John Ewoldt
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Need a cheap date? Let me help

Looking for a cheap show for a cheap date this weekend? Try The new website offers half-price tickets at Twin Cities theaters. Valentine-themed shows include "How to Make Love Like a Minnesotan" at Brave New Workshop ($16 each, Saturday or Sunday) and "Bleeding Hearts Romp," a cockeyed look at love for singles and cynics at Bedlam Theatre ($2.50 each on Saturday). Other shows include "Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad" at Lowry Theatre ($13.50 Friday or Saturday), and Stevie Ray's Comedy Show at Sheraton Bloomington ($7.50 Friday or Saturday). Call for the most current listings. Shows might be added or sold out. Tickets can be charged by phone at 651-290-2290 and picked up at the theater's Will Call window on the day of the show.

New bakery outlet is a winner

Last Thursday I wrote that Lofthouse, the bakery outlet with the lowest prices in the Twin Cities, has expanded its hours. Here's more good news. A new bakery outlet opened to give Lofthouse a run for its money. Mainstreet Bakery (6947 Washington Av. S., Edina, 952-943-8008, opened a few months ago but with limited hours: 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The bread ($1.25 to $3 per loaf) isn't as cheap as Lofthouse's, but there are 25 varieties for sale. Lofthouse often has only three to six choices. Besides bread, Mainstreet sells hot dog and hamburger buns ($2 for 12), assorted rolls and doughnuts ($2 for 12 cake doughnuts), chocolate, cheesecakes ($12) and turtle, carrot or red velvet cakes ($8). Where Mainstreet really bests Lofthouse is in its refrigerated section. Besides desserts, check out Italian specialties such as a 60-ounce tray of lasagna with meat ($12), pasta sauce ($4), pesto ($2.50) and 16-piece cheese ravioli for $8. Everything is made on the premises for local retailers, restaurants and hotels. Prices in the outlet are at wholesale level or below. Party planners can request items a few days in advance and still get wholesale prices, unlike at Lofthouse.

Kill your enemies for 30 percent less

If flowers or candy won't get your Valentine's heart racing, maybe A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation can. The F/A-18 Hornet simulator, which has also been purchased by defense contractors, is much more than a video game, according to the site "Pilots" watch a short training video and then they fly, shoot down enemy aircraft, land on an aircraft carrier and even dogfight a significant other. Shoot down the S.O. too often and you risk a cold night back at the barracks. Through the end of the month, a 30-minute simulation is $20, regularly $30. A 60-minute flight is $35, regularly $45. A.C.E.S. is located on the third floor of the Mall of America (952-920-3519, Gift cards can be purchased online and are usually mailed within a day.

Anniversary special on rooms at the St. Paul Hotel

The St. Paul Hotel (350 Market St., St. Paul, 651-292-9292, celebrates the 100th anniversary of its grand opening by offering a deluxe room for $100 through April 18, regularly $159. Other rooms are also discounted, including the Landmark king with Bose radio, better mattress and separate seating area for $200, regularly $269. The hotel underwent a major renovation in 2004-05 and is much improved. The specials were not available this Friday or Saturday but were available on Valentine's Day when we checked earlier this week. If you want a room overlooking Rice Park and the Ordway, specify that when making the reservation.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or If you spot a deal, share it at