How to make your Valentine’s Day Count

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— Chris SamuelsRubySnap Cookies — Chris SamuelsJolley's Gift Boutique and Flowers — Chris SamuelsHatch Family Chocolates. — Chris SamuelsThe Art Floral

Wondering how to impress your date on Valentine’s Day? Salt Lake City is full of options. Too many options can be overwhelming, so I’ve narrowed down the list so you can make your day as special as you can.

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The first thing to do on Valentine’s Day is get the flowers. My favorite flower shop is the Art Floral. On the corner of 300 South and 600 East, this adorable shop has the freshest flowers one can find that aren’t still in the ground. Not only are their flowers extremely fragrant, but they have incredibly vibrant colors as well. The Art Floral sells a large selection of beautiful, pre-made bouquets, but don’t worry if your date has particular taste — customers also have the option to create their own bouquet. And this store doesn’t just sell flowers. They also sell locally made chocolates, jewelry, greeting cards and little trinkets for the last-minute gift-giver. Unfortunately, the prices aren’t exactly college-student friendly. A pre-made bouquet can cost anywhere from $50 to $550.

For guys on a budget, Jolley’s Boutique and Flowers, on 1300 South and 1600 East, also sells beautiful arrangements and bouquets. Though they have a smaller selection, their flowers are extremely fresh, and their arrangements are stunning. They also sell a wide variety of non-flower gifts, such as jewelry.

Next to flowers, chocolates may be the most popular Valentine’s gift. A box of chocolates can make anyone’s Valentine’s Day a whole lot sweeter. For my money, the best chocolate shop in all of Salt Lake is Hatch Family Chocolates. Hatch found its fame when the business was featured in a reality television series called “Little Chocolatiers,” but that has not diluted the quality of their chocolates. Located on 8th Avenue, between D and E Street, it sells delicious yet surprisingly inexpensive treats. Customers can buy individual pieces of chocolates or customized boxes, and even treats like caramel apples. The only drawback to this charming establishment is the lack of parking. Though they have both free street parking and a free parking lot, Hatch Chocolates is usually crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, so go early!

Now that you have your chocolates and your flowers, you may be wondering where to go for your date. The Dodo Restaurant, on 1300 East and 2100 South, is the perfect place, whether it’s your first date or your 40th. It’s casual without being fast food, it’s inexpensive, yet it’s classy. The waiters are always friendly, and the service is timely. However, the food is undoubtedly the best part, as one would expect from a restaurant. My favorite entrée is the Dirty Bird Salad, a salad with bacon, avocado, chicken and lettuce, and topped with a tangy barbecue sauce. It’s not on the menu, but they will be happy to make it for you if you ask. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with Dodo’s trademark dessert, Tollhouse Pie, a warm pie made of cookies and cookie dough.

For couples who already know where they’re having dinner but are looking for a good dessert place, RubySnap Cookies is the place. RubySnap is decorated like a 1950s era cookie shop, with all the cookies labelled with old-fashioned names, such as Maris and Trudy. Though they mostly sell unique flavors, they also have some classic cookies, such as chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter. Perhaps most importantly, in case your Valentine’s date isn’t going as well as you hoped, at each of the tables in the establishment you’ll find a box filled with one hundred conversation cards to help those awkward pauses. RubySnap is located on 300 West between 700 South and 800 South.

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