published Monday, February 14th, 2011

Off the Couch: Tell her you care with sweets, bumper cars

LISA DENTON: OK, Barry, if you're looking for something sweet to do with your sweetie, there are more options than normal for a Monday night, it being Valentine's Day.

Vaudeville Cafe is open, the Southern Belle has a dinner cruise and Gary Conrad is hypnotizing people at The Comedy Catch. As of Friday, there were still tickets left for the 8 o'clock trip on the Valentine Special Dinner Trains at Tennessee Valley Railroad, but nine of 12 weekend excursions sold out, so if you're just now getting around to calling, you might have waited too long.

BARRY COURTER: The first thing I am going to do is rush over and watch the new Justin Bieber movie "Never Say Never" for the third time since it came out on Friday.

I'm kidding. I'm sure it's great, but I don't think my sweetie, as you call her, is interested.

All of those things you mentioned sound like a lot of fun, but you left out the extensive and clever list of things you wrote about in Friday's Current. Literally an A to Z list of local, and often inexpensive or free, suggestions for the romantically challenged. That's good stuff.

LISA: I think my favorite on that list would have been the one involving chocolate. Truffles and bonbons and cakes — that's my idea of a good time.

Oh, while we're on cakes we should mention the Sunday visit by Mr. "Ace of Cakes" himself, Duff Goldman. He'll be here to judge the creations baked by local confectioners at A Formal Affair. Actually, "constructed" is probably the better word to describe the entries in this contest. These cakes are more about visual razzle-dazzle than the taste, although they do have to be edible. Based on the photos in the Life section two Sundays ago, this should be quite the spectacle.

BARRY: It is pretty cool to watch them build those giant confections. Back to the list, though. I like that you included bumper cars at Pin Stripes. Nothing says "I love you" like T-boning your betrothed into the wall at ramming speed.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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