trying to stretch our money. Today we offer “;Here's The Deal”; to help you find ways to save and still have fun.

Ah, Valentine's Day.

The day created to market flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, jewelry, and other consumer items to prove that your love is real.

The ads will be out, convincing you - if they haven't already - that it might be the perfect day to buy that Maserati, that it's absolutely imperative to send the dozen roses, or you must buy the earrings from Tiffany's.

Actually, Valentine's Day can be spent without breaking the bank. Really, the most important part of it is the thought that goes into it.

Do you remember the place where you first met? Do you remember what made him or her laugh on the first date? Did you send the kind of flowers that she likes (it's not always a dozen red roses). Be creative.

Can you write a poem? Compose a song and sing it?

If you're not poetically inclined, try borrowing a love quote - there's a plethora of these for free online - www.lovepoemsandquotes.com. Really, though, your own words are best. If you can't sing, but try anyways, you'll get points.

Some low-cost romantic suggestions for Valentine's, which falls conveniently on a Saturday this year:

» Pick up some gourmet items at Kapiolani Community College farmer's market in the morning and have a sunset picnic.

» Take a stroll through Foster Botanical Garden (admission is $3 for Hawaii residents). You also can picnic on the main lawn. Hawaii is home to several other botanical gardens (Koko Crater, Hoomaluhia and Wahiawa, for instance) that are free.

» Try spending an afternoon at one of the museums. If you're in your 20s, admission is free at the Contemporary Museum in Makiki Heights with an ID. At the Honolulu Academy of Arts, you can see the Imperial Mughal Albums now on view in the Henry Luce Gallery. General admission is $10, $5 for seniors and military, free for members and teachers.

» Weather permitting, take a moonlight stroll or hike up to a summit to gaze at the stars. The full moon falls on Feb. 9.

Restaurants are putting out their Valentine's Day menus, some for the entire weekend. There always will be favorites like Alan Wong's and Michel's at Colony Surf.

But there also are plenty of wining and dining choices for less than $150 - and no, we're not talking about Denny's.

Hiroshi and Vino at Restaurant Row offer five-course Valentine's Day meals for about $55. Brasserie Du Vin on Bethel Street will offer the chef's special menu for $40, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations recommended.

Revisit Waikiki and play tourist at some of the new restaurants, now that it's considerably less crowded. Some places, like the Shore Bird, are offering free valet parking for the month.

For another twist, celebrate Valentine's on a day other than the actual day (romance is, after all, important throughout the year, not just on one day) while making sure he or she knows you didn't forget. It might be less crowded and easier to find parking.

Many restaurants, such as Baci Bistro in Kailua, are offering 25 percent off all food and drinks Monday nights.

It's nice to have a day to remind us to celebrate love. Whatever you do, though, don't pull out any coupons in front of your date.


Here's The Deal will run every other Friday.