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Sex In Our City

Dates for dudes who’d rather not, a so-sexy playlist from San Diego’s hottest dee- jay and 50 other sexy people, places and dishes around town


A Toy Story

Lea Caughlan takes the business of selling sex toys very seriously. Since she opened The Rubber Rose in North Park in 2006, her mission has remained the same: Give everyone an orgasm, and the world will be a better place. 

Sex is a metaphor for life,” she says. “If people can accept their own sexuality, then they can be real in their everyday lives as well.”

Shopping at the store is a fun, “hands-on” experience. Customers are encouraged to touch and turn on all the toys before buying. Located within the funky art district on Ray Street (and next door to cool new tattoo parlor The Red Crow), Rubber Rose carries the highest-quality toys because Caughlan believes everyone has the right to toys that are quiet, pretty, don’t need batteries, effective and silicon- and phthalate-free.

Like all consumer products, toys are constantly changing to meet the needs of newer trends. Caughlan says one line in particular stands out as the Rolls-Royce of vibrators: Lelo, the Insignia line. “It’s brand-new and gets more and more beautiful. It’s a little costly, averaging $130, but well worth the price.”

She also highlights the benefits of slippery fun and emphasizes that Rubber Rose only carries all-natural, glycerin and paraben-free lubricants.

“Follow your desires to where they lead you. Ask yourself what you want or what you feel. If you understand that,” Caughlan says, “then, like the women of the Rubber Rose Ranch from Tom Robbins’ book Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, you can reclaim the ranch and be a happier you.”
— Rebekah Sager

The Rubber Rose
3812 Ray Street,
San Diego, CA 92104

HOTTEST Newcomer News Anchors: Courtney Dwyer and Emmett Russell

What’s sexier than a few fresh faces on the local morning news circuit? Okay, a lot of things. But we still think San Diego native Courtney ­Dwy­er and cohost Emmett Russell deserve a nod for their weekend news program on San Diego 6. As both a Patrick Henry High School and Aztec alumna, Dwy­er’s an avid sports fan and never afraid to assert her cheers on air. Her roots in San Carlos also give her an ease and authority in reporting and reading the news that belie her short four-year career  —  no mispronunciation of Jamacha or Navajo on her watch. Coanchor Russell has a similar ease behind the desk, as well as an easy-on-the-eyes, surfer-style tan that’s thankfully, obviously not Mystic. Here’s hoping the San Diego 6 bosses will let these two settle in even further (do anchors really need to wear suits and turtlenecks on the weekend news?) to their own fresh, unique, San Diego style. sandiego6.com.

Bring Your Sexy Back: San Diego Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital

He’s like the Justin Timberlake of Alvarado Hospital. Whether you suffer from erectile dysfunction, dyspareunia (pain during sex), more serious sexual disorders or even cancer, Dr. Irwin Goldstein and his team can help. Known for being discreet and respectful (patients say consultations can run for hours, depending on the sensitivity of the issue), Goldstein has helped thousands of San Diegans regain sexual function and enjoyment. Vaginal rejuvenation? Check. Reconstructive surgery? Check. Getting your sexy back, whatever that means to you? Check, check. sandiegosexualmedicine.com.

Sultry Shoes: Jimmy Choo Crown Collection

One way to make a great pair of legs even sexier is to throw on a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. Especially one from the Crown Collection, with metallic accents and platform heels. We love the gold mirror leather version, $745, available at Nordstrom Fashion Valley. ­jimmychoo.com, ­­shop.nordstrom.com.

Seductive Spa: Away Spa at the W Hotel

We love that it’s not all about the spa at the W, because when you want to a book a treatment, they can almost always squeeze you in. There’s never a crowded locker room to navigate during robe changes, and the overall vibe is discreet and calm. Just as a spa should be. Sneak Away with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day for the signature couple’s massage, which includes champagne for two. starwoodhotels.com.

Sexy Body Sculptor: Xtend Barre

Take that stripper pole and turn it sideways, ladies. Exotic-dance workouts are out (sorry, guys), and ballet bodies are what women want. These days, it’s all about the barre. Recently opened Xtend Barre in Carmel Valley can help get you get the long-and-lean look, using a ballet barre and classic ballet moves incorporated with other cardiovascular exercises in the ultimate no-bulk workout regime. Pie in the sky? Hardly. The method has taken off (Natalie Portman reportedly used it to get in shape for Black Swan), and Xtend has recently opened studios all over the world, including Brazil, Canada and Australia.

Sexy Sheets: Anichini

The supple, rich texture of Anichini’s silk sheets adds plenty of sex appeal to any bedroom (note to Anichini people: Send samples!), and knowing they are made with artisanal, old-world craftsmanship by the hands of those who have been creating textiles for centuries in Italy makes them even more appealing. Splurge on your own set at Seaside Home’s new location on Wall Street in La Jolla. anichini.com, seasidehomelajolla.com.

Jet Set Sexy: Red Velvet Wine Bar

If solving the debate over which foreign accent is sexiest — Italian? French? Didn’t Irish win a poll recently? — is your idea of a good time, Red Velvet Wine Bar should be your new hangout. We always find the one-room space, tiny and tucked away on Kettner Boulevard in the southwest corner of the Q building in Little Italy, filled with beautiful people speaking different languages. Two Argentinian beauties giggling over glasses of Rioja. A Euro-styled gentleman stashing a Louis Vuitton garment bag in the corner and ordering Cab-Franc and flatbread. Local Italian shop owners kvetching over a glass of Chianti about the day’s customers. Music to our ears... redvelvetwinebar.com.

The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge

Slip into The Wellington’s dark, intimate, mirrored dining room, and no one has to know you’re about to indulge. With a discreet entrance, only a handful of tables inside (plus the two-seater martini bar) and a racy menu full of red meat, creamy sides and vodka, it’s like the other woman to buttoned-up sister restaurant The Red Door next door. And everyone needs a little something on the side, every once in a while. thewellingtonsd.com.

Wildest In-Town Getaway: Lions, Tigers & Bears

It’s not exactly the kind of place you bring your leopard-print lingerie. The Lions, Tigers & Bears sanctuary in Alpine is dedicated to the rescue and recuperation of large wild animals, as well as preserving the natural surroundings in which they thrive. Founder Bobbi Brink started offering overnights, tours and private-event rentals on the 93-acre ranch as a way to help fund her mission, and we think the safari-in-San-Diego experience is wildly cool. Snuggle up in a luxe tent for a wild night on the plains, wake to meet a tiger living out its life in a cage-free enclosure, and have a gourmet breakfast overlooking the Alpine hills. lionstigersandbears.org.

Where the Not-Those-Kind-of-Hormones Rage: Club M

Just as certain “scenes” north of the 56 started feeling oversexed, to say the least (Arterra and L’Auberge were near comical after 10 p.m.), The Grand Del Mar launched Club M, a new slash experience — as in bar/club — for the more mature $12 cocktail-sipping set in North County. And we thank them. There are enough hormones (not the youthful teenage kind) raging from Del Mar to Carmel Valley to choke a horse, and we need a few more places for them to let loose. And with The Grand’s gates wide open these days (not even a guard at the guard shack the last few times we visited), it’s come one, come all to the “exclusive” club experience. thegranddelmar.com/club-m


Source: San Diego
County District Attorney’s office, 2010

Cupid on Google

The top romantic searches on Google in San Diego in the past 12 months:

  1. romantic San Diego
  2. romantic love
  3. romantic movies
  4. romantic ideas
  5. romantic getaways
  6. romantic quotes
  7. romantic comedies
  8. romantic dinner
  9. romantic songs

So Long, Sade.

We prefer this sultry song list, customized for us by the subtly sexy deejay DexDiego.

Artist: Troubleman featuring Nina Miranda
Song: “Paz”
Album: Time Out of Mind
Everything seems better when a Brazilian’s involved (the people, not the procedure) — in this case, songstress Nina Miranda teaming with producer Mark Pritchard for a sultry slice of Brazilectro.

Artist: The Roots
Song: “One Shine”
Album: Illadelph Halflife
Jimmy Fallon funkateers and Philly’s finest, The Roots, drop some serious urban splendor and announce that hip-hop instrumentals are the new classical music .  .  . only sexier.

Artist: King Kooba
Song: “Koobesq”
Album: Nufoundfunk
Haunting, suspenseful and sensual — like that boudoir scene with Natalie and Mila in Black Swan. Or maybe the scene is like the song?

Artist: Cassandra Wilson
Song: “You Move Me”
Album: Love Jones soundtrack
Wilson’s amazing voice has always been a recipe for “sex-cess,” and this slow and smoldering jazz ballad has what Dusty Springfield might call a “just a little lovin’ early in the morning” vibe.

Artist: Jose James
Song: “Central Park West”
(unreleased track)
bNone, but the artist has offered a free download from time to time.
An irresistibly nocturnal Coltrane interpretation with buttery-smooth vocals and warm instrumental accompaniment, which proves why James is among the best vocalists alive. Voyeuristic confession: I deliberately drop this track from time to time just to watch its effect on couples, and yes, it’s highly effective.

Deejay DexDiego is among San Diego’s most eclectic musical selectors and part of the Groove247.com deejay collective. Catch him spinning special events, year-round, at the Pearl Hotel and at fuarecords.com/artists.html. Check out a special mix Dex made for this issue! Check it out at: http://snd.sc/fMa9Pd

Dates for Dudes Who’d Rather Not

The Self-Conscious Romantic: For the romantic gent who prefers avoiding the limelight, try the Cohns’ newest creative collaboration, Bo-beau, a stone’s throw away from a nice after-dinner stroll along Ocean Beach. After leading your lady friend through salvaged mid-17th-century French Colonial gates (imported from Egypt), you’ll enter a dimly lit dining room with the words to a French love song scattered across the wall. The mood lighting, interesting artifacts from Europe and ornate Mexican lamps ensure whatever bits of the French Mediterranean menu end up in your teeth won’t be noticeable anyway. (Quit being paranoid; you look great.) The bar offers up specialty cocktails, and the extensive wine list has a retail section, so you can grab a bottle and take your date to the beach or someplace more intimate. Or just head home alone with the booze and completely overanalyze the date. ­cohnrestaurants.com/restaurants/bobeau.
The Lacking Conversationalist: For those intimidated into silence when facing the fairer sex, head to recently opened, literary-themed Craft & Commerce, where cozy communal seating and a bustling atmosphere will grant you strength in numbers. Any awkward silences can be disguised as eavesdropping attempts, and there’s always the chance you’ll sit next to someone genuinely interesting. If that plan fails, pretend to muse on the myriad quotes from the likes of David Foster Wallace and John Steinbeck scrawled on the walls of the dining room (though if she’s well read, this may be dangerous). Then again, if her favorite book is The Notebook, you’re golden. The menu is brief but conversation-worthy, full of shareable fare to make the meal a little more intimate. In addition to 25 taps, Craft & Commerce is the first West Coast establishment to adopt famed NYC mixologist Phil Ward’s cocktail program, including punchbowls — which are recommended only for those looking to get really communal. First impressions are everything, therefore it’s important to remember them. craft-commerce.com.
For the Gent Who Wants to Whisk Her Away, But Not Too Far: The economy sucks, and Europe’s expensive, but the good news is San Diego’s full of hidden gems like Rancho Valencia. This 49-room boutique resort spread across 40 lush acres of Rancho Santa Fe has recently landed culinary heavyweight Eric Bauer as executive chef. It’s the perfect place for a staycation or simply an adventurous dining experience that won’t break the bank. After wending past mind-boggling mansions and getting turned around multiple times on a long, winding driveway, even if you weren’t utterly lost you’d never know you were still in San Diego. When the weather permits, a fountain-centered courtyard provides a glorious alfresco atmosphere, while the lodge-style fireplace inside keeps things cozy and, ideally, romantic, if things begin to cool down. As a final saving grace, the place has horrible cell coverage, so as she continually checks her phone, take solace in the fact that her bailout plan is impossible to execute. ranchovalencia.com.
— Kyle Hall

Sex on the Strip: The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Travelers looking for love on the Vegas Strip would be hard pressed to find a locale more geared for feeding their mammalian yearnings than Sin City’s newest hotel. Rising like a pair of contemporary spires from the cartoonish fray of fake cityscapes, The Cosmopolitan turns on the charm and delivers a grown-up sense of luxury with hardwoods, crystals, modern artwork and unique design touches from celebrated interior architects, like the prominent octet of towering pillars with stunning visual displays, created by David Rockwell, that greets guests at check-in.
That adult aesthetic carries over to expansive rooms decked out in stylish chandeliers, state-of-the-art technology and romantic touches like remote-controlled music and mood lighting. Private terraces offer breathtaking views of the Strip, which can also be taken in from a window-side Japanese soaking tub built for two.

Add in lusty food porn like melt-in-your-mouth veal cheeks or unctuous squab and white-truffle paella at world-renowned chef José Andrés’ Jaleo, or oceanic aphrodisiacs like plump uni and Japanese bluefin O-toro from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, and you have the perfect prelude to a kiss... and more. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.
— Brandon Hernández

Sultry Moves: Bachata

Other than the most obvious, almost nothing a couple can do together is sexier than dance. Add to the mix a hot Cuban salsa instructor named Wilfredo Gilbriac Rodriguez, great Latin music and a dance studio to try it all out, and you’re in for a sultry night of fun. Rodriguez recommends couples try bachata because it’s an easy and romantic style that’s always danced very close together and is very sensual and erotic. “Our culture is caliente,” Rodriguez says. “We focus on charisma and transmitting energy to our partner. Just like sex.” atimetodancelajolla.com.
— Rebekah Sager

Sex & Politics: Nathan Fletcher

State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has a decorated résumé that includes tours of duty with the Marines in Iraq and Africa, authoring Chelsea’s Law and competing in Ironman triathlons. But we’d be remiss not to note his more superficial accomplishments in our some­-what superficial (albeit super-fun) sex issue. Put simply, he’s a looker. We wondered what he thinks of the role looks play in politics.

You’re a handsome dude. Do you get that a lot?
I actually don’t. I don’t...it doesn’t come up.

Do looks have a role in politics?
I don’t think so. It’s irrelevant to the kind of end result or success you have. What really matters in political life is: Do you believe in what you’re doing? Do you have a passion or drive for it? And are you willing to work hard?

Some politicians go way overboard with the hairspray. Have you started using more?
[Laughs.] I’m pretty low-maintenance in that regard. My wife corrects me on a fairly regular basis, in a good spirit, if she sees me on TV and I have wild hair that I clearly didn’t spend any time looking at in the mirror before I walked on the set.

Mitt Romney seems to be pushing new boundaries with his.
[Laughs.] It’s impressive. I don’t think any of those hairs move. But we take it the same, day in and day out. Just because you’re a politician, you can’t take yourself so seriously.

Favorite local romantic spot?
Lorna’s in University City. It’s the best Italian food I’ve ever had in my life, and my wife and I can walk there from our house. Ever since we were dating we’d go there.

You’re a surfer. How about the beach?
We enjoy the beach and catching a sunset, usually at La Jolla Shores. Sometimes I can get her out while I go surf at Tourmaline or Swami’s, and then we’ll sit there at the end.

Cocktails for Lovers Who Are...


Velvet Diablo at Starlite, $8 (Casa Noble tequila, ginger beer, house-made falernum, crème de cassis, lime)

Garter Belts at Searsucker, $12 (vodka, raspberry coulis, liss of Aperol)

Behind the Grind at Donovan’s Circle of Fifths, $10 (El Jimador Tequila, Cointreau, lime, salted rim)

...And Nice

Marilene Kiss at Tractor Room, $10 (muddled mint, ginger syrup, Hendricks gin, squeeze of lime, Cock & Bull ginger ale)

Rose Petal Martini at Ave 5, $9 (vodka, straw­berry-rose reduction syrup, lime, prosecco)

Orange Crush at Nine-Ten, $11 (Finlandia tangerine vodka, Cointreau, blood orange, simple syrup)

Fish Is Sexy, Too: Shimbashi Izakaya

We love Del Mar’s dimly lit Shimbashi Izakaya for a romantic sushi date. Order up a carafe from the sake bar to get things rolling before giving the sushi chef the nod to start slicing and seasoning selections, based on whatever’s most fresh that day. Or add a bit more touching to the date experience with a roll-your-own lesson, in which Shimbashi chefs teach you the basics of rolling and cutting perfect sushi.

Sensual Slicer: Bencotto

For one of the city’s most decadent, melt-in-your-mouth experiences, order the prosciutto di San Daniele from Bencotto. Owner Guido’s $5,000 imported Italian slicer creates the lightest slices of the premium, delicate ham from San Daniele — a more refined flavor than the in-your-face saltiness of prosciutto di Parma — to pile decadently on a platter (more is better for sure) with fried puffs of salty pasta dough. Savor with a glass of the lightly carbonated, low-alcohol Lambrusco “snack wine” (it’s not always on the wine list, so ask specifically for it), and we’re betting you’ll be back for more. And more still. lovebencotto.com.

Mental Kama Sutra

If lust, attraction and attachment sound like something that happens to someone else, not you, it’s likely you need a quick course in “mental Kama Sutra.” Now, don’t go all shy on me, thinking I’m suggesting you need to memorize some thousand-year-old list of 64 sexual positions. But when your endorphins and hormones are running on empty, you need something to bring your sexy back, and I’m not talking about the little blue pill.

Enter “mental Kama Sutra,” my suggestions for creating the sexual feelings you long for with your husband, wife or partner.

  • You want to feel like you did when you were a teenager? Put sex at the top of your daily to-do list. There are lots of definitions of sex, just like there are many positions in the Kama Sutra. Be creative.
  • Talking about sex can be sexy for some, so if your spouse or partner does something that feels good — in or out of the bedroom — say so.Stop “fortune telling,” anticipating that you will be rejected. Your negative predictions may be the only thing in the way between you and creating more sensual “wow.”
  • This leads to the importance of facing the demon that blocks your intimacy: fear. Specifically, fear of being abandoned or of being smothered. Either way, it’s about a lack of self-confidence, so strut your stuff to switch on your sex drive wherever you go, and start feeling safe being intimate.
  • Don’t make having an orgasm your goal  — make how you have one your new finish line. Men and women have a right to complete sexual pleasure, so it’s valuable to know what you like without apology, to ask for what feels good and to know how to create it for each other. Naughty or nice, keep experimenting.
  • If you think you are suffering from one of the common sexual disorders, orgasmic disorders or lost libido, talk with your physician about getting some help. Taking care of your health and loving yourself are all-important to bringing your sexy back.

— Dr. Michael Mantell

Sexiest Sous-Chef: Scott Caygill

The man behind the man looks good. If we can be completely gratuitous for one paragraph, this is it. While we love the flavors that come out of Carl Schroeder and Terry Gavre’s partnerships (such as Market and Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant), our latest obsession from this pair isn’t about the taste of the food at the restaurants at all. It’s about the deliciousness of their sous-chef at Bankers Hill, Scott Caygill, who gives new meaning to the term “exhibition kitchen.” Take a peek next time you’re in to dine — he’s ruggedly handsome with a square jaw, broad shoulders and strong hands. When you meet him, his demeanor is that perfect blend of shy and soft-spoken, but with a sparkly set of eyes and sly smile that say he’s really not that shy. Are we swooning? Yes, we’re swooning. Oh yeah, he’s a really good cook, too. bankershillsd.com.

Romantic Getaway: Valley View Casino’s Presidential Suite

Thanks to a splashy casino remodel and brand-new hotel facility, there’s more than just the Black & Blue Steakhouse (excellent and underrated) to lure you to Pauma Valley for a stay at Valley View Casino. Book the 1,000-square-foot luxury suite for VIP everything, views for days of the Palomar Mountains — and plenty of high-stakes rolling and spinning in the casino to keep things interesting. And how about a free poolside breakfast after a romantic night in the suite? It’s all included. ­valleyviewcasino.com.

Hottest Block Uptown: Fifth Avenue between Pennsylvania and Brookes

With Osteria Origano, R Gang Eatery and A Modo Mio bistro all newly open for business, this block in Hillcrest is like date central for 2011. Cozy up by the glowing pizza oven at Origano for an authentic Italian pie and plenty of ambience; tip back a few spicy jalapeño cocktails and pop cheddar-chive tater tots at R Gang for a rousing group date; or go foodie at A Modo Mio with a table for two and a sampling of Joe Busalacchi’s family recipes and fresh pasta made daily. ­osteriaorigano.com, rgangeatery.com, ­facebook.com/Busalacchis.AModoMio.

Sexy Sipping: Champagne Sparklers

Romance with champagne starts with the proper opening ritual. Hold the bottle tightly, and with a firm grip on the closure, twist it forcefully but slowly toward release. Rather than a mood-killing pop and spilled wine, you will experience what the French call “the sigh of romance” — the first breath of this treasure as it opens to the world with nary a lost drop. Try the technique on:

  • Louis Roederer 2005 Brut Rosé, $65. Berries and citrus aromas pop on first impression, followed by light yeasty, mineral undertones; tasty berry flavors; structure and long finish make it match with food (e.g., salmon with dill sauce).
  • Moet & Chandon 2002 Brut Rose Grand Vintage, $70. Blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Fresh, fruity, with complex garden aromas (earth, flowers), light yeast; rich, long finish. Or take it several steps higher for the ultimate memory: the 2002 Dom Perignon Brut Rosé at $350.
  • Bollinger 2002 Brut Rosé La Grande Annee, $200. Another classic of the art; 63 percent Pinot Noir, 37 percent Chardonnay. Fresh berry nose, a dash of citrus; hints of earth, yeast in the bouquet; rich on the palate; incredibly long finish (does Bollinger have a secret method for extending the life of the bubbles?).

— Tom Gable

Sexiest After-Work Scene: Grant Grill Lounge

If confidence is key to sex appeal, then the Grant Grill Lounge has just the right swagger. We love the stateliness of the hotel and the classic styling in the lounge, with metal cocktail tables and polished brass gleaming everywhere. We love that as other clubs and bars change hands, menus, deejays and in-your-face promotions every weekend, The Grant Grill sticks to live jazz music and excellent cocktails. Always. No need to try to be everything when you can do classic so well. To sip some of the sex appeal for yourself, try mixologist and soon-to-be cicerone (that’s a beer sommelier, folks) Jeff Josenhans’ Manhattan cocktail. Aged 100 days in oak barrels, it’s bottled in limited quantities by American High West Rye Whiskey with vermouth and premier old-fashioned bitters. grantgrill.com.

Kassia Meador’s Picks for Sexy Surf Spots

Whether traveling the world to star in top surf films, exhibiting her art and photography in galleries on both coasts or designing apparel for Quiksilver’s female Roxy line, pro surfer Kassia Meador is one of the sport’s most visible — and humble — sex symbols. Combine this renaissance-woman persona with her warm, relaxed demeanor and easy smile, and we think you’ll find her darned near irresistible too.

Her idea of a good time? “I’m into making dinner. If you’re gonna have a rad date with somebody, it’s fun to make food, drink some wine, and bring it down to the beach and hang out.” Though she travels as often as she’s home in Oceanside, we knew we could count on her to name three romantic ­beaches in San Diego.

Terra Mar, Carlsbad: “When the sun’s setting, it’s so pretty. It’s a cool longboard wave, and kinda quiet. For the most part, it’s mainly [visited by] people who live there. This beach is so nice.”

La Jolla: “In and around La Jolla is so beautiful. There are probably five or so [secret spots] in there.”

Sunset Cliffs: “At the Cliffs, it feels like you’re not really anywhere. Even at some of the La Jolla beaches you still see ­houses and things like that, but some of the places at the Cliffs are secluded enough to where they’re away from it all, which I love.”

Sex & Chocolate: Five Ways

For a seductively sweet valentine, the gift of chocolate is always appreciated, especially if it’s of the locally made, hand-produced variety.

Caxao Chocolates: Caxao infuses truffles with champagne and cognac, highlights ingredients from vendors at the La Jolla and Little Italy farmers’ markets and — for those who like their chocolate straight up —  offers organic, single-origin chocolate bars. caxao.com.

Dallman Confections: Hand-painted truffles and heart-shaped rose petal – topped caramels from Dallmann are already dreamy, but the private, at-home chocolate classes — complete with sommelier-guided wine and chocolate pairings — turn up the romance a notch. dallmannconfections.com.

Jack Fisher Confections: Jack Fisher, the pastry chef behind Nine-Ten’s dessert menu, is equally skilled as a chocolatier. His line of handcrafted chocolates is available online and served at Eno Wine Room at the Hotel del Coronado. jfconfections.com.

Eclipse Chocolat: At Eclipse Chocolat’s café in University Heights, indulge in seasonal dessert platters, chocolate ganache – iced cupcakes and house-made chocolate drinks. eclipsechocolat.com.

Chuao Chocolatier: The Firecracker bar from Chuao — dark chocolate spiced with chipotle, seasoned with salt and peppered with crackling Pop Rocks – style candy — is sure to produce sparks. ­chuaochocolatier.com.

— Candice Woo

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