Dogs get a bit of a bad rap for being, how shall I say, aggressively unromantic. But I have always considered myself more of a Don Juan than a Charlie Sheen, and calling Santa Barbara home has only made wooing and woofing Dot all the easier. Take, for example, my plan of attack for our anniversary next month. Somebody better call Cupid and put him on notice ’cause Dug Daug is off leash and barking about spreading that love honey!
Start with a trip to A Tropical Affair. Check your modesty at the door, and let the ladies who work there help you find something that will get your heart racing and your hind legs pumping while making your missus feel like the class-act Westminster winner she is. Fantasy is your friend, but class needs to be your compass. A Tropical Affair gets it.
With your racy little surprise taken care of, a visit to Riley’s is next for a proper floral expression of your feelings. They will help you build your own sweet-smelling bouquet of love or happily arrange one for you — the latter is especially appreciated by those of us without opposable thumbs.
With flowers and delicates in paw, the next step is making a reservation for a dinner at Belmond El Encanto. The views from atop the Riviera are the stuff of fairy tales and the lifeblood of romance. From there, it’s all about the finishing moves and embracing your inner rock star, something that is never hard to accomplish around these parts thanks to Rockstar Transportation’s fleet of rolling cool. Starting and ending the night with a ride in a long, dark limo is never a bad idea.
Want to take the romance to the moon? Save your coins and biscuits, and book a night at The Biltmore for the ultimate romantic nightcap along the beach in Montecito. This place is a certifiable Shangri-La with the singular purpose of pampering you. Go there, and you will never forget it. In fact, afterward, you may need to hit up Wild Heart Events to plan the wedding of your dreams that is likely to follow. Seriously, if that happens (and it truly might), Darla Bea needs to be your first phone call for a party deejay. If magic is happening in S.B., smart biscuits say Darla is spinning the soundtrack.
Mission Tuxedos, 135 W. Mission St., 569-3334, missiontuxedos.com
“My wedding had lots of out-of-town guests, and so did our wedding party. We used Mission Tux for everyone, local or out-of-town. Great service and truly hassle free.” —Travis Manach, customer
Finalist: Men’s Wearhouse
Wedding Cake Shop
Your Cake Baker, 2018 Cliff Dr., 845-5519, yourcakebaker.com
“Our recipe for success Listen to your customers. Do what you say you’ll do. Give an unmatched selection. Be consistent and reliable. Thank you; we are thrilled to be recognized as the best!” —Wayne Kjar, baker
Finalist: Crushcakes and Café
Bed and Breakfast Inn
The Upham, 1404 De la Vina St., 962-0058, uphamhotel.com
Finalist: Simpson House Inn
Place to Buy Intimate Apparel
A Tropical Affair, 12 E. Cota St., 730-1625, atropicalaffair.com
Finalist: Purrmission Lingerie
Riley’s Flowers, 1106 Chapala St., 965-1187, www.rileysflowers.com
Finalist: Kaleidoscope Flowers
Restaurant with a View
Belmond El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Pl., 845-5800, belmond.com
Finalist: The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach
Rockstar Transportation, 882-9191, rockstarsb.com
Finalist: Limousine Link
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, 1260 Channel Dr., 969-2261, fourseasons.com/santabarbara
Finalist: The Goodland
Wild Heart Events, 252-7566, wildheartevents.com
Finalist: Dalina Klan
Darla Bea, 895-3400, djdarlabea.com
Finalist: DJ Zeke
The Food Liaison, 1033 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria, 200-3030, thefoodliaison.com
“I just love Food Liaison. We are lucky enough to have them through my company lunch program on a weekly basis. Their food is always delicious and made with the freshest ingredients.” —Carmody Cutter
Finalist: Pure Joy Catering