Man About Town: Valentine's candyland at Sweet! Hollywood

Sweet! Hollywood at Hollywood & Highland could be just the place to sweeten up your sweetie.

Chris Erskine at Sweet!

Chris Erskine, right, tries his hands at making candy with the help of Craig Montgomery, head confectioner at Sticky, inside the candy store Sweet! in the Hollywood & Highland complex. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

I'm in my traditional Cupidian buying frenzy leading up to Valentine's Day, my major organs bursting with good intentions, not knowing quite where to turn, getting a little angry about it actually — the frustrations of unbridled romance, bordering on malice, verging on angina.

Is this what they call lovesick?

Or is it that wad-nut of food still stuck in my gullet from the Super Bowl party? During the power outage, I washed down the perfect barbecue sandwich with a double dose of chili, chased by teriyaki meatballs and fistfuls of Lebanese chicken, topped by about 50 oatmeal cookies.

Candy store: In the Feb. 9 Saturday section, a column about the Sweet! Hollywood candy store misspelled candy maker Craig Montgomery's first name as Greg. Also, the caption for a photo with the column said that the columnist and Montgomery were making taffy. They were making hard candy. —

Doctors have a term for this: concrete.

They can zap it with lasers, or they can just sit around and watch me writhe, which is what my health plan recommends.

So I'm in perfect shape for my favorite holiday. The list goes like this: Valentine's, D-day, Boxing Day, Bill Murray's birthday. They are really the only holidays worth celebrating.

And I don't hold nothin' back.


"To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia."

H.L. Mencken


What can I say about love that hasn't already been said two dozen trillion times, except that it's responsible for global warming, global cooling and way too much sappy alto sax music?

Almost 50 years later, I'm still getting over my divorce from Marilyn Monroe. We were married when I was 4, which is a little young. I caught her in a weak moment between Miller and DiMaggio and JFK and RFK. I think all she wanted was someone to hold her.

She taught me that when it comes to love, there are no boundaries, except the legal and moral ones. And the economic ones.

So off I go to Hollywood to pick up Valentine's gifts that are (like she was) a little blowzy and over the top.

At Hollywood & Highland, I find the Beyoncé of candy stores. Sweet! Hollywood is the name, which requires you to put an exclamation mark after the first word, a confusing confection all by itself.

This is only slightly more annoying than those mash-up names, such as NBCUniversal or Herbalife. As if doing something cute with a corporate name can substitute for value or customer service.

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